When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Minor injuries, swimming pools, and new vegetable gardens: Long weekend highlights

Around our house, one of the most reliable indicators that summer weather has arrived is the sorry state of Will's legs.  Hot, sunny days lead to a rugged landscape of bumps, bruises, scrapes, and scratches all over Will's lower limbs, acquired from the many hours he spends running, jumping, throwing himself across the lawn, diving through the air for balls, rolling around, and generally having a great time.

Based on the appearance of Will's legs last night, I'd say it was a wonderful first long weekend of the season!

After weeks of hearing Will lament in agony about having to wait for outdoor swimming season to start, we opened our pool last Wednesday.  Will checked the water thermometer every couple of hours whenever he was home and kept us all updated as the mercury crept upwards at a snail's pace.  Finally, on Sunday, the water temperature reached a "balmy" 65 degrees, and our impatient and determined adventurer announced that he was not going to wait any longer.  Is anyone really surprised that he was the first one in the pool this season?


I cracked up when a gasping Will emerged from the chilly water after that first jump in and announced, "Whoo!  That was brisk!".  

By yesterday, the hot temperatures outside raised the water temperature to a tolerable 70 degrees, and Noah joined his brother for some long awaited fun and games in the pool.  Matt and I sat in the welcoming shade of a green tree near the water to watch them, and I felt a wave of relaxation wash over me as I heard the boys laughing and splashing and remembered how good summer vacation always feels. 

But it's not quite summer vacation yet, and Matt and I spent a large part of the weekend working hard to make our yard a little haven we can all enjoy in the warm months.  Our biggest project was the completion of three new raised vegetable gardens, and I'm so excited about them I wanted to share them here.

Matt built the eight-by-five foot frames out of four-by-fours stacked three high, with about three feet of spacing in between each bed.  Building the gardens up like this allowed us not to have to dig out all of the grass in their bases; I read somewhere once that all you have to do is lay newspaper over the grass and then pile the soil on top.  This trick worked well the last time we built a garden and it is so much easier!  (In case you're wondering, the small posts sticking up at the corners are to hold a chicken wire fence once I get the garden planted -- we have lots and lots of local rabbits who would otherwise love to help themselves to our food!)

We filled the gardens with a mixture of black earth, rich compost material, and peat moss to provide a healthy growing medium for the seeds I'll be planting soon.  While browsing on Pinterest, I found many pictures of raised bed gardens that were surrounded by pea gravel and I really liked the look and functionality of that idea, so we finished our gardens off that way, too.  (I'm not sure how much Matt liked the idea when he had to lug and shovel bins full of rocks all over the place, but he really likes the end result, too!)

My favourite finishing touch to the project is the lavender that we planted among the stones in between the beds.  They add visual appeal and a lovely scent to the vegetable garden area, while still allowing us easy access to tend to the gardens themselves.  It felt great to see the garden area finished yesterday afternoon -- I can't wait to go pick out more kinds of seeds and plants than I've ever had room to grow before, and to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables!) of our labour later on in the summer.  I welcome any suggestions for veggies you've had success growing and loved eating, too!

Due to this weekend's work, Matt and I had legs that almost matched Will's in the number of bruises and scratches they bore.  But after a few hours of relaxation made possible by the extra day off we had yesterday, neither of us seemed to mind. 

Will eventually relaxed this weekend, too, in a tiny old rocking chair that used to be his (and before that, mine when I was a small child).  He found it in our basement storage room and decided on his own to lug it upstairs and keep it in his room because "it's just perfect" for him.  So sweet to see that my high-energy nine year old boy still hasn't outgrown his fondness for the calm and gentle motion of rocking.  I love this kid.

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful weekend, too!


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