Garden Prep in the Shire

Here in the Pacific Northwet (not a typo) it is cause for jubilant celebration when the daytime temperatures reach the 50s, especially when there is a lull from the rain for a day! This is when all in the Shire turn their attention to winter clean-up and garden prep. I am so excited to be getting my herb garden back!!! Taking a trip to the market and paying premium prices for the seasonings I am so used to merely stepping out the door to procure just chaps my hide. An executive decision had to be made! The beds that had been removed in order to redo the porch into a cement patio have got to make a comeback…and quick! PLUS…why stop with just bringing back the herb beds in front of the porch when having some premium vegetable space is so alluring as well! So we started with getting the beds made to fit the space available.

My first executive decision was to call our nephew who is a contractor and an artist. Was he interested in taking on the small task of building raised beds in between his house building/remodeling/etc. projects? He was more than happy to help us out! He set to work and they arrived a couple of days ago!

Here’s a view of the basic set up plan. Right now the boxes have only been loosely placed in their respective locations, and will need a lot more work to get them leveled, seated, and ready for the soil. The ones directly in front of the porch will be for herbs and the three to the left (south) will be for veggies.

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Here is a closer view of the boxes. They are made from galvanized roofing material, designed with cedar on top (at knee height) for ease of sitting on while planting and maintaining the beds. The bottom outside frame is weather resistant lumber to withstand the wet ground so prevalent here in the Northwest. The wavy corrugation of the metal is for added strength. Josh does beautiful work in every project he takes on, and I had no doubt the finished product would be exactly as I envisioned in my mind. I’m still not disappointed! Ever!

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A couple of years back, when we had Josh design and help us install our cement porch, I had asked him to put a 45 degree angle on the north end of it to make it easier for the hay delivery traffic to negotiate the path between the house and the barn. When making the bed to go in front of that section, I asked him to continue the theme:

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Yes, that is green moss/mildew/algae/goo that has set up shop on the stairs. Here in the land of rain, that’s how we can tell the north side of everything! We have had a very wet (even wetter than usual for the PNW) and cold winter this year in the Shire, and are only now recovering from 10 inches of snow, followed by torrential downpour and windstorm that took out the power for many days for this area. Spring cleaning is soon coming, but will wait until the dirt moving and bed prep is complete before we “make pretty”.

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Here’s the inside of the bed. The corrugated metal is vertical, rather than horizontal, for added strength and support for the outward pressure of the soil when we add it.  The herb beds are just over 2 ft. wide (inside dimension) and a total of over 24 ft. in length. All of them are 18 inches high.

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The three vegetable beds are on the south side of the house with the greatest sun exposure. Each one is  just under 3.5 ft. wide by 8 ft. long.

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The sheep and  alpacas were very interested in what we were up to on our side of the fence, especially this afternoon when this arrived:

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  I was so excited to have the organic garden soil arrive that I completely forgot to take pictures of the very large dump truck that hauled it in from Vern’s Organic Topsoil ( in the north end of the Shire. Nor did I remember to snap some shots of Erik, the driver, who was such a delight to visit with during the delivery.

Ahhhh…the smell of rich garden soil is an olfactory marvel and thrill!

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The dogs were rather bewildered though, seeing a fabulous mountain of (untouchable) soil in their front yard. What?! What do you mean we can’t have a party in it?! But it looks so enticing!

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Peppercorn the alpaca gave her approval for our gardening plan, knowing she will be a recipient of some of its bounty. Ginger, her sister, was busy elsewhere stuffing her face in gleeful anticipation of the future feast.

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And the wooly bullies decided it might not be a bad idea in the long run…they will just have to wait and see.

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All is good in the Shire. Spring is just around the corner! The plan has been set in motion, and we await its completion! Now…on to the seed catalogs!

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Deuteronomy 11:13: And it shall be, if listening you will listen to My commands which I command you today, to love YAHWEH your Elohim, and to serve Him with all your heart, and with all your soul, 14 that I will give the rain of your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, and your new wine, and your oil. 15 And I will give grass in your fields for your livestock; and you shall eat and be satisfied.



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Playing and Plying


Pr 31:19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.

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What Meditation Looks Like

6354 - Tragoton-

I’ve been learning how to spin this last year…a friend has been mentoring me on her wheel. But recently, another friend decided she’d loan me her antique Tragoton (ca. 1870) to try my hand at. It’s been so wonderful! I cannot tell you how meditative and calming it is to spin! With our world becoming increasingly stressful, I understand why the lost art of spinning is making a resurgence.

Ex 35:25All the skilled women spun with their hands, and brought what they had spun, in blue and purple and scarlet material and in fine linen. 26 All the women whose heart stirred with a skill spun the goats’ hair. 27 The rulers brought the onyx stones and the stones for setting for the ephod and for the breastpiece; 28 and the spice and the oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. 29 The Israelites, all the men and women, whose heart moved them to bring material for all the work, which the LORD had commanded through Moses to be done, brought a freewill offering to the LORD.

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The Snow Day

Waking up to an enchanted panorama of snow, the Hobbit decided it would be a simply delightful day to bake some gingersnaps. So he pulled out the the recipes from his hobbit kin in the Norsk shire and proceeded to whip together an olfactory sensation unable to be surpassed. The fragrance filled our hobbit hole with soothing, inviting aromas, making our mouths water in anticipation. Once upon the tongue, the taste is too marvelous for words…more an emotional journey rather than a gastronomic experience. Our mind takes us to memories of long ago…warm moments of fellowship and conversation with kith and kin…merriment and festivities…a spot of tea with dearest of friends brought together in warm communion of spirit. Ahhh, snow days.

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Spring is Just Around the Corner


Spring is Just Around the Corner Mountain

In the light of a king’s face is life, and his favor is like a cloud with the spring rain.
How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!
And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.
~Proverbs 16:15-16

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The Lady and the Craft

The Lady and the Craft

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do
than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

“Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters;
they have seen the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep.”
~ Ps. 107:23-24

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Cozy Storm

Today was a fabulous wind storm…gusty and quite intense. You know when the evergreens are snapping back and forth in their revelry with the swirling air currents that there is a serious tempest going on! They normally stand so tall and straight, seldom showing movement, but today it was as if they were reaching out to catch the thousands of whirling golden leaves cavorting through the air, as if the Ent maidens had returned and a festive gala had commenced with much dancing and merriment.

At times though, such gaiety can have unwanted repercussions of being unplugged…the quiet stillness only broken by the sound of the wind in the trees. Inside, the world has become silent, primitive, peaceful, still. Void of technologic distraction. It has become real again. The soothing ambiance of days of old. A slower, gentler time giving opportunity for peaceful reflection.

As the light of day begins to fade, the ancient oil lamps are placed to shine their warm radiance throughout the Hobbit house, shadows dancing as the light flickers and sways. Snuggled together on the sofa with a kitty on a lap and puppies by our side, all is well.

Prayers go out to those valiant souls seeking to restore energy to the Shire…for their protection, comfort, and wisdom…as well as traveling mercies for all Hobbits having to venture out in nature’s passionate gaiety.

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Psalm 23
A Psalm of David.
YAHWEH is my shepherd; I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me to waters of rest; He restores my soul; He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil;
for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table for me before ones vexing me;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of YAHWEH for days without end.

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