What's going on...

It has been a busy month... I had planned to write sooner, but when I had a free moment, I usually wound up taking a nap. (You know how it is {smile}!) Here's what is going on here at this time...

The house foundation is finished being bricked down, and it looks nice. Elise has begun planting beans and vegetables at the base of the fence that the Robert's put in, and most of them survived the Easter frost... which was *really* cold... According to the People-Sentinel, almost 90% of the peach crop has been destroyed, and other vegetables were affected as well. We should expect to see higher prices for the food on our plate later on this year. This is turning out to be a good year to have planted a garden!

Speaking of my garden, I was told that it is pretty ambitious (It is approximately 30' X 170'), although I didn't realize how big was enough. Ella Mae told me that I can rotate my crops in the area that I have plowed already, so I don't have to dig up the whole backyard ... hooray!

The main garden area has been plowed (twice, to kill off the native grasses), and we have planted bell peppers (all colors), onions, tomatoes, watermelons, cucumber (killed during the frost after the Easter weekend frost),
potatoes, okra (to make pickled okra for my mother), and eggplant (the children thought it would be nice.. we'll see if they like it... I have a list of people to give the eggplant to if they don't), a little bit of corn, cantaloupe and we threw some black eyed peas along the back end of the garden... wouldn't you know it, they sprouted and are growing! We are only using less than one-third of it, so we'll be planting some amaranth soon to provide some cover and color.

When Byron came down for Jean's birthday, he put in raised beds for me along the north end of the house for my salad/herb garden. There's even space for my maypops!

Byron put in the next three raised beds (with my help) in *one day*!! He would have done the last one the same day, but I pleaded exhaustion (those blocks are heavy!!), so we went to Sam's Club in Augusta to get a few things; you
know what happened on the ride there... everything stiffened up!!

Ouch!! I felt like a _very_ old lady with painful arthritis! I wanted to do a happy dance about my new raised beds, but it hurt too much, so I had to settle for effusively thanking Byron for his help. In addition, it felt like someone had run over my pelvis with a truck...
it hurt *that* badly the next day. I couldn't sit comfortably, couldn't stand comfortably... I couldn't even cry (and I tried)!

This is where Byron's personal experience with chiropractic treatment came in handy.... he massaged my back (I have no idea what he did), and the acute pain went away!! I'm still a little sore, the last time that I
gardened, my age was in single digits... but that is to be expected.

The raised beds have herbs along their borders... now I have someplace to plant those wild plants that I find :-)!! Wal-Mart ran out of the dirt that I wanted, so I am waiting for the next shipment, so that I can mix it with the peat moss that we bought to keep moisture in the
beds (although the children have been very diligent about watering everything, it is good to have a "plan b"). So, in the next few days, my raised beds will be totally finished. I sprinkled lettuce seeds in the first one (that I did by myself), so we'll see how they do in the shade here. The other beds will have various types of lettuces and
spinach. The one bed that gets full sun all day, will have salad tomatoes (if all the tomatoes we planted bear fruit, we'll be slightly red around the gills from eating them!!)

In the main garden, we've run water hoses to the plot, and attached sprinklers and soaker hoses... It looks like next year, we'll have to bury all that, so we don't have to roll up everything to cut the grass. And, depending on how well this first set of raised beds do, we'll put them in the main garden also.

Along the south end of the house, I've planted a few hawthorne bushes to cover the foundation (I need to get several more to finish), and I bought another rose for what is turning out to be my flower garden.

The roses were to be for rose hips, but since the children keep picking the roses, I'll have to settle for the roses being beautiful, not useful for now. I've replaced the apple tree that the electric company sprayed, and I'm looking at putting in Mulberry trees this year. After looking in the mail-order catalogs, I want to plant so many things, but with this years' soreness and pain still fresh, I've scaled back my grandiose plans for the yard ("_*WHO*_ is going to be digging all those holes for those trees/vines/bushes/flowers/bulbs?!? ME!!).

We've pretty much run out of home improvement money for the time being, which gives me time to decide how big and what style steps/porch/deck to put on the front. Of course, now that means that I have to keep these rosemary plants that I bought to plant for the front alive until then!

The next thing to be done is to have around the pine tree in the back yard cleared. I plan on planting my berries over there. I already have the blueberries (wild as well as purchased), blackberries, and raspberries (gifts from my father)... something else to keep alive.

What, no grapes, you say? Fear not! I have two grapes, one red and one green (more gifts from Dad), that I have used to border my main garden area (I still have to make the trellis, though... but the plants are still small, so I have some time).

This has been done since the last time that I wrote you, so as you can see, I have been busy! The good news is, a lot of this is "foundation" work, meaning that I won't have to do this again next year!! When I find the cable for the camera, I'll send photos.

We are all well, The weather is nice and warm, and the real farmers have begun planting corn. All we need now is rain!

Here's a new (English) word for you:

Blive (pronounced "Bleev")
It's an adverb that originally meant 'immediately', 'right away', but gradually came to mean 'before long, soon' just in the same way that "I'll be there in a second" means "I hope you have something to read while you wait."

To me, in Southern English, it parallels "after a while", so I've saved two words!!

(From _Totally Weird and Wonderful Words_, edited by Erin McKean,
Oxford University press copyright 2006)

Have a great day!

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