Country Living Series

Thursday, February 25, 2016

It's the little things in life

Today was beautiful. Bright sunshine, warm temps (it got up to 53F!) -- there was no way I was going to stay in the house.

The chickens spread out in the sunshine and soaked up the rays.

As did the cows.

Robins have returned with a vengeance.

I put on my visor, grabbed work gloves and a pitchfork, and headed for the garden. I wasn't sure what I was going to do in the garden, mind you. I just wanted to be outside.

After looking around for a few minutes, I settled on a project. This strip of weed-infested dirt right next to one of the strawberry beds didn't have the benefit of tarps and gravel for weed control. During the summer, it was so overgrown as to discourage me from weeding the strawberry bed. So -- time to fix it.

Besides, new growth was already starting. Time to get rid of it before it grew to enormous size.

Wanting to share the day, I let Lydia into the garden, where she explored all over.

I started by raking the debris off the strip of ground.

Then I dug out some of the bigger clumps of new growth, particularly those right next to the strawberry bed so they wouldn't grow around the edge of the tarp.

There were several volunteer strawberry plants which had rooted from runners. These I dug up and transplanted into the strawberry bed.

Then I spread out a tarp and cut off a wide strip, wide enough to cover the bare bit of ground with a generous overlap with the existing tarped area.

Meantime, I was disturbing voles. Voles galore. Lydia soon started to dig after one. She was in an untarped unfinished part of the garden, so I let her dig.

She dug and dug and DUG and dug and DUG and dug.

She never did catch the vole, but my goodness she had fun trying. Can you see her grin?

Anyway, back to the tarp. I laid the strip of tarp over the bare ground.

Time to transport some gravel. I used an ancient wheelbarrow we inherited from some friends, which has a body so rusted through it looks like lace.

Yet it's still a surprisingly strong and useful tool. To transport gravel, however, I laid a piece of hardware cloth inside so the rocks wouldn't fall through.

Moving gravel, one barrow-ful at a time.

Six wheelbarrows later, the strip is covered with gravel. Never again will the weeds prevent me from walking through this section and attending the strawberry bed.



I'm absurdly pleased about this. It was a nice short-term project for a lovely day. By the end of it, I was filthy and sweaty (and I still had to clean the barn); but it also left me just plain happy. It was good to get outside and accomplish something in the garden.

It's the little things in life, y'know?


  1. It was 56 here in the southern part of the state and we rototilled. Know exactly what you mean!

  2. Patrice,

    The little things in life build up to the bigger things. Getting out and working outside on such a beautiful day is medicine to the heart.

  3. Most definitely!! Nice job.

  4. Ok, now you got me exhausted.

  5. We had to go to Spokane, and then CDA, so our day was spent in the car. But today is a work in the garden day and I am excited. I'm spreading dirt!
    Dirt is good. I completely understand the wonderful feeling of accomplishment one has when they do hard work in the garden.

  6. You hit a serious lick out there today, Patrice.
    Well done. It looks great.
    It's still pretty cool here, but the sunshine makes it impossible to stay inside.
    We're still many weeks away from planting outdoors, but the lambs will be here any minute. Spring has sprung.

    A. McSp

  7. I didn't get any work outside done, but I am still dancing a jig. I ordered a new All American canner today that has been a dream of mine for the last three years. It is the small things in life that put on the largest grins. Congrats, I bet that strawberry patch is grinning too, no more weeds to block out the sun and steal it's water.

  8. I agree, my husband and I just had to get outdoors, having just moved to N. Idaho 6 months ago the time was mostly spent on repairs for the house, now we get to go play outside. I gathered piles of fallen branches from last years storms and have grown an admirable size pile, will be burning next week. We also are getting the materials for raised beds, 3 of which will be yes, bathtubs. My garden will be raised beds on the cheap, board ones, and containers. The containers will surely prevent voles and what nots that my dog has been digging for with a frenzy. The term digging a hole to China was evident when chop sticks were flying, LOL. She has been doing this through the snow, I no idea she was so into digging, at least she now has acreage to do it in. From my day's activities, I got something I have not had in some time, a sunburn, it felt good and brought a smile to my face.

  9. Who needs a rototiller when you have a Lydia! Now if she would just dig where she's directed, and not dig it shoulder deep.

  10. Patrice, I'm intrigued. What is a vole. I've never heard of them. We do not have anything by that name in Australia. We do have a spotted native cat called a quoll.
    It was cooler here today and I too was out in the garden. Very satisfying although I enjoy winter gardening here as our winters are really mild and we don't get snow at all. Maybe just one or two frosts a year.
    Blessings Gail.

  11. p.s. Just googled voles. Little mouse type creature. Cute!
    Blessings G.