Anyway, after a few days of cold, wind, snow, and wondering if maybe spring forgot about us this year, the temperature is finally back up to a balmy 55 degrees! Now that I can actually see my yard, I can continue working on my plans for improving it this summer. These include:
- Building a new raised bed (just a little 4X4) for my cool-weather crops (yes, we grow our cool-weather crops in the middle of the summer here). This will be covered in wire to keep the dogs and chickens out (hopefully...oh, please, please, work this year)
- Finishing off the cover for my 8X4 raised bed, which my husband has been working on for me. The goal for this bed is to attempt some warm-weather crops. We will see how successful it is, but I've heard positive rumors about neighboring gardens actually being able to grow tomatoes! Tomatoes are my goal this year. I also need to add some more compost to that bed.
- Building a new compost bin. The one I have now is based on a plan I found online where you punch holes in a large lidded trash can, then roll it around the yard to mix the compost... yeah, it didn't work. I don't know how the lady in the YouTube video got her trash can lid to stay on, but I need some pointers. Also, my trash can already had some large-ish holes in the bottom, and I think chipmunks have been sneaking in all year and stealing the good stuff. I keep adding and adding, and it never fills up... Anyway, I will probably be hunting around for some abandoned pallets and making one of those three-sided square bins, so that I can have easy access to mix it periodically. But mine will need something to keep the dogs out, and I guess the chipmunks will continue to have unlimited access.
- Moving the baby chicks outside!! Hooray! This probably won't happen for a few more weeks, because they are only 4 weeks old, and a few are kind of runty and don't have all their feathers yet. And it snowed yesterday. Warm box indoors to snowy chicken run? Sounds like a recipe for cold chicken disaster. Oh, how I wish we had a garage. Or any other kind of outbuilding. I have 7 chickens in my laundry room. They are no longer cute balls of fluff. They are huge, stinky, they emit astounding amounts of poo, and they are starting to yearn for adventure (i.e., escaping from their box and running all over the laundry room, pooping). So they are going outside as soon as it seems safe for them.
I know, this probably doesn't seem like a very extensive outdoor to-do list. Someday (maybe...far off in the future) we will have our own place, and my to-do list will include all kinds of exciting things like greenhouse-building, major landscaping projects, planting glorious fruit trees and perennials, having a goat, and making our yard the permacultured oasis I dream of. But we do what we can. And this little list will take a really long time to do anyway, because I'll be spending three quarters of my outdoor time making sure the kids aren't whacking the chickens or riding their scooters off the steep hill in the backyard.
Now if only the weather would stay nice...