This last weekend completely wore me out. I guess I should not be surprised that moving a ton of logs and soil would take the whole weekend. But I still found some time for a few other tasks.
I find that these big homesteading tasks like building a new garden are the hardest to fit in with a busy schedule. The weekends end up being the only time I can really work on them. But sometimes something has to give.
This weekend the thing that had to give was my business work. In this case that meant delaying this week's blog post by about 24 hours. Technically I still got it out on Monday but I like to have the post out for the morning.
Finding a balance as a homesteader is challenging and add a business on top of that plus a family and a full-time day job and it gets hard to find enough time for everything. I was up to 3:00am last night finishing some business stuff and then had to get up this morning for work. I'm now writing this during my lunch break...
But as important as the business is to me I would rather spend my time homesteading. The business is meant to help others on their homesteading journey but also one day let me work from home and focus on homesteading. So my family and my homestead will always come first which means sometimes a blog post may be delayed.
Moving forward I'm going to be taking on less major projects on my homestead. I'm going to focus on smaller tasks like mulching and planting new plants. Plus the regular chores that every homesteader has.
Big projects will just need to wait.
What about you? How do you find a balance between everything life brings?
Back to the Garden
But that all being said I'm really excited about the new kitchen garden. It will become a core part of my family's day to day life. The middle area is being setup as a gathering area and once we get a picnic table we plan to eat dinner out there on nice days.
I'm also thinking about doing my business work out there which would be so much more relaxing than sitting at my office desk.
It really will be an amazing feature to have and I'm very excited about having this new garden. I will post more about it once the garden is all planted and the area around it mulched but I want to explain why I have rocks and snags (the dead standing wood).
The rock areas will be planted with native edible vegetables. I have a post planned later this week that will talk about which native plants I'm going to be planting.
I call these spots my "habitat areas". Each garden bed has 1 of these plus 2 snags. I have already seen birds using the snags as perches and the rocks will provide habitat for garter snakes (the Western WA garter snakes eat slugs!) and other beneficial critters like frogs and salamanders.
The native plants will provide food for my family and I but will also provide additional habitat for beneficial insects and other critters. While non-native plants provide habitat, native plants provide additional benefits that the non-native plants just can't provide (think monarchs and milk weed).
These habitat areas and the snags and even the logs that form the walls of the garden beds will all make this garden into what I'm calling a "wild garden"--yeah, I'm a bit focused on using the "wild" term.
Basically, a wild garden is just a garden that is not just designed for human benefit but also for the benefit of nature. I want my garden to be a part of the local ecosystem--not separate from it. More on this concept later on since I think it deserves its own blog post.
Just an quick note about mulching--I think every weekend report is going to have something about mulching!
I'm still using up my collection of fall leaves. I literally collected hundreds of bags of leaves from my local community. Which is great but it does take a while to use that many leaves!
In this case I was adding the leaves on top of an area I mulched with wood chips. This area is along a county road outside my deer fence. It tends to get weedy with tall grass and is a pain for me to mow. But I don't want grass seeds spreading to my front food forest.
So I have been mulching it heavily and I'm hoping that once the mulch breaks down a bit I will get a lot of volunteer native plants coming in from the forest across the road. I figure I would do the mulching and then let nature do the planting.
Observation--the Key to Learning
Last fall I built a pond by mimicking beavers. Yup, I decided to see if I could replicate what beavers do by creating a dam across my seasonal stream--and yes this is legal in my specific situation (One advantage I have as a restoration project manager is that I know all the local regulators since I work with them on my restoration projects. So in this case I just asked them and they said yeah it was fine.)
This has been a big learning experience that started with observing actual beaver dams (old and new) and observation is still a critical part of this project.
Let's just say that based on my observations... I would fail as a beaver.
The pond went dry less than a week ago which made me sad. But luckily after observing a new beaver dam at a restoration site what I realized is that the wood seems to be more for dealing with the water that flows over the top of the dam to prevent erosion and potentially brace the dam. But the key component to holding the water back was the soil. I had not moved enough soil--my dam was too narrow.
So I started digging before the last rains came and added to the dam (about a week ago). I ran out of time to finish it but got a fair bit done. This summer I'm going to continue this work and increase the height of the dam.
The result as you can see in the above picture is the dam is holding water much better than it was before! The ducks have even returned!
I don't expect this pond to hold water through the summer yet but now that I'm learning how to build like a beaver I plan to create a whole series of ponds along my seasonal stream. Overtime I hope that this will turn my seasonal stream into a year round stream. I can hope!
But this project really highlights how important observation is to a successful project. This last weekend I just stood and observed the pond for about 15 minutes watching the water flow and seeing where it was seeping through the dam and figuring out what was working and what needed to be improved.
Without taking this time to stop and just watch this project and many others would not be successful. Observation and adaptation are critical for projects to succeed.
This week is all about mulching and getting the garden ready for planting. Next weekend I hope to start planting the garden but I also have a bunch of inside work to do to get a room ready for my new baby.
Plus of course the ongoing business work...
Always too much to get done!
Well I hope you have enjoyed this week's weekend homesteading report--as always please leave a comment and I'm happy to answer any questions.
Weekly Blog Post
- 5 Essential Steps to Plan Your New Garden
- Companion Post on Steemit - 5 Needed Steps for Planning Your Garden Before Your Build It
Related Blog Posts
- What is Mulching? The Complete Introduction to Mulching
- 3 Ways to Put Fall Leaves to Work on Your Homestead
- 5 Ways Your Homestead Will Benefit from Native Plants
- How to Work With Nature to Rewild your Homestead (And Why You Should Do It.)
Follow me for more posts all about homesteading, working with nature, and growing your own food: @wildhomesteading
And check out my blog - www.wildhomesteading.com for weekly in-depth posts on working with nature to grow your own food and start/build your homestead.