Now that the busy, full-of-travelling months of August and September are over, and ‘all’ I have to do until the end of the year is write a book (!), I’m trying to make sure that I balance my life a bit more: using productive writing time effectively, and using non-writing time to get out of the chair and achieve other things – including some exercise!
We moved into our place over eight years ago, and we always planned to have a garden, but starting from scratch on a block out of town with limited water is a challenge, and an expensive one at that! So, other than a small herb patch outside the kitchen window, we haven’t done a lot yet. Years ago, Gordon fenced a large area a short distance from the house, intended to become the main vegetable garden/orchard, but that’s been waiting all this time for gates and a system to get water from the small dam to the garden – other than lugging buckets!
The landscaping around the house is also a major work – involving drainage systems, earthworks, water tanks and pumps and other structural elements. Our designer friend Kerry has drawn up a preliminary design, so hopefully soon we will get started on stage one of that.
However, I’ve really been missing having a garden – both the pleasure of working in one and eating fresh produce, and the physical exercise and activity in just getting outside on a regular basis. So, on Saturday, Gordon and I went into town and bought a few bits and pieces, and on Saturday afternoon set to work. While I cleared stuff, Gordon mowed the fenced area – it’s 30 metres by 20 metres, so the size of some house blocks. Then we made a gate out of chicken wire and star posts, and hung it. It’s not beautiful, but it’s functional! Yesterday, I raked up the ‘grass’ while Gordon built the first garden box, using railway sleepers we’ve had in anitcipation for years. Then I spread gypsum, to help break up the clay soil, and we spread the raked grass into the garden bed. I still need to cart a lot of soil to build up the garden, and add in whatever organic materials will help eventually make decent soil, and, once I plant, I’ll have to carry water by buckets from the dam nearby, until the landscaping/drainage/tanks/pumps are in place. For that reason, we’ll start with just one garden bed, but eventually there will be several in this patch, plus fruit trees – as well as the eventual landscape garden around the house.
But this is a beginning, and I’m very happy about it. And despite aching muscles from raking and such (it’s a long time since I raked lawns every weekend when I was growing up!), I feel better for the outdoor activity.