Country Living Series

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Berry beds and buying antiques

One of the stalled projects we wanted to complete last year but didn't have a chance to finish was fruit beds. We needed a dedicated place to put strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.

So last year (before the tractor died) we managed to heave the beams for the beds into their rough places. Last week we nudged the beams into their correct spots. Yesterday we completed the boxes. Whoo-hoo, progress!

We hauled some long boards into the garden.

Don cut them into four-foot lengths.

Some of the beams had rotten ends, so he trimmed them.

We squared up the beams evenly, then he hammered the end caps in place.

Now we have four nice squared (well, rectangle-d) beds, ready for hardware cloth and topsoil.

The next step will be to lay several layers of newspapers on the ground in the beds (to keep the prairie grasses from coming up) and overlay that with hardware cloth, of which we bought several hundred feet. We have a problem with moles and voles in this area, so hardware cloth will discourage the little critters from munching our plants from underneath.

Yesterday we also took a short excursion to buy some antiques. There's a junk / slash / antique cooperative just outside of town that sells an amazingly varied jumble of things for amazingly cheap prices. For some time now we've been coveting such things as extra scythes and other garden implements. They've been closed all winter and opened up for the first time yesterday. So we all piled in the car and took a trip. It's located in a converted old farmhouse with several outbuildings as well as many things just jumbled and scattered outside.

Here, for example, is one of the outbuildings. It's a treasure-trove around this place -- you never know what you'll find.

We ended up purchasing three scythes, an extra snath (scythe handle), several garden tools (rakes, shovels, etc.), and some miscellaneous kitchen items such as cast iron pots and pans, some grinders, etc.

It was kind of funny -- the sellers didn't expect us to actually use any of the things we bought -- they thought we were just planning on (cough) hanging them on the wall for decoration. Wrong! How else are we going to harvest the wheat field except with scythes?


  1. Oh wow, that is a treasure trove shopping stop. Looks like a great place with lots of neat "needed" and "just wanted" items.

  2. My sister and I were in an antique store in Ohio last summer and saw this sign: We buy junk and sell antiques. Also, I was fortunate to take a hiking trip to Switzerland and along a trail we saw a family using scythes. Sure don't see that very often in the U.S. any longer.

  3. Save the Canning JarsMay 31, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    How can Don stand to work in that long sleeve shirt and vest in this 92 degree heat???? Oh wait, the heat is south central not northwest.

    So exactly what are your temps running there? 'Cause we're almost ready to harvest potatoes and herbs here, yet your attire seems to indicate that its almost been too cold to plant (not to mention wet). We plant potatoes between Valentines Day and the latest is St. Patrick's Day. When is "too late" in your area?

  4. We've been mostly in the 50's and 60's temperature-wise. We'd be a fool to plant before June 1 (I figured that out the hard way last year when I lost everything because I had the audacity to plant in May). Most things are started in the greenhouse and ready to transplant. The exception is potatoes, which I probably should have planted by now but haven't. I'll be planting this week.

    - Patrice

  5. Looks like fun shopp'n to me!!! I've been trying to find some used place that sells pots/planters. As city dwellers they seem to work good for plants but I can't seem to find a bargain!

  6. Oh, what a bountiful excursion that turned out to be!
    I stick all the blades of my prized garden tools in an old oval wash tub that is filled with dry sand and mixed with old diesel oil. It keeps the sharpened blades from resting on the earth and rusting. Although, a scythe blade is kinda hard to fit entirely into the washtub, you can still get the majority of it into one.

    May your garden be overflowing in goodness.


  7. picked the first of the raspberries this morning here in n.e.miss....berries are ripening almost a month late this year. when i go to the antique/junk stores (frequently), i also buy things that are useable and have purpose..i am drawn to kitchen utensils,pots and pans, and vintage linens of all kinds. and have bought some real winners too!

  8. Where is the antique store? I was in Princeton yesterday for a Memorial Day Celebration with friends and would love to find a place like that. Of course, it is a 2 hour drive from Athol, so I would not make the trip too often but it is better than going to Spokane.

  9. Paintedmoose, why don't you email me privately at

    - Patrice

  10. Partice,

    I am getting ready to plant blackberries at my newly purchased farm that also has a lot of moles and voles. Can you give me the details on the use of the hardware cloth? How deep do you put it? Does it just lay flat? Thanks so much.

  11. that looks like an awesome antique place! haha, many people say the same things to my dad when he my mom and I go antiquing together. "but wait...what do you mean you're going to use this?". some great finds though!

  12. Antiquing!! My favorite sport. :-) It's amazing the difference in our climates. Our blueberries and raspberries are just coming in. I picked 2 pints each in the past couple of days but that will increase over the week. The bushes are loaded. We have ours in beds like yours, but I think I'd like to put in an acre of blueberries !! Could eat them like candy.

  13. too funny. In my family we don't call them antiques, we call them hand-me-downs. If something's been around for 100 years you don't have to worry it will 'quit working' after you get it home (lol)