Bed building is officially underway!
Concetta hauled in two trailer-fulls of soil from Recycling Services at Clemson University. The soil is composed of composted food waste from campus mixed with leaves and yard waste. She laid this down in the beds and covered it with a thick layer of grass. We brought more grass up from the mowed area to cover the rest of the beds.
Lillian began lining the pathways between the new beds with mulch. Hopefully this will keep down the grass, as well as build up the organic matter. The mulch is decomposing wonderfully: just beneath the surface flourishes a healthy network of fungi, insulated from the cold nights in their self-heated home.
We found an Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) absolutely laden with berries, and collected a bagful to hopefully make into jam. I ate a few of the tart berries as I took a break in the fescue. Rescued from its canopy of pears and dog-fennel, the grass is making a verdant comeback.
Hunter continued his campaign against the saplings. He has a new tool, a brush hook, which can bring down the saplings in a few solid swings. I struggled along in the grass with my loppers. The pile of fallen trees grows slowly but surely.
The more time I spend on the land, the more I discover. Raking sends wolf spiders hurrying along, clutching precious eggs. Cutting saplings' bases reveals the network of empty space beneath the grass, floored with moss and tiny ferns. Towing saplings collects the tenacious seeds from the beggar's ticks. There's puddling butterflies and unseasonable blackberry blooms and praying mantis eggs nestled into the red-cedars.
Hopefully by working carefully, we can maintain this vital diversity in our growing farm.
With our first set of beds almost completely set for winter, our progress feels truly tangible. And tomorrow's another day to work!