This will be mainly a gardening post since it is what I both do and like the most.
While Magnus has been very busy surfing the Internet, drinking whisky, pretending to be checking the batteries (and boasting about doing so) I have been working. I do it quietly so you might think I am the lazy one not doing much. Think again.
Like I mentioned before, my ignorance regarding seeding cycles led me to end up in a tight situation with too much soil to weed and prepare and way too many seeds to plant. But I did not give up and have actually managed to do quite a lot. I am not sure you remember my hügelkultur, which can be appreciated in a few pictures as a long, green (mostly sweet potatoes and weeds) and low pile of soil. I actually managed to weed the whole thing, as well as dig up some monstrous sweet potatoes and recover some good soil left after the alfalfa hay that I had covered the whole thing with composted.
Let me tell you something, this hugelkultur thing really works so if you ever need to get rid of loads of trees/bushes you should definitely try to bury them instead of burning, composting or driving to the dump. Bury them all, cover with a bit of soil and plant something fast growing and make sure it covers the whole thing or cover with something else. By the time you are ready for the next crop you will have wonderful soil for that.
I also managed to weed the small growing area I was using last year. This area is the only part that is fenced, but it turned out to be too small so this year I will grow veggies in there as well as outside. Mainly because I think the dog is keeping away all the foxes, hares and other animals I was worried about.
So, my hügelkultur is now all planted with onions, spinach, carrots, peas, sugar snaps, chickpeas, lentils, beetroot, rocket salad, winter salad, coil flower, poppies, quinoa, calendula and strawberries (aka ant food…). I am planing on sowing some more flowers and clovers on the side slopes. The original veggie patch is sort of half way done with garlic, broccoli, last years artichokes which should flower this year and some other random stuff. I am still not sure what I will grow there but I have been preparing a no-dig bed for asparagus and have sown some mizuna, mustard salad and radishes and will plant the leeks I have in trays inside the house. And then all space will be occupied. Again. So next step will be to get rid of more bushes and acacias and gain some more veggie land.
Other than veggies I have planted apricot, plum and nectarine trees. Next time I have time I will try and find spots for quince, pomegranate, pecan, walnut and almonds. Maybe even apples and pears. And to help all this to grow I got quite a few native plants inside the house that are waiting to be planted outside. Actually they are in quarantine since they might be infested with snails. I dare not put them outside quite yet. Some may think it is a bit contradicting to plant all the exotic stuff but I don’t. I would love to be able to harvest ALL kinds of fruits, endemic and exotic in a restricted area of the land. The rest I will leave to recover and become whatever it is it is supposed to become. Plus, I am really hoping that all these exotic things can grow better and healthier if I surround them with the native ones. It is one of many working theories at least. Also, I am not really worried about introducing any invasive things, not when I am putting these kind of fruit trees.
What have I learned so far?
1) I will only very rarely get to rest from gardening/food growing chores
2) I absolutely love gardening/growing all kinds of stuff
3) You can never have too much compost
4) I really need to get back to my yoga discipline
I have taught some very few more yoga classes and will hopefully manage to set up a time slot that fits me and hopefully a few students. Which is really nice and good for me. It is good because it obliges me to “stay in the business” and practice (though way too little). But, part of yoga is accepting and I accept this period and keep preparing and working towards the next one with more time for practice because I am sure it will come. In the meantime I try to be here and enjoy.
I have also been solving the very last paperwork regarding the move. I know, it’s been a year, but that is how long some things can take (others even more) and I am still “fighting” with the company that sold us the container home because we have a leak issue inside a wall that has been going on for ever and they still have not fixed. This leads to fungi/mold growth everywhere inside the house. I am sure you all know what I mean when I say that complaining on the phone, repeatedly trying to get people to fix stuff for you can take a loooooot of time and especially suck out a hell of a lot of energy from your system. Hopefully they will come, some day at least, and then we might be able to stop worrying about water leaks in the walls, as well as our pump breaking and walls fungifying due to it. One word of advice for those of you considering a container home. Make sure it is WELL isolated and I mean very well, not just 5 cm rockwool and sigle glazed windows because I am telling you, it does not do the trick. You will need proper isolation, double glazed windows and something on the floor as well. We have seen our share of bad sci-fi movies the months before we got internet. I can now identify quite well with a Japanese one from the 60’s if I remember correctly, “The attack of the mushroom people”. Do watch it if you are ever in that mood and think of me.
Apart from growing food and fungi I escaped to Buenos Aires for yet another mini-relax holiday and a small dose of bus riding and smog breathing. The kids had their winter holidays last week and the weather forecast looked like one big cloud so I took the kids and jumped on a boat to spend the week locked inside but with far more space and entertainment for the kids with indoor pool, grandparents at hand, many cousins and well, basically party everyday for them. It was great. Really worth it. I got to see a few of my friends too which was also super nice, get a haircut and not stress about anything at all (that is the best part)
Some of you might have noticed that we were visited by a reporter from a national Uruguayan newspaper, the local radio and by two journalism students from Norway. This resulted in us being on three different media in the course of a week or so. It was somewhat overwhelming to say the least. So now we are Carmelo, Oslo and Uruguay famous… It was both weird and nice. Very nice to realize that some people think what we are doing is interesting and want to know about us and it was extremely nice to get a lot of messages and positive comments after the interviews were published. We were also contacted by tons of people who want to help, are doing similar stuff or are just curious and want to know more. I very quickly learned to be more careful with what I say though and was better the second time (that time I was itching non stop instead, but I talked well at least). It is not easy to go public like that. Luckily news pass fast and with so much input and so much going on in the world nothing stays in their retina for too long and we will soon be a vague memory for most people 🙂
What else have I been up to since last time? Not sure but it might also be that all I have mentioned above actually is more than enough to fill the time since my last post.