Last week I finally got the first part of my winter garden built and planted. The surviving starts were settled carefully in, and radishes, turnips, and lettuce were seeded.
This year, above all other years, I am planning for abundance. We need it. This lean season has felt leaner than any season before - the cows and goats dried off at the same time, chickens moulting, us without an income.
These days are anxious, full days, and the little green glimmers of the brassica seeds unruffling their tiny heart-shaped leaves gives me hope. Rows of greens, rows of radishes and roots. I hope that these things will see us through to better times.
The pigs have been a big help in the garden this season. The summer garden gets so jungly, with impossibly high woody weeds, like small trees. You have to fight your way through just to walk across, and clearing it is an impossible task. In previous years, we rented a bushhog (yes, that's what it takes). But why rent a bushhog, when we have bush hogs?
The rabbits have already been less of a problem because of the open ground. A few evenings ago, I was milking the two remaining lactating goats at dusk when a huge, old owl flew down and perched on a pine tree that looks over the East side of the garden.
The pigs are also revealing all the cracked 5-gallon buckets I had used to transport compost to the summer garden. Gosh, I had no idea I used so many. I recall many times reaching for another bucket from our stack of retired "compost quality" buckets when the one I had been using had seemed to vanish - probably swallowed by the choking gourd vines or something. Well, now I know where they ended up.
The bare ground will not be exposed for long. The pigs will soon be moved elsewhere, and clouds of rye, oat and radish seeds will be sown on top to eventually make way for the summer garden of next year, which I am already looking towards with a scheming and thrifty eye.