We've decided to put a butterfly garden in front of the house. I saw these in various locations last year, and I loved the rather chaotic beauty of them, and the amount of riotious life in them. It will be a large circle going around those two rosemary bushes, with a place in the middle for a swing and some benches.
Bob announced this morning that he thought he could just dig it all up with a pickaxe. I gave him The Look, and he opted to go rent a rototiller. Power tools are a good thing. There were also some branches overhanging the area, and Bob cut them down (as though we didn't still have enough downed branches to deal with). Chain saws on long poles are also a good idea.
So now the big circle is tilled, and some compost tilled in. Tomorrow we return the tiller and buy some fencing. With both chickens and peacocks running around, plants don't stand a chance.
In the background of the first picture you can see the clay oven I talked about a few entries ago. We built that several years ago by the simple (if backbreaking) method of building a base of cinder blocks with a layer of firebrick, then shaping a large mound of damp sand on it. Then we dug clay out of a roadside cut, mixed it with some cut straw, and packed it about 8" thick onto the sand mound. This is one of those projects that sounded like a good idea at the time. We didn't realize that it would take several hundred pounds of clay. By the time we were 3/4 through we were like couple of cranky children, but couldn't quit. So we finally finished, cut a door, and then dug the sand out. To use it, you just build a fire inside for about three hours, then scrape out the embers and start shoving in food. It will cook a pizza in about three minutes when it's freshly heated. It will hold the heat for about 12 hours. We dont' use it often, but it's fun.