Something that has been lacking in our world of farm making and house creation has been a simple garden. The fields we bought have never (to our knowledge) had a house on them so there was no established infrastructure, nothing to define the space. In terms of house building this is a wonderful boon, we have build the house we wanted, the house that perfectly fits our family. But in terms of the outside space I’ve found it something of a challenge.
Back in the spring we did manage to level and seed an area of lawn, it even got mowed a couple of times, but as the farm got busy the mowing task fell waaaay down the list. Even if he did have time it is hard to justify 2 hours to mow what is only a small part of the land around the house. This week we decided to bite the (rather expensive) bullet and bought a garden tractor, a nifty orange beauty that enabled me to turn 3 feet weeds into this,
Now granted we are not going to have any bowls teams turning up begging for the use of it but it is certainly an improvement! This part is the septic that was never seeded so our ‘lawn’ is in fact just short weeds, but that is better than long weeds! And while this took an hour to do due to it’s over grown state, this weekend will be a significantly shorter task. The lawn that we had seeded took only 20 minutes to mow and that was with 3 passes! So from 2 hours to approximately 10 minutes, that is the kind of time saving I like. The added bonus is I can do this job, something I wouldn’t even attempt with a regular lawn mower. I can keep the property neat and tidy and will be using the tractor next year to expand further out into what will become our 3 acre orchard.
While I was mowing I managed to push the weeds back enough to reach this,
I’ve had my eye on this willow tree since last summer as I thought it would be a lovely climbing tree for the boys. It creates a nice pool of shade around it and is low enough to the ground for them to safely get up themselves. With a little judicious pruning and sawing of a dried nest of branches surrounding the lower trunk it was transformed from a random tree to climbing heaven.
Watching the boys monkey up that tree, testing their own limits and agility, was sheer joy for me. This is the kind of experience I had imagined they would have before we even found this land. Such a simple thing, to reach up for the next branch, to sit in a pool of shade and exult in the cooling breezes the tree offers on a hot day, and yet something so many children never experience.
It is hard work, carving out our home, farm, garden out of nature. And while I enjoy the natural landscape around us, having gardens surrounding the house, safe places for the boys to play and rest without being scratched or stung or tripped, a bit of breathing space after a busy day, feels so right and so homely. It might take a bit of taming (and some heavy machinery) but we’ll get there, we’ve already made a good start.