Saturday, October 15, 2016

Planting the lawn

When we bought this land, I would have never thought that we would have a hilly garden.

 It looked flat to me, so I was foreseeing an expanded straight forward lawn.
March 2015: The day the foundation was carried out, they dug out hills of soil. We posted on several sites to ask if someone needed our soil, but nobody was interested. 

July 2015: After spending 5000 euros damping the soil, we yielded. The remaining soil was spread out to form three levels. Gone was my imagination of a straight and even garden.

Aug 2015: I was given the task to loosen the soil and started planting some mustard. Frankly I was not motivated, I only did a very small part.

Mustard planted to fertilize the soil. Aelig spread all the seeds that were meant for 400m². It grew rampantly after.

For around one year, the garden was abandoned as we were overwhelmed with other tasks. Excepted a small area for our kitchen garden where hubby grew tomatoes, chilies, pumpkins, French beans, green beans, and raspberries. We started removing specific weeds that would be hard to unroot after, and most of the grass and weeds were finally cut off at the beginning of Oct 2016. We chose to not use pesticides to kill the weeds as we want the garden to remain chemical free.

The garden shape still didn't please us. Hubby decided to call back the builders to remove the extra soil that we didn't damp.

Three loads of truck, sent to a specific dumpster that we had to pay for.

The earthmover also helped loosen the soil, and scraped the weeds from the surface.

Hubby and my FIL started to prepare the soil. They sorted out the stones, the debris, roots with garden and landscape rakes.

 It involves a lot of work. Hubby had to use a wheelbarrow to transport stone, roots, debris, construction damps...

Since the soil was already broken down by the earthmover, we didn't rent a motorized cultivator to do the job. Instead, I used the garden folk to dig out stone and weeds buried under. It was so much easier to do after the earthmover did the preliminary job.

Roots, stone to filter and remove

It was a team work for the whole family

                                       The whole land has to look like this before seeding


                        Using a roller to compact the soil and to let the seeds remain in the soil

After 5 days of team work, the garden was finally looking good. It will look geogeous when the lawn growths, I hope!

PS : Some people used landscaping contractor to prepare their lawn, but it was very expensive. Our neighbore did it in one day, he invited a friend who was a landscape contractor, plus 3 other friends. 5 of them started at 8am, and they finished around 6pm. They had less tasks though as their land was flat whereas ours have a lot of slops to take care of.

After weeks of slaving in the garden

When we were building our house, I was so naive to think that having a lawn or growing something in our garden would involve only spreading seeds, watering and some maintenance. It seems that reality always wins over naivety. After the builders had spread back the soil they dug out previously for the foundation, I was told to use a garden folk to loosen the soil, remove roots, weed, stone. I had never done this before and there was a monster in my mind : as someone working mainly with computer, I do not wish to have to sweat in the garden while my blonde neighbor was dolled up in her dress, probably watching me slaving in the garden. It took me a while to overcome this thought, I managed to work on a small part of the garden, which turned into our vegetable garden today. Then we were occupied with other stuffs, the garden was abandoned for even after we moved in.

 The state it was when we moved in.

One month after, weed spreading everyway

Hubby was too busy with other projects like building the wood deck. Meantime weeds were growing higher and higher as summer begun.

At the end of summer, we had rampant weed problems. My MIL taught me to cut off (unroot when I can) different kind of weeds (rumex, thistle), but we left others because I was told that it would be removed one day by a machine when we will be growing our lawn.

In Septembre, my FIL told me that I should cut off all the weeds or grass with a sickle. I had around one month to do it (hubby was still occupied with other projects), so weekends and free time were spent removing weeds.
A friend came to help me one Sunday, which I was grateful, and hubby helped to transport all the cut off weeds to a dumpster station.

After weeks of slaving in the garden, we managed to cut off most grasses as instructed. This prepared the beginning process of planting the lawn.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Jumping and biking

As a toddler, Awena was too young to join any sport clubs so when Aelig was going her activities, the little sister had to follow around, watching the big sister doing roller skating, admiring the big girl jumping inside the water, or envying her play partner running around with her Chinese school classmates.

One day when waking around with her while waiting for Aelig, we ventured into a gymnasium. We saw kids jumping around and it intrigued her to try. I didn't think it was possible as I thought she was too young. By chance, I talked to a coworker who happened to be a committee in that sport club, and she told me that they accept any kids that walk for their baby gym program. 

I immediately signed her up. So one Saturday morning, I sent her to try out the class. She refused the concept but as soon as she entered the gymnasium, she wanted to participate, eager to try out every equipment. So did Aelig, she was jumping on the trampoline but quickly she was asked to come down. This time she was the one accompanying, waiting for her little sister, before her Chinese class starts.

I thought I have time to send Aelig to her classroom just two minutes away, but I was told that I have to be with Awena during the whole session. So I ask for help. Her teacher would come to pick her. While Awena happily jumping around, playing with different kind of games set by the trainer, Aelig was busy guiding her sister, I know she wanted so much to participate, but she has to learn that this was for Awena, not for her. At the end of the session, toddlers were asked to follow simple instructions. For example when the music stopped, she had to cuddle up herself; or she has to round herself up like a ball. She didn't really understand what was told compared to other kids, she was more eager to continue playing.

After the baby gym, we have to wait for Aelig. I finally bought her an used push bike. We went to a park to pick up the bike, she was all attracted to it, so happy to have a bike to herself. She took it with her around, afraid to sit on it at the beginning, but now she walks with it. After a morning of baby gym and some push bike, she was finally exhausted. 

Now every Saturday morning, she is happy when I tell her that we are going for baby gym. Way to go girl.