February 28, 2005


Today it is finally raining after two weeks of dry, sunny weather. That’s ok, we really need it. This winter has been very mild. Even the Cascade Highway (rte. 20) is opening early, the earliest it’s opened in the history of Washington State. We welcome the rain because part of the straw bale garden involves soaking the bales daily for about a week.

Speaking of the garden, I’ve included the latest pics. The straw bale garden is now constructed, painted and filled with straw. First we dug out the grass. Neighbor G took all the slabs of grass to fill in spots in his yard that his dog destroyed. Next, J measured and cut the wood. It’s shaped like a kite. Not quite on purpose but more because that is the shape that fits best. I painted the boards a lovely, psychedelic purple and then J joined them with hinges and screws (wood, screws and hinges provided by a generous grant from Underthehouse).

Next we placed the bales inside, cut side up. We added the bale we purchased last fall. You will notice in the photos that the old straw is already soaked and dark from sitting around for months. It had broken down nicely and plenty of worms were visibly working away underneath and inside. This is exactly what we want. After filling the structure with the straw, we lined it all with plastic. We don’t expect this thin plywood to last very long but this plastic lining might give us an extra growing season.

Keep in mind that any part of the garden at this point in time is a work in progress. None of it will look as pretty as it will once there are plants shooting up from the soil.
In other garden news, we repainted some of the garden beds to brighten them. Did lots of weeding and raking. Planted spinach, arugula, white onions, peas, thyme, marjoram and yuen sai, a Chinese parsley similar to cilantro.

With the weather so nice we spent most of the weekend outside. Aside from yard work we walked to our favorite co-op and Trader Joes’s and filled our backpacks with tasty items. The co-op, Madison Market, has a superb bulk section. We can bring our own containers and leave with plenty of great food and spices. We also just sat on the deck for a while. It’s nice to just sit there and relax after digging and hauling for two days. You feel sore but it’s the soreness of accomplishment. Much more satisfying than the soreness of sitting on one’s ass all day. Enjoy the photos. And don’t forget to check out the archives if you’re bored and want to catch up.

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