Monday, May 14, 2012

Swiping ideas

On Sunday I gathered with some of my favorite women and had a lovely breakfast out.  Our server was an adorable early 20 something man and was so earnest about doing a good job.  It warmed my grumpy heart.  To say nothing of Eggs Benedict, a fresh fruit salad and about 4 cups of lovely tea.

We walked a bit after breakfast and stopped to admire a yard.  It was so lovely.  I've lived with my wild and rocky 2 acres for long enough that an actual yard is charming and foreign.  A small bit of green grass yard, some trees, some patches of plants, and a very cool strawberry bed.  I admired the way the bed was protected from the birds mightily.  I decided to swipe the idea.

We jetted off to the Home Despot to get the few raw materials I needed (best laid plans...) and I was dropped off at home to get to work (thanks Mer!).

As I started to assemble the raw materials, I found the plastic bag that I thought was bird barrier was, in fact, actually a bag of Spanish moss.  I know.  I was looking for something else when I ran across the bag and it was in the place where I distinctly remembered the bird barrier being.  I set it in a new place and told myself that I had a bag of bird barrier that I might someday do something with.  But, alas, on closer inspection of potential use it was a bag of slightly mouse chewed Spanish moss.  Not at all what I needed.  I spend a few minutes tearing through the basement muttering to myself and not finding what I needed.  Poop.

So back to HD for bird barrier.  It was totally nuts in the garden department!  Minor riots in the aisle for those flatbed rolly carts!  Hazards of children brandishing bamboo trellising materials!  Frantic people pushing carts loaded with huge stacks of bags of soil/mulch/cow poop!  It is amazing how we garden here in Colorado.  I saw people ahead of me spend hundreds of dollars on annuals.  Not this girl. I am not so fond of the annual.  I managed to survive and picked up the bird barrier, some new hose washers (where do they go? I buy a new package of them every year and only use 3 or 4), some pinks which are actually white, and a packet of parsley seeds.

So back home and tools and raw materials staged:

Stuff to make strawberry cages!

Gathered: a roll of bird barrier, some 1" square boards of various lengths, staples, staple gun, stakes, and a hammer.  And the packs of pinks.

Here is what I had kluged together earlier in the spring of some little plastic sections of low fencing.  The chickens chortle at the lowness and hop into what ever I try to fence, so I added the top part.  But it was really ugly and not all that protective.

Strawberries caged!  Ready to RUMBLE!!!
Stakes pounded about 5" into the ground with the hammer.

I took out the fencing, weeded really well, cut back the tons of runners (focus on the berries for now!), moved a plant that needed it, and pounded in the stakes.

Then the wrestling of the bird barrier commenced.  This stuff is seriously hard to handle.  It tangled in everything and blew around.

But the gist of what I did was wrapped this very thin plastic netting around the 1" square boards and stapled it down.
Staple gun, netting, staples, 1" board - easy, right?
 This is the idea I swiped: the little boards hold the netting down.  But when you want to get in, you can lift up the little board and slip your hand under to harvest your bounties of berries.  I figure if the chickens do figure out how to get under the little boards, I can stake them down with the "U" wires I made of scrap fencing wire a couple of years ago.  And the stakes hold the netting up so the birds can't peck through.

3 sides done, now the end board.
It looks really good, much cleaner and airier that the black low fencing.  I am hoping it is also much more protective.   I even pretended for a few minutes that the holes of the bird barrier 
were small enough to keep the grasshoppers out.  I was somewhat delusional.  I'll blame the sun.

So pretty!

And functional! 
I've learned to hedge my bets gardening here in Colorado.  So when I planted these little plants I was gifted a couple of years ago, I planted them in 5 different places.  4 of the places are still alive.  The largest planting was totally torn apart by the chickens who savaged it brutally.  Here are 2 of the other beds all protected.  I think I'll most likely move all of these beds together next fall.  It will make it easier to protect them next year.

2 small beds of strawberries to the south of the other one.
This is what I call my snack bed.  I keep talking about it.  But this is the pretties end of the bed with all sorts of white and blue/purple flowers.  To the right is where I planted the Art Deco zinnias flanked by a rescued Russian sage and a spirea bush.  Should be spectacular in the fall!  Hot pink!  Purple!  Purple!  White!  Silver!

Gardening encourages you to look into the future.  My future garden grows in my head.  I squint at the tags that tell me the eventual height and spread of the little tiny 2" pot of plant and I imagine it at the apex of it's bounty.  I take loving pictures of the proto-garden and am always surprised by all the dirt when I look back at the picture.  What I see in my brain is what the garden will/should look like.

If it grows into it's potential.

Like so many of us, the potential is just an ideal.  

But I do enjoy this garden.  I think I've finally figured out how to garden here.  It's been a real struggle.  I've lost so many plants.  I see their ghosts everywhere.  I think that may increase my pleasure with things like the purple pansies that are on their third year of beauty.  That was about the best $20 I've ever spent.  Last year they even seeded.  I'm curious to see what color the babies bloom.

I am really tickled with my riff on the strawberry bird barriers.  It ended up looking about 80% like what we saw in the tidy yard and about 20% my variations because my beds weren't up against the foundation of a house.

And they made it through a day without being destroyed by my marauding chickens.

I'd love to get a berry or two.  I think I have a chance.  I see the potential berries in my mind and think about eating them.  My ideal strawberry.  It could happen....

I thought I might have something profound to say about swiping ideas.  I've written (and erased) some crap about how it was when I was a kid, all stubborn about not getting any help with anything.  Bah.  It's true but it bores me.  I refuse to inflict it on you.

I think the important thing for me now is to keep open to the innovations.  It's easy to get settled into doing as you have always done it.  To do things the way you know how to do them.  You've got all the tools, all the plans, you know how it works - it works like it's always worked.  The courage to embrace the change.  The change you can control.  To look at how someone else has solved a problem, and make it yours.  That's living.

So not so profound as I had hoped.  But I am happy and hopeful.  That's good.

How is your garden?  What have you learned/swiped recently?


1 comment:

Sis said...

An amazingly subtle solution. Nicely done.
And darlin', for the record, you are still stubborn and refuse help on things. But we love ya anyway!
Sis