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My days lately have been pretty consistent. Anna and I get up, have breakfast, she plays, I get some things done around the house and then we go outside for an hour or two before lunch and a nap (for her, not me, of course!). On these nice fall days we love to take walks down the path to our “secretgarden and I make sure to bring Anna’s gardening tools along with us so she can dig in the dirt, uproot and water the plants.

Thomas and I put in a raised bed last month and planted some fall plants like kale, escarole, endive and cabbage.

This year, our first attempt at a garden here in Germany was unfortunately eaten by deer and rabbits while we were away for a month over the summer visiting family in the US. When we returned in June to a near empty garden plot we diligently tried again, this time erecting a fence around our newly replanted garden only to find it was to no avail as our young plants were once again attacked, only this time by hoards of slow moving, ravenous slugs.

I was horrified at how much and how fast our little gastropod friends could consume. Not being of the persuasion to use chemicals in my garden and not wanting to waste good German beer (as I’ve heard this will lure them away from the plants and also to their deaths which I am not keen on either) we put up a snail fence last month around our newly constructed raised bed. So far, as you can see, it has been somewhat successful. The slugs make their way up the wooden sides of my raised bed, hit the snail fence (which is made of a thick smooth plastic that’s bent at the top) and slide right back down again. One corner has a small gap in the fence, as I was running out of fencing, and I did find one slug who managed to find this breach in the security and make his way into our purple cabbage. Consequently, he was never heard from again…

Just kidding, he’s probably making the rounds right now, trying to find that weak spot in the fence!

For the sides of the raised bed I used recycled wood. One side is made of thin slats of wood that we found discarded on the side of the road on the eve of a garbage pickup day and the other three sides are old post beams from a barn in Cologne that was being torn down and completely refurbished. I love the old beams as they are hand-hewn and have nails in them that you can clearly tell were also hand-forged. I am guessing that these logs are at least 100 years old! I am so happy that they didn’t get hauled off to the burn pile (as was their original fate) before we got our hands on them.

And after a hard day’s work in the garden Anna and I wearily shuffle off back to the house for a short ride in the swing, in our small shared front yard, a quick lunch for two and then a well-earned nap!