So, for the long weekend, I turned about 1000 sq ft of sun baked, former goat run into a garden. With a broken toe. So it wasn't the most relaxing weekend but it needed to be done.
For years, that right of way just sat there, growing weeds. So when the sheep expanded, we put them out that way as a "grazing" area. Eventually, the chickens got moved out there too, so they could have a big (easier to clean) house and more fenced (ideally coyote proof) space.
After the sheep, when the boy goat flock started to expand, we separated out a big chunk to be their home. There were lots of goods about the location - no lice (thank to the direct sun though they had a shade house and some forest on the very edge), easy for water, kept the trees from regrowing in the right of way, etc. But some bads too (a cougar took one of them), the snow would get deep, hauling water, etc.
As I've gone back to school, priorities have shifted and we no longer have any bucks. I do miss them and one day might want to breed goats again but I'll deal with that when/if the time comes. For right now, it's going to be a magnificent garden.
For those of you who have followed me since the very early days, you know about my struggles with gardening. Living in the forest makes gardening a very difficult job. Even with raised beds you're still competing with tree roots and shade and all sorts of things. So, when the Woodsman proposed we turn this bit into a garden, I was all for it.
So, it was me and the pick mattock. The Woodsman was around to help - don't think he abandoned me.
he disassembled the boys' house and, if I needed something, he was there to lend a hand. But I wanted it to be my project it and so it was. Before work began in earnest, we'd been feeding the chickens on the stumps that needed to be dealt with so they were well on their way.
During the weekend, I spent three days with the pick mattock hacking away at those stumps and pulling up the massive (and plentiful) rocks that called that run home. My arms felt like jelly and I seriously could not eat enough. I did hard labour from dawn until dusk (quite literally).
Not only do I have serious pride in the start of this garden (as well as high hopes), I have a much greater appreciation for the work people are doing all over the world (historically and currently) that requires that kind of physical exertion. And I didn't have any of the pressures so many of them have - I have enough food, I have shelter, I have safety, and I have my people. It brought a lot of things I like to study (like the old ways of doing things) into a different light.
Now, you might ask, as many already have, why on earth would you spend that much time picking when you can rent a tiller or use your tractor? It's simple. I wanted to. I didn't want to use fossil fuels to make the garden - seems counter intuitive to me. Especially when I can make the time. And as the Woodsman pointed out, it makes no sense to till, burning fossil fuels, and then go for a run or to the gym.
When I do things in the "old ways", it's more than an exercise in I know not what. It's because on the face of it, I think we do a lot of things backwards. Instead of putting in the garden the fastest way possible (which usually has the greatest environmental cost) and then driving to the gym because my body needs exercise, why not combine those two needs?
Anyway, it was a glorious weekend but I'll be back to the books this weekend (mostly), I have a paper due!
I'm a 40-something writer and smallholder living in the wilds of BC with my family, our small herd of Nigerian Dwarf Goats, chickens, ducks, dogs, and cats.