Sunday, May 23, 2010

Making Up for Lost Time

After being rather laid back last weekend, this entire week and weekend were pretty much the polar opposite. That brought to mind again that living a more simple life is not always a more comfortable life. By all means it doesn't involve anything close to laziness!

I had a pretty busy week preparing for a surprise birthday party for my Dad. What a great time it was. We spent 60 years trying to surprise him with very little success over the years. This year we decided to get sneaky for his 60th. You see, his birthday isn't until July 15. My Mom and Sister are May 18 and 19 birthdays. You see where I'm going. We told Dad we were having a surprise party for them. It was a great day and I think he really was surprised. I think even if he did know it he would have played surprised. That's the good kind of fella he is. I got a little emotional as I said the blessing before we ate. He's a special man and pretty much the primary driving force in my desire to "Back 'er Down" He's also a walking, talking encyclopedia for the journey.

So I spent the week busting my hump to get the yard looking nice and taking care of other projects since we would be having guests. (Dad helped with all these too BTW. He helped cut grass for his own party, LOL) The pace and amount of work were neither what one would think of when perusing a more simple life.

Yard beautification is something that I've always enjoyed and taken great pride in. It's a heap of work though. Over the past two weeks I have discovered something that is both the greatest thing ever invented and the spawn of freaking Satan at the same time. This contradiction of horticulture ease is rubber mulch.

I justified it because I loathe pine straw. My house, and flower beds, are in full sun. This only aides the breakdown of straw. Since we're also in a very wide open area, what doesn't breakdown blows away. I've been studying it for a long time and I finally made the decision after getting some assurances on a 15 year guarantee and the fact that I could get the mulch in brown (for a long time you could only get red, blue, green, etc. Wwho wants that?) I crunched the numbers and the financial break even point versus pine straw was three years.

A couple of things I learned that may aide anyone else who is considering this:

1. Double your budget. I estimated based on what the "professionals" told me using a equation translating what would be equal to 75 bales of straw. They were waaaaaaaaaaaay off. My break even point is more like 4 years.

2. Use landscaping fabric. I used it on half of mine. Wish i had used it on all. Not only because it will help with weeds, but you can also spread the mulch thinner without the appearance of whatever dirt is below. I'm all about saving a dollar....especially after this project.

3. Might be a good idea to add some kind of bordering. I didn't and it made for a little mess when I edged for the first time. I think I can get used to it and If I keep a good trench I shoudl be okay. still might go back and add some eventually though.

So there you go. If you decide to dance with Beelzebub and install rubber mulch be prepared. It's expensive and if you do it yourself you're gonna sweat. All that said I am pleased with it. I'm very excited at the prospect of not having to ever touch straw again.

The garden is really booming! That was the other part of my weekend. Dad came over Saturday morning (before his party) and dug about 1/4 of our stand of potatoes. We gave most of those away at the party. I dug another 1/4 today. We had a pretty bad potato bug infestation a few weeks ago that I was fearful would damage the whole crop pretty seriously. They hit a few pretty hard but some liquid Sevin nipped that in the bud. We made a really really good crop. The new addition this year was cow manure nuder the hills. Made quite a difference! Already put away 6 quarts of snap beans and of course the squash and tomatoes are rocking a rolling too. Corn is tossling and the watermellons are going gangbusters as well (manure in the watermellon hills too) Our sugar, well....that's a whole other blog in itself ;) The only thing that is slow at this point is the cucumbers. This is two years in a row that they've been a little puny. The previous year they were great but this time only so-so. Gonna be busy for sure over the next few weeks and when the corn comes in that might take an entire weekend. We were dummies for not staggering that.

As I type this a nice summer thunderstorm is rolling in. (EDIT we just lost power too. New 6 hour laptop battery is the bees knees!) The rain is much needed. Just means that I'll be picking snapbeans tomorrow afternoon instead of Tuesday afternoon :) I'll take it.

And on a little side note......How about that Blue Deuce and Kurt Busch?!  Million Dollar Man!

Ya'll take it easy.



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