It’s 8am and the sun is just beginning to peak over the far slope of the valley. The Norwegian has been in the barn for just over an hour and has been back to the house to ask me to come see the progress of “my” task for the day which he has had to take over. I’ve spent the last two days raking the abundance of Ash leaves into piles. There’s still a lot of Birch leaves I want to collect as well. I’m thinking ahead, as farmers must, about the soil’s future health.
You can call yourself any sort of farmer you want, but in the end, long term sustainable success means we are all the same. We are all soil builders. For us, that means taking advantage of the gifts mother nature gives us in the Autumn. Mulch, compost and leaf mold feature heavily in my plans this week. The leaves have immediate, short term and long term benefit: mulching around our currant bushes will help them this winter, adding leaves to the compost is helping build critical mass needed for active winter composting and the leaf mold bins will help us create more friable soil in two years time when it’s broken down. It’s three gifts in one and I want them all.
Unfortunately, three weeks ago I played “hero” on the river and stopped a 60 ft steel narrow boat free floating down the river in flood. This resulted in me tearing the muscles in my back on both sides. It laid me out completely for a week. The doctor wrote me off for 6 weeks upon seeing me. Life doesn’t stop however, and I moved to the farm just 72hrs ago. Suffice to say, 52kgs of luggage and a cat did my recovery no good!
I honestly thought raking leaves was an easy enough task. Perhaps it was. Bending down to cut the hardware cloth to make a leaf cage was too much, so I’ve been sent to the cabin to rest. I don’t think he minds, but I think he’s worried that I may not recover. To ruin my health just at the beginning of this great adventure would be devastating. I’m trying not to think about that. I hate feeling I’m not pulling my weight, but he is right, there is only one way to recover; rest.