Thursday, April 18, 2013

Working Girl

I've gotta tell ya: Working four days a week has really cut into my prime-time spring gardening time. But I'm still really loving the job, so I shouldn't complain. And seeing as how my friends in Minnesota just spent today shoveling 6 inches of snow, I'm damn thankful.

I'm also thankful that the Barn Nursery has some pretty cool people working there. After a bit of badgering, the dude in charge of perennials, Craig, had Mason and me over to check out his yard. People, it was truly magical.  It was a wild mix of whimsy and wonder, just packed full of the most fantastic selection of trees, shrubs and perennials. We had a lovely evening of beer on tap, shrimp off the grill -- and as a bonus, a bounty of viburnum saplings and other plants that quickly found a home in my burgeoning garden. Below is one of the many viburnums he gave me, this one a precious "shasta" from horticulture guru Don Egolf. Trust me, you should be impressed. This baby is going to be stunning in a few years!!

In other news, Mason's been laboring intensely on splitting the logs from a massive oak we felled weeks ago to make room for solar panels. The wood's grain looks like shredded wheat inside, greatly complicating his efforts. Just ask Colleen -- she helped split some while she was here two weeks ago.

And I spent the past two days roto-tilling one-and-a-half yards of compost into a stretch of dirt that will become our last little patch of grass up here on Flat Top.  As long as tonight's storms don't wash away all my efforts, I should be able to get the seeds planted tomorrow ... after work.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Guns and Gardens: Flat Top Edition

Our friend and former Star Tribune co-worker Colleen came to visit us for a long weekend. After four days here, she's convinced we could open a boutique B&B/adventure destination here called Hillbilly Holiday, which would feature survival hikes through the woods, target shooting, tree-trunk rolling and her personal favorite: log splitting.  And after all that calorie-burning, there's the hammock, Mason's fabulous homebrews and my penchant for cooking too much food. Finish the evening off with a bonfire (which we did) and we may just have a money-maker!!

Alas, we did our best to show her a good time, and we also abused her just a bit with lots of firewood splitting (she has a blister to prove it) and an afternoon of shrub planting. (See those cute yellow Kaleidoscope Abelias we planted alongside the new gathering area? That table is a new feature of the area, too; I salvaged it from a Minnesota neighbor's trash years ago and finally got around to painting and varnishing it last week.)

Today was our last day together, so we did a little tour of downtown Chattanooga, enjoyed good food and cocktails at the Boathouse on the river, then came home to a little target practice. Only Mason excelled at clay target shooting, but Colleen is a pretty mean shot with a pistol. Me? Realllllly not my thing. At all.