Second Bed(s)

After a lot of digging, the second bed is ready to plant.

These two were earlier in the week after I took off another foot or so.
Finally ready to add some dirt after smoothing out the very back a little in preparation for another stone wall eventually.

I made two smaller beds on each side. I’ll eventually put down gravel or some large paving stones for that chair and a small table—when I find one. I think we’re going to plant sunflowers in those two beds. And then one more stone wall and a smaller third bed above. But that will have to wait a bit.

We also planted the okra, corn, some green beans, and a poblano pepper today. We also finished a new bed down in front of the house and planted some elephant ears and clematis. We’ve got one more bed to do further in the woods where we’re going to put some astilbe.

As you can see, I’ve got to finish putting stone around the border. That all came from digging out the hill for the terraced beds.

We have Rebekah for one more weekend before she heads to camp on Monday.

Next weekend we have our church retreat. I’m finished with Latin and high school math tutoring. I still have a writing student through the end of June and a middle school math student through the summer. But I’ll be using the extra time to work on the class I’m offering in the fall. I’ve also been asked to think about teaching a high school astronomy class as an elective. Not sure about that one.

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Blooms, First Plantings, and a Rare Sighting

A little more progress on the second bed. Most of the dirt has been moved, but I need to shave off another foot or so. I thought I had marked the back side correctly, but I had forgotten that I ended up making the 1st bed a little deeper than originally planned. So when it dries up just a little, it will be back to work.

We’ve enjoyed the irises while they’ve been blooming and the trillium are blooming as well in the woods between our house and the Goins and down in the woods in front of our house.

Jenna’s boss at the flower farm sent her home with some anemones that have graced our table over the last few days.

And we have started planting the summer garden: peppers, tomatoes, and squash. We’ll do okra, corn, and green bean seeds soon.

I don’t know if this wire will keep the neighbor’s puppy out of the peppers or not. While he’s cute, he’s becoming quite a pest.
This bed also has some potatoes and garlic.

We saw a bird I’d never seen before: a scarlet tanager. I didn’t have my big lens at the time, so the enlargement is not as clear as I’d like.

Finally, Rebekah is home for a few days before heading off to camp for the summer. She’s officially a junior now. Two more years.

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Back and Forth

Garrett, Rebekah’s boyfriend, who attends Toccoa Falls College, is in a play this weekend. He was Laurie in a production of Little Women. Rebekah was between last day of class and finals, so Jenna drove to Chattanooga yesterday to get her. We drove down to Toccoa Falls last night and back, and then Dana and I took Rebekah back this morning before her first final at 2:00. And while we were in the big city, we stopped at Aldi and McCay’s used books. I was looking for a copy of Sense and Sensibility, which I might teach next year in a Literature/History/Philosophy class I’m offering.

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123 Days

Together for the first time since December 26.

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Second Bed and a New Helper

I’ve started working on moving the dirt to make the second bed. It’s a lot more work than the first bed: more dirt, more rocks, more roots. But thankfully, I have some help. Jenna’s been home almost a week. At some point she’ll do a blog post or two of her experiences in England. But in the mean time, she’s jumped right in helping with all the dirt work. These pictures are progress over the last week.

In the tutoring department, I finished up the last session with my Latin student today. I have two more weeks with my high school math student. I go through the middle of June with a writing student, and will continue through the summer with a middle school math student. I’ve had some interest from a few parents in a literature/history/philosophy class I want to offer next year, and I’ve been asked to teach an astronomy elective to some high school kids. I’m not sure about the astronomy class other than it sounds fun. But I don’t know if I want to put in the time to prepare for that.

It looks like it will just be me and Dana going on our annual pilgrimage to Texas as Jenna has already gotten a job. I suppose she can fill you in on that when she posts about England. Lauren and Jacob are coming to Texas later. They will be touring this summer in various places from the Southeast to Texas to Michigan to out west, some shows with friends, a music festival in Illinois, and some on their own. And Rebekah will be at camp. She is finished with classes and just has finals left.

And in some miscommunication, Dana will not be babysitting until the end of May. As it turns out last Sunday was her last night to babysit for the church where she’s worked for the last several years. Now that babysitting for the homeschool group and the church job have ended, she’s going to add another day at the Thrift Store.

I’ve been meeting with a couple of guys who might possibly be new elders at our church. We’ve had some good conversations, and I look forward to seeing the results. We’re also having a church retreat the weekend before we head to Texas. I am looking forward to that as well as we get to spend a weekend together as a church family.

The irises are blooming, the weather is warm, and I’ve bought my first tomato plant (and placed our order for the rest of the things we will plant). Maybe, just maybe, winter is finally over.

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The first bed is completed and planted (at least partly). Early last week I finished digging out and putting in some good soil. And today I planted several things.Yesterday we also planted a couple of hellebores and an azalea (surrounded by a cage as deer like them) down in front of the house as well as a camellia bush (which I don’t think I took a picture of). In the terraced bed, we planted a couple of colors of creeping phlox and lithodora up against the stone and some dianthus behind those. I think we’re going to plant zinnias at the back of the first bed.

Rebekah and her roommate are home for Easter break. We went to the Community Good Friday service yesterday at noon. We are having a sunrise service tomorrow followed by a breakfast at church. Rebekah also has Monday off, so she doesn’t have to go back Sunday which is nice. But she’ll miss her sister by two days as Jenna flies home on Wednesday.

It’s this time of year that I’m always tempted to plant vegetables. The seven day forecast shows no freezing temperatures, but I don’t think it’s ever failed that we haven’t had a freeze at the very end of April or beginning of May. So we wait. But I do have the veggie list from the lady who grows what we plant. So we’re already picking out what we want. It won’t be long.

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Spring is slow to assert itself around here. The daffodils, of course, fool nobody. And the violets and vinca don’t really either. But the dogwoods, surely that means that spring has arrived? They are blooming—and it snowed on Saturday off and on all day, so I guess not. And we had a fire in the stove all weekend. But the landscape was noticeably greener on the way to church this morning—despite the white on the mountains. And it was in the upper 60s today, which meant I could finally get back outside and work on the terraces. Weather and taxes have prevented me from spending any free time on it until today. And progress was made. The second terrace is not completely finished, but it’s close. There’s some rearranging of stone that needs to be done still.

Now the real fun begins: filling in the empty space with some better soil and planting things! We’re going to put creeping phlox along the edge of the first terrace and the jury is still out on the rest of the bed.

But as you can see, there’s A LOT of dirt to move to get the second bed ready. But one thing at a time.

On Friday, despite the frigid temperatures, we went to a nursery someone told us about that had hellebores. So we bought two and an azalea to put down below the house somewhere among the oaks.

In the fall, Jenna and I planted some tulips in the bed below the driveway. I liked them so much, I now want to fill the whole bed with them.

And speaking of Jenna, she’ll be home in 10 days. She is currently on the Isle of Wight after spending time in Scotland and Bath. Oxford is their last stop before London and then home. We will be glad to have her back. Rebekah will be home for Easter this weekend and is bringing her roommate with her. Lauren and Jacob are in Washington for the week seeing his best friend and his family. Within about 48 hours of each other, Lauren and Jenna both experienced their first ferry ride.

The non-profit Garden 58 finally got our 501c3 status from the IRS. So now there’s more paperwork to fill out: solicitation licenses for North Carolina (I finished that one this week) and Georgia (haven’t started on that one yet). And I’ve talked to three bookkeepers and one accountant, as we are very quickly going to need someone to take that over. Lauren is doing a great job directing the after school tutoring program in Murphy.

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27 and Old Friends

We celebrated our 27th anniversary in Asheville this weekend.

What made it even more special was getting to spend the weekend with two dear friends from our Temple days. We’ve known John and Colleen for all of our married lives, and Jenna and Gabe (their oldest) were born a month a part.

We enjoyed lots of good food and conversation and a day at the Biltmore.

Seafood. Supposedly the 2nd best crab cakes you can find.
An eclectic variety of tacos.
The line goes around the corner. Yes, they serve biscuits—and other yummy breakfast items.
A cool, rainy day, but lots of fun tooling around the largest house in America.

I’ve always enjoyed fun signs. These two caught my eye over the last week. The first was in Biscuit Head. The second was at a wedding venue where we attended a wedding last weekend (more on that below).

Last weekend we went over to Chattanooga for a wedding of a girl from our church. It was cold, and it snowed. But it was lots of fun. Rebekah was her maid of honor.

A bunch of kids from the youth group.

An update on the terrace and other garden happenings: We’ve covered the cover crop—hopefully not too late to be ready to plant in early May. It takes awhile for all that green stuff to die. And this afternoon after we got back, I played around with how wide I thought I wanted the first bed, walkway, and second terrace. This may not be the final set up, but it’s probably close.

Finally, the neighbor’s cat—who likes to escape from the neighbor’s puppy, is enjoying the sun on our screened in porch.

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Small World

Rebekah went to Toccoa Falls yesterday to visit Garrett and see where he went to school as she had not been down there yet. He arranged for her to stay with a friend of his. As they were talking, they discovered that her dad and I went to seminary together. Neither remembered the other, but when Rebekah got home, we figured out that we didn’t just go to seminary together, we were in a small group together, and he helped us move from Clarksville to Garland at the start of my third year. Rebekah’s actually spent the night at their house. Now join with me in singing, “It’s a small world after all … .”

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Terrace: Weekend #1

I started in on the terrace Saturday afternoon. The stakes are where the stone terraces are going to go eventually.

I put the first row about a stone’s width deep. With each successive level, I filled dirt against the back side.

By late afternoon, I had several rows complete and some of the hill dug out. After about the third row, I stopped back filling as I want some better soil for the beds.

This afternoon, I finished removing dirt up to the where the second terrace will go. I’ve run into some rock, but it’s nothing a pick ax won’t take care of. The level is about right, but I need to smooth it out a little. I also added another row of stones. As you can see there are also quite a few roots from the oak tree we cut down a couple of years ago.

The next step is to refill this area with some better soil. What I dug out was rocky and pretty poor quality. The feed store in town has a huge pile of compost that they sell by the front end loader. I need to borrow a pick-up and get some this week. It’s supposed to rain most of the week, so that might pose some problems. But once that’s done and spread, I’ll start laying the second terrace. I’m not sure I’ll cut into the next section of hill yet. One bed at a time. I’m also going to put steps on each end of the terrace. Eventually, I think I want to run the terrace along the hill toward the cars. But that will require more stone.

I may be at a stopping point for a couple of weeks. We’ll be in Chattanooga this coming weekend. We’ll see the Bailey’s Friday night as they will be in town to see Emily. And Saturday, a girl who grew up in our church is getting married. The following weekend, Dana and I are meeting some dear friends from Texas in Asheville for our anniversary. I suppose if there are some evenings when it’s not raining, I might get a little more accomplished.

Finally, Rebekah is going back to Lake Forest Ranch this summer. She has been hired on as work staff, so she will be absent on our annual Texas pilgrimage in May.

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