Tuesday, April 11, 2017

This Week (Spring Cleaning, Memoir Notes, and a Garden of Weeds)

It’s been a busy week and a half! I’m at the beginning of my spring break right now, which means I’ve had time to devote to some fun projects, which makes me very happy. For instance...

Two Saturdays ago, Frenchtown hosted a “Neighborhood Spring Cleaning,” where we amassed some dumpsters and invited people to bring their bulky garbage, recycling, and yard waste. A bunch of neighbors gathered together to drive around with trailers to gather curbside trash, a local church set up a grill and made hot dogs for the volunteers, and the rest of us sorted garbage, heaved mildewed couches and shards of old siding into dumpsters, and scavenged all sorts of treasures for ourselves. I walked away from that day with aching muscles, some great neighborhood bonding time, and a stepladder, some paving stones, a flower planter, and some old windows to use for making cold frames. Next time, I’m going to plan ahead and use all the windows I find to make a greenhouse. 

The clean-up was a great time, and it also made me more mindful of the amount of waste in my life. Throwing away broken cheap items, or nicer items that had been neglected, reaffirmed my desire to buy the nicest things I can, and take good care of them. Some people genuinely can’t afford high-quality items, but those of us who can should focus on purchasing fewer nicer items instead of a bunch of cheap ones.

After the neighborhood spring cleaning I got to relax, but Zach spent the rest of the weekend helping my brother build a retaining wall in my parents’ yard. Digging ditches in clay is no easy task, but they did a great job!

My next project of the week involved my memoir— I took copious notes of the scenes that I have in my newly-butchered version, and wrote notes to myself trying to identify the overarching themes. I think I’m closer to figuring out how to make the story feel more cohesive, and how to frame the story through the lens of dealing with insecurity. We’ll see how it goes.

Last Saturday, I took advantage of the nice weather to work on a garden project I’ve been wanting to do for some time: adding paving stones and creeping plants to the pea gravel around one of our square foot gardens. Originally I wanted to use thyme, but when I observed the site I noticed that a beautiful creeping weed was already going there. Why mess with that? This inspired me, and I transplanted several “weeds” from the backyard into my little rock garden, including a clump of violets, my favorite flower. I was pleased with the results!

At that point I was on a roll, so I divided and transplanted some hostas, sheet-mulched our dormant square foot garden, then tore up a wider circle of turf around our apple trees and filled it in with mulch. (I’m going to transplant some helpful plants into the apple bed, but the sun was too hot by the time I finished to do that.) By this time it was mid-afternoon and I was sweating like a hog, but I felt like I earned my shower that day. I’ve been achy ever since, but it feels good.

Hostas with two planters of thyme

What have you been up to this week?


Sheet mulch step 1: Cardboard

Step 2: Straw

Step 3: Leaves

Step 4: Planter with nasturtium seeds and a trellis so the bed looks somewhat intentional

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