Welcome to the Lazy Dog Ranch!

We hope you will find inspiration, information and most of all humor as we share our adventures in advancing a more sustainable lifestyle in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Power Tools and the Joys of Recycling

Karl and I decided to take a break yesterday from outdoor work to focus on the projects which are currently taking up the car park spaces in the garage. 

Quiz of the day:    How many of you actually PARK your vee-hick-els in your garage?  It is a weekly struggle for us to keep that space open.  For those of you who are familiar with out garage, there is really NO EXCUSE.  And yet... the stuff just accumulates.

Karl's bay is currently hosting the " Chicken Tractor Factory " where he is working on our 3rd generation portable coops. The Ladies have torn up their last flower bed and we have determined that we must modify the "free range" space a little bit.   He is currently working on  A frame sleds- and will create a page with that when done.

My car bay is hosting the "Spring Outdoor Furniture Redo Extravaganza!"  The blue garden bench you see in some posts was one project finished.   I am now working on refinishing my Mom's old Smith and Hawken French Bistro Set.   We searched high and low for one and let me tell you- they don't make them like they used to ( for under $400.00)  So I figured with 8 bucks of paint, some sandpaper and elbow grease.... it can't be that hard.

As you may tell from the photo- sand paper did not cut it and I had to break out the grinder to get layers of paint and rust off. 

As I got into the groove I made an observation.... I was at peace- working with my hands restoring something that belongs to my mother and has been in our family for over 20 years.  Karl then pointed out to me that I was also using my dad's tools- and that made it all the more special.

One of the most important reminders of my father are his tools.  Dad was the quintessential Do- It -Yourselfer.  Before Lowes and Home Depot- there was Ace Harware and Moores.... I can recall many a Saturday he drug us around those stores only to press us into servitude when we got home.  My dad would tackle any project but engine repair.  As much as I HATED being the gopher for his tools, I learned invaluable skills and an appreciation of a good power tool.

So we spent a great evening in the garage, each working on our new projects which were each in their way meaningful to us.

Think about it next time you tend your couch potato garden-  is there something out there you have been meaning to work on?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hard Headed People Learn Lessons the Hard Way

The busy week and spring planting have not given me time to wax poetic on life at the farm.  However,  I have felt a sense of wonder and gratitude to bide my earthly time in this spot despite being too bone tired to pontificate.   Karl and I have spent a busy week - working until sundown caring for not only the spring chores- but all of the fall work we could not do because of the abundant rainfall.

The Canton Community Garden hosted in our lower field  is now 1/2 tilled and we are thrilled to open two more plots for Meals on Wheels!  A third beehive is down by our little plot in the garden and the bees are working hard harvesting the spring nectar.  More on that project another date.

We communed with neighbors Brenda and Cliff - also both in their yards working hard putting in their gardens.  I miss seeing my neighbors in the winter- but spring brings us all out of doors- sharing advice, planning projects and soaking up the springtime.

In addition to catching up with friends and work this  weekend for me was a lesson in humility.   You know those little labels that come with plants?  Well it helps to read them and before you plant!  I have some MAJOR redo work at hand and regret not informing myself ahead of time when planting certain things.

Hard Truth 1   "Ground cover = INVASIVE"


This is the deceptive view of our side hill - from the road it looks awash of spring color.....but lurking behind the tulips and daffodils ----

PERIWINKLE-  it has become my nemesis- invading plantings, mulch, my rock terraces.  My hands are now barely able to type from pulling the stuff.... and I BARELY made a dent.  That jug of Roundup is looking AWFULLY tempting as I nurse a stripe of sunburn on my lower back from bending over pulling the darn stuff. 

Lesson 2-  Snowball bushes get HUGE- so don't plant 2 feet away from your porch!  DUH!

This thing has even been pruned!  And we are looking at taking the tractor and transplanting elsewhere later this spring.

These two bushes were so small and cute when we got them....  now it is going to take some real digging to safely transplant... grab a shovel ya'll.

As much as I reflect upon the disappointments of my ignorant planting errors... we got so much done, edging, mulching, tilling, weeding, planting -  all things where there are tangible results that are pleasing to the eye.  

The dogs look on as we refinish a pathway and spillway leading to dog lot.

Ahhh the smells of spring!  The daffodils, and let's not forget the Thrift.  I have fond memories of mounds of multicolored thrift at my Grandma Pennell's cabin in Moravian Falls, NC.  I have planted it everywhere I have lived - it reminds me of her as she is my genetic link to this crazy gardening obsession.   So as I stand watering my weekends work, the smells of flowers, water and fresh dirt give me a sense of peace and well being that will overcome the agony of sore muscles and raw hands come morning.

Happy Planting!