Quarantine Fun in the Garden

I hope everybody is staying home and stopping Covid-19 in its tracks. We basically haven't left the property since the 15th, except for a brief foray today. My business has slowed to a standstill, so I've had lots of time to dig around under the deck and do other stuff.

Right after we got back from our trip I started the project of digging the tank out and reinforcing the sides of the hole better.

Progress under the deck: four blocks in place

Progress under there is slow but steady. I'm too old to go under there and work for eight hours straight, even if I wanted to, plus it keeps raining. My plan is to spend at least an hour a day working on this as my exercise for the day, and that's been OK so far.

The way I'm working is to basically dig out as I can, then set a few blocks in place, allowing me to use some of the soil I dug out to backfill them, then dig more. I did that until the amount of spoils dirt got too large to dig out enough for the next block.

I made a giant pile of soil

The limiting factor is that I'm rapidly running out of room to put my spoils dirt in the space between the deck and the side fence while still being able to get under the deck to work.

Also, those blocks weigh like 50 lbs each, so moving them around is not trivial work.

Soil and soil sifter with the wheelbarrow

Today, because I'd used up all my space, I moved spoils dirt away. I sifted two wheelbarrow loads of it and spread one of them over the plantable permeable paver section of the driveway. The other I sifted and then left to do tomorrow. That cleared most of one of those big piles of dirt out of the way, so I began shifting the second pile, because it turns out I need to dig where the second pile is.

Yesterday I had a brief interruption of work while I let this guy cavort in the grass a little:

Skunk next to the beehive

He's been living under neighbor's shed behind us, evading capture. Now he seems to have moved into the space between the broken old fence on the property line with our crazy laundromat neighbor who pretends not to speak English when we call (eyeroll) and our fence that we built a foot onto our property because he's a nutcase and we're not dealing with him any more.

I'm not sure what to do about the skunk, much like the laundromat property owner, though with fewer threats of lawsuits.

Also in process is a fairly large project.

Fig tree growing in the compost

I'm cleaning up the chicken yard and chicken shed so we can get a new flock this year. Our old chickens stayed with our neighbors while construction was happening, until they had all died. So we are starting over this year with six new chickens, plus raising five for our neighbors who also keep chickens.

Oh, yeah, that's a fig tree inexplicably growing out of the compost pile. I pulled it out because nobody needs that.

New chick brooder

In service of raising chicks this year I was going to build a new brooder, but with everything closed and quarantine and everything I decided it would be more worth my time to buy one. So this is what I got.

I'm not sure it's going to be great; the top is riveted on and it's not very tall, which seems like a bad design decision. I'll give it a try, and maybe by the time the chicks are big enough that the height is a problem, I can build something better. I also have a prefab coop that the old chickens stayed in while in exile around the corner, so when they get old enough they can live in that with a heating pad for the nights.

Also, if you are wondering how Hive Baby B is doing, they decided they didn't like the boxes I gave them and took off one morning this week. That does happen with swarms sometimes; I didn't lock them in so they had an increased chance of absconding. Which is fine because I still have one really large hive and I have a ton of work to do in the yard without having more bees to take care of.

posted by ayse on 03/28/20