I have a new tiller for my garden!! I have wanted a tiller for decades. Seriously. I’ve been pining for one since before I bought this house.
My last update stopped before I got to the part about the yard work. I’ve been outside working for three to five hours on five of the past seven afternoons. My property is very fertile, and it keeps getting away from me. Last year, between my being off at conventions and events from March to October, and all the rain, I completely lost control of the yard work, but I hadn’t kept up with it the year before, either. This spring, my back yard was becoming engulfed with bushes, saplings, small trees, huge fallen branches, and tall weeds, blocking all the light and making most of the area unpassable. The little screen house, which is falling to wrack and ruin anyway, was so overgrown I could hardly get to the door. I was totally fiending to get out and do yard work and I felt like I couldn’t take the time. I seethed when my friends talked about their gardens and hated every gorgeous sunny day that I had to spend glued to the computer.
But I got some tasks wrapped up, or at least at a breathing spot, and I decided to at least try and get the lawns mowed. I have an electric mower, and if the grass, at least in a few of the thickest spots, gets too tall, the mower won’t go through it. Either I have to let it go for the season (hate that), weed-whack it (which is awful, this is not a nice little city building lot, this is a former orchard on a rural road with a house dropped into it) or pay someone to come in with a honking power mower (haven’t done that yet, but last year was the first time ever that I paid someone to clear the fall leaves).
So, on Monday, I thought I’d get all the tools and equipment out, arrange the monster electrical cord, clean and organize and WD-40 everything, and have it ready to go out and mow the lawns on Tuesday. I did that, and then I tried the mower out, to make sure it was working okay. I mowed some of the back, then I thought I might as well do the heaviest parts of the front yard rather than give them even one more day to grow higher.
Then I kept right on going! I got the whole front yard mowed on Monday, and I was in total bliss. What a load off my mind! And it was the nick of time, too.
On Tuesday, I finished up the back yard mowing, and then I fired up the chain saw. (Remember the chain saw that’s been sitting plaintively in my kitchen, scaring the Census taker and guilt-tripping me? I found its bottle of bar oil, too, so no excuse there.) I’ve been cutting and cutting and cutting–cutting down and then cutting up, into fire wood lengths. I had a huge brush pile that’s been sitting in my back yard for at least two years. It is now entirely gone. The whole back yard is so much lighter and tidier. But I have a lot more to do. I want as much of my property as possible to get as much sun as possible so I can really have garden space. I wanted a minimum half acre of land in mixed zoning so I could homestead and produce my own food. I don’t want to live in a wood lot! I may be taking down some pretty large trees.
I also decided to “repurpose” the little screen house. I’m hoping I can turn it into a greenhouse, something else I’ve wanted for years and years. I’ll have to keep you posted on that. It’s a strong possibility but I need to cut a lot more trees and branches to get enough light to that part of the yard. I’m also finally getting rid of junk and crap that’s been sitting in the yard or in the screen house for years. There are all sorts of reasons I haven’t done that before now, but I’m sick of it, the place looks like a dump.
Last year, I put tarps down in several places to kill the grass and clear areas for garden patches. That worked pretty well, but those patches have to be tilled up and cultivated now or they’ll just grow right back. It’s hard to rent a tiller that doesn’t require a pickup truck and at least one other person to even transport it. I’m now at a point where I need to dig the garden patches and plant, after which I can continue cutting and clearing and redoing the screen house at my leisure. It’s a little late to be planting but we were still having freeze warnings only two weeks ago, and the growing season runs later in the fall now.
So, today, I took a break from working outside, because I hurt all over and I have bruises all over from vigorously breaking up firewood against my shins and getting whacked by things that fought back (heh). I started thinking again about tillers. I decided to look at tillers online. I looked at Sears.com, and they had an electric tiller. All my tools are electric, I didn’t know you could get an electric tiller. It wasn’t a bad price, but it still was more than I felt I should spend.
Then I remembered that I have a $100 prepaid Visa card from Verizon–a bonus for signing up with them for my Internet and phone bundle. I didn’t want to just fritter that away, but I wasn’t sure what to use it for.
Then I remembered that I have all these Cashback Bonus dollars in my Discover account, because I charge all my big purchases on the Discover card and then immediately pay off the full balance. I never used that, because I always forgot it was there.
The tiller at Sears was already $60 off MSRP, and that sale price ended today. If I ordered online, I got an additional $15 off. I could order and pay online for in-store pickup at the Sears up at Pheasant Lane Mall, meaning no shipping fees. And they had one tiller left in stock.
So, I put the order through, and within a half hour I got an email saying I could pick up the tiller. Sears is only open until 6:30 p.m. on Sunday and I’d assumed I’d have to go pick it up tomorrow. I drove up to Nashua and got the tiller. I can till the garden patches tomorrow!
I have a tiller! My very own tiller, at last! I can prep the gardens in the fall and plant early spring crops next year! And you know what it’s going to end up costing me out-of-pocket, after the sale price, discount, Verizon card and bonus dollars? About $30. Now that’s what I call a deal. I’ll let you know how well it works!
(I did dig the entire front yard garden patch by hand, with a mattock, spades and digging fork…once. That was all the character-building I need, thanks. The next time I do that, it will have to be a life-or-death survival situation. *wry smile*)
I’ve been noticing something rather odd this spring. Things are running about ten days ahead of their normal schedule. Has anyone else been struck by this? The dandelions, for example. The dandelions in my yard used to bloom on May 1, like clockwork. I was always amused by the way the dandelions all popped open on Beltane. This year, they all were blooming in mid-April. Now it’s the blackberries. Last summer, the rain in June ruined my blackberry crop. It rained all the time the canes were in flower, destroyed the blossoms and I only got a fraction of the berries I would have gotten (and then I lost some of those because I went to Montréal right when they peaked). All my blackberries bloomed this week. I don’t ever remember the blackberries blooming before June. I always notice because they have the sweetest fragrance on earth. I couldn’t find any flowers to put on the altar for my Beltane ritual on May 5, except a few violets. Everything I usually gather for the Beltane decorations had already blossomed and faded. (ETA: The peepers were early this year, too. Last year I didn’t hear them until March 31, this year they started on March 19.)
It’s just…odd. But I should get a terrific crop of blackberries this year, if the weather holds!
I found a lilac sapling growing up behind the house. I used to have big lilac bushes that bloomed heavily every spring. My mom loved lilacs. Every Mother’s Day I’d take her a huge bouquet of lilacs from my bushes. But after my mom passed away in 2006, all my lilac bushes died. I had no idea why.
Now this little sapling has sprung up, four years later. I’ll nurture it carefully and see how it fares. I miss my lilacs, I love them, too.