Another busy and productive weekend has past.  Saturday saw the Hubs off to work, for both the boss and a side job while I baked up a fun cake order for a birthday and the Kiddo and I scrubbed down the house.  Saturday night the Kiddo (Midge as I so loving call our 5’7″ young lady as she’s still shorter than me) had a friend over to spend the night which guaranteed she would be utterly useless come Sunday.  Those two can stay up girl talking and watching movies till the sun rises. 

Sunday always finds me getting up early to medicate our Brony boy while Handsome and Midge sleep in.  By 9 am I am itching to get them up and get the day started.  The best way to do this is to start cooking breakfast.  Sundays are special, it is the only morning that we have an indulgent breakfast, all other days are grab and go style.  Sunday I cook us up something special, French toast, omelets, pancakes. This morning I chose breakfast burritos and cooked up sausage, red potatoes, red onion and scrambled some eggs with non-fat Greek yogurt.  Then I wrapped everything up with cheese and salsa in flour tortillas and served them with a side of fresh fruit.  That did the trick, the Hubby and the girls joined the world and we got the day started.

Once we were finished eating breakfast, the girls almost immediately retreated back to the cave of the kiddos room to lounge about and watch more movies (we are not big on TV in our house so the occasional brain wasting is ok, and maybe even needed for this girl as she works so hard every other day of the week). The Hubby and I moved on to begin attacking our lengthy to do list.  Of the many things we need to work on, the garden is taking priority right now as we want to get a Fall/Winter garden planted this year and the days are rapidly ticking by. I already have the potatoes going, I planted 1 of 3 pallets and we have been working on building raised planting beds for the vegetable garden and still had 2 of 3 to complete. 

Building the remaining to planters is where we began.  All the lumber had been previously cut to sizeImage

so screwing the boards together was my first order of business.  While I was doing this, The Handsome Hubby was cutting and creating posts that were to be attached to the boxes as supports for plastic bird fencing that will need to be put on in order to keep the chickens out of the planters.
The planters had to be assembled one at a time as they are large, 6′ square to be exact, see I had measured and done the math to figure out what size would fit with walking space around them and make the best use out of the lumber that comes in 8′, 10′ and 12′ lengths, I didn’t want any waste. What I forgot to take into account was how am I going to reach the center of each planter? They are big. Did I say that already? The assembly happened in the shade on the patio and then the Hubs and I just carried them out and put them in place in the garden. Easy Peasy right? Remember me saying they were big? Big equals heavy.
Once the planter sides were assembled we attach 1/4″ hardware cloth to cover the bottom and then cover that in weed barrier.  The hardware cloth is a very necessary, and costly, expense to keep from sharing our veggie plants with the tenacious gophers.  The weed barrier is because there are not enough hours in my days for me to waste even a minute on weeding. that and I really don’t like weeding.0915131315a

Have I said how incredibly lucky I am to have the husband I have?  He is fantastic, he would be off working on his part of the project, see that I was ready for hardware cloth and weed barrier, stop what he was doing and be at the ready before I could think of asking him to help.  It makes it so much fun to have such a great partner to work side by side with on projects that are for the improvement of our lives.  It really made the day and all the hard labor easier and, dare I say it, enjoyable.

We’d tag team the coverings, then he’d go back to his post work and I would head off to the chicken yard to dig, turn and level out the dirt where the planter was going to sit.  This is when The Flock joined in the teamwork.  As I dug and turned the soil, they got in there and scratched about, doing their very best to help level out the spot.0915131314b  Not really, they just loved the turned dirt to scratch in and find all sorts of tasty worms and grubs. Who was I to stop the fun, the extra protein from the bugs they find is very beneficial, so I would be forced to step back and drink my ice water while they rutted around, making sure not to overlook any of the protein filled goodies.

I disassembled the pallet pen, much to the chagrin of the Chicken Nuggets as they had just recently taken to starting each night off on the roost in it. They are still not fully integrated into the flock and start each night on either an outside roost or in a nesting box which then requires wither Midge or myself to collecting squawking birds up and place them on the roosting bar in the coop. One day this will change, sooner rather than later, we hope.

Once we had the planters in place, The Hubby loaded up a bucket with all the posts he had cut and assembled, gathered up this impact gun and screws and set about attaching them all. On the first planter we had installed only corner posts for the fencing. Chiquita promptly proved that center posts would also be necessary
Once all the posts were installed I came in with the fencing and staple gun and wrapped each planter up.
392 (Um yes, the last box is a little short on hardware cloth, my math skills failed me when making that purchase, stop laughing)

It wasn’t until I was half way through wrapping the second planter that it dawned on my we still have to fill each one with dirt. Oops. I was pretty pooped by this time, the brain was not functioning at full speed. The last planter I made the conscious (just barely) decision to put the start/end seam on the front side so we can just pull a few staples, fold back the front panel of fencing, dump the dirt in and then reattach the fencing.

Instead of hauling the pallets out, I chose to lay them where I will eventually place them. I need to find a few more that are only heat-treated for planting in. These do not have the HT stamp and may have been chemically treated so they will only be used for non-food projects in the future. I just wanted to see the garden all put together. Isn’t it lovely?

The large pots currently housing my scraggly tomato plants will become the permanent homes for 3 artichoke plants. The pallets will be planted with kale and chard, cabbage and leafy greens, & 3 varieties of lettuce. While I had the planter box frame on the concrete patio I used the opportunity to plan the layout of each with some chalk. (I am a visual learner)
Planter 1: Mustard Greens (Rabbit food), Spinach, Celery, 3 varieties of Beets (Detroit Red, Guardsmark & Gold)

Planter 2: Brussels Sprouts, Onions (red/brown), Broccoli, Carrots (Red, Orange, Yellow, Purple & Cream)

Planter 3: Peas, Garlic, Shallots, Radishes, Turnips, Parsnips (or maybe Leeks)

We also added the plastic fencing around the box that I have carrots and cauliflower in, I had hardware cloth just lying onto, but the Girls liked to stand on it making it bend in. Once the veggies grew tall enough it would be a tasty salad bar for them. The fencing should prevent that. The pallets will all be getting fenced in the same dark green and highly visual plastic fencing as the chicken wire that is currently around one of the pallets has proven to be to hard for the girls to see when they are rushing to greet us at the end of the chicken yard. They have had more than a few run ins that were comical from our vantage point but looked lees than enjoyable for the bird.


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