Spring has Sprung at The Deadly Nightshade!


The birds are singing, the spring bulbs are blooming, and we are getting serious about this garden!

Last week I co-opted the husband and youngest child. “Give me one hour a day,” I asked. It tended to run a little longer than that, but thanks to four more helping hands, a lot has gotten done on the ole homestead.

Here are the highlights:


The Rest of Those Bricks

It took a couple of weeks, but we managed to get the rest of the bricks laid. I did a count as well and estimated that it will take me around 2,000 bricks to finish enclosing the garden and running pathways between the eight rows.


Our backs are going to be broken.


I’ve just set these directly on the earth. Within a few go-rounds of walking on them, they naturally sink into the earth and stop being wobbly.

One nice thing about having the bricks enclose the garden (mostly enclose it, that is) is that we can create more orderly rows now. A set of three bricks, two pointed one way and the third going across is a “set.” Two sets wide equals a walkway and four sets wide (or deep, depending on how you look at it) is a row. We marked the rows with PVC pipe and twine.


Tidying Up the Coop

I taught a Keeping Backyard Chickens class last Saturday through Communiversity. I was rather shocked, only three of the ten people signed up showed up. Folks who have paid tend to make sure they take the class since there aren’t any last-minute refunds.

Also a guy showed up at 5 p.m. (the class ran from 1-3) with a listing showing that the class was also listed from 5-7 p.m. in the Communiversity flyer. WHAT?! I had just returned from shopping at Savers and was hungry (low blood sugar = extremely grumpy Christine). I have no idea what happened, or if the poor guy was even registered in the first place, but I did my best, after shoving some food down my throat, to repeat the class I had taught earlier.

Wasp Season and Special Screams

Fact: My eldest is absolutely terrified of wasps.

Fact: Wasps can easily get into houses through old windows.

Fact: I have about 30 old windows that said wasps can get into.

Last year, as the wasps began looking for food, or shelter, or whatever the heck they were looking for when they came into my house. I learned just how terrified my daughter was of the creatures.

By July or so, after trying to combat them with regular flyswatters, I got out the big guns and bought an electric flyswatter, aptly titled The Executioner.

It is great, and still functional, but we have a big house. It becomes this panicked run, once I hear my daughter’s special wasp scream (this ululating freak out sound of fear) to not only find the electrified thing (it might upstairs, or it might be downstairs) and get back in time to kill a moving flying menace.

So I bought another, this one was only $9.99, half the price! I will get it tomorrow and then I’ll have one for the upstairs and one for the main level. Wasps, best find another house because you are going to die!


The Big Garden

Our big garden is quickly getting “dug” into shape. We marked off the walkways and planting rows (all eight rows) with twine and PVC pipe. This keeps us digging in the right spot as we remove weeds and turn over the dirt before planting seeds.

So far we have five rows planted. Starting at the south end of the garden, nearest the chicken coop, we have:

  • Row 1: Mixed lettuce and Vulcan chard
  • Row 2: Beets and bush beans
  • Row 3: Cucumbers and carrots
  • Row 4: Okra and acorn squash
  • Row 5: not planted yet, but it will be tomatoes
  • Row 6: Kale and elephant garlic

We still have two more rows to plant, well three, if you count the row that gets the tomato plants. I’ll just purchase starters, or ask folks very nicely if they have extras they don’t need. Our budget for the lawn/garden this year is pretty darn tight.

Today I finished re-planting the elephant garlic, spreading the kale seed and watering everything thoroughly after we put a dusting of dirt/leaves/shredded paper out of the coop on top of the kale seeds.


One of the things I love about living here is a lawn absolutely filled with wild violets. When we are clearing a row, I have been gently digging them up and relocating them to this corner where the dog fence and chicken coop connect.


More Bricks on the Horizon

I continue to look for more bricks. It will take just under 2,000 to finish enclosing the main garden and laying the pathways between the eight rows, but then I want to finish the path in the front over to the herb garden, and begin on some meandering paths through the yard.

I found this ad on Craig’s List the other day and sent the following email:

We could come pick these up this afternoon if they are still available.

My husband and I run an urban farm in Historic Northeast and I’m currently working on a path around our main garden (25×50) and pathways in between the rows. I love old bricks, they go well with our old house, an 1899 Victorian!

I would be happy to pick up any bricks you might have…I only need to collect about 6,000 more to complete all of our pathway projects!

I wasn’t kidding. I’m pretty sure I need at least 6,000. For some reason, when I utter that number, my husband turns pale and just walks away shaking his head. Why does he do that? I am mystified.

She responded, writing:

Hi Christine,

I have someone else who wants the bricks, if they are a “no-show,” I will let you know. I will also keep your information for next time. My backyard is completely bricked over, I am having a new patio laid (early to mid May) and will use some of the old bricks for edging. There will be surplus bricks in mixed condition. It would be great to have someone who could take everything and I would be thrilled if they were re-used.


A backyard entirely bricked over? I am so there! I dashed off an email back thanking her for replying and offering up a small gift of farm fresh eggs in exchange for wonderful bricks. And now I wait, dying quietly inside, jonesing for those bricks.


Enjoy the lovely spring weather…and the flowers…and so much more!

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