Sunday, May 18, 2008

Peasant Farmer

My ancestors were farmers. Mom's family were peasant farmers from Germany, via Russia to Canada. They were settlers here on the prairie a century ago. Dad's family also has ties to farming and setting in Saskatchewan. I think its in the blood.

Yesterday, day one of the May long weekend, and the temprature is 29C. Amazing. 29C is a brilliant August day. The May long weekend is the traditional start to summer; the agreed to date at which it is safe to start gardening, and the first big camping weekend of the summer. 29C is lazy, suntanning, sipping frostys kind of weather.

So, despite the call of the local patio for a few cold ones, we stick to the plan to work in the yard. That's two weekends in a row for yardwork. Maybe we will get somewhere this year! This weekends task is to get a large vegetable garden cleaned and planted. The east side of the yardhas been very good to perennials, and to a few veggies that we have tried planting, but not so good for our raspberries. I believe the raspberries were planted far too close to the large aspens and got no nutrients. So we picked a patch further south and further west than the raspberries, marked it off with the former 'container'(sections of chain link fence), and prepped the soil. Our rototiller would not start, so we rented one from Home Depot. Not quite as powerful and not self propelled, but Daryl got the job done for me. I moved several raspberry canes into the garden, but hedged our bets by leaving several outside as well. The raspberries haven't really grown well and have yet to produce fruit. This spring, many more than usual seem to have sent out new suckers, so I am hopeful.

We planted 4 daylilies and 2 iris along the gravel path leading to the garden, and made a plan for the space between the garage and vegetable plot: the new garage will have a south door, and space for the lawn mower, bicycles and other seasonal things at that end. Therefore, we need to keep an access path for the lawn mower to reach the rest of the yard. We will plant another fruit tree (or trees) south of the exisitng apple. Clean out all of the scrub and dead wood on the east side. Replace the dead trees along the east with lilacs and conifers. The space behind the garage, up to the first apple, will be utility space but hopefully not a general junk yard. I think that we should have a small cement pad poured for the dog, dog house and dog run that starts behind the garage and allows him access to the front. He won't be content unless he can guard the front.

We mapped out the shape of the new patio and Daryl's wall. We've agreed to rebuilding the existing patio so that everything is level and there isn't a slope or steps between the portions. It will be a nice, large area and I am looking forward to the finished project.I can see finally hosting the garden parties I had hoped for when we moved here.

I finished planting my annuals but have alot of bulbs to get in yet. We bought two bags of lilies, a bag of iris (120 little bulbs) and a bag of glads at costco. I wasn't prepared for the quantities in each bag, and finding enough free space has been challenging.

I have red potatoes, red onion, white onion, beets, carrots, zucchini, peas, and multiple bags of lettuce seeds to get into the ground.It is currently raining, a nice gentle rain that will be great ofr what I planted yesterday, but would be better if I had all of my seeds in. The forecast is or it to stop by noon, so I will wait.

So my peasant roots really show when I can be happy as the proverbial pig when I spend a day working hard, and getting dirty. I really have a sense of accomplishment and a day well spent. I am a peasant farmer at heart.

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