I love finding surprises when mixing my compost, sometimes you get the most wonderful volunteers.
It had been three years since we built our bunny and soil enhancer, Rue, an awesome outdoor hutch for her to live in. Three years of wear and tear had left this hutch a little worse for wear, so we decided this was the year we would build her a new one. This one would be bigger and better! So, we began on our task. This project was completed with 75% recycled materials!
The first step was to secure the base of the hutch as we know our Rue loves to dig! We decided to use patio stones this time since in the last hutch, after three years, the chicken wire keeping Rue from digging herself an extension had began to rust and weaken. The main house piece was an experiment in bike trailers, flipped upside down.
We then added another wing onto this section for more running room and to accommodate a ramp to the inside portion.
Our neighbor donated some old stucco wire he no longer had a use for and as this was much stronger than our alternative- chicken wire, we arched it around the structure. This allowed us to make the roof tall enough to fit in the ramp while keeping it strong to withstand the pressures of snow piling on top.
We nailed in wood slats on one section of the south side to create a shaded area for the summer months.
An angled upper house portion was built to create a snugger cuddle spot for the winter. Only half of the top of this structure is for Rue, the other half is planned to support a small attached greenhouse.
The wonders of fall, when nature gives us rewards in the form of wonderful fruit! Unfortunately most of this fruit in the city gets left to drop and rot, left for the birds. We at Yellow Bird Acres take the time to appreciate these gifts, we forage for these forgotten treats and create wonderful eats!
Foraging for food in the city connects you to your neighborhood in ways most people can never imagine. Keeping your senses sharp to find that diamond plant in the rough wild areas around your home or even in your own alley is rewarding and gives more reason to protect your local wild plants. Check out Northern Bushcraft to learn more about the wild edible plants of Alberta.
We started our first garden here at Yellow Bird Acres in the summer of 2009. Although it was a small plot, it was the very start of our love for gardening. Over the years it expanded and began to take over most of the yard. Then, this spring of 2012 we were given bad news by the City. The 100 year old house tucked into the corner of our odd shaped lot was not getting water and the pipes that ran right below the garden would have to be replaced. So, after three years of soil improvement and hard work, our garden was dug up. These are the harsh realities of urban farming and we began anew as soon as the work was done. Our yard was filled with gravel and a small layer of dirt. There was no way we could use this inch or so of soil to grow a great garden so, we decided to build up. Times have been tough so we decided to get creative. We decided why not recycle pallets to create raised beds? And so, albeit an ongoing project with plans to build up, our raised beds are beginning to take shape.
All the materials we have used for these beds, including the plastic liner, have been recycled. We have even used branches trimmed off our lilac bushes to create a fence to prevent the dogs from entering the garden.
We will continue on this project as spring arrives. We were unable to reap harvest from the garden this year so we have big plans for next year. Luckily, the dirt given to us by the City was filled with edible weeds for us to forage!
“Why, land is the only thing in the world worth workin’ for, worth fightin’ for, worth dyin’ for, because it’s the only thing that lasts. It will come to you, this love of the land. There’s no gettin’ away from it if you’re Irish.” -Gerald O’Hara, Gone with the Wind
Our goal is to create an urban farm that exists in harmony with nature; to learn from natural processes to improve our own sustainability and reduce our impact on the earth through various means. As we do not yet have the acres, we make due with our urban farm in the heart of the big city of Calgary, Alberta. We continue to learn through study and experimentation on our small plot not only to prepare ourselves for a larger plot but because we believe it is an important lesson to make the most out of what we already have instead of wishing for more. This blog is to document this progress and we hope you enjoy our trials and tribulations, perhaps we can all learn something from them!