Wondering what’s been happening with the hugelkultur? The last few weeks I have been outside in the garden a lot, but not writing a lot. I have been adding soil and compost to the hugelkultur mound little by little, and stuffing sod dirt side up into the sides, but in photos it doesn’t change much. I created a new tool–a screen to sift compost that has become inundated with small roots. My friend had such a screen, but this one is even simpler than hers–just two dowels, with a metal screen attached with staples and duct tape. It fits over the top of the wheelbarrow, and makes it so much easier: I shovel compost from the pile onto the screen, then rub it back and forth with gloved hands to sift out the roots, and the usable compost falls through.
In other permaculture garden news, I also put spigots and drain hoses back into six of our rain barrels. They are designed to capture rain from the gutters, fill one barrel, and then overflow into the second barrel, and then overflow through a drain away from the house. The joy of these rain barrels–originally installed during our permablitz a few years ago by David Whitten–is they can stay out through the winter as long as we remove the spigots and any long hoses. I had to go through the plastic drain hoses and cut off sections that had cracked, but luckily we had enough left to make it work. So I thought they were ready for rain again, but then yesterday as I checked them during our rainstorm, I discovered that one fitting had cracked–we’ll see if I can figure out how to fix that.
Our new mulberry tree from Fedco arrived on Wednesday. (We had ordered it via the group order of the Resilience Hub, and a volunteer delivered it to our door!) Our old mulberry tree didn’t do well where we had first planted it–too much shade, and then after I transplanted it last year, sadly it didn’t survive. But most of the work was done, because I had prepared such a great bed for it last year–so all I had to do was pull back the mulch, dig a small hole, and place the new baby tree inside. Baby trees aren’t that photogenic, a brown stick with a brown mulch background, so here is a photo of her roots all tangled up and gnarly before I placed her in the hole filled with water. May our tree be blessed in her new home, and provide food for birds and us too!
On a personal note, two springs ago, as I was preparing for retirement due to chronic illness, my partner Margy bought me an early retirement gift–a hammock. Lately, after working for a while in the garden, I climb into that hammock and rest–so perfect! It feels a bit like laying on the beach in the sun, or floating on the ocean water. I can relax deeply, let go of trying to carry anything or do anything. It has been so healing in this time of existential stress and grief for our world. I rock as if held in the arms of the air, the birds singing, blue sky and greening trees surrounding me, sun warming me. It reminds me that we are held in the embrace of a larger Love, even when we feel so helpless in the face of the troubles that plague our country. May you also find ways to rest your spirit in this beautiful earth!
This post first appeared in my blog, Finding Our Way Home: A Spiritual Journey into Earth Community.