Still reeling


In Newfoundland, the May 24th weekend is the stuff of legends.It is the first long weekend of the summer (a term used loosely here) and people haul out the RVs, dig out their tents, stock up on booze, break out the barbeques and some (cough) “put in” their gardens.

Victoria Day or “the two-four”, as it’s sometimes called around here is also intimately connected to our culture of weather. On the 24th weekend, it will rain. It may snow. There will probably be sleet or hail. Some folks will experience nothing but RDF (that’s rain, drizzle and fog, for those of you in dry places). Once every five years or so, there might even be sun.

As you can imagine, the activities in paragraph one are modified (or should be) by the weather in paragraph two. It is not unusual for folks to go camping on a fine, sunny Friday and open the tent to a foot of snow on a Saturday morning. This either results in everyone packing up or requires more beer. Legendary tales of the two-four have started with far less.

John and I have backpacked on the 24th and have since learned that we don’t enjoy the misery enough to create the legend. So on the 24th weekend, we usually attack the garden in some measure. This year we went a little over the top. Here’s what happened:

I washed the Jacob Fleece (this was not strictly a project worthy of a May 24th weekend, but it had to be done):

I sanded and varnished the handles of all the garden tools, sharpened the shovels and spades and oiled the metal of all tools. Saturday it rained, you see.

On Saturday we also got wood, having spotted a “15% off pressure-treated wood sale” that coincided with a scratch and save at the cash sale, resulting in a savings of 25% off the wood needed for this project:

John adds some touches to the deck

A friend (Jon Seary) gave us a well-built deck platform that was ill-suited to his house. It happened to be the exact size that we needed for ours. Last summer, he slid it onto his trailer, drove it over here and dropped it off. We’ve been meaning to build the foundation for it and get it in place since August. This weekend the stars aligned, we got the wood, Steve down the street came by and offered moral support and the foundation was built. Sunday afternoon brother-in-law Bob, brother Thomas, Dad, John and I lifted a deck that must weigh every bit of 1500 pounds (at least 30 of which are 3″ ring-nails) into place. Man that sucker was heavy! John attached metal widgets to keep it all in place on Sunday morning and the worst of it was done! Now we have a step to build and I’m going to attack it with the pressure washer to remove the old paint before staining it, but that can wait until it gets a bit warmer and I do all the woodwork.

From the deck

While he was attaching the deck to its foundation, I built a strawberry bed:

Incipient strawberry bed

I think I had the harder job. That bed is 14 x 16 feet, six inches deep (strawberries don’t need more depth) and had to be filled with dirt. it’s still not quite done, as I can only haul so much before needing a break. “What dirt?” you ask. Funny you should mention it…..

Monday morning, this arrived:

Topsoil and mulch

I’ve been hauling the soil down to the strawberry bed in batches with my trusty wagon cart (best wheelbarrow every!!) and am mixing it with well-rotted manure and some compost. The bed has landscape cloth underneath to keep weeds from coming up through and will have landscape cloth on top for the same purpose. the weeds almost killed me last year and it ain’t happening again.

I also got this flower garden completely dug up, plants divided and weeds routed out. Added mulch from my new mountain o’mulch and have hopes that the weeds are at bay for another few years. If I keep on top of them!

Reworked front bed

Why am I completely digging up and reworking the flower beds? Because they all look like this:

Reworked front bed
It is no longer possible to tell where the weeds start and the plants begin.

My goal is to create nice flower beds that are pleasant to be in and relatively low maintenance, hence the mulch and weed barrier cloth in select places.

The weather seems to have turned for the warmer now at night, with temps being consistently above 5 Celsius, so I feel fairly safe in planting the greenhouse this week. Will post pics when I have them.

I need a weekend to recover from my weekend!


One Comment Add yours

  1. Karyn Ashley-Smith says:

    1st — HOLY COW! That sounds like a weeks worth of work, not one day!
    Good luck with the strawberries :o) I battle for mine every year…was supposed to move them last fall….perhaps after this season.

    2nd — Thank you! Cruised in from your old site, going to poke around a bit.

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