Monday, March 21, 2016

Gardening: just painting in 3-D

I never understood why Americans hate gardening. They call it "yard work" and use it as a punishment.

There really isn't any activity that fills me with more joy. If I ever achieve in prayer the condition of peace that 2 hours in the garden gives me, I'll know I'm making some progress. I can't imagine any activity, beyond maybe childbirth, that is closer to God's purpose for human life on earth.

I spent the day yesterday out in the fields. There are hundreds of varieties of brassicas, only few of which are cultivated. I went out with a trowel and a plastic bag and brought home a bunch of

wild brassicas, including some mustard-garlic,

for the new veg patch you can see above.

That and calendula (above...the yellow things that look like dandelions but aren't...) and some wild fumitory. I just plopped them into the planter when I got home, and this morning they seem to be doing fine.

Big plans.This evening the nice guy from the Agridea is going to drop off three bags of potting soil to add to the compost I made this winter. I've also got some potatoes ready to go in and I think I'm going to try to germinate the pumpkin seeds I saved. I've got a little bit of rooting hormone, and will see if I can get the wild rose cuttings to start rooting.

Today I got packets of wildflower seeds that I'm just going to use scattered on the slope. You can see above that nearly the whole garden is at almost a 45 degree slope, and keeping the soil from washing away in the rain is a bit of a challenge.


Out for an epic stomp yesterday, with all the collecting gear. Here's the lizard I found. It was just sitting there and obligingly stayed perfectly still while I took pictures of it. He's about 9 inches long from nose to tail tip.

The valley. Spring is here. 

The Sordo, a stream tributary to the Nera, that forms in the Marcite. Full of fish and crayfish and wildlife.

Toward the end of the day, I was getting really tired and was about 2 miles outside town. As I was coming back thinking about nothing but food, I smelled porchetta. As I climbed back up to the highway, right there was a collection of vans selling porchetta sandwiches, new potatoes and wild asparagus.

Base camp. Tea in the flask and a pack full of collecting tools and field samples. 

Here's something interesting. The Marcite is a favourite hangout of the local cinghiale, wild boar, who make these little highways from the hills on the opposite side, down to the flats where they spend their nights rooting up the turf and finding interesting things to eat. They always follow the same path, and you can easily see where they come and go. If you see a path in the woods, it's probably the local boars. 

Wild boar hoof prints can easily be seen in the mud.

It's pretty easy to make out their trails. 

Across the field, across the road and over the next field to the places right next to the river, where the earth is soft. 

Closer to home. In the Marcite, the grubbiest sheep in Italy. 



Anonymous said...

Great pictures .My brother is currently in Sicily enjoying the historic sites. Happy easter Dominus Vobiscum and "Ceterum autem censeo Islam esse delendam” thanks to Barnhardt and cato

susan said...

You live pretty dang close to Heaven don't ya.

Have you ever run into one of the wild boars on one of your hikes? The ones here in the states can be really much so, that I think I'd rather take my chances with a small bear.

Laurel said...

That picture of the valley is just breath taking. Hope you'll photograph it again as the seasons change. Thanks for sharing the beautiful pics. It's cold and rainy and miserable here. Too soon to plant anything or even think about getting into the garden. Good luck with yours.

Karen said...

You're right, gardening is one of the most peaceful things to do on earth. I can start putzing around in the garden at 10 am and the next thing I know, my husband is saying Aren't you getting hungry? It's 4:30. I don't know where I go; I don't even know what my thoughts have been all day. It's almost like I leave my brain behind and don't even think. I just physically and automatically move, sweating and muscling things around, but my brain kind of turns off. If that makes sense. I will do that for 3 days in a row until finally I spend a day sleeping to catch up on all the physical work and let my muscles recover. The winter takes its toll - I am weak and soft in early spring. By mid summer I will be harder and stronger and then the heat and humidity will keep me indoors most of the day. And so it goes until fall which is long in coming in the midwest USA. Norcia looks heavenly.

Hilary White said...

Karen, you have described my experience exactly. I have to be careful with gardening, especially now that the days are getting much longer, that I don't just lose entire days, and forget to go to Church.