Old & New

This last week, Kurt and I have been on vacation, which during COVID and travel restrictions meant a staycation. Not a problem! We live in a beautiful area with lots to do outdoors, so we made varying plans that would depend on the weather. One plan we also made was to be spontaneous and NOT plan to do any projects around the house. This was a week to relax after two weekends of building our fences. We decided that we would be perfectly ok if nothing in the yard got done.

So, we went camping for a few days. The ice just came off the lake a week ago, and as you can see in the below photos that there was still snow in the shaded areas of the forest. We tent. We don’t have a trailer, and although my parents offered to lend us theirs, we decided to go with the tent. There is something about sleeping in a tent that truly relaxes the soul. I am not sure if it is because you can hear the life of the forest around you, or if it is because you get so tired from all the fresh air that you crash hard each night just after the sun goes down, and you wake fully refreshed. Regardless, it was a wonderful 3 days. We lucked out with sun, some fishing, some reading and some cold but manageable nights. Although cold, the dogs work as little furnaces under the mounds of blankets we bring, and keep us warm throughout the night.

Once home, I had a dog bowl stand to build for a client. They had ordered it just before I left for camping, and had promised her that I would have it to her by Thursday, giving myself a full day to build it. It is different than all the other stands I have built in that it has 3 bowls. Her 2 large dogs share water and just need their own food bowls. I took my plans for the 2 bowl stand and adjusted it to have the three bowls requested. They are large dogs, so it was an 18″ tall stand, making it look a little less long due to the height. The coffee stain was also a first, and I must say, I really like the look of it. Almost a barn wood or burnt wood colour. I was a little worried that the names would get lost due to the stain choice, but they didn’t and it worked out perfectly. Last I heard, everyone was very happy with the new stand.

The weather has taken a turn at the end of this week, and we have now started to see a bit of rain, wind and overall unpleasant outdoor weather. We decided that because the weather wasn’t great on Friday, that we would have a stay-at-home day and just chill around the house. We woke up, enjoyed out morning coffee and tea, and just relaxed. Unfortunately, Kurt and I are not the type to sit around all day and it wasn’t long before we were both outside looking for something to putter with. Well, we ended up accomplishing a few big tasks that needed to be done in the yard. Now here is the rub. We had said we wouldn’t plan to do any projects in the yard….but that didn’t mean that we wouldn’t do any projects should the timing be right. Well the timing was right.

We started by going around to all the piles of fence panels from our old fence and stripping the nails from all the boards that can be reused. Yes, the fence was old. Yes, the wood is weathered. But with barn wood projects being so in-demand, we thought it may be an opportunity to do a few projects ourselves with it, or make a little money (very little) selling it at a much cheaper price that lumber stores charge for barn wood. We did just spend a bunch on a new fence, with no help from one of our neighbours, so we might as well make a little if we can off our old fence. A lot of the boards are still nice and solid, just a nice weathered grey exterior. My dad had already asked for some of it for a project that he has planned, and I have a few projects now added to my “Shop-Time” list. I am sure I will share those on here if I ever get around to them! One is some birdhouses to go around the yard, as well as a large decorative one similar to something my mother-in-law has. We can also see using some in the yard or garden on little one-off projects. The rest we will list and see if anyone has any interest in it. Lumber is so extremely expensive right now that it may make for a great, cheap, alternative for someone.

Once we were done with the wood, we decided to get some of our garden planted. Usually, we wait for early May, but the weather is looking good for the next week, so we are taking a risk. Not all the plants are going in right now, just those that we are starting from seed. Our tomatoes & peppers will be set out on the deck for the next week to help harden the roots. The tomatoes will likely go in next weekend, however the peppers I will likely wait until a little later in May. They like the heat, and I feel that I always put them out a little early, which seems to stunt their growing progress, so I am going to try putting them outside a little later. Hopefully this will mean the plants will be larger and more hardy by the time the go outside. We will also be planning a trip to the nursery for some of our vegetable plants, as well as a local store for our flowers. I’m thinking some of the flowers may be purchased tomorrow, but we will see what the end of our vacation brings.

In the meantime, we have planted our peaches and cream corn. We have done 12 rows of 2 in our upper bed, hoping that we get a good crop. Our sunflowers went in next to them, just a single row of 6. In front of the sunflowers, we planted 2 butternut squash plants. I will build a support for the sunflowers and put netting up the front for the squash to grow up. In the lower bed, between the onions and carrots, we put in our cucumbers. We did 4 lemon cucumber plants and 4 long english cucumber plants. Using some of the netted trellis I built last year for some of the vine plants, I made two “A” frame ladders for the cucumbers to climb. The one at the back is slightly taller, and will make harvesting easier from the upper path. The front one is a little smaller, but reachable from the front side of the garden bed. Since we had a lot of room under the ladders, we planted a black beauty zucchini. We will see how that goes as they can get quite large, but I think there will be enough space.

All in all, it was a productive day in the yard, with lots of relaxing prior to that. I am betting we will put in some more time this weekend before heading back to work on Monday, but who knows….if the weather is good, we may find ourselves in our fishing boat at one of our favourite lakes. Either way sounds like an excellent way to spend the end of our staycation.

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