Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Am NOT Getting Old

I look out my back sliding glass door often enough. I think a lot about what will go in there, but didn't have a real plan on Monday morning. I knew there would be vegetables of some type there, but how would the beds go? I'd drawn up different plans for that little spot. I debated back and forth. On Sunday the winner seemed to be put in raised cedar beds going the short way across this section. I would have three beds of about 4'x8'9".

I liked this plan. It made the organized part of my brain very happy. The other beds will be 4'x16' so things could be pretty modular. All the beds would be the same width so the hoops could all be interchangeable. But there were nagging doubts. First was that I couldn't anchor the beds well here. If you look at the above photo, the steps going down go to my sliding glass door. The area in question is the part where the bobcat is in the photo and the dirt in front of it. There is another path not in this photo that behind the bobcat. The area in question is 8'10"x15'9". And mostly surrounded by paths. The paths are anchored all along the side with plastic edging that is pounded into the ground. I didn't want to fool with the plastic edging as I wanted the paths to last. But I could cut a small portion out and pound in stakes if I had to.

The other nagging doubt was that I wanted something pretty. I'd be seeing this section every single day. It was my view. I already was going to have the compost piles along the fence in the back. Right down the path leading from my door - straight down - would be the first compost pile and more would go off to the right. Surely I could jazz it up a bit.

So Sunday I went to Home Depot to look around. Did you know they don't even sell 2x8s in cedar? In fact no one does around here. Friends Lumber could order it for me at $7 a linear foot. But for $1 a linear foot I could get 2x6s and they have those in stock. They are decking material. I looked at the pavers and rock wall bricks they had. Nothing seemed very nice. I came home discouraged.

Monday I decided if I couldn't get my beds built right now at least I could get the compost area back together as the landscapers had moved it all around. I told them to keep the pavers from my front walk which had been redone in brick to match the rest of the walkways at the house. They had piled them on my compost pallets, so the first chore was moving them over. I had almost gotten them all moved and I decided I would see how they looked in that section of bed.

I had previously drawn up a plan using bricks/solid concrete blocks, but didn't see the nice 4" thick ones at Home Depot. I figured I had these. They were imperfect because they were strangely sized. Some were 2 3/8"x 6 5/15"x 9 7/16", some 2 3/8" x 6 5/16"x 6 5/16", and some real brick sizes of around 2 1/4" x 4"x 8 ". A motley assortment. I originally didn't want to do it with thinner pavers as they are only about 2" thick. They lean over time. If I used these they would have to be dug up and reset occasionally. I could use the brick piled up two high, but the bricks would slide over time to the outside. I'd have to keep replacing them.

But my "I want something pretty" side of the brain wouldn't stop. I just kept laying out the pavers. Until it was all done. It took me quite a while. The organized side of my brain complained bitterly that I wasn't making rectangles and it would be hard to put on a row cover. I didn't listen. In the end I was short some bricks. I wondered how many. The answer was 42. Of course it was. It meant I must have done the right thing.

At least it is pretty enough. I'll have to get those 42 more bricks next time I have the car (ie when my husband takes a business trip). Then I can fill in the beds and I'll finally have a place finished to plant my garlic this fall. Maybe I'll pick up some bamboo screening too for the compost piles. then I'll have a very pretty view to look at. Of course I'll still need the fence. Maybe my next call will be poking the fence company to give me an estimated date.

Oh and yes the title. Monday night I was so tired. More so than I would usually be after working all afternoon. Surely its not because I'm getting older. It is just because I'm not used to working all day anymore. I went to bed figuring I'd be a bit sore in the morning. I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up to find I wasn't sore much at all. Then I got out of bed. Aaarrrggghh. Those butt muscles complained mightily. I had issues all day when I had to get up out of the sitting position. And when you start to get older you go to the bathroom more and have to get up and down more often. No wait. That can't be it. Surely I'm NOT getting old.


  1. 42, eh. Of course. It is a sign, you were meant to use brick. The design looks good, too!

  2. Unfortunately we probably are aging... the younger folks won't get the signifance of the 42! Enjoying your blog...Cheryl

  3. That's going to look great.

    By coincidence, I ran across this photo of driveable grass:

  4. I should add that with my neighbors', which had actual grass, over time the paver part was completely obscured.

  5. Ahhh, you've turned into a potager gardener! Lovely. I like pretty as much as I like productive.

    You think your body is feeling its age? Give it thirty years. I have a ton of stuff to accomplish in the next ten days, and I reached for the newspaper this morning and got a kink in my neck that just will not end.

  6. Ali, It was a sign. It just had to be. Maybe that is why something in me overruled all the objections when I was doing it.

    Cheryl, I was shocked the first two commenters knew what I was talking about.

    Karen Ann, We didn't go with the concrete one because it shows too much even after years. The plastic ones fill in better since the plastic is not very wide. I'm hoping not to see the grid.

    Granny, You aren't 30 years older than me. I'm pretty sure of that. I look a heck of a lot younger than I am and I could have sworn you told us you were in your 60s. Or maybe it is my age and I'm starting to forget things (which my kids would laugh at since I've always forgotten things even when I was younger).

  7. The layout looks wonderful! I think that you will really enjoy it.

    Wait until you are 52 and have a 2 year old grandson to tend to!!

  8. Yes, Daphne, you are getting forgetful already. I'm 71-3/4 years old :-( I was still in my 60s when I began blogging, but just barely.

  9. Oh I know the tuchus ache. I dug the sweet potatoes this weekend, couldn't have been on my knees bent over digging for more than 20 minutes and I'm still paying.

    Your back yard is going to be so beautiful when it's all filled in; it's going to be just amazing. How wonderful to be able to design something you know is going to be perfect for you.

  10. That is going to be a really enchanting little garden plot! Sometimes you just have to go with what is available and what your heart tells you is right. As to the age thing... oh boy can I relate! :D

  11. Working with pavers will make anyone feel old. Love what you have done with the potager. We love ours. I'm sure you will too.

    I tell my self every day that old is a state of mind. My body (now just shy of 50) tells me I'm kidding my self...

  12. What's the significance of 42?

    Any, I think it looks really good! Sometimes I wish that I had been a bit more creative with my garden beds.

    Also, I feel your pain. Though I think my recent back issues have had to do more with sitting at a desk all day than actual physical labor.

  13. What kind of row covers and hoops do you use? Do you have an online source that you like? I really need to be able to keep the cabbage white butterflies away. Sorry that this question is off-topic :)

  14. I've just been catching up with your new house works! You have done so much work already and, even though there's still a lot to do, it's looking good and will look fantastic when it's all finished and growing.

  15. Robin, lol I think I'll be older when I have a grandchild, but I hope not too much older.

    Annie's Granny, well you still don't have anywhere near 30 years on me. You are 23 years older than me. I'm sure you can do the math.

    Ribbit, In the spring I often do squats before I know I'll have to do work outside. It keeps the pain away. But I haven't been doing much this summer at all. Usually I bend down often enough well tending the garden, but the rock wall garden is raised. I reach way too often, but rarely have to squash.

    kitsapFG, I agree. I went with my heart, but I'll pay for it down the road when I have to fix them up constantly. Or just let them be. That is what I did in the last garden when my pavers leaned too much.

    Alan, I don't feel old most of the time. But when I try to do things like this I do. When I was younger I would recover in a day. Now it takes three.

    Thomas, 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything. It is from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I never had back issues from doing this thank goodness. I try to keep my core pretty strong which keeps the back pain away.

    Jackie, I don't know what I'm going to do now. But in the past I used 9 gauge wire as my hoops. They aren't as strong as pvc, but if you cross two of them in the middle (to make an X) and tie at the cross point, they can take a surprising amount of weight. I just buy the wire from the hardware store and cut to size. I've been using the typical remay row covers (Agribon). I really like the woven ones I could get decades ago, but not any more in the US it seems. It was sturdier and didn't rip as much, plus I could see through it better. I've seen it in photo from the UK, but not here. I'll probably just buy a lot more Agribon. I have to replace mine as it is very old and is starting to shred.

    Jan, thanks

  16. Thanks so much for the advice on row covers - you're awesome!

  17. Daphne, the pavers look fantastic! Love the design!

    Heck NO... you're not getting older... just better and wiser... and more experienced... and... younger... YES, younger... hey... it's all relative!