A picket fence

I spent the last two weeks repairing and re-painting our picket fence in the front yard.  That will be the last time in my life that I will have to do that job, hopefully.  I had no idea how time-consuming it would be when I got started.  First I had to remove all the rotten parts and replace them with new wood.  I had to straighten one of the stone post that holds the railing.  Not an easy job when you consider it is a foot square and five feet tall.  It had a break in the base below the ground surface.  Once I removed the dirt around it I found that it was broken.  I straighten it up with a come along drove rebar down on all sides and filled the hole with cement.  I think it will be there for a while.  Then I scraped all the pickets and railings with a wire brush to remove the years of soot and dirt.  Afterwards, I treated it for fungus, mold and insects and finally I got to paint it.  The official color of picket fences in the Czech Republic is dark brown.  We might have white picket fences in America but here it is brown.  So we went along with the tide and joined the Czechs with a brown fence.  I painted it with a brush.  There is a lot of surface to cover with a picket fence.  This week I repaired a stone step that goes into our cellar and built a walkway from the terrace to the cellar door.  I am going to Italy on Wednesday to visit my son for ten days.  He has a school break for a week.  When I get back I am going to tackle the big gates and door at the front of the courtyard.  They need some new wood too and a coat of brown paint.  Then it will be on to repairing the doors on the barn.  Each door is twenty feet tall and ten feet wide.  There are six of them.  I am going to have to rebuild them completely.  It is a mortise and tenon job.  I really like doing that kind of work.  I have my grandfathers old hand tools.  It is time-consuming but quite satisfying.  The doors pieces fit together like a puzzle.  Each part has a wooden pin that holds it together.  There is so much work that needs to be done that when I look around I can barely see what I have accomplished.  I am so wanting it to all be finish.  At least we have the interior of the house comfortable and a lovely terrace now.  My goal is to get some kind of order in the courtyard this summer.  Then maybe we will get the permission to finish the guesthouse.  All in good time. 



We planted two new fruit trees in the orchard and four grape vines.  We now have a plum tree, an apricot tree, an apple tree, a pear tree, a cherry tree and four beautiful old walnut trees.  I planted a small garden for fresh vegetables.  After farming in Tennessee I can’t get used to our little flowerbed garden, but it will give us enough for the summer.  We are not preserving food for the entire year anymore.  I doubled the garden size from last year.  Gardening here is quite different from Tennessee.  It is colder in the Spring so we have a shorter growing season.  I am having to learn to garden all over again.  My neighbor showed me a good trick the other day.  He drives stakes in the ground around his tomato bushes and wraps them in shrink-wrap.  He has a mini green house.  Oh what one will do to have the first ripe tomatoes in the neighborhood.

 When I am finished the pink rose can climb along the top of the fence.  I planted a four-foot wide flower bed along one side of the

fence last week.  We have a lot of  tall phlox in the back along the side of the barn.  I brought some of those up to the front with some Irises, tulip, daffodils, peonies, black eye susies, thistles, poppies, and a few others that I don’t know the names of.  There is something that will be blooming all season.  I plan to put another bed on the outside of the fence on the road side too.  I have a four to six-foot strip of grass between the fence and the sidewalk that I would rather see flowers there.  We have a community compost pile near the edge of our village.  When I walk my dog I pass by the pile.  this time of year people are cleaning up their garden and throwing away plants they don’t want anymore.  As I find flowers, I bring them home and put them in a holding area.  After they have re-cooperated I’ll move them to a bed.  I need to get another bed ready for the new flowers that I will be bringing home.  I just love that compost pile.  It is hard for me to believe that people throw these flowers away.  I found some beautiful phlox ground cover and more irises last week.  The ground phlox thrive here.  I found a little piece last year that I stuck at the edge of the patio and it is five times as big this year.