Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The First Day

Yesterday was Stephen's last day in the military. Today was our first day of being retired together. I have to say: things are off to a great start!

The highlights of this first day included a nap, a long walk, and some serious discussion of finances. And this:

Thirty-five days in the military and the first day off, what does he do? He digs a trench.
On Stephen's Facebook status about retirement yesterday, someone asked if we had a "to do" list already. Of course we do! Most of them involve finishing up jobs we've already started, including this little garden.

Last weekend, as we walked the dog, we came across a bundle of hostas all roped together at the curb, ready for waste pick-up. It seemed a shame to leave them to die when we could give them a good home, so we grabbed them and stuck them in a big bucket of water.

Steve and I both realized that we couldn't leave the plants in there indefinitely, so we made it a priority to get them in the ground. But I didn't want to stick them in the pitifully sandy soil that we inherited, thus the trench.

As well as getting the hostas for free, I also scored some end-of-season bags of black earth from Wal-Mart!

It took 19 bags to fill the trench he dug.
(The pictures only show Stephen working. Though he did do the heavy lifting, we did this job together.)

Here's how that area is now:

It still needs work (there's a huge pile of useless soil that you can see the tip of in the lower-right corner), but it is moving in the right direction.

And would you look at those tomatoes! This is what that garden looked like a month ago.

I think we found the perfect spot for this garden!

Can't wait for these to ripen!
I had read a tip on Pinterest that suggested clipping the "suckers" to promote more fruit (rather than more branches).

Anywhere you see a new sprout at the juncture of the main stem and an existing branch, just pinch that thing off. (Your fingers will get a little sticky with sap.) If you look at my picture of the bunch of tomatoes, you'll see that there is a tiny sucker on the branch above the tomatoes.

The six plants we bought seem to be going like gangbusters, so you may expect to be reading a few tomato recipes from me in the near future.

More tomatoes on the way!
We also have some cucumber flowers, but no fruit yet.

After all that sweaty work, we rewarded ourselves and Kane with a dip in the pool.

We're still training Kane to go in and out of the pool using the stairs, hence the leash. He also gets very excited when he swims, so we need to grab his leash as soon as he gets out or he will tear up the entire back yard.

And then it was time for a Corona, dinner, and blogging.

All in all, I'd say we have retirement off to a good start: a lot of rest, a little work, some relaxation. And, most of all, lots of time together.


  1. Awesome! Glad to hear you guys are enjoying your freedom!

    1. Only one day into it, but it does bode well!

  2. Congratulations to you and Steve. Enjoy the days ahead.

  3. Love the hosta garden!! If you have some compost - toss that in too and it will help them with the transplanting. But hostas are pretty hardy -- in a few years you won't believe how big they will grow! I give away free ones every year to keep mine a good size.
    I can't grow tomatoes - I just don't have a sunny enough spot unless I keep them in my driveway. :)

    1. We have LOTS of hostas elsewhere in the back yard, so I know how hardy they are, even in crappy soil. My only concern is that they may get too much sun here. Which, of course, is why the tomatoes love it so much. (We also brought in some wonderful soil and compost for the veggie patch.)

  4. Sounds dang near perfect. Love it all.


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