I’m going to make this short on words and mostly pics because I’m actually, short of words right now. Knees aching, back aching, zits on my forehead from wearing a hat two days in a row, dirt under my nails that won’t come out, but two great big things accomplished:

  1. We got the back quarter, formerly known as the weed forest, tilled and planted (remember this post about the weed forest, sorry I don’t have before shots but trust me, it was a forest).
  2. And DH replaced the kitchen sinks old, iron, rusted drain plumbing in the basement, that I broke during the bake sale prep (shavings from six carrots that I was in too much of a hurry to take to the compost bin overloaded the pipe and no amount of snaking would clear it).

So, there, two people and two great big accomplishments, hence the title above. But I’m only showing photos for the gardening segment because our kitchen pipes are not photogenic. And everyone knows what a rusty old pipe vs. a shiny new PVC pipe looks like, eh?

DH going over what I already tilled. This quarter of the back yard got tilled 3 times, with DH apologizing to all the worms along the way.

DH going over what I tilled once. This quarter of the back yard got tilled 3 times, with DH apologizing to all the worms along the way. He's such a critter lover.

He's doing this with cracked heels mind you, what a guy, eh?

He's doing this with cracked heels mind you, what a tough guy, eh?

Note about the tiller: The tiller was on loan to me from Jessica at the Forest Park Community Garden, of which I’m also a member. They’re toying with the idea of including the tiller in the Tool Lending Library for garden members. Because this is a pretty big tool, I suggested they require borrowers to have a valid driver’s license and leave their car as collateral ;-] Jessica won the tiller from Troy-Bilt at the Chicago Spring Fling conference for garden bloggers a couple weeks ago (Troy-Bilt was a major sponsor of the conference). Lucky dame!

This tiller does an exceptional job. It’s the Super Bronco model and yes, even a girl can do it, one handed (unless she’s maneuvering a corner or blowing kisses at her DH).

My nexzt task—because I can't afford to fill raised beds this year—is to rake as much of the tilled soil into mounded beds. Sort of a poor man's raised bed.

Areas for the 3-foot wide beds and 2-foot wide paths are marked. My next task—because I can't afford to fill raised beds this year—is to rake as much of the tilled soil as I can into mounded beds. Sort of a poor man's raised bed.

The series below shows the frustration that will plague me throughout the summer: shade from the trees. I’m still not sure I have enough direct sun to grow veggies. As you can see, the shade from two trees pans across the area and then the garage starts to cast it’s shadow later in the day. So I think I may actually end up with a snakelike swath of light where I’ll have better luck. As DH says, we’ll learn what works, if anything, this year and be more prepared for next year.

There aren’t any shots prior to 11:22 because sun to this area is blocked by another tree and a house at that time.

Sunlight vs. shadow from trees at 11:22am.

Sunlight vs. shadow from trees at 11:22am.

Sunlight vs. shadow from trees at 12:17pm.

Sunlight vs. shadow from trees at 12:17pm.

Sunlight vs. shadow from garage at 4:19pm. Will there be enough direct sun for veggies?

Sunlight vs. shadow from garage at 4:19pm. Will there be enough direct sun for veggies?

Everything pretty much palnted and seeds. Only one bed free and that's reserved for strawberries if I can get my shit together and pick a type. Straw is the poor man's mulch we're using to keep Chicago rains from dislodging seeds and to try to confuse the robin that was stalking me during this whole venture. I swear that damned robin is the one who crapped in my eye.

Everything pretty much planted and seeded. Only one bed free and that's reserved for strawberries if I can get my shit together and pick a type. Straw is the poor man's mulch we're using to keep Chicago rains from dislodging seeds and to try to confuse the robin that was stalking me during this whole venture. I swear that damned robin is the one who crapped in my eye. And those peppers you see are my emergency purchases because 27 of my 28 starts have failed to survive.

I didn't save much room for herbs other than basil so I planted a mixure in one of my old wine crates collecting dust in the attic. Drilled a few holes in the bottom, filled with mix, two store-bought plants and lots of seeds. It will likely be too small but what the hell.

I didn't save much room in the beds for herbs other than basil so I planted a mixure in one of my old wine crates collecting dust in the attic. Drilled a few holes in the bottom, filled with mix, two store-bought plants and lots of seeds. It will likely be too small if there's enough sun but what the hell.

Finally, I figured out how to get kohlrabi to start from seed. I just could get these to start in the office setting but they started right up in a wine crate in the yard. Now that I have the yard somewhat organized, I can get these started earlier next year.

Finally, I figured out how to get kohlrabi to start from seed. I just couldn't get these to start in the growlight set up but they started right up in a wine crate in the yard. Now that I have the yard somewhat organized, I can get these started earlier next year. Was especially worried about the late start when I bought HUGE kohlrabi at the Oak Park Farmer's Market this past weekend and mine are less than an inch tall.

Spinach is surviving despite the squirrels' best efforts to uproot it. Especially that poor plant on the end, he gets it every day.

Spinach in the bigass planter is surviving despite the squirrels' best efforts to uproot it. Especially that poor plant on the end, he gets the shit kicked outta him every day.

Update on the Earth Buckets: the tomatoes are getting much bigger but I've discovered what look like little black bugs with very long wings. Googling makes me thing they are adult aphids. Gonna try the oil/dish soap/water method first to see if that works before considering more extreme measures.

Update on the Earth Buckets: the tomatoes are getting much bigger but I've discovered what look like little black bugs with very long wings. Googling makes me think they are adult aphids. Gonna try the oil/dish soap/water method first to see if that works before considering more extreme measures.

Our next challenge is to make the yard look nicer and not so much like a farm (while adding another anti-rabbit fence around the new beds). Not sure we can do that but I’m hoping some nice, free mulch from the city will help. Hell, maybe we’ll just mulch the whole back yard. It’s not like there’s more grass than weeds there anyway. And neither of us golfs.

I’ve also asked DH to make a couple of trellises for between the windows on the garage. I can grow vining flowers up them if nothing else. And I can always try to move the rhubarb that’s growing in odd places to under the windows of the garage. It must have self-seeded last year or something, it’s cropping up in places it was not planted.

Well, that’s it for today. I’m really beat and have no snarky closing so good night and sweet dreams of fruits and veggies.