Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Workin' hard around the yard

We had the most beautiful weather this weekend (our weekend is Tues-Wed). This is why we live in the NW. It was sunny, and in the 50s on Tuesday, 40s today. Perfect weather for getting a bunch of hard work done before the ground either freezes up solid again, or melts completely into a mud puddle.

So I started out with a project that has been nagging at me for a couple years. Several years ago I put in a raised bed garden in an unused part of the yard, and it didn't really work out there, so it sort of got abandoned, it was hard to mow around, and because it was made of concrete blocks with the holes in them, it was a hazard for the dogs who have been playing around it (especially just recently), and it needed to be removed. But who wants to remove 30-some concrete blocks that are sunk into the dirt and seem pretty permanent? Nobody. But it has to be done.

So I got the mower and the lawn cart, and took a load of wood chips over to the garden area (no point driving over there without taking something along for the ride). I shoveled a bunch of fresh chips onto the path where it was getting bare and muddy. It's going to take several more loads.

Fresh wood chips on the left, ground that needs some more on the right.

I took the cart over to the drainfield area and started loading up concrete blocks. Each one had to be wrestled out of the ground, wiggling them back and forth like a loose tooth. I loaded 12 into the cart at a time and took them over to the area outside my garden next to the compost piles and..

Used them to build a new compost pile area. I really needed a new compost area to put the alpaca poo I've been scooping up every morning.

So that was all yesterday. Dave helped a bit but by the end of the day I was beat. Those concrete blocks are terribly heavy! But I'm really happy with the compost area.

Today I headed right out this morning and got to work on the next thing on my list - the semi-annual cleaning of the chicken coop. (this is the after picture).


The deep bed method had backfired on me as it piled up faster than I was keeping up with it. For the last two weeks I've been trying to find time to get out there and clean it up. I cleared out THREE heaping wheelbarrow loads - and I think it's an 8 cubic foot wheelbarrow! That's a lot of crap!


I spread the chicken poo thinly over the beds in the garden and put the rest in the new compost pile. Then I took all the straw I removed from the alpaca shelter (which was old straw, sheep poo and pig poo from last year) and scattered that over the chicken poo. I'm hoping all this will break down by planting time (May around here) and make for happy plants this summer.

Back in the chicken coop I got the brooder all cleaned out, because the feed store is getting chicks this weekend, and I want to get some. This way they should be old enough to start laying by winter. In this picture I've put straw in the brooder, but I'm going to change that to chips, because I think the straw will be too hard for the chicks to walk on.


Some of my girls moved right back into their clean home. They were a bit put out after being banished from the coop all day while it was being cleaned. Next on the to-do list - put up a piece of plywood to hide the insulation from the chickens. I don't know how they  get to it to tear it up, but they do.


In the coop the dogs help clean up any poo I missed - yuk!

A beautiful end to a very productive two days. I shoveled until I had nothing left in me! It's great to finally get all those chores done. Now I need a weekend to recover from my weekend!

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