A Ton of Dirt

Our deck handrails will be arriving at the lumberyard on Monday, which meant we had a weekend where exactly what we had to do was not precisely laid out for us.

Filling the planting bed with compost

I was not exactly at a loss for something to do because I have a whole chicken yard full of compost waiting to be dug out, sifted, and dumped in the planting beds, so that is pretty much what I did all day today. This is kind of tedious, but mostly it is totally filthy because at this time of year, the compost has completely dried out and sifting it is a big dust festival. Work up a sweat while doing it and you look like Pig Pen.

I have two seasons of compost emotion: "OMG it's too wet and rotty, I need more air holes and drainage!" and "OMG it's so dry I better water this and put it in containers with no air holes or it will never compost!" You can guess which season we are in now. So after I finished work for the day I watered everything down, though of course the ground is so dry it is slightly hydrophobic right now, so water was beading up and running off. That's the coastal desert for you.

Dug-up chicken yard

I worked all day and managed to remove about a quarter to a third of the compost that is all over the ground in the yard. You can't see it easily, but the ground level is easily six inches above where it started out, from chickens kicking compost on the ground and working at it. My goal is to get the level back down to the right spot again, where we do not have soil piled up against the chicken house walls or against the fences.

The girls do like the freshly-dug ground quite a bit, at least.

All that extra soil will go into the planting beds around the deck, where we need to do quite a bit of building up of the soil. I'd actually like to get that done soon, as I have those hostas I've been nursing in a planting tray for months, and I'd love to get them in the ground before winter sets in.

Noel's new chiminea

While I was doing that, Noel put tools from the deck away and bought a chiminea. We both think it's a bit cheesy and yo-ho-ho looking, but it was the right price, and stuff inside it burns nicely and safely.

posted by ayse on 08/26/12

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