Friday, June 14, 2013

The Window

We've been looking for a window.  Not a window for the house, though we have been finding ways to open more windows to get some breeze flowing through the house as the temperatures rise.  We've also been creatively covering some windows that allow in too much afternoon light.

Slipping a few river cane tops into an old trellis was a perfect solution to this long term problem.  But, as I said previously, this was not the type of window we were looking for.  We also were not, at present, looking for a window into anybody's soul, or even into the mind of God.

No.  We were looking for a window of time.  A window in the weather that would allow us to complete the planting of some of our most important crops. 

This year we have greatly expanded our plantings.  Before, we kept everything here at Groundwell proper.  But this year, we planted a lot of our potatoes in our neighbor's garden.  We also began working ground over at Groundwell on Tucker (our other 4.5 acres around the corner).  Right after we bought our tiller, we began trying to break into the sod of this long term hay field.  Joe and Dominic went over it and over it with the tiller, going a bit deeper each time.  It was exhausting work that was yielding little.  They finally got the ground broken a few inches deep, and found that under that moderately workable soil, there was hardpan.  This is soil that is so compacted by large machinery that it is almost mudshale.  We were stymied.

Then our other neighbor offered to use his plow and re-breaker on it.  We eagerly accepted and on the next sunny day he got over to Tucker Lane and set to work.  The plow broke fairly deeply into the soil in most places, but evening came too quickly and Kenneth, being as far behind as us with his own farm work, needed to move on to other things, but left with the promise that he would be back as soon as possible to complete the job.

Unfortunately, the weather turned off wet.  So, the ground sat there half broken as valuable day after valuable day passed on.  The broken ground remained in huge clods, impossible to do anything with.

But this Tuesday, the rain stopped.  It looked like it was going to stop long enough to manage something with this very important ground.  This after all, is the spot we have available to plant the vast majority of our beans, corn, and sweet potatoes. 

So, we went out with hoes and broke down the peaks of the large clumps.
Then the men traded off with the tiller, working their way up and down the slope, breaking down the ridges left by the plow, and working the ground deeper and deeper till it was deep enough to plant. 
Those of us who were not tilling at any given time were collecting rocks, and built quite an admirable rock pile.
After about 15 hours of hard labor, we accomplished the task, planting well into dusk, barely able to see the seeds we were trying to cover.  An interesting effect of leaving the partially broken ground through the many rainy days, is that it acted as a sponge, softening the hardpan underneath and making it more workable!

It may not look like much to the untrained eye, but this rectangle of broken ground holds, if everything goes well, the majority of the corn, field peas, sweetpotatoes, and sunflower seeds that we will eat in the coming year.

Thank God for rain, and thank Him again for the windows!


  1. Amen, my sistah! Thanks for all He blesses us with, on any given day, would be a beautiful song with infinite choruses. That is a field to be proud of. :)

    1. You should come down and see it in person!

    2. As soon as the Big Guy gets back to only working 5 days a week, we'll be figuring out how & when. :)

  2. It's always nice to read about your progress and discoveries!

    1. Thanks Mike. If you're ever passing through TN you know you're welcome!