Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Also, Tree

Even though I was really beat near the end of the day after building the compost bins, I had one more chore to work on: the neighbor's tree.

The tree has long been a pain in our... gardening. Its roots found the compost bins and the raised garden and the tree itself blocks much of the morning sun.

I had trimmed as much of it as I could (safely) reach, but there was still a lot I couldn't get to. Plus the neighbors have a creeping vine that has climbed up into the tree and is wreaking havoc on the fence as well.

Then, after 4 years of serious drought, one of the larger branches shading our garden partially broke. It kind of cracked and sagged down until it was resting on the fence.

I spent a while out there with the loppers cutting off as much of the branch as I could. The area's better now, but there's still quite a bit of tree in the way.

The shed will go where we used to have our raised beds, so the shade won't be as much of an issue, as long as the roof fits under there and doesn't get damaged.

Monday, February 22, 2016

New Compost Bins

This weekend was an interesting study in motivation. Or, to be more specific, my motivation vs my laziness. 

I really do want this shed/shop, and I think it will be very good for me. But sometimes I get up in the morning and just don't feel like doing the stuff I should do. As a teenage/early 20's guy, I let this kind of thinking kind of run my life. Luckily I (mostly) grew out of it and became a (mostly) responsible adult.

But Saturday AM I just was not motivated to work in the yard. 

Alas, the old compost bins/area would be in the way of a new shed.

I rationalized my laziness by saying that it was still a bit muddy outside from Friday's drizzle. Also, I had a lot of other things to do and blah blah blah. I told my wife I wanted to move the compost next, and to do that I would need to build a new set of compost bins. Our old ones are 15 years old, and consist of some black plastic-y stuff hidden behind an ancient and decaying Home Depot picket fence. 

You can see how bad it is in the picture below.

So I had a plan to build the new bins. It was all just a matter of doing the work. Well, on Saturday, my laziness won! I did go outside to measure all of our old scrap lumber though. I used that as my "get something done" act of the day. Laziness...

But Saturday evening I felt terrible about wasting the day. I sketched up some plans for what the new bins would look like, then redrew them and reworked them until I only needed tp buy a few (3) boards and the wire. 

I got up in the morning, took a quick walk, and then drove off to the store for materials. Then I lugged out my saw and the rest of my standard "building rough structures in/for the yard" tools and got to work. 

I built three 3' x 3' frames and then held them all together with 4 6'3" stringers. I had some old redwood 2x4s so I used them for the parts that would be touching the ground. The rest were cheap 2x3s that cost <$2 each. The wire was $45... Ouch. At least we have some left over for use on other various chicken-related projects.

My hands are a mess today, lots of sore muscles and cuts/scrapes. Working with that wire is tough, even with gloves.

Next, we'll move the old/in progress compost to the new bins, much out the chicken run, and disassemble/scrap the old compost setup. 

After that, rerouting plumbing (see that water line standing up there in the middle of the picture?) and then building the gravel pad.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Next Few Steps

As you can tell from this photo, I have a few things to take care of before we can get a shed in there.

I'll have to build a gravel pad in front of that (very) old cement. Then I'll have to move our compost piles, herb tower, and blueberry.

The compost pile is in a terrible spot, feeding the roots of the tree on the other side of the fence. I need to move to to someplace where tree roots won't get to it. Likely on top of a small, unused cement pad off to the left. The "herb tower" is silly, but it was fun to make and we can find a place to put it, likely up against the shed. 

The blueberry is in a large plastic planter at the moment, and it does just fine over there in that corner. Unfortunately, while it won't be in the way of the shed, it will be in its shadow. So we'll likely move it to the front of the shed once it's in place.

Digging out that section of lawn won't be too hard, but the lawn is actually higher than the concrete pad so I'll have to remove a lot of dirt if I want a gravel pad there.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Moving the Raised Beds

Step two in the plan to get a workshop/shed installed means moving the raised beds/bench/boxes to the other side of the yard.

The problem is, they're all filled with wet dirt. That, and lots of tree roots from the neighbor's tree and the recently removed pomegranate tree had found their way into the boxes from below.

But the move went okay. I took my time, did it over a Friday/Saturday/Sunday span, with a few hours each day so I didn't kill myself with all the shoveling.

Moving the boxes to the far end of the yard meant I could re-assemble some of the pieces I didn't like and while it's not as level as we'd like, it's actually in a good place in the yard. Eventually we'll replace most of that lawn with paths, boxes, benches, and maybe some dwarf citrus. I will not miss having to water and mow the lawn!

The next step in the process will be rerouting/capping/re-purposing the existing sprinkler lines/irrigation. That will mean lots of digging and "figuring" stuff out.

Then I'll dig out some room for a gravel pad and we're in business!

Looks like I should go order the shed soon!