9pm, and I just got in from planting three of five fruit trees. Earlier in the day I’d pulled them up from where I had them potted, and I didn’t think it was a good idea to re-plant and re-pull them tomorrow… so I knew I had to plant them tonight come hell or high water. Josh was at work late, so I had the kiddo. I rode her back and forth in the wheelbarrow atop a few loads of topsoil and she wandered around for the most part, but when it finally got so dark that I was afraid that I could no longer see her if she wandered off, I tucked her in the wheelbarrow for safekeeping. She was tired enough by then that she didn’t seem to mind: she kept saying “weebuwow” and “STAHS!” and pointing enthusiastically at the sky.

Dumb trees. I spent 3 hours (and three blisters – I had to use the pickax to get through the clay! My yard is SO bipolar!) today digging holes for them that I was sure were super wide (twice the root ball) and deep… but does it ever work like that? When I had pulled the trees and was about to lower them into their holes I noticed that the durn rootballs fit the holes exactly – not a lot of room to stretch. And of course it was already too dark to dig bigger holes – especially with a pickax – and like I said they had to get planted tonight… so I planted three of them anyway. I hope they survive; it will probably be difficult for them with such a sharp delineation between their hole of rich topsoil and the surrounding stony clay crap. Cross your fingers for me.

But at least the structure of the garden’s really shaping up! It’s fun to see the pieces start to fit together!

Yesterday I got about 150 feet of landscape fabric laid and covered with 3-4″ of woodchips. This system works both in the dry parts to smother any weeds that might grow, and in the boggy parts it provides enough support that one can walk and even use a wheelbarrow. (I got the idea from a biotopo in Costa Rica – we couldn’t figure out what it was at first, because we could feel the ground shifting muddily under our feet, but the path was dry. Eventually Dada reached down and prodded it with his pocketknife… that’s when we realized that it was landscape fabric, probably quite expensive, and we had just poked a hole in a national park resource… and we all ran away. Remember, Dada?) :)

Keep in mind that each wheelbarrow-load of mulch only advances the path by 2 feet, and you’ll understand when I tell you that this little path here took me all day to complete, and that was with a ton of Big Beefy Man Help (the same Man who’s started to get the chicken coop up! See it? Woo hoo!) And now I have a clear and easy entryway into the garden.

The trees I’m currently planting are along this path; two on the further side and two on the closer side, 10 feet apart – they’re dwarf stock. Maybe when they leaf out I’ll take a picture of them, but right now they just look like sticks.

I’ve figured out a way to keep SofĂ­a occupied. I give her a wooden spoon and she rides in the empty wheelbarrow over to the woodchip pile. We dig together and she fills the wheelbarrow with me, balancing chip by chip on her little wooden spoon; then it’s “wheelbarrow time!” and she gets to perch atop the full wheelbarrow load as Mommy groans it up the hill. On the ground again she gets to count to 3, and on “thwee!” I overturn the wheelbarrow and dump the whole load of chips on the ground. Then she gets to stomp all over it while I rake it smooth. It seems to be a pretty good system for both of us. And just think how many calories she’s helping me burn! -laugh-

So that’s the progress for today and yesterday. This blog was my only break… now I have to head out to the garage and get some refinishing done.

Every muscle in my body is sore.

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