Summer vacation officially started this week. I’m relieved to not have to constantly check my email or sit at my virtual office waiting for the rare student to log in or record lectures that I cringe to hear played. I refer to summers as my retirement practice. I should have a significant amount of practice before I reach retirement.
My summer started with a lucky sign. On Monday afternoon, I was walking Domino in the park. Walking is an overstatement- we are ambling and then sitting in a patch of clover while he sniffed the air. I look down and a four-leaf clover was staring back at me. I don’t recall ever finding a four-leaf clover. Maybe there was a childhood moment that’s lost and buried in piles of memories, but nothing I clearly recall. I’m taking this as a sign that this is going to be a lucky summer.
During my first week of vacation it rained and rained and then just when it might stop, a random storm brought another downpour. I lost count of how much rain, I think the weekly total was between four and five inches. I took advantage of all this rain to dig out the second section of my garden. The soil is clay here, which means when it’s dry, it’s a rock. I knew this was my chance to dig. By the end of the week my body was aching (the arch of my right foot protested from stomping on a shovel time and time again) and every piece of clothing that is designated for gardening was caked with mud. However, I did complete the digging.
The middle section of the garden is the fancy part. The circle in the middle will become an herb spiral and the beds behind it have a curve, plus there will be an arbor in the front. I may be cursing myself next week. It took several weeks to get the hang of working with concrete and making a somewhat straight line of pavers. Now I have to figure out how to make curves and circles. I designed this garden in the winter while under cozy blankets with hot tea. I dreamed about how pretty it would be to diverge from only rectangular beds. Now this dream is supposed to become a reality- this should be interesting!
This week I finished reading The $64 Tomato by William Alexander, which got me wondering how much I’ve spent on my garden so far. One promise I made to myself for selling the big house with all the land and pond was that when I moved I could build my dream garden with the money I had leftover from the house sell. I know my new garden isn’t frugal and I may never grow enough vegetables to counterbalance the cost and I’m ok with that. The good news is I haven’t touched the extra house money and with that I have a two-year emergency fund, which is comforting during a time of uncertainty. It also makes me not panic about spending money on a garden right now. I went back and added up all my garden expenses this year and so far I’ve spent $2,942, so I’ll be growing some pricey tomatoes this summer!
Speaking of expenses, one of these was a compost bin. My compost at the last garden was a pile that I kept adding to and when it got too big, I would start another pile. The one thing I never did was actually use any of my compost. It kept compostable items out of the trash, but it never made it’s way back to my garden. I’m hoping that having a composter will encourage me to make and use compost. I also know there’s a family of raccoons that live in the park behind me, so I wanted something closed to try to keep them from having a buffet.
Then there’s the other critter that enjoys raiding an open compost bin…
My plans for week two of summer vacation include building garden beds (hopefully not getting too angry at my garden designing self!) and working on planting flowers and shrubs in the front yard.