Sunday was the kind of day that pretty women write folk songs about.
Oh sunny day
You rest my soul
You make it easy to see the goal
-Rising Appalachia, Sunny Days
It turned out to be a full and busy day! After church, the boys and I got to work on a project I've been thinking about for a while. Now that all the leaves have fallen and we've got a wet day in the forecast, I decided we'd clean out the swales.
That's not a usual thing for swales. Usually they're kind of a dig it and forget it thing. I'm trying something different. Since my swales aren't meters wide and are more of a trench, they fill up quickly with new soil. I mulched them with leaves last year, and all that high carbon organic matter had composted to gorgeous soil; dark, loamy, and chock full of worms! I think it'd only take two or three years to completely fill them up, leaving just a contoured berm. That's not ideal in this application, as I've read it'll take a minimum of seven years to establish a small aquifer for my food forest using it's swales. Though things are already benefiting; the grass in there stayed green all year with very little watering, where the previous year (before swales) , everything was brown and crunchy by midsummer.
After this past growing season, I'd outlined the beds where I planted my annuals with logs to make them more formal. I liked the layout of things there, so why not make it a thing? Two beds are roughly on contour, just under the swales. One is off to the side of a way I regularly walk, and the other is along the fence. All very convenient to access by my regular walking routes and not in forced shapes or sizes. It feels natural for my garden.
There's two beds now with new soil. Under the soil is a layer of leaf mulch and a layer of all the plants that grew from that bed. I think one more bed will get mounded with the soil from the middle Swale, then the soil from the top Swale will go to the north hugel, which didn't do so well this year due to not having enough soil over the wood. Of course, everything is getting filled and covered with leaves.
Farmer Sam by one of the new beds and a partially dug out swale. Still lots to do, as the bottom swale makes up about a quarter of our swale volume. It got filled with twelve bags of leaves: sycamore, oak, pecan, elm, and magnolia mostly. Each bed got mulched with two bags.
This year I'll plant green beans, cucumbers, and okra in the beds. Those are three things we actually eat, and they'll be good to have close by. The food forest is in our zone 1 or 2, while the north garden area is farther out. These beds are the closest to our daily space, so they'll be the easiest spot to harvest from. I'll make the green beans and cucumbers the closest, since Melissa will be using them more, and I don't want her to have to go far. Part of permaculture is making things fit easily into your life, so I'm incorporating that as much as I can. I enjoy spending time deeper in the food forest, so the foods that are specifically mine can be farther from the house.
After working in the garden for a few hours after church, Sam, Sophie, and I headed back to church to help decorate for Christmas. There's no pics, as it was a busy bustle of fun! The kids mostly ran around outside while I helped hang lights on the oaks outside and set up artificial trees inside. I have yet to drive by and see it at night, but I bet it'll look good.
We picked up Melissa, Sawyer, and the bikes from home and headed to the park after that. I got to poking around at the edge of the woods and found treasure!
Do you see it? Inside a wounded pecan tree were two lion's mane mushrooms!
I'd seen one past it's prime in here last year when I harvested the turkeytails from a pecan stump maybe two meters away. I didn't know they were recurring mushrooms, what a surprise! I left the smaller of the two to grow more and reseed so that maybe there'll be more next year.
The mushroom is currently tincturing in the cabinet next to elecampane and mullein. So much medicine being made the last few weeks, something to do and look forward to this winter!
After all was said and done, I was up for 30 hours from 4 Sunday morning to 10 Monday morning. Work was a bit rough those last few hours, but I rested well after a busy busy day. It's rough on a body to be up that long, but there's plenty to do to support your body through it. Organic diet, extra quality sleep, and adaptogenic medicines like turkeytail tincture are my approach. Oh, and Wim Hof breathing exercises. It works well, so there's no need to worry. I'm not sacrificing my quality of life for my job.
All action for the good of all.