Six-month performance review

I like setting goals. It helps me stay focused and actually accomplish some things. When it comes to projects around the house, my annual home goals are what I use to stay on track. I’ve learned over time that it’s helpful to check in during the year to see what progress we’ve made.

We’re halfway through the year, so it’s a good time to see how we’re doing on Home Goals 2015.

In keeping with my goal to be a little more flexible this year, I haven’t been super ambitious when it comes to projects and schedules. I have to say that as a result this year has been a bit more enjoyable, project-wise.

I also feel like we’ve been decently productive though. Here’s how we’ve done so far this year.

Master bedroom

With a little extra motivation thanks to the One Room Challenge, the master bedroom is done. I love it.

Navy blue and white master bedroom

Basement art

I haven’t tackled this light-weight project yet, beyond buying a few frames and formulating some plans. This seems like a good indoor project once the weather changes.

Furniture

I haven’t made a lot of progress in this area either. I did buy a ladder/step-stool/chair that reminded me of my grandmother–and a lot of you of yours. Furniture shopping and building is another good fall project.

Step chair

Vegetable garden

The vegetable garden has been front and centre for the past few months, and I’m thrilled with all of the progress we’ve made. It’s been on my wishlist since we moved to the farm, and it’s totally happening. The garden has been a tonne of work, but things are growing and we couldn’t be happier.

Squash plants

Beyond the vegetable garden, I feel like we’re a bit ahead when it comes to outside tasks for the first time since moving to the farm. Part of it is because I’m choosing to not worry about the rock piles and old flowerbeds that I want to get rid of. A bigger part of it is that we’re three years in, so the gardens that we’ve worked on since moving to the farm are actually starting to look like gardens.

So two out of four. We’re midway through the year, and we’re midway through my Home Goals 2015. Appropriate.

How are you doing on projects this year? Do you set annual goals? What do you want to accomplish in the second half of 2015?

Garden update

Unlike Mary, Mary, I am not feeling at all contrary. I am feeling quite excited. Our garden is growing!

Matt and our rototiller Fairfield were hard at work again this past weekend, and they got the whole garden tilled (or at least the half that we’re using this year) for the second time. I weeded where Fairfield couldn’t reach and went over everything with the cultivator to pick out the last of the roots.

We still need some more chainlink for the fence, we still need a gate, and we still need to pull out the weeds along the rest of the edge (and of course there’s the whole other half of the ring to clear), but it’s already looking like a garden.

Vegetable garden

And we’re going to have a harvest.

The tomatoes are big enough that Matt had to put the cages around them. Blossoms are forming and even a couple of very small tomatoes.

Tomato plants with wire cages

Squashes are our main crop. First is the zucchini.

Zucchini

Then there’s the butternut, acorn and pie pumpkins.

Squash plants

In the middle of the garden is the beginning of the first of two rows of raspberries. I got them from my parent’s garden last weekend, and they all seem to have rooted.

Raspberry canes

What’s not doing so well are the bush beans. I don’t know what’s happening, but they don’t seem to be very happy.

Bean sprouts

Also not so happy are the peppers. I think maybe they’re not getting enough sun because they’re up close to the fence, and they were a bit shadowed by weeds.

However, one in particular has been grievously abused by two weekends in a row. First Fairfield uprooted him, and then I got a little too close with the cultivator and pulled him out again. Hopefully he recovers.

Wilted pepper plant

The crop that seems to be thriving the most are the rutabagas. I think every single teeny tiny seed sprouted. I still have no idea what one does with rutabagas. I’m going to need to figure it out, though. Look at how many there are!

Rutabagas

Since taking these photos, we’ve also planted potatoes and lettuce. So much goodness!

There are no silver bells or cockle shells, but I’m not sure I’d want them. I’m more into edibles this year. Vegetable garden 2015 is happening!

Any advice on the beans or the peppers? How about some ideas for the rutabagas? Anything else we should consider planting this year?

Fairfield goes to work

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the newest member of our family, Fairfield.

Rototiller

Perhaps I shouldn’t say newest. When Matt heard that we were getting a rototiller from my cousins, he said, “Knowing your family, it’s going to be ancient.” I scoffed. Then I had to eat my words when we picked up the tiller from my cousins.

Turns out, they got the tiller from one of my aunt’s friends. This friend was my grade 4 teacher, Mrs. Fairfield.

Matt usually takes responsibility for naming, but he’s still hung up on the tiller’s advanced age, so his only suggestion was Grandpa Joe. I think Fairfield is more appropriate given the tiller’s history and its usual work site. Although I’m not sure Mrs. Fairfield will be flattered. (Auntie Anne, perhaps don’t mention this to her).

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I was a bit anxious about tilling the weedy soil. Would any tiller make it through? Let alone our senior model with its small tines?

We pulled off the tarp that has covered a large section of the garden for more than a month. It looked pretty weed free.

Garden covered with tarps

We had covered another section with a piece of carpet that I’d unearthed. I was surprised to discover that the tarp did a better job of killing the weeds than the carpet did. The carpet just made them flat and pale.

Weeds

We haven’t given up on the carpet, though. We’ve moved it and the tarp over to the other half of the garden. Our supervisor needed an appropriate monitoring post, obviously.

Baxter laying in the garden

The rest of the family was hard at work. Matt and Wiley mowed the weeds that hadn’t been under cover.

Mowing weeds in the garden

Then Matt and Fairfield went to work.

And they kicked butt.

The rototiller totally worked. Even when they got into the grassy bits, Fairfield powered through.

Matt tilling the garden

There was still some manual labour required. Fairfield broke up the soil and the weeds pretty well. But Matt and I did have to go through with the hand cultivator and the pitchfork and pull out the roots. It was much easier though, thanks to Fairfield.

Matt and I tilling the garden

Wheelbarrow full of weed roots

It’s looking like a garden. We actually have space to plant a few things this year (we’re going to leave the other half covered with the tarp and the carpet for the rest of the season, probably).

Seeded garden

As of the end of the weekend, we had the dozen tomato plants and four red pepper plants that you’ve seen before, plus a row of green onions, zucchini, yellow bush beans, beets, acorn squash, butternut squash, pie pumpkins and rutabagas (Matt threw that suggestion out as a joke, so of course when I saw the package of rutabaga seeds I had to buy it).

Seeded garden

My most important Home Goal for 2015–the vegetable garden–is actually happening.

Thanks to my cousins for passing along their tiller (and thanks to Mrs. Fairfield for passing it along in the first place).

What are you growing in your garden? Any advice for growing rutabaga? How about tips for running a rototiller? How old’s your rototiller? Feel free to introduce it to Fairfield in the comments.

How to apply preglued veneer on curved edges

More than two years ago, I wrote a tutorial on how to apply preglued veneer edging. Veneer edging covers up the raw edges of plywood and makes your piece of furniture or whatever it is you’ve made look like one solid piece of wood.

When I made the headboard for the master bedroom, I had a scenario that I’ve never dealt with before: applying the veneer to a curved edge. So today I’m posting an addition to my previous tutorial.

The same tools, techniques and principles still apply (mostly):

  1. Cut a piece of veneer slightly longer than the section of plywood that you’re covering.
  2. Line it up along one edge and apply heat and steady pressure to melt the glue.
  3. Firmly press the veneer down with a wood block (it will be too hot to touch with your hands) until the glue sets.
  4. Trim the overhang with a file.

For a convex edge (think the outside of a U), I didn’t have to do anything special. For a concave edge (think the inside of the U), I had to make a few more adjustments. On the more gentle curve, I found the very tip of my iron worked to soften the glue. I just had to work slowly, about an inch at a time.

Applying preglued veneer edging to a curve

Pressing the veneer into place as the glue dries is really, really important. On a curve, it’s particularly easy for the veneer to pull away from the plywood. A narrow pressing block or your fingers (protected with a glove or a rag)–along with patience–are essential.

For the tighter curves, I discovered why I still have a curling iron in my bathroom cupboard. The barrel was just the right size to fit into the curve at the top of the headboard. Once the adhesive was soft, I firmly pressed the veneer onto the plywood and held it in place until the glue set.

Using a curling iron to apply veneer edging

To trim the veneer, I always rely on a file. For the curved edges, I used the curved side of the file.

Curved profile on a file

Triming veneer on a curve with a file

A couple of swipes over the edge with fine sandpaper further smoothed veneer, and then it was ready for staining along with the rest of the headboard.

(And yes, the veneer takes stain and urethane and paint just like real wood).

Here’s the final product–in its impossible to photograph location in front of the window.

Applying preglued veneer edging to a curve

Anyone else have any tips for working with veneer edging? Who else has an old curling iron kicking around? Have you ever used beauty tools for DIY?

 

Planted!

It may not look like much–especially considering that there’s still carpet lying over the weeds–but the first plants are in the garden.

First plants in the garden

We’re still waiting on our hand-me-down tiller to arrive, but that didn’t stop Matt from coming home with a dozen tomato plants and 4 red pepper plants. So that meant I got out the pitchfork and went to work to dig out the weeds in a corner of the garden by hand.

It was just a small corner, but it was home to two heaping wheelbarrows-full of weeds. The roots didn’t go deep, but they snaked along just under the surface making a thick dense mat. I really hope the rototiller is able to break up the ground. It didn’t take me as long as I thought to pull out the weeds by hand, but doing the whole garden by hand will not be fun.

So you’re still seeing a few weeds and grasses and roots strewn through the dirt. But you’re also seeing tomatoes and peppers.

First plants in the garden

The garden has begun!

How is your garden growing?

Making DIY dropcloth curtains – 8 lessons learned

In the last post, you saw the easy layered window treatments in the master bedroom. I promised more details on the dropcloth curtains I made.

Blackout blind, bamboo blind and drop cloth curtain window treatments

There are lots of tutorials out there on how to make dropcloth curtains. So I’m not going to write one here. Plus, I totally made these up as I went along, so a tutorial doesn’t really exist. I did want to share some of the things I learned from making my DIY curtains, though.

How to make dropcloth curtains

1. Dropcloths come with seams. I assumed that my 9 by 12 foot dropcloth would be one single piece of fabric. It wasn’t. All of my dropcloths had a seam down the middle. One had a centre seam plus an additional patch along one end.

For my two widest curtain panels, I just left the seam alone. It’s a bit thicker than I would like and a wee bit puckered, but I decided I could live with it if it was hidden in the folds of the curtains.

For the other curtains, my seam ripper and I spent some quality time pulling out the stitching.

Ripping out the seam on a dropcloth

2. Dropcloths come with holes. The canvas fabric of the dropcloths is not perfect. The rustic quality of the weave and the few strands of blue and red that were here and there are some of the elements I like best about using this fabric.

However, in a couple of spots my dropcloths went beyond rustic and veered into unraveled. So if you want to make anything out of dropcloths, check them over carefully. You don’t want to end up with a hole in the middle of your project.

3. Wash and iron before you start. Pre-washing your fabric is a basic tenant of sewing. I didn’t want my curtains shrinking (not that they’re going to be washed often) after I put the effort into making them, so I washed my fabric before I started sewing.

Dropcloth fabric is heavy duty. As a result, it wrinkles easily and the creases are really difficult to remove. I found that ironing the dropcloths when they were still damp from the washer helped to remove the worst of the wrinkles.

4. Use curtain tape. (Britt, this tip’s for you). From what I hear, making pinch pleat curtains is pretty tedious. Lots of measuring and calculating. A much easier solution is to use curtain tape. This is a kind of mesh fabric strip with channels on the back. You pair it with some special multi-pronged hooks, and it basically forms the pleats for you. I bought mine at a local fabric store.

The pleats are softer than they would be if you sewed them without the tape, but that was okay for my rustic fabric and my farm setting.

I sewed the tape along the edge of one of my dropcloths, put in the hooks and voilà, pinch pleat curtains.

Using curtain tape to make pinch pleat curtains

Using curtain tape to make pinch pleat curtains

Using curtain tape to make pinch pleat curtains

Pinch pleat dropcloth curtains

You can space your pleats as far apart or as close together as you want. I left one empty “pocket” for a space of about 6 inches between each pleat.

Pinch pleat dropcloth curtains

5. Use curtain tape to measure your curtains. Before I sewed the curtain tape onto my fabric, I formed all of my pleats until I had a strip that was as wide as I wanted my curtains to be. Then I cut the curtain tape at that length, removed the pleats and used the tape to measure the dropcloth fabric.

6. There are different types of hooks. The magic pleat-making hooks are very handy. They come in two different forms (there may be more, but I tried two). Whatever form you choose, the hooks hook onto the rings that go on your curtain rod. Option 1 has the hooks at the end, so the curtains hang a bit below the rings. Option 2 has the hooks in the middle, so the top of the curtain hangs up against the rings. This is the type of hook I ended up using.

There are also special non-pleating hooks (just plain single hooks) to hold up the ends of the curtains where there are no pleats.

7. Take your time hemming. I wanted my curtains to just brush the floor. For my first set, I hung the curtains, found the spot where they met the floor, and then I used a ruler to measure the rest of my hem from that point. The result was curtains that were the right length at one or two spots, but for the most part they scuffed, not brushed the floor.

Curtains hitting the floor

For my second set of panels and for the bed skirt that I also made out of dropcloths, I skipped the measuring tape. Instead, I used pins to mark the fabric at about 1/4 to 1/2 inch off the floor. I pinned my way across the bottom of the curtains, marking about every six inches. Then I pressed the hem using the pins as a guide. It wasn’t scientific, but it resulted in curtains that just brushed the floor.

8. You can totally do this too. Dropcloth curtains are pretty easy to make. Honestly, I found them a bit tedious. The only sewing is in straight lines. Loooooong straight lines. However, boring they may be, sewing straight lines is not difficult.

Dropcloth curtains in a navy master bedroom

Let me know if you try them yourself.

Have you ever made your own curtains? Any tips to share from your experience?

Linking up with: Happy Housie DIY Challenge Party

How to make simple layered window treatments

When I had the brainwave to move our bedroom across the hall, Matt didn’t understand why we couldn’t just stay in our current room. He went along with my plans, but he had one requirement: he wasn’t moving in until we had curtains.

Blackout blind, bamboo blind and drop cloth curtain window treatments

We haven’t had curtains on any windows in any room since we moved to the farm. With no neighbours, privacy is not a concern.

However, our new bedroom is on the east side of the house. There are fewer trees on that side, so more light comes in the windows. At night, the lights on the barn and the driveshed and even headlights from the cars on the far-away road shine into the room.

Plus, east equals sunrise. If we wanted to sleep past dawn on any summer morning, we needed curtains.

But I wanted more than just curtains. I stumbled over Kristine’s window treatments on the Painted Hive and thought her solution was ingenious. (So I really can’t take credit for this idea).

Kristine’s solution is a great mix of form and function.

Function starts with a basic blackout vinyl roller blind, which I mounted above the window casing.

Vinyl blackout blind hidden behind bamboo blinds and dropcloth curtains

Form comes next.

The blackout blind is hidden behind a bamboo blind. Or what looks like a bamboo blind.

In reality, it’s basically just a valance. I took one bamboo blind and chopped it to pieces. For the main window over the bed, I was able to use the full six foot wide blind, but I only wanted it to be about 16 inches long. To shorten it, I clipped the strings that hold the slats together and knotted the ends so that the blind didn’t fall apart. I’m not going to lie, tying hundreds of tiny strings into tight double knots was pretty tedious.

For the smaller side window, I needed a narrower blind. A set of strong pruning sheers and Matt’s strong hands clipped off the excess width. Then, I again cut the strings to give me a 16 inch length and tied another whole bunch of tiny knots.

Cutting a bamboo blind

To put bamboo blind in place, I installed a double curtain rod just below the crown molding. I chose the Räcka and Hugad from Ikea.

The bamboo panels just drape over the rear rod (I tied them in place) and hang over the top of the window. They hide the blackout blind and, because I hung them so high right under the crown molding, they make the windows look much taller.

Double curtain rod

The front rod supports the dropcloth curtains that I made. The curtains are completely functional, but we don’t need to use them, thanks to the blackout blind, so they’re mostly just for form. They do hide the edges of the two blinds and help to block light from sneaking around the sides of the window though.

I’ll be sharing more about some of the lessons I learned from making dropcloth curtains in my next post.

I used the trick of hanging the curtains so that they fall just outside the window casing. This really does make the window look bigger in my opinion.

Altogether, the blackout blind, bamboo valance, double curtain rod and full length dropcloth curtains make for stylish and functional layered window treatments.

Blackout blind, bamboo blind and drop cloth curtain window treatments

Plus there’s the added benefit of keeping Matt happy.

Happy husband. Stylish master bedroom. I’m all set.

What are your master bedroom must-haves? Are you a blackout blind-er or a up with the sunshine-er? What’s your window treatment style?

Getting ready for the great gardening weekend

This is it, folks. The Victoria Day long weekend. The first long weekend of “summer.” The kick off to gardening season in Canada.

And I have ambitious plans.

First on the list is mowing our jungle grass. Every spring, we’re late getting our grass cut. The first year, we’d just moved to the farm and didn’t have a tractor. The second year, the tractor wouldn’t start, thanks to a broken fuel pump. Last year, it took us a couple of weeks to get the mower deck attached to the tractor (the level ground that is required to get all of the pins to line up perfectly does not exist at the farm).

Baxter's not impressed face at our long grass

This year we’re delayed because we need to sharpen the blades. I’ve done it before, but always with my Dad and always on much smaller mowers. For the first time taking the blades off our deck, we want some help, so we’re waiting until my Dad can come to supervise.

Next on the list is giving my forsythia haircut. (Dad, can you bring your hedge trimmer when you come over, please?)

After that, I need to weed two more flower gardens–the biggest ones, of course.

And then there’s the vegetable garden.

I know this was supposed to be my one and only outdoor project for this year. Obviously I’m multi-tasking with grass and forsythia and flower beds. Just trust that those things are necessary too, okay?

I’m anxious to get started on the vegetable garden, but I’m not going to be able to do as much as I had hoped over the next three days… and not just because of the other things on my list.

The biggest vegetable garden task this weekend is going to be the fence. We have a nice weathered wood fence. It looks great, but it’s not that helpful for protecting the garden from the local wildlife. I need to add some chainlink, and I need to build a gate. ‘Cause if I leave the door wide open, it doesn’t matter how much chainlink I have on the rest of the fence.

I had hoped that that I’d be able to break up the sod too this weekend, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

The tarps that have been spread over the garden for the past few weeks have not succeeded in killing the weeds. They’ve just turned them a bit pale.

Weeds after being covered with a tarp

Our farmer tilled our fields last weekend. I ran after the tractor one evening and asked him if it came in a smaller version–small enough to fit inside the ring. He shook his head and said, “I’d have to do that one by hand.”

As the tilling continued, I looked enviously at the tractor every time it drove past the ring.

Tilling the field

I had reserved a heavy-duty rototiller from a local equipment rental shop (because neither my Dad nor Matt’s want to sacrifice their rototillers to fulfill my garden ambitions–spoilsports), but it was surprisingly expensive to rent. Matt’s and my cheapskate sides came out, and I canceled the reservation.

I had heard a rumour that one of my cousins had a rototiller he wasn’t using. Turns out he doesn’t need it anymore, and we can have it… in a couple of weeks. So we’re waiting on our new-used (and better yet free) tiller before we tackle the sod.

Even without the rototiller, I think we have enough to keep us busy… for all three days of this weekend.

Wish us luck, would you? Hopefully I’ll survive the weekend and be back next week with an update for you.

In the meantime, let’s keep each other motivated. What’s on your weekend to-do list? Are you gardening? Or hoping to garden?

One Room Challenge Week 6 – Master bedroom reveal

Cross the master bedroom makeover off my Home Goals 2015 list. Thanks to the One Room Challenge, this room is D-O-N-E.

Want to catch up on how we got here? Here are all of the previous posts:

It was hard for me to stay motivated in this makeover. The ORC was the push I needed to finally finish it off. I have to admit that I’m glad the room is done. Even better, I’m glad that it’s pretty… if I do say so myself.

Navy blue and white master bedroom

I think you’ll agree it’s definitely more stylish than where we started.

Master bedroom before and after

The best descriptors for this makeover are three words: simple, DIY and personal.

Simple

We kept things simple by working with what we already had.

First up was fresh paint for everything: ceiling, walls, trim, the door and even the old garage sale dresser we bought when we moved into our first house. After going round and round on paint colour, I love the deep navy blue I chose for the walls (Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore).

White dresser with aged brass hardware

Paint took care of most of the transformation, but it only went so far.

For those that have been following along, you know the finish on the sliding closet doors was in pretty rough shape. I didn’t want to replace the doors though (remember, we were working with what we had), so I tried wallpaper for the first time. With a bit of help from my parents and two rolls of beadboard wallpaper, we added a nice country touch to the bedroom.

Navy and white master bedroom

Where we didn’t go country was the lighting. Matt’s reaction when he first saw the chandelier was one word: “Liberace.”

Hello, sparkles.

Brass and crystal chandelier

Even with this light, we were still able to work with what we had (although not that awful ceiling fan, thank goodness) thanks to one of my co-workers. She invited me over to see her new (to her) house, and as we were eating dinner in the dining room she mentioned that they were going to replace the lighting. I said, “I’ll take it!” (Yes, I’m that dinner guest).

I wasn’t sure where I was going to use such a sparkly, brassy, glassy, shiny chandelier–we do live on a farm, after all–but it’s a perfect fit for this bedroom. Navy, brass, sparkle, white, wood… yes, please.

I love this view when I’m lying in bed. Also lovely is the smooth unstippled ceiling above it.

Brass and crystal chandelier

Which brings us to the DIY stage of this makeover (not that painting and lighting aren’t DIY).

DIY

Scraping the stipple ceiling was definitely the most involved DIY in this room. The other DIYs were much easier, but, given my lack of motivation throughout this makeover, tedious.

Well, not completely tedious. I knocked out a couple of hookboards really quickly. Having lots of hooks behind the door helps to corral the piles of clothes that appear so regularly in our bedroom. And if I’m being honest, these hooks are usually smothered in pyjamas and dog-walking clothes, not a pretty scarf and handbag–although Matt’s baseball cap is genuine.

Brass and white hookboards

The headboard was a difficult DIY just because I couldn’t decide what to do. Should it be upholstered? Painted? Curved? Square? It couldn’t stick up too high because it was going in front of the window. I didn’t want to spend too much money because some day post-whole house reno I hope to have a new master bedroom where I can build the wing chair style headboard of my dreams.

I finally decided on a simple wood headboard in an interesting shape. A leftover sheet of plywood and some careful cutting with my jigsaw fulfilled my vision.

After mixing a few cans of stain together, I was able to get a finish that’s a pretty close match to the nightstands from Matt’s childhood bedroom–although I had a really hard time photographing the headboard in front of the window, so I realize it’s kind of hard to tell.

I love the accents of the warm wood against the deep blue and bright white.

Navy, wood and white master bedroom

The other DIYs in this room involved a less typical power tool–my sewing machine. Although the fabric I sewed is a DIY staple–canvas drop cloths. I love the weight and the colour of these drop cloths. I used them for both the curtains and the bedskirt, and I will definitely be using them in future projects.

The window treatments will get their own post soon. They’re super simple, yet we have everything we could ever want: blackout blinds, bamboo blinds for style and full length pinch-pleated curtains–style and function

Navy and white master bedroom

Personal

The final guiding principle of this makeover–of my overall decorating philosophy–is to make it personal.

First up is the quilt on the bed. The quilt is from Walmart, but its patchwork pattern is special to me.

My grandmother was a quilter, so I’ve been exposed to this intricate handcraft my whole life. The double wedding ring pattern has been my favourite for years. I love the symbolism of having this pattern on Matt’s and my bed.

I admit, I wasn’t sure about the patterned quilt as this makeover progressed. So many rooms I see online are all about white or neutral bedding. I think that the quilt works in the room though, and it’s a lesson for me to use what I love, not what’s trendy or stylish.

Blue and white master bedroom

The other really personal element is the art that I chose.

The two pictures on either side of the bed are beautiful Audubon posters. On my side is a Great Blue Heron, an elusive bird that visits the pond occasionally. It’s always really special when I catch a glimpse of one. On Matt’s side is his favourite bird to see at the farm, the wild turkey.

Audubon prints

The final art can’t get much more personal, a family tree. I made each of my sisters a family tree like this when they got married with their wedding date in the middle circle. Now Matt and I have one of our own. (If you want one of your own, Martha–who else?–has a free template).

Fan family tree

So simple + DIY + personal. Plus six weeks (okay, a little bit more). Plus a whole lot of motivation from all of you reading along and all of the other participants in the One Room Challenge. Equals one beautiful master bedroom. Thanks so much for following along.

Visit Calling it Home to check out all of the other amazing reveals.

Woman vs. tarp

Baxter here with a garden update for y’all.

At least that’s what Julia says we’re making. It doesn’t look like any garden I’ve seen before.

Garden after the weeds have been burned

Two weekends ago, Julia lit the “garden” on fire. I used to love that spot of the field. The long grass was super, super sniffy. But now it’s gone. And I got to say, I didn’t love the fire. First, it was very, very big. I thought it was going to reach out and singe my furs. I’m a short-haired fellow. I don’t have many furs to spare. Second, I got all tangled up in the hose which was not very comfortable. And third, smoke makes me sneeze.

I went into the garden to check it out last Saturday. It’s not as sniffy as it used to be. But it didn’t make me sneeze either. I rolled around a bit ’cause that’s what I used to like to do in the long grass. It felt different, but it was okay.

Julia was not very happy after I rolled, and she decided to cover up all the ash.

She and Matt got out the World’s Biggest Tarp. Matt probably should have stayed with her in the garden ’cause it took her a long time to get that tarp unfolded. I dunno what’s so difficult. She’s got thumbs!

Even though she used the World’s Biggest Tarp, it still wasn’t big enough for the garden. Then she decided to use the big roll of carpet she found beside the garden. It wasn’t frozen anymore–I walked all over it and sniffed to make sure–but she still had a really hard time moving it.

Julia vs. the carpet was more interesting than Julia vs. the tarp, but she didn’t make a video of that one. I was sunbathing, but I opened my eyes every so often to watch.

I got up when she went to get Wiley. I keep an eye on that tractor. It took them a couple of tries, but they finally got the carpet into the front end loader. Then Wiley carried the carpet around the fence and dumped it in the garden. He’s pretty helpful even though he doesn’t have thumbs either.

It still took Julia a long time to lay the carpet all out, but eventually it was spread out in the garden. Even though the carpet was wet and dirty and buggy and had plants growing in it, it was nicer to lay on than the pokey dry weeds.

Julia wasn’t any happier when I laid on the carpet than she was when I rolled in the ash. After my afternoon walk with Matt, he took me from the front door right into the bathtub. That was not my favourite part of the weekend. Honestly, what’s the matter with a few smudges on my furs!

The carpet and the World’s Biggest Tarp and two other little tarps still aren’t enough to cover the whole garden. Plus, some of them blew around in the wind, and we had to spread them out again the other day.

Tarps on the garden

I think we’re going to be working in the “garden” for awhile yet. Hopefully it starts to look like a garden soon.