Friday morning, Josephine and George and I walked down to the willow coppice to cut a pile of whips for a hurdle project in our Zone One garden. I’m ashamed to admit that I had really neglected this zone in favour of projects in the wider farm. But since the pandemic came along, we’ve needed more than ever to have a shorter reach to our food each day, to have a beautiful outdoor space close to the house. Our two disabled kids’ needs have gotten more complex as they near adulthood and the complexities of my own health issues have meant that we haven’t been able to access appropriate supports for them. It boils down to Brian and me needing to handle their care alone on top of managing a large family and a farm in transition from serving business back to serving the community. And while it has been really tough, it has been full of lessons – a painful, but necessary, pruning. And so that is how, Friday morning, I found myself to-ing and fro-ing with our two littlest folk cutting whips and hauling them up the hillside.

I say ‘hauling’. We used the old farm truck to get our considerable pile of whips up the hill. The guilt over burning gas to get this done was keen. It’s ridiculous because it’s the only technology we had available to do the job. But it did make me think that in fact, I really do want a cart that can be pulled by our wethers, or by a donkey or pony. These types of carts are still ubiquitous in some parts (perhaps many parts) of the world. Seeing one trundle down the road in rural Bulgaria is an everyday sight.

With one thing and another, the other tasks of preparing the whips and building a hurdle for our walkway bed have been somewhat delayed. We’ve come back to it in spits and spots over the weekend. Nick removed the rocks we had been using to edge that bed. George tidied the patio, I removed grass and things from the very edge of the bed, tidied the walkway. I hope that I’ll get all of the uprights set today (Sunday) while the young folk are out on a hike with the newlyweds (our daughter Carrie and her husband, John). And come Monday, we can begin weaving. Weaving something new.



Deacon's wife. Mother of Eleven. Farmer. Teacher. Creator. Cook.

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