Damn the pencils, full shovels ahead!

I never thought I could get this much done in a day again, but that weather was back and a nice breeze keeping it decent most of the day. And so I spent the time afterward with throbbing feet, kicking back with some cheap red and Hot Pockets.

I’m sure I could’ve done better for dinner, but I was too tired.

I was out the door a bit later than planned with the dogs, but they were loving it. I figured I’d get to work on the pollinator garden and started hauling some more wheelbarrow loads of dirt in the space.

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I mainly was trying to cover the grass and potholes and smooth things out, and it took probably 10 more loads before it was good. I also had some bags of garden soil I ripped up and put in the space to improve the topsoil a bit. But I needed some more so after I got what I could done (and let the dogs in to get us all some water and rest), I spread it out and did some calculations. Thankfully I didn’t have to go all the way back to HD, but there was a closer landscaping place I got some things from before. It was a bit pricier, but I could get back to work quicker.

I actually started to think I might get this done today if I kept it going.

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I waited to spread the good stuff out because I needed to make the border. I got some of those plastic slide together barriers that come in a box and are about 6 inches wide. They slide together (and you use a rubber mallet to tap them into the ground for stability), and it makes it easy to measure and almost make a grid if you’re trying to add stuff into the area you’re protecting. That was helpful for later. But it took a while because I was using the weed barrier roll to help me measure walking width around the space. Closer to the house is wider, so that’s not so bad, but I didn’t want the rectangle TOO messed up because I was careless. And I’ll have to figure out something with the paths as it is.

The space I was making for the pollinators ended up being 8 by 16 feet. I figured it would have been bigger, but again, I was planning on making paths around it because if I don’t give enough space, it’s far too easily to accidentally snag the corner of those barriers and undo all my spreading and digging work.

And then came the flowers. I used each section of border to plot my grid. I didn’t have a particular rhyme or reason, beyond not having too many of the same thing right next to each other for now. I did have some snags, though, because somehow some concrete blocks ended up buried under there and the grass had grown over it. I didn’t know that until I had to dig down and get below the covered grass.

The good thing is I now have 2 16x16x4 inch concrete blocks I’m sure I can do something with. The bad thing is those things are a bitch to move and my knee is acting up after all the kneeling and shoveling today, so those are just something to mess with another day… or week.

That grass I covered up is something else I probably should’ve done more with. But at the same time, I wasn’t sure the exact dimensions of what I was working on, and if I ripped out too much grass, that would have made it worse. So, I covered it up well as I could a few inches and used my shovel for the plants. I stepped on the blade edge and drove down to cut the grass out. It might have helped things a bit because the ragged hole where the grass was helped the soil a bit by keeping it away enough so I didn’t have it backfill the same hole I was trying to plant in.

I got a bunch of lantanas (dunno why, but i love those dainty little flowers and when they’re bright, they definitely attract hummingbird interest), some dipladenias (some vivid pink ones and a couple of blue ones, which I hadn’t seen before, but are apparently related to the mandevillas I used to hang off the porch every year), marigolds for the corners to deter squirrels, and some awesome pentas. No scent really to go with any of it, but it looks neat. Of course, it looks a bit silly with all the plants so spread out in such a huge space, but they’re just there to get things started.

I took over an hour planting them all (those concrete blocks really were time-sucks), and got the rake and went around the flowers, agitating the ground much as I could. I needed to do that for the wildflower and Texas favorites seed mixes.

I threw the seed mixes out, 1 bag of each. I overdid it on purpose, and basically crammed seed meant for 2000 square feet down into 128. I figured it was extra insurance in case the seeds were old, not very good, or the squirrels found them and started trying to eat them all. Well, after throwing them all around, I lightly agitated the bed with the rake again and got the hose and watered the garden, even though the weather station indicated likely rain by 8pm.

Didn’t want to take the chance that the squirrels might get them all in the meantime…and it’s almost 11 and not a drop of rain yet, so it’s a good thing I did that.

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It looks busy enough to attract some interest, and I saw one really fat bee floating around before I put everything up and got all the gear stowed. So, the pollinators are giving it a shot, or at least looking around.

I tried scattering seeds every year in the backyard, but I think the birds would find them all too easily and I couldn’t agitate and water like suggested. Well, maybe this time it’ll work out right. I hope to keep the bed going long as I can and replenish it a little each year if need be. Otherwise, I just want to watch Mother Nature at work.

I was hoping to get to the big raised beds in the back and check on the fruit canes back there, but I couldn’t do much. Not only was my knee bugging me, but around what was supposed to become my blackberry bush was a huge amount of ant holes. So instead I just stirred things up, removed the dead cane, and put ant granules in there. It’ll be a couple of days before I can get in there and replace what’s dead, but I’m good with that for now.

I should’ve done some writing in my journal earlier, and done some prompts to keep that going, but I was so excited to get all this work done today I just couldn’t bring myself to stop (especially with the rain supposed to come in). But the way my knee is talking, I’ll have to pick up the pencil again and get to working on my initial plans. The shovel won for today, but the pencil will tomorrow. I’m must amazed I got it all done as best I could for the moment. I wonder how it’s gonna look a month from now.

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