Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Garden Fence


 This spring our big project was putting in a fence around our vegetable garden.  We've always wanted to add a fence, but it became a necessity this year to act as a deterrent for the chickens when they're out foraging around the yard.


When debating different options, we kept coming back to a picket fence.  At my childhood home, we always had a white picket fence around our yard, so this project brought back a host of memories for me!

Last year our vegetable garden was sized 20x40, which worked really well for us, so we settled on 24x40 when working on our fence plan. 


 That size meant just under 300 pickets!  The boards are reclaimed wood, so Justus actually had to cut the picket on every single board and then I sanded every single picket... and eventually painted every single picket.  Whew, yes, it has been labor intensive!  But oh, I love it.  The reclaimed wood, while not perfect, definitely lent a feeling of this fence having been here for a while. 


 When looking at a picket fence, I never imagined there would be so many details we would need to iron out first.  Where would the rails be placed (to the inside, outside or center of post)? Would the posts be visible?  How tall would the posts be?  How tall would the pickets be?  How much space should be left under the pickets?   As we were looking at different options, we just happened to come across an old picture of my aforementioned childhood picket fence, and knew its design was perfect for our fence.  As you can see, the posts are only visible from the inside, and the rails are placed to the outside of the posts, so it was easy to nail the pickets on.

We spent hours (yes, hours) making sure our posts and pickets were perfectly square and level.


 One of my favorite details was adding this old iron gate.  This came from my brother's previous 100 year old home, and Justus really had to warm up to the idea of using it, but I think it's safe to say that we both love how it turned out!


 I love its old time charm and character.



  Once our fence was in place, Justus used old bricks from our home's previous chimney to create a little landing and purposely gave it a bit of a rustic look - the reclaimed wood, old iron gate, and old bricks all working together to create a fence that fit with our home. 


 The garden remained in the same location as previous years - convenient to our back door and kitchen.



 As you can see, I only have a small portion of the garden in.  This weekend I added some tomatoes and peppers.  I have a lot of work to do these next few weeks!  (smile) 


 The back end of the garden, where the spring peas are growing...


 Although the chickens are perfectly capable of flying over the fence, so far (knock on wood), they've stayed out and we've been very strict about keeping the gate closed! 

We're so happy with the way the fence turned out, particularly since vegetable gardening is such a part of our lives now.  And I can't help but smile every time I look at it - thinking of my girls growing up with a white picket fence, just as I did.  (smile)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Snowballs in April


 This week of April brings back so many memories for me.  Six years ago we brought our darling newborn baby home from the hospital to a glorious spring day.  At the time my mom still lived across the country, but she had flown to Alabama (where we lived at the time) to spend nearly a month with us.  It was the first southern spring I had experienced where I wasn't sitting in an office, and my mom and I had one of the best months ever enjoying the time with our new precious baby girl (while poor Justus had to work).  Since then I always anticipate this week of April, because I know it brings greener grass, warmer days and blooms aplenty.


 Now that we live in Tennessee, I also know this time of year brings a blossoming snowball bush and I love to fill our home with their fluffy white blooms. 


 When making a large bouquet, there are usually little blooms towards the bottom of the branch, just perfect for making a tiny bouquet. 


 Who knew an old jar that held peanut butter could look so pretty?  (wink)



And yes, even a large bouquet for the kitchen.   It's the first room I wander to in the morning and the blooms are a lovely reminder that spring is in the air.  


This past Sunday Jillian turned six years old and I can hardly believe how the time has flown, and yet so many wonderful memories have been made.  It just makes me want to savor every day I have with my family, being thankful for all that we have. 



Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter


I hope you and your family have a lovely Easter weekend! 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cedar Poles in the Garden


Last year I saw Monticello's Gardens featured in a couple different magazines and I was so inspired by the organic materials used as supports in the vegetable garden that I knew I wanted to incorporate a few of the same ideas in our own vegetable garden. In particular, the poles used to support climbing beans and peas.  

Founding Gardener
Image via Martha Stewart

I included a picture of the gardens there... isn't it amazing?  One day I'd love to visit in person.

I showed Justus the pictures I had gathered and expected him to laugh, but he was all for the idea and said there were so many fallen cedar trees at my parents' farm that it would be easy to gather some to use.  One afternoon we bundled up for a hike in the woods and gathered cedar poles.  The poles needed to have the limbs removed first as you can see.


We used three poles per "trellis" and buried the base of the poles in the ground.


The tops of the poles are tied together with some jute rope. 


Yesterday the girls and I finally got the spring garden planted: lettuce, kale, broccoli and peas.  The poles will hopefully be a support for the climbing peas.

P.S.  You can see a glimpse of our new garden fence pictured.  I can't wait to show the entire thing to you, particularly since that will mean I've finished painting!  With nearly 300 pickets, it's taking me awhile.  (smile)

Have a wonderful weekend! 


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