Operation TOTBY

I can’t even begin to tell you what this gorgeous weather we’re having is doing for my soul. My dream job as a kid was a meteorologist, and sometimes I still think I would make a great weather woman because of how much I LOVE discussing the weather. It’s a perfect 70 degrees outside and our backyard is a breezy, sunny dreamland. I spent the morning outside with the chickens, also first accompanied by a delicious cup of coffee and el Biblio, followed by the more exciting company of my friend Elsbeth (+ adorable Madeline, of course) and her sis-in-law. I do not take for granted my privileged life as a grad student on mornings like these. What a blessing to be free to be outside when the weather is so favorable!

In light of the gorgeous weather and the arrival of summer right around the corner, the latest project we’ve taken on is Operation Trick Out The Back Yard. It started with the canopy of lights Jeremy put up over our patio (here’s a snapshot at dusk from the other night):

And then came the chickens, of course, which you know about. We’re planning to build them a proper run this weekend, so that they can have free reign of backyard space, without ruining all of our soon-to-be-planted new plants. The run will essentially be the entire strip at the back of the yard, along the garage between the compost and the sidewalk (which this picture is taken from):

The bulk of operation TOTBY involves the things we’ll be planting. We’re pretty pumped about finally having our very own real backyard for the purpose of having a go at vegetable gardening on a bigger scale (at least compared to our attempt at container gardening on the ledge of our Los Angeles pad). One of Jeremy’s best Christmas gifts this year was a collection of heirloom seeds, which will be fun to try, but before getting our veggie planning and planting on, we’re focusing on the big picture of the yard. Wednesday evening for Jeremy’s birthday, we took a trip to the most incredibl nursery I’ve ever stepped foot in: GETHSEMANE GARDEN CENTER.

This place is amazing. Every gardeners dream, I think. We had a wonderful time perusing the vines and veggies, collecting inspiration and ideas for our back yard. We decided to start out conservative, and picked up these two Trumpet Creeper vines to spiff up our fence:

So the actual planting is about to start happening! But we’ve got lots to work on. Here’s our current yard, as is:

You can see the raised, rectangular beds Jeremy built (filled with mostly unopened bags of soil). Those will be home to all of our vegetables, and we’re hoping to plant vines of green beans that will grow up the fence to the right of those beds. To the right of the big tree, Jeremy made a little pseudo-container for annuals and herbs. Along that side of the fence, we’ll plant the trumpet creeper vines, which will climb up the fence and fill with yellow and salmony trumpet flowers. The chicken coop, which you can see at the back left of the picture, will get moved pretty much where the compost bin currently lies (in the back right corner of the yard), to make a little more room for chicken wandering. Behind the run along the garage, we’ll have some more vines (we’re thinking Clematis vines) growing up those trellises currently leaning against it. Our last major endeavor (as of yet) will be a stone path, which will run between the two raised beds, past the chicken run, and right to the sidewalk that leads to the garage door.

Can’t wait to show you our progress as things start to (hopefully) shape up. I have to say, I didn’t think I would really get into yard work (I think I associated it with being really hot and tired and forced to pull weeds), but I’m beginning to see why gardening is so therapeutic for some people. I had the most delightful evening staining a trellis with the chickens wandering around the other night. Looking forward to getting back to it after a day of studying. Cheers!

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One comment

  1. Jean Moore · May 11, 2012

    Now you get why I love to be in the yard and pick in the garden!

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