Monday, February 21, 2011

(Pre) Spring Clean-up

One of the great things about living in Texas is that we have long growing seasons here.  Some bemoan the lack of "four seasons", but I like that we can spend so much time in the garden and this translates to a productive harvest.  We have had several nice days in a row, so I took advantage of the weather and did quite a lot of clean-up out back.  We have a nice-sized back yard for the 'burbs. 
As you can see from the photo above, the yard is beginning to show patches of green.  Unfortunately, this is mostly weeds, so we have some work to do on getting the lawn into shape.  I prefer to use organic products, which require more work, and Brian prefers the synthetic fertilizer products.  We'll see what happens this year.  The tree to the right of the trampoline (which needs a new net) is a peach tree.  I have three in my yard, and my yield this past summer was excellent.  I had lots of sweet, softball-sized peaches to share with friends and to make peach ice cream with.  I had several friends ask about making peach preserves, so I think I will try my hand at it this year.  I'll have to get my mom to come over to help.  Brian and I really enjoyed the peaches last year, and we look forward to another good crop.  (I looked up the varieties that grow best in our region of North Texas at Texas A & M's horticultural website, prior to planting and ordered three of the most highly rated varieties.).  You can see that we have a pretty long 'to do' list for our yard.  The glider swing needs new cushions and a new canopy, so I will work on that in a few weeks when I am done with night classes.  I disposed of the old canopy yesterday and had to dispose of the cushions, as well.  Our dog, Blizzard, had taken to dragging the batting from inside the cushion out into the yard.  I had a lot of that to pick up yesterday.

I also took inventory of my blackberry vines:

I planted five vines about three years ago, and four survived.  Last fall, I noticed that the vines did not look healthy.  I think that they fell victim to a virus.  They seem to be coming back ok, but I'll be putting out lots of compost this coming weekend to bolster the soil and fertilize the vines.  The kids adore the blackberries, so I've got to do what I can to get them healthy.  I cut them back pretty hard last fall, when I noticed the problem, and cleaned up the area of diseased leaves and canes.

I intended to build a raised vegetable bed last year, but never got around to it. I think that we'll do that in the next couple of weekends.  The bed close to the blackberries had been my vegetable garden, but I planted a peach tree here and the area doesn't get enough sun to grow herbs and vegetables sufficiently.

While I worked, Jesse and Lily enjoyed their sandbox:
Taking pictures of the yard enables me to assess the needs of the landscape.  Frankly, we didn't do a whole lot to the exterior of the house last year, and you really have to stay on top of things before problems get out of hand. 
Looking at this shot, obviously I can see that we need to stain the deck and area around the hot tub.  The lawn needs work, as I've said before.  Brian wants to add a canvas material to the pergola so that we can use it more in rainy/hot weather.  If I had my d'ruthers, I'd take out the wooden deck and put a stone deck in.  I would like to add some type of curtains to the pergola to give it a more substantial, 'outdoor room' type of look.  The budget dictates what we'll do, though.  For now, first things first.  We've got to get a net around that trampoline!

At the end of the day, I sat down and watched the sunset.  The kids played happily outside, and I was content that I had made a good start.  I looked up at the willow tree and noticed that it is beginning to bud.  Soon, spring will be here.  Most likely, we'll have a few more cold days, and perhaps, a freeze.  For now, I'm grateful for the opportunity to spend some time in the beautiful outdoors.

Many blessings,


1 comment:

  1. AH! I want a raised vegetable bed as well. Let me know how that progresses and I may shamelessly steal the ideas! :)