“INCOMING,” yelled Ole the other day as I walked across the driveway. I quickly looked up, took several very rapid steps to the side and avoided a goose poop bomblet. We’re directly in the flight path of the local Canadian honkers as they take off from the sugar beet settling ponds located directly west of us several miles. And these honkers are so well fed it takes them a couple of miles to gain any altitude, so when they fly over our house they’re usually flying pretty low. One evening, as they were returning from their daily foraging, Ole came running in the house yelling something about getting a tennis racket to take down a goose – they were flying that low.
Anyway, to catch you up on the Adventures of Ole and Lena – the last time I wrote (a century or two ago) we were still living like the Bumpuses, still wading through a confusion of “stuff,” not being able to find anything, knowing we had it, and having to go out and buy it again. No wonder we accumulate so much “stuff.” Anyway, things are gradually getting sorted out and hopefully by the end of next week we can make some enormous progress. You see, we’ve got a bunch of Finlanders in our backyard from Sebeka, MN, and they’re building Ole his life long dream – a metal storage building that is 40′ x 80′ with 14′ sidewalls.
The poor guys have been battling hurricane force winds since they started and have had to add extra bracing to get things to stand and stay where they belong. Their goal was to set the rafters today. They managed to get one set and decided it was too dangerous with the wind blowing like it was. So they called it quits about noon and intend to be back late this afternoon or early evening if the wind goes down.
Living at our old property was like living in Shangrila – we had such a thick forest of huge evergreen trees that we just never felt the wind. Our new property had no windbreak whatsoever. So when the winds would blow from the north and the west, which they’ve done in excess this spring, it seemed like we were going to blow off the face of the Earth. The key word here is “HAD no windbreak.” We have one now – although it will have to grow just a bit to catch up to what we had previously.
We hired a tree mover and moved four 14-20 footers into the west side of the property after we had “deleted” some ash trees. Then we purchased eight 7-footers and placed on the north edge in front of some scrappy caraganas that are going to eventually come out.
Then Ole decided he wanted the orchard he had started a number of years ago on our old property so two large plum trees and three apple trees made the trek in the tree mover up to Moorhead. Along with them came a hybrid lilac that I loved and a mushroom-shaped blue spruce that I had lovingly cared for since it was just a baby.
I’ve been breaking my neck on the landscaping. I don’t think the folks that lived here before knew anything about spraying weeds/dandelions or fertilizing the grass. The lawn is in horrible shape and I think it will take more than one summer to revive it. I’ve sprayed weeds twice, but those puppies are really tough this year. I think it’s because we haven’t had any rain so they’re not absorbing the chemicals very well and are slow to die. But I’m workin’ on it every day.
Then there’s the flowerbeds. This one is on the west side of the property and I call it my ROCK garden – I’ll tell you why in a minute. When we looked at the property the lady of the house had two half wooden barrels situated in the flowerbed filled with geraniums, along with a couple of volunteer trees. The bed was covered with landscape fabric which was then covered with wood chips. I had intended to move a lot of my flowers from our old property and thought this would be a good place to put some. So one day I decided to overhaul this flowerbed. After all, it was only about 6′ x 20′ – not big compared to the ones I’d had at our old house. I pulled up all the fabric, scraped up all the wood chips and noted that in one corner there were a couple of rather large rocks, not quite as big as bowling balls. No big deal, I’d just dig them out, till up the flowerbed, add a few amendments and plant away. NOT! It didn’t take long and I realized I would have to have Ole’s help to accomplish this task. Two-thirds of the bed had been filled with rocks from golf ball size to bowling ball size, and various other pieces of concrete and trash, then covered over with black dirt, fabric and woodchips. It took Ole and me most of a day to dig out all the debris and haul away two large wheelbarrows full. Hopefully by midsummer things will have filled in and it will look good for all the sweat we put into it.
Then there’s this poor little corner pictured below. The previous owner had left behind chunks of old carpet, a pile of old shingles, pieces of rebar and other junk along with the remains of weeds that were shoulder high. The well head is under the cream can so it was an impossible location to get into with the lawnmower. So I decided rather than fight all of that I would dig it up and put some bushes and other things in it. There will have to be some grass seeded in front of it, but one thing at a time. Right now I have to keep these things growing along with watering all the newly planted trees.
Below is the flowerbed that’s in front of the house. This one wasn’t a problem, thankfully, so I just dug it up and put my stuff in it. The one thing I saved is the clematis that’s in the center of the picture. It’s huge and it’s not even June yet. I’m sure it’s very old and loves the location as it faces south and gets all the reflected heat from all the concrete in front of the flowerbed.
Below is the front porch. I’ve still got work to do in the flowerbed that’s off to the left side of the picture.
At the corner of the house I planted a weeping pussy willow with a periwinkle groundcover under it. Hopefully that will all fill in too.
There are two small semi-circle flowerbeds in front of the porch that I’ve put some sun loving plants in. Note the tennis ball that Daisy has lovingly planted among my flowers. Anybody that knows Daisy knows that she cares for her tennis balls as though they were her puppies.
Here’s one of my “finds” this spring. I vividly remember my mother using a set up like this when she would do her laundry every Monday morning. I was lucky and picked these up for a song when after checking on Ebay they were selling for upwards of $150.
Well, Folks, that will clue you in as to why I haven’t written much lately. Ole and I have hardly had time to breathe let alone go to the bathroom!! Things are going to get better!!