Tuesday, May 12, 2009

78 strawberries later...

Saturday I achieved my weekend goal - all of the strawberries were in the ground! It was a cold day to be working in wet soil, but perfect for the heavy work of shoveling compost and removing sod.

But to back track a bit:

Friday after work I picked up a load of compost (one cubic yard to be exact) in our truck and headed home.

The plan - cover our garden terraces with this nice product courtesy of the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD).

The problem - our hill. Now, the truck has four wheel drive, but I am not the person to attempt getting it up our hill and backed into our sloping yard to the garden. Figured I was going to be hauling 5 gallon buckets of compost up hill, but my neighbor came to the rescue. He got the truck into the yard (with no damage to truck or the sod we want). This made the moving of compost slightly easier. Instead of buckets up the hill it was buckets down the hill ;-> After a bit I lost count of how many buckets it took to a)cover a garden bed and b) empty the truck. But I can tell you it takes 4 shovelfuls of compost to fill a bucket and I can carry two full 5 gallon buckets at a time and I was at it for an hour or two. And my doctor thinks I need to incorporate upper body work into my exercise regime!

By the time I had all but an 1/8 of the compost distributed (and realized another run to the compost site was in my future) my daughter and her boyfriend (and his friend) arrived. I had the guys help finish unloading the truck for me. And then left the truck to better drivers to move (yes, we live on that steep of a slope - we reminisced about the day we moved in and hauled our upright piano into the yard via pickup. The kids thought it was going to flip out of the truck as they backed into the yard and up to the side door).

Saturday I headed out for breakfast with friends and then back to the compost site - this time to pick up a load for the woman who is starting our plants for us (co-worker, master gardener and friend). Got to her place where I could park next to the garden and helped unload the compost - yeah, no bucket hauling! From there it was to home and back to sod removal. Those strawberries needed to get in to the ground this weekend. Did I mention it was drizzly and cold?!? The first cart load of sod I tried to take down the hill and dump almost took me with it. Checked with the neighbor after that so if he heard a scream he would come to the rescue. By mid-afternoon my lower back was done in. I had already put out a call for hired help and he came through. Then Mr. Wildknits arrived and I was freed from sod removal! Got the strawberries out of the refrigerator, found my yardstick and trowel and set to work.

The strawberry bed (as well as assorted flowers and shrubs):

(Note: photos taken Sunday when the weather had improved)

Sorry you can't see the strawberry plants yet - they are quite tiny. By midsummer next year (2010) we should be rich in fruit from these plants. A long wait, but so worth it! The guys then went on to expand our garden in the front, adding another 32 square feet of bed above our existing terrace. And moving us one step closer to leveling a piece of our yard (where all the sod is going).

As I was photographing the new bed I noticed an interesting visitor to my daffodils:
Can you spot her/him?

Sunday was also the NMTC Spirit Mountain Run. A 15K on a mix of paved and gravel roads. My plan, go out easy and stay that way. The reality - took 5 minutes off last years time ;-> I guess training and consistency do pay off. I was surprised to have run so well as I was really feeling the efforts of the past two days of heavy lifting. Not much to say about the race, despite lots of people being there you are often alone on the course. It is very windy as the road wraps around from Spirit Mountain to Magney-Snively to Bardon's Peak and on out to the Beck's Road. For those who have run the Half Voyageur or Voyageur parts of the course will be familiar. I was thinking of it as having some rolling hills but nothing to gnarly.... HAH! I had forgotten about the hills on the far end, before/after the turnaround at the railroad tracks. Wow, are there some long hills back there! My big accomplishment this year was running them all - a first. I ran with a friend who would tell me to envision a rope between the two of us as I struggled up the hills (I am not a strong hill climber despite living in Duluth). On the other hand, he kept telling me to "throttle it back" on the downhills and flats as this was not supposed to be a race ;->

It was a beautiful day for a run: sunny, not too warm, wind that always managed to be in your face. By the end of the race I was feeling a bit tired and the last hill to the finish seemed to go on forever (what is it with trail run groups and their uphill finishes?). By now I was being paced in by my friend Leslie (responsible for much of my speediness this year) and she encouraged me to actually do a mini-cool down afterwards. A bit of stretching, a bit of socializing and it was time to head home to get to work on my next project: display of spring wildflowers found along the Superior Hiking Trail to bring up to this weekends races in Lutsen.

Off to Walgreens I went to have prints made, then rooting around to find a display board left over from the girls projects. Worked on the display off and on for the evening, noting that I needed to head out and get a picture of bloodroot in bloom as the only photo I had was of just the leaf.

Monday I loaded the camera into my pack and headed to a local trail after work for a walk and a known patch of bloodroot. And what a patch! It stretches into the woods for quite a ways. In addition to the bloodroot

I found:

carolina spring beauty

marsh marigold

wood anemone

and coltsfoot

Off to go work on the display some more (now that I have good bloodroot photos). See some of you Friday and Saturday up in Lutsen!


Jim in Big lake said...

Busy weekend for you, I got tired just reading about it! Good luck this weekend !

wildknits said...

I am still tired - or at least my back is! Thanks!

SteveQ said...

Maybe unopened marsh marigold was the "tiny yellow popcorn" I saw. Is the foundation of your house piled stone? Must be very old if it is.

Chris said...

Wow, I can't believe you did so well on your run after all that hauling!

wildknits said...

Feeling a bit less tired overall (helped that I got an adjustment today and some work on my IT band and neck).

I think the consistent training is paying off - what a concept ;->

Steve, the wall in the picture is between my neighbors and my yard. What his house sits upon. His place well over a 100 yrs old, mine almost there.