Monday, December 12, 2011

Lost Forever

It takes a century to create one inch of topsoil.  A whole one hundred years of . . .
of what?  It is beyond my understanding.

As I create compost, I am imitating those great forces of nature that carefully layer, mix and stir materials plucked from the universe.

When I first began raising sheep at Treecroft Farm, I worried constantly about the build-up of manure.  I joked with the shearer about an event in The Odyssey, where a river was diverted to clean out the manure from 3,000 oxen.

I experimented and in time have found a way to manage the manure on the farm.  My method also has a grand plan. Whether or not my plan happens to be successful remains to be seen. But right now I am happy.

I built the containers on top of the old driveway without removing the layer of asphalt.  Chuckle.  Won't those gophers be jealous when I convert these into raised beds for vegetables.  I don't think they can burrow under.

I created two containers.  One is made with six railroad ties stacked and butted together, about nine feet wide by nine feet long by two feet high. The other is made from old feeder panels I "deconstructed" to make a container roughly four feet wide by eight feet long by two feet high.  When I clean out the lower shelter, these bins fill quickly with the wasted hay and sheep pellets.

Since I laid down paving squares in the shelter, it takes less than a half hour to thoroughly rake up.  Nine sheep will produce about three cubic feet once every couple of days.

I add leaves, which are especially abundant now.  I added a pound of red wrigglers.

I take gardening seriously.  Just added "Mermaid" to the collection of roses.  Introduced in 1918, this scrambler was one of Monet's favorite roses.  Perhaps it will be as beautiful as my other climber, the giant "Belle of Portugal" (1903).  A few of her branches are at least three inches in diameter.

Oh, yes, the rose garden, star jasmine, ferns, strawberries and fruit trees are on "the other side of the fence."  The sheep may safely graze on their own side.

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