Victory.

Victory.

It’s done – all the hardscapes are in, the leftover material is moved, and I’m one tired dude.

Shannon and I have our anniversary coming up – and I did this as her anniversary present. That’s part of the reason why I’ve been busting it to get it in before then, the final piece of that anniversary present is the wad of cash to go down and buy all the primary plants. I ended up finishing a little early, but I’m pretty pleased with it – and so thankful that I have a wife who would rather get something like this than Jewelry…

So Close…

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… but I ran out of compost.

Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

We got the top compost layer added to the center beds, topped up the gravel in the paths another inch or two to come partway up the rocks that line the pathways, to hopefully hold them in place a bit, then added about 4-6 inches of compost to the beds raised beds, 3-4 inches on the outsides. We made a large rock garden under the Little Free Library out front… We are close.

…very, very close.

In fact – once it’s all in – the final step is handing Shannon a wad of cash and sending her the nursery.

… should I be scared?

Color

I marvel at what a little color can do.

Primaries, secondaries, accents – whether they’re bold and bright or faded and reserved –  it’s all about the contrast. So when we began to near completion of the front yard project hardscape, we just had to have an accent. I also wanted it to be functional, “read: I needed a place to plant my cheeks at the end of a long day”.

Enter the new Adirondack Chairs. Picked up two of the three they had left at Home Depot the other night – got them assembled and put into place – but it was just kind of blah.

It needed something more.

It needed color. So I got busy today and made a beautiful accent piece for the front garden.

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I’m very happy with it, and I’m excited to see how they’ll accent and contrast the remainder of what we’re putting together as we put in the flora over the next few months.

… but for now, back at it – there’s still hours in the day.

Cheers!

No More Rock….

Nope, I’m not switching over to only country music, or R&B, I just don’t want to mess with rock anymore. Rocks in the post holes, Rocks when we dug the paths, rocks when we replaced the paths, rocks when we lined the paths… NO MORE ROCKS!!

Let me back up. If you remember – the wife and I have embarked on the quintessential Urban homesteading project – removing the front lawn to grow food. We started it back in March/April… you can see the beginning here:

https://littlehouseon17thstreet.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/what-is-that-glowing-orb-in-the-sky-why-isnt-it-raining/

As with all of our projects – we do it by the littles – as we have money, as we have time… as we have energy…

…So you can understand why it’s taken so long. There is quite the draw on these 3 resources in my life lately.

However – the primary pathways are in. The river rock to divide pathway from bark dusted garden paths is mostly in – I’ll need another load before it’s all done. The garden boxes in the center are built… some dirt is in place in the boxes as I level out the outer beds… believe it or not, it’s beginning to look like a garden and less like Chernobyl.

The lawn gets its edge stones, just needs a bit more work and it's ready for plants.

The lawn gets its edge stones, just needs a bit more work and it’s ready for plants.

What is that Glowing Orb in the Sky? Why isn’t it raining?

Is it even possible? 

Could Spring truly be coming to Oregon? 

There have been no updates since the 21st of January. Literally nothing has happened on the homesteading front since then. The weather just hasn’t been helpful – can’t get enough dry days in a row to get projects done,  We’ve been plugging away little by little on the chicken coop – but still are not done – I don’t want to leak too many photos of what we’ve done because I want to do one big Chickens post in the near future when it’s all done.

But!! ALAS!!! The sun has been shining here on the Light Homestead for the past two days. The ground is finally a consistency where we can actually dig within it without sinking in – never to be seen again. It’s been so bright and warm in fact that I’ve gotten a sunburn over the past two days.

What have I found to do with myself? Well… to tell you that story – I have to take you back a few months. 

Before shot courtesy Google Street View.

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Our front yard has always been an afterthought, and a joke amongst the other front yards in the neighborhood. It’s always been more weeds and moss than lawn, and the first year we moved into our house – (8 years ago – hard to believe it’s been that long.) my wife and I (before we understood the issues behind chemicals and lawn fertilizers) decided to hit our front yard with ‘Moss Out’. We noticed it almost immediately started working. It’s very effective. 3 days later, we had a patch of grass here. Bare earth all around it, another patch of grass over there…

It was then we learned that our front yard was 99.9% Moss.

We reseeded, we watered, we mowed, we did all the things people were SUPPOSED to do to their front lawn to keep up with the Jones’. Every Sunday, (Okay.. not EVERY Sunday) begrudgingly, I’d head outside to fire up the gas powered mower (only after being guilted into it by the neighbors mowing their lawns) and trim the verge.

A couple of years ago – as my wife and I started descending into the rabbit hole of urban homesteading, we started to look at that patch of brown grass, rife with multiple grass types, full of moss and weeds, and started to see something different. 

My wife approached me and said, I want to tear out our front lawn. I dismissed her as crazy. No one does that honey. Look around – we’ll stick out like a sore thumb, not to mention – it will look terrible from the front of the house. However, as I read more and more, continued to sneak peeks at Mother Earth News, and Natural Home, read “The Edible Front Yard” by Ivette Soler, and “The Urban Homestead” by Kelly Coyne & Erik Knudson  while my wife wasn’t looking – it began to sound more and more like a good idea, and one that I could get behind.

Last fall, we tore out the front lawn – to be more accurate, we did everything wrong in the process, but ended up with mostly bare dirt. 

DISCLAIMER: If you’re thinking of tearing out your front yard, DO NOT DO WHAT WE DID.

We tilled up the front yard in its entirety – mixing all those little clumps of sod into our soil, disrupting years of soil microorgranisms, chewing up the little communities of veggie munchers… etc.. etc.. etc.. as I continued to read books on the subject – I realized how much I had done wrong in the process. 

Needless to say, the damage was done, As the super heavy rains of winter hit – we couldn’t get to it. The moss returned, the grass began to come back. I tilled it again during a stretch of dry weather at the end of December – before I could continue to work on it, it began to rain again – so much that the ground became nearly unworkable.

This week has represented the first week when the stars aligned, (off work, no rain, warm weather, soil is mostly dry..) so I began the rest of the process.

Step 1: Complete – The space is defined. We put in a cedar split rail fence around the area we plan to garden, leaving a area next to the driveway for entering and exiting vehicles. We left a space on the front of the fence between the sidewalk and the fence for some native plants (Oregon Grape, etc..) to separate the public traffic from our vegetables.Image

Step 2: Be Neighborly: We also put in an arbor on the northern property line to prevent the feel of walling off the neighbors. (Our mail carrier likes to walk through there as well.) and began cutting the path for the permanent walkway to reach the front door.

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Step 3: Make it walkable: I need to get the path gravelled and established as everything else in the front lawn will play off of that path and the fences.  

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I have so much more to do today – which will begin as soon as I hit publish on this and finish my coffee, but I’m really pleased with how it has turned out so far – can’t wait to start putting in the beds and getting it ready for plants this spring/summer.

New Street View…

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Hope your spring has been wonderful so far – and hopefully this is the beginning of beautiful weather for a long enough stretch for everyone to get their gardens in!