What a great week for getting outside this has been. There isn’t much we can do yet in terms of planting, the ground is still frozen in most places, but there are plenty of other things to be done.

On Thursday Bookman and I spent the day doing garden errands. We bought untreated 2 x 6″ cedar boards and had them cut into 3′ lengths to build two raised beds for blueberries. We bought a 55 gallon rain barrel and bricks to elevate it so there is a bit of water pressure and so we can get a bucket under the spigot. We bought composted manure for the veggie garden because we never get enough compost from our compost bin.

I got new gardening gloves. Let me tell you how much I love my new gloves. I have small hands and the gloves garden centers usually carry are always too big but I have to settle for them anyway because I have no choice. But at the local home improvement store they had Womans Work gloves. When I slipped on a size small it was as though the heavens opened up and angels began singing. I was so happy I did a little jig. But then I wanted to cry because the only size small gloves they had also had leather on them. A big black cloud floated across the heavens and the angels stopped singing. This vegan was almost ready to give in and get the gloves anyway, but lo! There was a pair of bright green youth-sized gloves without leather that had grippy palms and were water resistant. I pulled one onto my hand and — it fit like a glove! The black cloud disappeared, the angels began singing again and I was so happy I could have hugged the store worker who had been hanging about making sure I wasn’t going to steal anything. This is the first pair of garden gloves I have ever owned that actually fit. It seems like a silly thing to be so happy about, but a good pair of gloves makes a big difference when working. They don’t slip around on my hands and I don’t feel like I am going to drop things. Yay!

Other things we did outside. Pruning. We pruned Bossy, our green apple tree in the front yard. We lopped off a whole branch that has been hanging too low over our front walkway for a few years. We are timid pruners and have just been pruning little twigs thinking that would be fine. It never is. So this year we just sawed off the whole branch. I hated doing it but when the tree leafs out we won’t have to duck to walk under it.

We also pruned some suckers on our hazelnut tree. And we did a brutal pruning on our red twig dogwood. The dogwood was completely out of control, again because we are too timid. But the monster is so big I think we could have cut it back to a tiny shrub and it wouldn’t have hurt it.

Now we have some nice sturdy wood Bookman is going to trim up that we will use in the veggie garden as stakes for making twine trellis for cucumbers, squash and peas. Bookman is also thinking about “planting” the branch we sawed off Bossy without trimming it and growing morning glories on it. Not sure about that, but depending on where he wants to plant it, I’ll let him do it. Who knows, it might end up looking kind of pretty.

Minneapolis allows people to keep chickens and a friend of ours has five hens and a rooster. They are all named after characters from Battlestar Galactica which I think is most excellent. The only thing is they all look alike she can’t tell which one is which expect for Gaius the rooster and Starbuck, one of the hens who has a funny comb.

Gaius and two of his girls

Gaius and some of his girls

Our friend just did a big spring cleaning of the chicken coop and had lots of manure. She let us take home five bags of manure and straw. We built a pile next to our food and yard waste compost bin and added in some leaves we had piled up from last fall. By the end of the summer we should have some wonderful compost for the garden.

this is how you make gold

this is how you make gold

And in case you are wondering, no, it doesn’t smell.

It is still a wee bit early for starting seeds in our mini greenhouse, but Bookman put it together today so we will be ready.

mini greenhouse, some assembly required

mini greenhouse, some assembly required

Here it is sitting on our deck off the kitchen. Maybe next weekend we will have some pots and seeds in it.

ready for seeds

ready for seeds

A good gardening week! But lest you think it is gorgeous warm spring here, as I mentioned earlier, the ground is still frozen in some places, it snowed a little on Friday afternoon, and the temperature today was only 46F (7.7C). The forecast is saying cold and rainy with possibly a little snow mixed in almost every day this coming week. Too bad we didn’t get the rain barrel set up. But since there isn’t anything to water right now, it was low on the priority list.