More garden

The garden progresses. As you can see, I’ve tilled quite a bit. Those cultivated beds are about 1500 square feet, and beyond that you can see where I’ve cleared the blackberry debris and grubbed out the roots, ready to till up 500  square feet more. Beyond that, the light patch is the sawdust mulch around the blueberry plants. Many of the beds are new enough that you can’t make out what they contain, but if you look closely, you can see

  • the purple of the beets to the center left
  • peas at the bottom left
  • the green beans in the middle
  • corn under glass mason jars to the right (we found that any young, uncovered corns would be dug up and killed overnight by rodents hungry for the germ)

Back when we conceived of this farming notion, I’d imagined asking our friend/neighbor José if he could run his giant tractor-mounted power tiller over it all for us. It seemed easy and expedient, but I felt a little guilty because I had the romantic notion of using muscle instead of diesel power to do the cultivating. Part was the (admittedly) hippy-dippy idea that we depend too much of fossil fuels and need to try to break away from that, for the good of both the environment and our economy. But I also have this idea of being a sort of modern-day frontier homesteader, breaking the land with sweat and muscle.

When it turned out that the biological peculiarities of the blackberries mandated human-powered farming, I knew I was in for a workout. Luckily, we have friends that are excited to help out! I just got a call from The Hoot Hoots, an indy-rock band from Seattle that we’re buddies with. They’re big fans of our farm.  What kind of farm has its own band, anyway? It feels like something you’d see on Scooby Doo or Josie and the Pussycats.

They are going to come out in a few weeks to help us hoe, saw, drag, till, and whatever else the modern medieval farmer does to produce food. Maybe they will rock some too.

The bees are still doing their thing. Latest news: the eastern hive has filled 8 of the 10 frames in the hive, so I added a second deep hive body, doubling available space so they can expand to their full size.

The western hive is still sick, and I can smell the Thymol from ten feet away. But there are only about two weeks left in the treatment. I hope they come out OK; the colony isn’t much bigger than it was when I got it. But they’ve been putting away honey and pollen, and did something really weird, as well. They completely drew out two entire frames of comb in brand new, white wax… and left it completely empty. No honey, no brood, not even any dirt. I don’t really know what to make of that.

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