Let me introduce you to my trusty sidekick of late...Madame Shovel. Seeing me through the shoulder crunching task of digging a garden in terrain where bedrock presents itself quite close to the surface.
After creating the above space with an eye towards next years kitchen garden, my focus shifted to next years veggie beds. It is mind-blowing to me that on a homestead of this size there is no existing vegetable garden.
Building on what I knew about the bedrock situation, there was never any question that raised beds were the way to go for this homestead. And the Hugelkultur method seemed like a perfect fit, with lots of fodder to build up the viability and soil quality within the beds.
With plenty of cardboard on hand (an unexpected perk of moving and an opportunity to practice gratitude for little things), a row of poplars along the front of our property and acres of grass to be cut the beds were started.
With a couple of visits to our pals and neighbors at Milkhouse Dairy on the horizon, the compost aspect of this process shall be covered...literally. Then a wee bit of topsoil and a cover crop of buckwheat and Phase 1 of the veggie garden is ready for next Spring.
Except for the fencing. But, for the moment I live in the land of denial on that subject.
Not surprising I suppose is the fact that the first and second major undertakings on my side of the list of things to do involve slinging a shovel. Two very different tasks with opposite reasons for being....yet, quite intertwined in their process.
Our home was built somewhere in the neighborhood of 1870. A simple wood frame number built with was was at hand and subject to the limitations of it's terrain. Bedrock (flat and solid) is very close to the surface which meant that anything more than a crawlspace under the house was not possible. In this scenario, drainage away from the structure is of supreme importance to it's longevity. And while our home inspector said things looked good down below (I took his word for it) he recommended a 12" wide and 12" deep trench be dug around the entire building and backfilled with gravel graded to slope away from said building. Which is why I found myself watching in disbelief as 14 tonnes of gravel was dumped on our driveway this week.
Work boots and gloves on hand the digging commenced. With a slightly choppy and newbie approach, the process ended up looking something like this....
Dig out large rocks from designated area to be backfilled. Move a pile somewhere else. Separate out the good soil and move to a pile closer to where the garden will be. Ensure trench is relatively level and of the right depth and width. Backfill with many more wheelbarrows of gravel than seems possible on first inspection. Dig. Move. Dig. Move. Backfill. Repeat.
In the end, the first small part of the perimeter that can be considered done looks like this.
The second part of this process I referred to above is much more interesting I assure you. And as you may likely have guessed it involves the digging of a garden. That part is for another day.
Well folks. Let it be said that I tried. From the early days of 2015 I had regular talks with myself about the importance of remaining present in the moment that is.....from the rising to the setting of the sun. Enjoy these city days for they are numbered I said. Be mindful of each time you walk to the grocery store or bike to work. Take in the peace of mind that comes from your 9 year old roaming the neighborhood with her pals - unhurried and enjoying this stage of being a kid. The ease with which a drink or dinner with friends comes to pass - as spontaneously as things happen when there are kids and families involved anyway.
The arrival of my buckwheat cover crop seeds yesterday marked the end of that.
Suddenly, or not so suddenly if I am being honest with myself, I am gone. I am thinking of how many raised beds I can get built and how fast. I am hatching plans in my head about what I can grow this season despite a June 30 moving date. I am reading about hugelkultur because surely there will be plenty of supplies strewn around to try this gardening process on for size.
I am here. I am going through my days as I always have. But with my eyes trained on the finish line...or the starting line depending on how I look at it.
Little wonder that a touch of melancholy came rolling through this morning along with the chilly winds and rainclouds. It is hard coming back down to the everyday after a perfectly perfect weekend.
That said, the feeling passes through with the wave that accompanies the acknowledgement of all that I am and all that I have. From where I stand the future stretches out with many ups and without a doubt an equal number of downs. But there is a good solid base on which we stand. Whether present in body or spirit we are together.
Traditionally, the introduction of sunshine and warmth to my days is accompanied by a compulsion to start digging around in the dirt. With the first daffodil and bloodroot blooms comes the trigger to get those kale, chard and pea seeds planted.
This year, despite the 150 acre homestead where I will soon hang my hat, marks a bit of a blip in the normal sequence of things. The fact that a moving date of June 30 looms remains at the forefront of things and guides my days. Besides the reality of there only being 24 hours in a day, a moving date so early in summer does not make for much in the way of harvest potential. Potted plants are it for me this season. Although I do admit to holding fast to my thought that I can get at least some of the planned garden beds built which would allow for a late crop of greens once we move.
Because I need a focus...or maybe a distraction I am lining up my plans for inside our new home. While I would absolutely consider myself a planner, these manifestations of my lists are beyond my normal scope of lined scrap paper lists. Like I said, I need distraction.
At the risk of appearing a wee bit obsessive let me just offer this....after a lifetime of waiting for the execution of this dream the last two months of waiting are making me twitchy. We are so very close now.
This is how I feel right now - like I am coasting. I have no doubt that soon enough it will turn - less coasting, more scrambling. But for now it is this.
Mini daffodils and tulips reaching for the sky.
Furniture and all the lovely bits that make my home feel like mine are slowly being wrapped and put into boxes.
Time has freed up enough to allow for some required touch ups.
And this. This video sent along by a friend has reminded me that it is okay to say "no" and stray from the well-worn path. And in fact is a leap taken more often than I think. Thank you Anne...the timing of this could not be more perfect.