We’ve been overdoing it
And while overdoing it, Mohamed hurt his back.
While loading mulch into the trunk of our car,
or maybe while carrying barrels of blackberries to the compost,
he upset an old injury from a falling-onto-a-fence accident.
He’s begun doing self-acupuncture,
using spines from a cactus in our yard,
to ease the pain and unblock channels for recovery.
While slowing our progress for certain yard projects,
(while he takes time to rest, recover, and recuperate)
this has given me an opportunity to refocus on gardening:
clearing and preparing our yard to extend the garden,
as I want to at least triple our planting space this first season.
First and foremost, it had been 4 days of Root time,
so we’ve been clearing out the rest of the last garden box,
planting more beets and carrots (thanks Dad for the new seeds!),
and making space for the last 9 potato transplants that I’ll put in next Root trine.
As it has gotten a bit warmer and very Spring-like,
some of our winter kale and arugula have begun to flower.
We have so much arugula that the bunches I pick daily aren’t noticeable
in the sea of green leaves that is our first garden box.
And I’ve been harvesting the lower leaves of the kale tonight,
(for the most incredible garden kale, (our own) chanterelle, and roasted squash calzone)
while leaving the flower stalks to bloom and go to seed,
as I’m out of kale seeds and will want to plant more this fall.
Also, we’ve just received fifty seeds for artichokes,
the purple Italian Violetta di Chiogga heirloom variety,
so during Flower time, I began soaking and planting seeds.
As each plant will need a square meter of space,
I’ve been planning and clearing out a space for our artichoke patch.
This area of the yard had once been used as a garden,
but that was at least a dozen years ago.
So I’ve got a lot of work to do to revive it.
Downhill and adjacent to the artichoke patch,
I’ve begun clearing a nice flat area for my “three sisters” patch.
The Native American concept of the “three sisters” are an interplanting
of corn, beans and winter squash, each plant benefitting the others for compatible growing.
I’ll be experimenting with growing popcorn, various local and Austrian beans,
and winter squash seeds (hokkaido, blue ballet, & butternut)
that I’ve saved from all the organic squash we’ve eaten since moving to Europe.
Although I won’t be growing these plants until late Spring,
I’m clearing the area now to plant some buckwheat as a cover crop,
giving the area a boost of blossoms and then, once dug under, green manure.
Also, downhill from our garden boxes towards the compost,
I want to extend the garden in a semicircular space,
using the wild mint as a boundary,
to create another planting place.
Originally, I thought about planting asparagus there this Spring,
but now think I might use the area for other plants this season,
since I don’t think I’ll have enough room for cucumbers and the loofah squash,
and plant out asparagus next year, after enriching the soil.
Just beyond this area, yesterday I found a few thorny bushes under the overgrowth.
I’m not exactly sure what they are, but as they look like they were intentionally planted,
I’m assuming they’re some type of German berry bush that the previous owners put in.
They might be Stachelbeeren, I’ll try to identify them once they leaf out or blossom.
With the warmer temperatures, much of the surrounding towns
and even some parts of our yard seem like Spring has already sprung
(one yard we passed by today already had saucer magnolias in full bloom);
while other sections of our property are still in their Winter dormancy.
These changes in the weather seem normal for here,
and so I’ve been observing all of our microclimates
to understand the patterns for years to come.
This Friday and Saturday were the final Flower transplanting times for this cycle,
so we’re super busy planting bulblets from the wild irises from the water Spring,
repotting flowers (I just got a new one from the teahouse that holds our Portuguese classes),
and transplanting honeysuckles from our ruin
and wild irises from the forest.
Otherwise, Nutella’s not doing so well.
Her tumor has grown to triple size in only a few weeks.
The veterinarian looked really sad during her last check-up,
(as she’s grown quite fond of Nut, too),
saying that there wasn’t much she can do,
and warning us of the inevitable.
But she is still herself:
napping on the sofa, laying in the sun, and begging for food;
and doesn’t seem to be in much pain,
so we’re just trying to keep her comfortable.
Focusing on flowers has helped keep the tears away.
So after we got back home,
we figured out how to put together the arbor for behind our bedroom window.
It is made from wood railings we found while hiking in the woods in Austria,
with wood scrap found here in the center, supporting our water line.
Marmalade helped put it together once we all got back from her school.
Along the sides, we’ve got three cork planters now full of honeysuckle transplants,
to add a bit of life, and bumblebee food, to that part of our place.
Today switches over to a couple of Leaf days,
so I plan to plant more spinach.
And clean up a bit (or hopefully a lot)
since the architects are coming for a site visit this week.