In Superhero form she's an expert on international nuclear safety, but in human form she's a hillbilly farmgirl. I'm talking about my wife, the Diplomat, soon to be renamed Hillbilly Farmgirl. Each day, 9 to 5, she makes important decisions that I won't pretend to understand but on the weekend she's got vegetables on her mind: a garden full of vegetables.
That's her dream. It probably comes from her grandmother who has gardened and canned her way to supermarket minimalism buying just hot dogs, eggs, milk, and bread. Grammy, as she's known, has successfully managed a small 400 square foot garden that provides her with year-round beans, carrots, broccoli, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and many other things including something called swiss chard. Grammy grows her vegetables during the short summer in Maine and then cans enough for the rest of the year. She trained Hillbilly Farmgirl. Now Hillbilly Farmgirl wants her own vegetable garden. A big garden. A garden that would make Grammy proud. The problem, of course, is that we live in a townhouse. That means our West Virginia mountain just got re-zoned from recreational to agricultural. I love re-zoning. Re-zoning requires a lot of earthwork.
The first step was leveling the land. We did that last fall, terracing about a quarter of an acre. This was no easy project. The land slopes at about 4:1. The ground is about 20% rocks. Even with my Bobcat 763 this was back-breaking work. The Bobcat could handle the large rocks without a problem and was helpful in exposing the smaller rocks but using the Bobcat to pick up all these small rocks was as effective as vacuuming up a thousand paperclips. It's sometimes easier just to bend over and pick up stuff yourself.
I estimate we moved about 10,000 pounds of rocks by tossing them in the Bobcat bucket and toting them away. We used the largest rocks to build a seven-foot high retaining wall which separates the upper terrace (upper garden) from the lower garden. Now we've got two areas of native soil each about 700 square feet.
But that's just the start of it. Turns out the best place for the garden happened to be in the middle of an important road we built in 2008 that gives us access to most of our land so that meant building our very first bypass, aptly named, the Garden Bypass.
Up next…building our garden fence…building the greenhouse…and hopefully planting veggies.
Hillbilly Farmgirl at work!
Grammy in her kitchen.
Should give you an idea of the slope of the land.
This is what happens when you overload the bucket. Don't worry, it's safe.
Awesome views every morning out there.
The biggest rock thus far. Probably 1000 pounds.
Looking my best in the cab of the Bobcat
There I am, very proud, for some reason.
Gollum, an avid Jenga player.
We visited this waterfall during a February trip to Western Maryland. Thought I'd throw it in.