The weekend started with filling up the bird feeders, to the delight of the feathered residents. We've had a few new species take up residence in the yard this year. So far we have identified the Junco, a female Purple Finch, and a Goldfinch with different facial markings. Normally, we have the American Goldfinch but this year we have a very bright yellow male with a black face and a little black on his throat. We don't know if it is a new variety or just an unusual variation in markings. PeterC thinks we have a Grey Cheeked Thrush though neither of us got a close enough look to be sure.
While the birds celebrated we moved on to the dirtier tasks. PeterC spent the whole day Saturday trying to clean up the piles of branches from the tree and hedge trimming last year. While he hauled, chopped, and stacked brush I turned and aerated the three compost bins; sealed the roof of the platform feeder with Spar Urethane; mulched the freshly planted herbs; and turned one of our garden beds using the double dig method for a deep blending of soil and compost.
Sunday, PeterC continued with the brush piles and added picking up fallen branches from the fern bed. While he did that I removed all the soil from our planter boxes, mixed sand into the soil, repaired the planters as needed, moved them to another section of the yard, and refilled each box with a loose fill of good rich earth. The planters used to be over by the garage but we found they didn't get enough sun and got far to much rain to grow vegetables very well. This year we hope the new location will be a good choice for growing some of those extra climbing beans we ordered from the seed house.
Our neighbour on the east side has a small tiller and he offered to come over and till our garden beds to repay PeterC for giving him a hand moving his gazebo Saturday evening. I liked the idea since turning the beds by hand is quite strenuous labour and is hard on winter softened hands. PeterC wasn't so sure about the idea but he couldn't refuse as it was a very sweet offer. Unfortunately, raised beds are not very conducive to tiller usage so we'll have to turn them again by hand before we plant next week.
Speaking of the garden beds I am proud to announce that not only is our lettuce a ½ inch high, but the potatoes and beets have sprouted as well. Even the herbs I planted last Thursday seem to have taken well to their respective locations. As long as the cold weather being predicted for the middle of this week isn't too cold and I get the cloches over the herbs, we are going to have a beautiful and early garden this year.