Garden 2013

It’s amazing how productive you can be when your son wakes you up at 6:30 a.m. We’d planned to spend the morning getting raised beds built for our backyard, and because we were up so early, they were done by 10 a.m. (and we even had pancakes for breakfast for getting our DIY on, too)! We planned to have two plots in the community garden this summer, but realized that even though the community garden is only four blocks away, we just weren’t making the effort to get over there every day and BAM the weeds have taken over our two plots. So instead of stressing about it all summer, I’ve given my plots up so someone on the waiting list who really wants them can have them, and we put in some raised beds in the backyard instead. Much easier to just dash out the door and tend to the plants in the backyard than have to pack up the Peanut, get toys for him, a blanket, etc. to go to the community garden (any other moms notice how getting ready to go anywhere with kids takes about four times as long?).

We decided to put the raised beds around the shed because the shed walls will continue to give off heat from the day even after the sun goes down, and in a place like Montana, we’ll take that season-extending radiant heat for sure.

Shed beforeI bought eight 2×8-foot untreated cedar boards to build the beds (cedar is somewhat rot resistant). We used frame anchors and galvanized nails to put the boards together; the boards we cut in 4-foot and 2-foot lengths to make 2×4-foot beds.

When you lack a sawhorse, improvise.

When you lack a sawhorse, improvise.

Peanut sat on a blanket in the grass playing with toys, newspaper, and tools (got to start those little DIYers young, you know).

Peanut in grass

He also reminded us to do things properly and use the level!

Peanut with level

So by 10 a.m. we had five raised beds (though a friend just surprised us with a bunch more plants — one of the tomatoes he gave us is already 4 feet tall! — so we may need to built another one or two). We put layers of wet newspaper down on top of the grass to kill it (and because newspaper is biodegradable while a lot of weed fabric is not). We filled them with locally made potting soil (organic mix of compost, vermaculite, and perlite) and got to planting seeds!

Raised beds 2I planted two kinds of basil, spinach, red chard, carrots, bush beans, peas, onion sets, and zucchini. We’ll plant tomatoes and garlic tomorrow, and noodle on building a couple more beds or just buying some planters for the other plants.

Raised beds 1After the raised beds were finished, my husband planted to raspberry canes another friend gave us along the fence, where they can keep our neighbor’s lovely lilac bushes company. We still need to mulch them and put some river rocks around the raspberry cane bed, but we’re looking forward to enjoying ripe red berries soon!

Raspberry canesAll in all, a very productive day. I don’t have anywhere near the space I had to garden last year when we lived out in the country (heavy sigh), but on the other hand, I am much more busy this summer with Peanut and the brewery, so I think in the end it’s actually a blessing. We are going to put river rocks around the raised beds as well for decoration (and for when we move… we’re definitely taking our raised beds with us, and since the grass will be dead beneath them, we want to ring the area in stones so it looks like a nice garden bed for whoever lives in this house next).

I am looking forward to enjoying the garden this summer, and am especially excited to involve the Peanut this year. What are you growing your garden? Is it a raised bed garden like mine, or do you have acres at your fingertips?

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Bentwood cane chair

When I was at my favorite antique/consignment store last weekend picking up chairs for the brewery, there was a deliciously retro rocking chair for sale that was definitely in my price range at $15. It had lovely curvy lines. Cane back and seat. And even though the cane seat is ripped and needs replacing, I knew the chair was something awesome. But I left without it. And kicked myself for that all week, especially after I saw  the same one in this design post. I couldn’t get the picture to embed, but if you want to take a look, it’s the 21st picture in the post (I counted two vertical pictures side-by-side as one photo for my counting purposes).

I thought surely at that price the lovely rocker would be gone in no time flat. So imagine my great joy when I went back this weekend and there was my rocker! I snatched it up at once.

Cane chair 2

Isn’t it awesome? I think it’s pretty spectacular. And for $15? Steal. Most of the chairs like it I found with a quick Google search turned up chairs selling for $70-$150.

WEB 2-2-13 cane chair 3

As you can see the cane seat is in rough shape. I haven’t decided yet if I am going to try to reinforce it from underneath or if I’ll remove the cane seat and build a cushion instead.

WEB 2-2-13 cane chair 4

Initially I thought I would paint it a bright color like red. I think it would make a great accent piece for our living room. But my husband said he thinks it should remain stained wood. If we keep it stained wood I will sand the current stain down and re-stain it to get rid of the dings and scratches that are most visible. I think we’ll wait to do anything with it for a month or two to give it time to percolate in our brains so we make the right decision.

WEB 2-2-13 cane chair 5

And if we can’t save the cane seat, well, the rest of the chair has great bones. I am sure it will look beautiful no matter what we do with it!

P.S. Yep, you got it, my bookshelves are not styled. We have so many books (and I like it that way), there’s no room for styling!