May 13, 2011

In the Garden

"You must pay for everything in this world, one way and another.  There is nothing free except the grace of God."

I've thought about those words now and then while pulling seemingly endless strands of quack grass from the garden.  Weeding is the unavoidable price for fresh and healthy organic produce, and sometimes I think that the western Washington climate forces us to pay a bit of a premium.  Along with the hated quack grass, we get burdock, chick weed and buttercup popping up almost as soon as the ground is turned over in the spring.  Once the weather and the soil start to warm up, the lamb's quarters, shepherd's purse and those spindly things I don't know the name of (but there are lots of 'em) take over.  And there are always the stray blackberries and volunteer crops from the previous season to deal with.

The horse-drawn cultivator and the wheel hoe (in the picture) keep the rows clear, although you still have to go back a rake out the roots that have been turned over.  Anything that isn't completely removed from the garden will take root with the next rain.  For the beds, we have a wide variety of hoes of all shapes and sizes, but inevitably it comes down to getting on your knees and pulling out the really stubborn weeds by hand.  Sometimes while I'm down there, I do some praying that we would get a little less rain.

May 9, 2011

Before the Deluge

With some dry weather this afternoon, Ryan hooked up the three Fjords and took the spring-tooth harrow down to the winter loafing yard to get it ready to plant with oats.  By the time spring finally rolls around, the horses have stripped the loafing yard clean of anything even vaguely edible, and have left it bare and muddy.  The oats, in addition to holding the soil in place, give the horses something to eat when we go back to the winter schedule.
 After dragging the yard with the harrow, I walked along broadcasting seed while Ryan followed with the disc.