Down and Dirty...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The last couple of weeks or so, things were going downhill around here - slowly but surely -
The service engine soon light in my 9 year old vehicle came on, my beloved SLR camera died on me, we went through a few cell phones before finally getting one that worked for longer than 10 minutes, a call during a routine oil change told us that because we don't drive the Mustang often enough - the battery would (already) need to be replaced...are you KIDDING ME!
What next?

After a particularly exhausting day, I came home to find a letter in the mail addressed to me...with our City letterhead on it...

Great - a ticket for something sent to me in the mail?
I seriously thought that...

After opening it...I almost cried.
Tears of JOY...
I have been approved for a $1000 Neighborhood Water Resources Enhancement Grant!

Earlier this spring I attended a Blue Thumb Raingarden Course -
I love the idea behind rain gardens and was excited about the possibility of putting one in our yard. After working with the specialists at the course - it was determined that I could not put a rain garden in where I had thought/hoped...although they DID have other ideas for us.
Ideas I wasn't quite ready for...so I put the idea on the shelf -
for now.

(I'll be honest - the whole process really overwhelmed me...and gardening needs to be fun, not overwhelming!)

One thing I did take away from it was that our city gives out grants every year, based on a 1st come first served basis. The grants are ranked by how much the project will improve water resources, and so on and so forth. So... rain gardens would get top priority, projects like my native garden would be considered, but only after the rain gardens were...
The Neighborhood Water Resources Enhancement Grant (NWREG) is an opportunity for residents to acquire funding for projects on private property that enhance water quality.

The success of turning a small area into a perennial garden last year had me excited to start another section of our yard...



Getting a grant to help cover some of the costs? Awesome! (I say cover SOME of the costs because the grant will reimburse me for some things - but not all. Things like paver stones and bird baths, as well as rock edging are not covered, but things like simple black edging, native plants and dirt to get started are. For a girl that gets a lot of her plants from dividing others...this is beyond exciting!

The benefits of a native/perennial garden are many...
Just look at the difference between grass and natives!

Did you know that a typical lawn absorbs only 10 percent of the amount of stormwater that a natural landscape can absorb?

There are soo many benefits to planting native gardens...and in our yard especially - where the soils are compacted & clay-laden...with a pond just a mere two blocks away-I think our project can really make a difference!


So here's what I'm working with...

So to get this party started...

I called for some help...by way of some good, enriched dirt...

I was terrified by what people were telling me that 6 yards of dirt would look like - but was pleasantly surprised by the *smallish* pile that our money got us...




It smelled very, um, farm fresh? Gross!


Although the man of the house gone was gone (for 3 days!) when the delivery came - I was left with my 2nd in command as crew chief.


And what a great crew chief he was...
and despite plugging her nose when we first started - she got down & dirty with us!

Thankfully, Denny came over and helped me move a few
(dozen?) wheelbarrows of dirt around...but I still couldn't get it all done the first day...
The second day brought rain, rain and more rain...in fact, I found myself outside at 5 am covering the pile with a tarp...but just before bedtime...the clouds parted, the sun came out and we knocked out the remainder of the pile!
By my calculations, 6 yards of dirt was the equivalent of 7081 wheelbarrow loads of dirt. Or something like that. It was a lot. And it was a lot more fun in the beginnging than in the end...but...we have
SUCCESS!

I'm sooo very excited about this project...And I love incorporating the kids in important projects such as this - what a great learning experience for them!
Now, the REAL fun part...planting!
The saying goes - The first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they leap...Is that saying about perennial plants or children?
Stay tuned! The gardening fun is just beginning!

4 comments:

Unplanned Cooking said...

I'm excited for your project, too! And I'm glad your city gives out grants for gardening projects.

Jen said...

It's going to be great! I'm so excited for you.

Laura said...

I could be wrong, but I think the linders 50% off sale starts around June 16th... this project looks great. I wish I could say we're near the end of ours. I have more blisters on my hands now.... Mallory keeps grabbing my hands saying, "mama, you have another ouchy!" Good luck.

fritzfacts said...

I think it is great that you were given the grant! I can't wait to see what you do with it, and how it all turns out!!

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