Wednesday, July 02, 2008

First You Panic, Then You Plan

The Banshees and I measured the back yard today. I must say, it's a bit bigger than I thought it would be. Basically it's 100 feet across the back and approximately 91' 8" to the nearer of the front gates (that's the one on the right, near Northish). Not all dimensions on the work-in-progress are completely accurate, but the duck runs are pretty close and the sheds are almost dead-on. If we razed everything that's about 9167 square feet to work with.

Whew. And I've been wondering why I'm exhausted just contemplating working out there.

The plan, such as it is, is to clear out the brush that you can't see from this pleasant diagram, then cut all of the trees down except for the Joshua, while simultaneously bending poles and raising Duck Row. That should take care of the rest of this summer. Thank goodness for DBS and his blessed buddy who gave him the swamp cooler, without which none of this would even be thinkable, much less doable. Alas, DBS is no longer on his vacation -- we miss him -- but he left behind a working table for my greenhouse jig and a goodly portion of the Wilderness cowed into submission.

Eventually we're going to repurpose the old trash trailer into something useful for the ducks, although I'm not quite sure what that will be yet. The temporary duck pen will come down and in its place will be Duck Row Two, which is going to be for the spoiled rotten pet ducks (you know who you are!) and possibly some fruit trees. The sort-of-south and kind-of-northish fence lines are going to be fruit central; Duck Row is going to be crawling with the grape vines that DBS wants to move from off the back of the patio. Grape leaves are edible and so are grapes, so these should be some very fat and happy ducks! Duck Row Two is going to house part of the fruit orchard; we're going with at least two different types each of apple, peach, and cherry trees.

Talk about revisiting some old, unfamiliar places -- when we went out to measure, I realized that the view from the house is cut off by those [random expletives] Chinese Elms; there is a lot of space between those trees and the back fence. Probably enough to grow food for the entire family, just as long as I'm not aiming for complete self-suffiency.

Which is really the reason for going back there and measuring everything; I don't know what I have and where it's at, what has to come out and what can be used elsewhere, and what I can put back in once all the dust is settled. I need to grow lots of greenery and bug-attracting plants for the Quackers and I need to grow things that are going to be edible for the non-feathered family members. Now I have a rough map and I can start red-xing the elms and penciling in tentative garden plans. It would help immensely if I could remember exactly where North and South are from my front door, but I've been confusing South and East for the last 12 years and I don't think the trouble is going away anytime soon. I'm going to have to plant a great hulking North-pointing arrow out there to keep me from losing my brain.

What I haven't done is purchased one lean little seed. I've wanted to. I've been to Johnny's Selected Seeds and Bountiful Gardens and Seed Savers Exchange more than a dozen times today. Apiece. And I have a lovely little list all set out of all of the plants that I want to grow. Someday. But most of what I want right now won't be plantable for several more months and I've been staring at the screen thinking, why get them now? I can't plant them now. I couldn't plant them even if the back yard was in perfect gardening order; it just isn't the right time yet. So I'll spend my time plodding righteously into the back yard and attacking the wild mustard yet again, wrapped in my security blanket of will-power and unabashed state of denial.

I just keep seeing visions of Baby Pam or Rouge vif D'Etampes sending tendrils all over the back yard. I'm a sucker for pumpkins.


rjohnston said...

My Google alert for "Johnny's Selected Seeds" caught this blog post. I enjoyed it, so read through some of your Autodidactic muses, which I enjoyed no end -- who is it who writes this? Great stuff! Indeed. I don't suppose that you have been trying to be likable, but I don't think you can avoid that.
Okay. Now I need to return to gainful employment.

Thanks for sharing,
Rob Johnston
Johnny's Selected Seeds

Bobbisox said...

Wow Steph, neat that you got Robs attention. I have ordered from Johnnys before and all the folks on the OG sing the praises for the seeds and service.

Stephanie said...

Thanks, Rob, for both the kind comments and the website that feeds my gardening addiction :).

Bobbi, I'm still pulling my jaw off of the floor :O. Johnny's Selected Seeds is one of my go-to websites; I've never been able to afford my entire wishlist, but I have managed to get a few things now and again. Once I sell that kidney I might actually be able to plant everything that I've been dreaming of!

Or not. You never can tell which organs you're going to miss in your old age ;).

However, I do think I'm going to give in to the siren call of Cucurbita pepo. If I pop the seeds into the ground the moment they get here, I might just get a crop in under the wire.