Moving Heaven & Earth

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Weather was yucky for most of March, so we focused on things indoors. My big job was cleaning an original oil painting that I’ve been lugging around for decades. Cleaning an oil painting means working with a Q-tip and swabbing/cleaning one spot at a time. Since the painting is 5’x3-1/2′, it took most of the month. The first picture below somewhat shows midway the difference in the colors. The second is the final result.

The painting looks drab in the photos, but the colors are actually subtly vibrant.

Now that it’s finally warmer and non-wet, we figured out where our garden is going to be this year. It will be a 40′ x 20′ area for our first year.

I’m working the soil in the way my grandfather taught me — and the way his grandfather taught him, even though its a lot of work. Instead of attacking the area with a rototiller, this old method means digging in with a shovel and manually pulling out the weeds and sifting through the dirt, breaking up the clumps, and eliminating all roots from the soil.

Leaving the roots (whole or broken up), invites weed production later.

After the entire area is cleared of the weeds and their roots, then I will throw on top all the compost I’ve been making all winter and rototill everything together. Then let it rest for at least four days or until the next waxing moon (whichever is last) to begin planting. Here’s the before and after of one tiny corner.

I will be planting the Three Sisters together in the traditional manner, but all the rest of the veggies (onions, tomatoes, etc) will be more-or-less in the modern rows. I’m debating whether to plant perenials like garlic in the garden area or in the herb bed or in a separate area near our planned barbeque area. What do you think?

Hate to admit this, but after cleaning that one little patch (shown above), I felt like I had been run over by a steam roller. Gads, I am soooo out of shape! Of course, my aches have nothing to do with the fact that I’m almost 70 years old — it’s just that I’m out of shape!

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