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Drip line irrigation

Macaroni projectWhen the house was built, an irrigation system was placed but like most sprinklers, the focus was on keeping a green lawn. I honestly don’t care about a green lawn. My gardening philosophy is benign neglect and my lawn – such that it is – is bahia grass, a native species and it either endures the frost in the winter and the drough in the summer or it gets replaced by wild “flowers” and weeds. The bees are more please with the weeds and their many flowers than the grass anyways.

So, when I inquired with an irrigation company – an independent guy – about reworking my Rainbird zones, he quoted me an impressive number. Being the determined (re: hardheaded) person I am, I set about finding my own solution.

Back in the winter, we made a drip irrigation system using flexible tubing but it laid upon the ground and was a constant target for the lawn mowers. Then we got a dog and Ginger thought the tubing was her giant chew toy. She effectively destroyed that system, which worked reasonably well.

Back to the drawing board.

I had leftover PVC pipe in the garage from the original install. A repurpose/reuser project beckoned. And hence, this irrigation system was born. It is not complete. It is a two weekend project but you get the idea.

 

 

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Raspberries

When I stumbled across raspberry canes for sale at my local Lowe’s store, I was intrigued because everyone kept telling me that raspberries don’t grow here. So, I defiantly bought three canes. I then did a bunch of reading and research and discovered that there are raspberries that will grow here. Now, these three canes I purchased might not be the right variety for my zone, but it set into motion the need to build a trellis for the raspberry canes to grow. This was my prototype, discovered on Pinterest.

Prototype and model I made my supply list and my sons helped me get all the lumber and concrete home from Lowe’s. Yesterday, in about four hours I built my own raspberry trellis. You first need to select an area that stays shaded. Raspberries aren’t great fans of intense full day sunshine, especially this far south. I selected the flatest area of my lot so as to not have to make that much adjustment for slope. I had bought 8ft pressure treated 4×4 beams. I dug 24 in, 22 in and 18in deep holes, respectively.

Posts in holesI needed only two bags of concrete mix to anchor each hole. I took care to level the posts.

Check for levelVerify level

 

 

 

 

I learned that anchoring the 5/8 x 6in x 8ft planks was difficult as a single person job. I had to improvise a second set of “hands”.

Improvise for 1 personDrilling pilot holes made an easier job of getting the 1st screw anchored.

Pilot holesI then used heavy gauge wire cutters to cut out sections of the coated wire fencing to set down over the 4×4 beams and onto the cross planks. I anchored that with U nails.

U nails I then added wrought iron hooks and two bird feeders to better mark the corners of the unit so that when the yard man is mowing he doesn’t run into the green coated wire that protrudes from the sides.

100_0229I amended the soil with compost from my own bin and plants the raspberry canes. I MIGHT get berries in the fall. If not, I will order new canes next fall for planting.

 

 

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Biddan Ridge is the name I gave to the house. There are many reason I felt compelled to name the house. All great houses have names, right? Not that this home is grand or historic like Monticello or Falling Waters, but relatively speaking my house fits the arc of my life. I grew up in a neighborhood called Cutler Ridge and it is forever affectionately called The Ridge. Cutler Ridge was a unique parcel of land in unincorporated Dade County, Florida that was bordered to the south by SW 212 Street, Galloway Road to the north, Biscayne Bay to the east and US1 to the west, and we grandfather in South Miami Heights, which was wesr of US1 and over the railroad tracks. It was a mixed neighborhood with white and blue collars, new immigrants, second generation immigrants, upper middle class minorities professionals with higher degrees but possibly not the social latitude to live farther north up US1 and lots of people relocated from New York and the northeast. And I don’t recall race being a deciding factor.

I bought my lot before Hawk’s Ridge became a bank owned subdivision. Like so many in the Great Recession, the original developers of this neighborhood speculated and lost. I got caught in the fiasco as the singular land owner. Essentially, my presence obstructed the bank from having full freedom to dump the liability. And this lot, Lot #5, was my first post marriage asset. It was the first thing I owned and it had massive significance. Being upside down simply made getting the house built a near impossibility. But I got it built.

Like I have said many times over on my original blog [Realisa], I am a tenacious woman. Other people quit long before me. Lots of people watch me and think I am insane and delusional to keep trying. I kept trying and I kept praying. And that is the origin of the word Biddan. I prayed and petitioned and pleaded with God. Close to the end, I asked for the courage to quit trying and to let the dream go when it seemed beyond impossible. And then it paid off…all the insanity and all the prayers. And I have my dream home on a sweet 3.55 acres. I’ve planted a small orchard. I’ve planted myself. I have a home, my own little castle. I feel like a princess. And all castles have names, right?

 

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The detached garage serves as car protector, garden shed and storage for Christmas decorations and the left over remains from construction. I have boxes of tile and two boxes of flooring in the event there is a need for replacements. I also have asphalt roof shingles and paint. I wrote down the names of all the paint shades and cut the custom mix formulas off the cans and set the cans for disposal. I then moved 1x8x10 boards into the rafters of the garage and relocated the tiles and flooring. It was elevated off the ground and at no risk of getting wet but I want to maximize the floor space for the gardening and yard equipment. I hope to purchase my own mower by Christmas and it will rival my sports car for floor space.

Rafters serve as elevated storage

Rafters serve as elevated storage

Tile stored over head and the plank boards labeled

Tile stored over head and the plank boards labeled

Under side labels

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Threshold

ThresholdA groom carries his bride across the threshold. An explorer steps from what is known into the unknown, crossing a threshold. A couple jumps the broom when they marry, if they are of a certain heritage. Or they stomp on a glass.When you graduate, you flip your mortar board tassel from one side to the other ti indicate the completion of a journey and the beginning of a new adventure. Much is the same with this home. When the footers were placed and the stem walls were set I marked the threshold. This is embedded in the home’s foundation, its existence known only to my heart and these archives. There are similar memorials layered throughout the construction that I will share along the way s I share how this house was built and how I continue to embellish upon the dream.