Excavations in Progress
Last week I went into town to the hardware store, looking for something to use for a compost bin. I didn’t like anything I saw for that purpose, but while I was there, I bought some stakes and a bit of chicken wire fencing, plus a new trowel since the (cheap plastic) handle broke on the old one.
I then proceeded to the next step, which was to measure and orient and mark out the garden bed. I know you’re going to laugh, but the bed is 6′ x 4′. Yes, I know that’s really small, especially considering what a big deal I’m making about it, what with a blog and all. But remember the “before” picture: absolutely nothing grows in this spot, when left to itself, and I expect it’s going to take some effort to get anything out of it at all. Honestly, if I get 25 green beans and 10 tomatoes out of this effort, I’m going to call it a big success.
Included in this plan is another bed, the same size, plus 2′ walkways all around both, making the fenced-in area 10′ x 14′. I don’t really expect the chicken wire fencing 3′ high to be enough, but it’s mostly (at first) to help me focus on my work area.
So let’s have some pictures! First, the bed that’s being worked:
Remember the bit about caliche? Well, yes, there is caliche (limestone), and here you see a chunk of it that will have to come out.
Smaller rocks are also making an appearance. These are fist-sized.
They’re perfect for another long-term project I’ve got going, which is the paths. I have 7 acres here, and I believe that if you have land, you should visit it pretty often. But I’m from Back East, and all you hear in the Back East is that Arizona is covered in rattlesnakes. Since I moved here (in 2001), I read somewhere that there are about 6 or 7 rattlesnakes per acre, so there are probably about 40 of them nearby. I do occasionally see them on the patio; two different species even! But to be honest, I only see one about once a year, and they’re not crawling all over everywhere like I’d been told.
However, they are out there, and I’d rather not surprise one (or be surprised by one) while out visiting my yard. Out in the scrub, there are a lot of dead branches, small cacti, bunch grass & broom that generally obscure the ground. So, since I want to walk out around the yard, it seemed best to make it so that I could do that, and always be able to see where my feet are. And that’s what the paths are for. This one was the first, and goes northeast from the house.
You can see why I like finding those rocks to use as borders.
This is the new path, and goes south. At the top of this path, there is a little clearing that makes a nice outdoor meditation space. Last September, I found a rattlesnake right in the middle of this path, and we had a nice chat.