The past two weeks were extremely busy in the [HCF] household and we are still looking forward a lot more to come. Maybe some of you noticed that I was AFK since Good Friday. Living in a country like Serbia while belonging to the largest minority group has its advantages and disadvantages. I was experiencing the former lately in the form of unexpected holidays.
The vast majority of citizens are Eastern Orthodox Christians (~85%), and the second one are Catholics (~5%, I am part of that group). The only relevance here is that while the former follows the Julian calendar, the latter follows the Gregorian. This causes a difference in the dates of their celebrations. Orthodox Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays in Serbia and they also respect the Catholic celebrations too, so we got four days off altogether.
Needless to say, I jumped on the opportunity to take off the three in between workdays prolonging my holiday to eleven days. How could anyone use that much of “free” time? (Put into quotation marks because if you have kids I think you don’t really have free time 🙂 ) Pack your backpacks and head to a tropical island? Would be good, but it is officially Spring now. Which besides good weather and awakening nature means a lot of work around the house.
When we bought our current home three years ago I thought that the size of our garden is reasonable (despite the wise warnings of my wife). It is roughly only one-third of an acre after all. Pice of cake. And don’t bother that the soil consists of sand 99%. Should not be a problem, right? Well, it turned out that making the land thrive only with manual labor is a hard thing. Also that the sandy soil is really not a problem. Unless you want to have a green lawn and a verdurous garden. In that case, you have to invest a significant amount of time and money.
Basically, you have two choices for every task. To call the man or to be the man. I mentioned in my earlier post that I successfully acquired a healthy DIY mentality in the latest years, but sometimes that is not enough. Through these three years, I bought the most often used tools: drills, wrenches, screwdrivers, hammers, clamps, etc. but still postponed bigger purchases like a garden rotavator.
I won’t go into the details (mainly because I don’t want to present my incompetence), but let’s say that for some reason we have to resow the lawn. In the previous years I borrowed a rotavator for such occasions, but this year that was not an option and sadly there are no shops where you can rent one (no idea why). So, I called the man.
The man showed up on time at the day we agreed. He was a kind, smiling, grandpa type guy close to his seventies. This is not a strange thing over here. I don’t really know a lot of folks who are happily retired and living in abundance in their golden years. Most of them are working until they can or are living extremely frugal lifestyles. This man was a farmer all his life, still having some orchards and to earn a little side income in addition to his small pension he takes on this kind of gigs.
After that initial conversation, he started to work. Maneuvered with big routine between the trees with his small tractor and finished the whole garden in an hour. We agreed that he will repeat it once more two days later. That time he arrived half an hour early and the whole process took only 45 mins. When he finished I shelled out the $75 we agreed on, shake hands and he left.
The result: I am kind of satisfied. The other option would have been to buy a manual rotavator for $300-$500 and do it myself. That option would be more expensive and would take more time but maybe the end result would have been better. The former solution was the faster so I am ok with it, just next time will consider the latter. Still, we are facing a lot of work until we can watch the grass grow.
At the back of our plot, there is an old fence which seemingly could collapse at any moment. The neighbor is an old guy whom I only saw two times since we live here. The former owner said that he has some health issues and not really able to do any physical work, so I planned rebuilding it for a while. Bought the cement pillars and the wire mesh previous year just did not manage to put it together. Also was afraid of messing it up as I have never built a fence myself. So, I called the man.
This time the man was my father. He kindly accepted my cry for help and jumped into his good ol’ 101 on the first day when his business let him leave early. In the end, we did not remove the old fence, just put the new one next to it on our side. The whole process took almost a day, despite the length is only around 32 feet. My soft coder hands were aching by the end of the day, but I was taught how to install a pillar properly, how to attach the mesh to it while the whole thing looks good and standing solid.
The result: maximum satisfaction! Maybe I am biased but I think a professional fence builder would not make it any better and I only had to buy the materials, approximately $50 altogether. Thanks, Dad 😉
Maybe this does not sound a lot of work for you, but it is for me after the lazy winter times. In this timespan, we also cleaned out our basement, planted some trees, removed others, finished weeding the flower garden, assembled the trampoline (the happiest part for our four-year-old daughter 🙂 ).
Still, there is a lot to do. First of all, we have to smooth the sand, sow the new grass, add some fertilizer then cover with some better soil. This will take significant time alone. At some parts of the garden, I plan to install some sprinklers. Promised my wife that this year we will finish building a rockery also.
Oh, and almost forgot about the vegetable garden. Unfortunately, my chili seedlings died a horrific death because of exposing them to sun and chilly weather too early (yeah, I am looking at you, Honey) so I will have to buy some from local farmers alongside with tomato and pepper seedlings, however, I will give a shot to sowing some directly outside. We will see.
When you are overwhelmed by the tasks and you do not possess all the necessary abilities/tools/resources, don’t afraid of outsourcing or asking for help. DIY mentality is an important thing to have but remember that Rome was not built in a day and especially not by the hands of a single man.
Hope you liked this random fuzzy update. Please let me know your thoughts on the topic in the comments.