200 Ramblings

WOWZA! This is the 200th rambling post that I have written. I am so glad that so many of you continue to enjoy our fumbling and bumbling through landscaping our yard, and have now also been sucked into reading about our favourite garden recipes as well as some of the other hobbies and projects we do when we are not landscaping the yard.

For those of you who are new to the blog, and let’s be honest, cannot be bothered to go back and read some of the earliest stuff, you’re in luck! I am going to give you a quick crash course in what the last 200 ramblings have gone over.

Let’s start with who we are. We don’t actually talk a lot about ourselves as the focus isn’t on us, but rather what we are learning about landscaping. We, Kurt & Jenny, bought our house in 2013 and knew that the yard would be a project. It is a quarter acre property that was about 80% covered in junipers when we bought it. It is a sloped yard, which makes landscaping extra fun, but opens so much opportunities, as we have learned. It also take a lot of learning to make sure we are making decisions that won’t have us re-doing portions of the yard before we are even finished the original landscaping. It has been a fun, exhausting, exciting process so far. And we are getting so close.

Rather than hiring a company to do the landscaping, we decided it would be a fun project that we could do together. Oddly enough, that project inspired me to start writing this blog. I love writing and at one time in my life was an English major at University. That fell through and I ended up in a different direction with my career, but I still love to write and this blog was an opportunity to enjoy that creative aspect. Kurt is constantly taking photos of the yard and all the fun things we do, so I always have enough visuals to go along with my babbling, rambling posts and make it a little more interesting for you, the reader.

Still with me? Great!

Add to the mix, our two dogs, Ellie & Basil, and now you have a really fun time in the yard. Both are hounds, and complete opposites of one another. Ellie, who is 11 year old, is quiet and constantly on the move. Basil, who is 2 years old, is loud, sassy and constantly sleeping when she is not howling. When we first got Ellie, we were in a rental that had no fenced yard, and just a small grassy area. She was quickly trained to stay in the non-fenced yard, and my life revolved around the demands for walks and hikes to make up for the lack of yard. When we got the new house, we were so excited for Ellie to be able to run and explore and enjoy a space that was more stimulating. We still do lots of walks and hikes, but now she also has a proper size yard to keep an eye on. With two dogs, part of our landscaping concerns is how to transition from areas that they have been able to free-roam to garden beds that now have plants and food growing in them. We got lucky, they figured it out quickly and we only had a few minor plant casualties in the spring before they learned the new pathways.

We have learned a lot over the years. Some of my posts have been very informative about what not to do on certain projects, while others have been stories about our successes. All of it has been important to us, and hopefully entertaining enough to read for you. Our plans have constantly changed as we have been building because we have been learning more and more about landscaping techniques and the ways that gardens will need to grow. We like a very natural but somewhat organized look. We still want the yard to be pretty, but we don’t want it to be symmetrical or have perfectly straight lines. That may have helped us because perfectly straight lines are harder to achieve than I would have thought they would be. Our design has developed with the way that the yard is naturally sloped or shaped.

Our tastes have also changed. At one time it was all about a pond or dip pool, or maybe a waterfall. Then we remembered we lived in a semi-arid desert and though a dip pool would be awesome, we would constantly be having to fill it because of the rapid rate of evaporation. Now we are looking for areas to sit and enjoy, with plans for a large gazebo that looks up at our terraced walls of gardens. With a fan, wafting the air to keep some semblance of reasonable body temperature, and home-made furniture, we plan to spend hours in our yard. My parents have a very large deck that is now the main living-room and dining-room during the summer months, and is actually versatile enough to enjoy most of the winter. I envy that and look forward to our outdoor living space that we will one day have.

Our gardening skills have also been developing as we have been learning to landscape, and we are constantly making changes to the way we garden to get the most out of our plants. We are nerds that love data, so a few years ago, I started keeping track of what we are growing and how much of it we are growing each year. As the years go by, those spreadsheets are expanding and including more data such as where the plants were grown, when they were planted, when they sprouted, when we harvested the first vegetable or fruit, and so on. Has it helped so far…I’m not sure. It is cool seeing the data, and being able to look back at when we were harvesting certain fruits or vegetables in the past. So yes, it has been helpful, especially going forward now that we have permanent garden beds. We will be able to see where our plants thrived and did the best, so that we can make sure to get the most out of the garden.

We love learning more. As we start to plant more and more of our permanent beds, we are also learning new techniques of growing that partner the plants, or attracts more pollinators, or adds new types of vegetables to our diets. We are also learning more about flowers and the types that we want to grow in our flower beds, raised beds and pots. All in the hopes of having a happy ecosystem in the yard, bringing in all the good bugs and providing a happy space for them all to thrive. Soon we will be learning more about trees and how to prune and shape them. Espaliered trees seem like they will be the best fit, so we are going to jump head first into that learning adventure. We will see how it all goes, and we will definitely share our stories with you as we go.

After 200 posts, and 6 years of developing our yard, I still feel like a novice and I expect that to some degree we will always feel that way because we will always be developing and changing how we grow, what we grow, how we add to the yard, how we build more features, and so on. I know that as time goes on, we will be sharing more stories about building things in our shop, especially since so many of those items go hand in hand with the development of our yard, but even those that don’t will be a story to share. There will be more stories about the plants we grow, perhaps stories about our vegetable thieving dogs, and general experiences we have with this yard. Variety is the spice of life, and we will share a variety of stories with you.

So thanks for hanging in there for 200 posts. We hope you hang around for another 200 because it will be fun getting there. And I promise to try and spice it up as I write so that it is fun and engaging.

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