For a long time I’ve been lamenting the fact we didn’t get the farm earlier in the summer when we first saw it. Our Indian Summer provided nothing more than a tease, a flitting glimpse at what this place will be like during the months the sun actually appears.
Right now the farm is rainy and dark and . . . depressing. The coyotes grow bolder by the day (my son now does a good impression of me flailing and hollering down the driveway) and most of the farm has become one big mud puddle.
Not exactly the picture of agrarian bliss.
One benefit of moving in during the dark, wet days of winter is I’m not getting any sun, but neither are the weeds.
Every day that my son and I venture out I take a pair of pruners and sheers and hand him a broom stick. He happily beats the hell out of the blackberries WACK WACK WACK while I slowly peel back feet upon feet of brambles to expose our fencerows (or the areas where I imagine the fencerows must be).
Pile after pile after pile of weedy grass, blackberries, rosebushes-gone-wild are accumulating, slowly revealing the true size and shape of the farm.
I am gaining a good lesson in one of the key tenets of permaculture; start with your edges. No kidding.
Renovating the pastures is going to be a cinch compared to this epic battle of good and prickles.
Here’s what I’m dealing with. That is blackberries, grass, roses, quince, horsetail and some small berry that might be currants, but who can tell. The whole place is at least as bad or worse.
I am taking pictures so as to not get discouraged. I almost cried when my husband walked the farm this weekend and couldn’t even notice the mounds of vegetation I transported from fencerows to compost.
Yes, it’s that bad.
Of course, every layer that is peeled back reveals another item for my to-do list; fencing that is too large, too full of holes, too non-existent!
As the vegetation dies back or is hacked back our farm is becoming even more permeable to the various inhabitants of this place. An old dog from the junkyard next door regularly wanders my veggie garden; every time he appears my son gives me a minor heart attack by announcing his arrival – Puppy!! (Which of course could be old harmless junkyard dog or Mama Coyote – Gah.)
The Westcoast Seeds catalogue arrive yesterday, sending my husband into fits of joy and me into fits of panic. Can it really be that time again???
I still haven’t tackled the sea of comfrey inhabiting the lower end of my veggie plot, never mind the encroaching 10 foot swath of brambles, the gazillion year old grapes climbing two stories into the cedars, the overgrown raspberry patch ill-placed smack dab in the middle, never mind the soil itself, which is hard as a rock.
Eventually (hopefully soon) the snow will come and I will be able to grant myself permission to stop worrying about it.