a beautiful day in Portland

Today was clean up the firewood and driveway day.

There was a bunch still under the hickories from when they were thinned in Fall, so Colin helped with 3 loads and earned $4 and I did the rest. Some logs were too long & wide (stove takes 18″ x 9″ maximum!) This meant a trip to the interwebs to learn how to clean and adjust electric chainsaws. Still need to split logs that are too close to 9inch diameter (max for the fire insert) and to shorten some extra long pieces (ran out of chainsaw oil). But the rack is stacked and the two stacks of wood on either side are cleaned up too. Lot’s of debris went to the compost corner and some scilla were weeded.

Pulled the chipper out of the garage and need to overhaul that too. But it needs even more work: fresh oil, repair tires, check sparkplug….

And in other garden news, Colin started making a platform to go in the back corner. Bottom supports were sawed by hand and planking scrounged. Next more saw work and some screws or nails. He had a great time.

Replacement lettuce still going ok. Only one spinach was eaten by slugs. First nasturtium sprout, but no peas yet.

Have the seeds to send to Mutti and Sandy…that’s tomorrow’s job.



“The greatest ownership of all is to glance around and understand.”
–William Stafford

Still working on that.

Things needed:

  • trellis wire
  • gravel
  • diatomaceous earth
  • 2 small dianthus (cheddar Pinks/dianthus gratianopolitanus)
  • maybe 2 more columnar apple trees
  • maybe 2-3 more early bearing blueberries
  • Cascade or Chinook Hops

Things Seriously In Need of Doing

  • overhall chipper
  • prune trees (pears, fig)
  • move bricks for apple trees
  • fuss with watering system
  • move compost in driveway
  • move wood piles
  • clean chicken coup (although there are no chickens)
  • get out yard furniture
  • replace a few boards in deck
  • fix adirondack chair
  • prune grape
  • prune roses
  • pH test blueberries
  • mulch blueberries
  • fire up the flame thrower
  • hook up water barrel
  • trellis peas

Things To Learn About

  • why the pears are so unhappy
  • what would be easy on the eyes and time for front corner
  • when to plant various flower seeds
  • where to get a soil test
  • build a barrel composter

Dig dig dig

Gray but warm. Spring for sure.

Pulled up Scilla in the blueberry bed. Left a bunch of volunteer garlic for cooking up later. They won’t fully mature, but they make great garlic chives. That was a lot of soft squishy green stuff hauled outta there. 

Around the blueberries/geranium/garlic/strawberries/allium/daffodils/red thing I can’t remember planted 2 kinds of poppies of unknown variety that have been kicking around since Seattle. Also some sweet peas on the basketball protection device. Still think we need to get two more blueberry plants and move the day lilies. But no more stuff except water should go in this bed. No really, I mean it.

Yesterday moved garlic and onion sets/volunteers around the fig and to the “no longer an artichoke because it died” bed. Figure they’ll be ok in the occasion shade of those spots.

In between those – in the “usually a tomato bed but not this year” – planted super sugar snaps and sugar sprint peas with top dressing of compost from the old leaf/wood pile. Looks much nicer than the soil that is in the bed. Will plant sunflowers and red clover and some other flower later. Maybe a squash if I can’t help myself. But no tomatoes. Planted a couple of sweet peas around the fig and the raspberries because I had them.

 Yesterday moved some of the ornamental oregano to fill in around the raspberries. That stuff is pretty. Maybe alyssum to fill later?

Also yesterday, dug in some kitchen scraps to the front where the tomatoes will be later. And dug up more scilla, moved some daffodils so white and yellow will be more balanced under the roses (eventually). 

Discovered the slugs have been feasting on lettuce starts so made some beer traps. They seem to like the lettuce more than the beer; no slugs swimming/more lettuce munched. Sorry Candace, I’m not giving you my extra lettuce starts! 


Today’s projects

The first of the Scilla have bloomed! Soon little blue balls will be everywhere. They get thrown everywhere and as a result they grow everywhere. Crocus are mainly done. Overwintered onion & garlic are sending up shoots. Raspberry is leafing out and greens are plentiful. Ornamental Alliums are shooting up and blueberries and strawberries are showing signs of life.

The everblooming Western Bittercress got yanked. Likewise some bluebells (but plenty more are left!) If we still had chickens that cress would not have gone to waste!

Planted lettuce, onion & spinach starts and seed potatoes. A couple of days ago planted small dianthus in the parking strip and weeded there. Also planted cilantro and parsley starts. Decided to just have 2 tomatoes in the front bed and let the bigger tomato bed have a rest this year. That space will be peas & flowers. Enjoyed the thinnings of the corn salad and lettuce for dinner.

Want to: start more parsley, cilantro, lettuce, peas, poppies. (Is it too late for poppies?) Fruit trees all need pruning & cleaning. All beds need weeding. Back yard needs stick clean up. Chipper needs overhaul & wheel repair. I need a beer.

Am wondering what in the heck to do with the front SE corner. That is just a mess of nothing. The lemon tree might be dead…we’ll see. Not much of the cover crop made it, so beds were all bare for the winter.

Spring planting strip

Spring planting strip. Post crocus with new dianthus


potatoes and spinach 3/13/14Will the slugs find the lettuce tonight?old bean bed 3/13/14

Will the slugs find the lettuce tonight?


On Saturday afternoons when all the things are done in the house and there’s no real work to be done, I play Bach and Chopin and turn it up real loudly and get a good bottle of chardonnay and sit out on my deck and look out at the garden. – Maya Angelou

There’s not much reason to look at the garden right now. A nice glass of chardonnay might make the experience palatable, but the yard is big and lumpy and dandelions are whimpering. If they don’t get pulled up soon, they will be roaring for sure.

Grass pokes from the pavers, the early corn salad is abundant (until it bolts in a week or two), plants sit impatiently in planting trays on the front porch and branches litter the paths. I don’t know what the ph is or when I last amended anything. The soaker hoses need testing and tweaking and maybe wholesale rethinking; misplaced thrift has caused several years of under-watering and lackluster blueberry performance.

The goal this year is simplification and cleaning up. No big projects or huge amounts of veggies. Just some greens, some tomatoes, some peas, some herbs and some nice hang out time. So let’s get started, shall we?