Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Time off at last, and putting it to some good use

During the first half of this year, I didn't take many vacation days. Scattered days off here and there, but not much. Then I got a new job. The unused vacation turned into money, which was much needed. But with the new job I lost the ability to take time off for the first three months. That was tough, especially while trying to relocate, unpack, settle in, learn our way around, and generally adjust to a whole new life.

But now, at long last, I have some actual leisure time. These short days are a bit demotivating, but I still feel like I'm finally getting a chance to whittle away at various things. And with a milder climate, I'm appreciating the ability to make sporadic progress outside.

Because deer are so abundant on our property, I'm trying a different garden strategy. I don't have any pictures yet, but I'll try to get some at some point.

We put in a five-foot chain link fence in our back yard. That wouldn't stop a hungry deer by any means, but it's something. So, I dragged a cattle panel (yes I have an unnatural love for cattle panels) to one corner of the chain link fence. Using the fence as a brace, I bent the 16-foot panel so that it formed an arch about 6 feet tall, and 8 feet wide. Then I pinned the side away from the fence it into the ground. I arched another panel next to the first one. Then another, and another, essentially creating a welded steel tunnel. It's now about 36 feet long if I counted correctly.

I then went back with some fencing wire and tied the arches to each other, since many of the panels had their own ideas about what constitutes an arch. Tying them together made the tunnel somewhat uniform.

On top of the abundant unraked leaves, I'm putting a layer of packing paper from our moving boxes. Then the boxes themselves get deconstructed to make up the next layer. On top of that will go another layer of leaves. (I'm still in the stage where I see the leaves as a huge blessing, after spending years with barely any leaves.)

Anyway, leaving a narrow path down the center of the tunnel, that should give me at least a couple hundred deer-free square feet to work with.

Plus, I can cover it with plastic for an instant greenhouse, or cover it with shade cloth at the height of summer, or grow vining crops up it, like a trellis. Hmm, I could grow vining crops in the sections where I want summer shade and skip the shade cloth. And if I want to get a little creative, I can probably turn it into a winter chicken run to get some free weeding, tilling, and fertilizing.

Sometimes I think planning and plotting and scheming is half the fun of gardening...


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At 12/21/2010 10:48 PM, Blogger Katie said...

Glad you're finally getting to enjoy some time off in your new locale. I absolutely agree that planning is 9/10ths of the fun of gardening!

At 12/22/2010 10:01 AM, Blogger Madcap said...

I need a picture of your tunnel!


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