Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Day of Grading and Tilling

A garden requires a great deal of preparation prior to being able to plant.  We have always had a small Square Foot Garden in our backyard when living along the river.  It was productive and plentiful, and easy to set up, maintain & harvest.  Now in the mountains, we are dealing with an entirely different climate and terrain.  Let the adventure begin!!!  This photo is the end result of our work today, the details of the day follows.

Many months ago, on our last trip here, we began a square foot garden plan and built our first box.  We wanted them near to the cabin, the idea being to plant those things that are best harvested daily to eat, like lettuce.  We have one box built, and plan two more.  We also have started several seeds as I mentioned in my blog Let The Planting Begin, which by the way is progressing marvelously.  Most of the seeds have sprouted, except those "whose time has not come" so to speak, like the 3 varieties of tomatoes, mache (a type of green that looks something like watercress, but has a unique flavor) and salsify (a root vegetable) that we are still waiting to see sprout.  It is very exciting to wake up and see what has shown it's sweet little self above the soil each morning...this is a closeup of our Organic Tyee Spinach, given to us by my family for this move. Beautiful, isn't it?  First to sprout of the bunch!

Today we reached the moment in time when we must clear the plot of land we intend to sow if we want to harvest in early summer.  We identified the plot we would use, a spot that was already pretty free of trees (makes me wonder if someone long ago cleared that spot for planting), and about 1/4 mile walk from the cabin, whether we take the dirt road (you see it in the picture) or walk from behind the cabin along the creek through the woods.  This is it, no clearing done yet.  

After identifying the plot, the next step was to mow the area and finish cutting the trees that were still in the way.  You can see the pile of tree limbs that remain; the larger trunks were already brought to the cabin for chopping into firewood, a good example of living off the land:)

So Charlie, our mountain neighbor and friend, came to help us out with his Mahindra, a mighty machine with a mighty driver!  First, he pushed all the remaining branches out of the way.  We will burn this in the open field when burning season is right.

Then Charlie graded...back and forth, up and down...removing all the remaining stumps & roots, and loosening rocks that Johny then threw to the side of the road.  We would bring the rocks back to the cabin to use to decrease the erosion from the water running off from the roof of the cabin. (Another good example of living off the land).

This is Johny would tossing the rocks out of the way. (I was the lucky one taking all the pictures, smart girl!)

Then Charlie tilled. You can't see the prongs, but they are about 12 inches long. 

Then time for clearing all the top layer stuff (there is probably an official word for that stuff but I don't know what it is) that remained on the top of land, dirt mixed with grass & roots, that we didn't want in the garden plot. We will sift through this at a future time to get the good soil for our square foot garden and grass for our compost...I know you know this by now, but yes, say it with me, another good example of living off the land, LOL (if you don't know, this means Laugh Out Loud)!  

This is the remaining soil. I wish you could smell it. So rich. So dirt like. So ready for a garden!!!

Charlie was kind enough to deliver the remaining rocks to our place, believe me, that was a load of rocks! This is Johny directing, "put them right there"!
Tomorrow, we will continue clearning, tilling and watching the sun as it passes over the plot to determine the best planting spots for each vegetable.  There is still much work to do, but the anticipation of eating fresh from our land, vegetables grown to maturity in the ground before harvesting, without pesticides, is enough to keep this labor of love going. 

Thank you for visiting my blog,


Malcolm and Ciejay Burgess said...

Lots of work for now , but it will be well worth it when you start to harvest it this fall. and it's a good work-out for you , don't want to get to soft just rocking, and sitting on the front porch sipping sweet tea and watching then hummers and listening to the babling brook lol, loved all the pictures and you tell a good story . Malcolm

Lise said...

Thank you Malcolm, and I agree with you totally! Frankly, it is my hope all this mountain garden work will have a positive impact on my health all around, can definitely afford to loose a little softness...that and healthier eating LOL!

Osage Bluff Quilter said...

A wonderful neighbor you have to lend you a helping hand.