Lately, Ms. SpoolTeacher watched “The Egg and I”:
Screen legends Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray star as newlyweds whose love is put to the test on their wedding day in the classic comedy The Egg and I. Just after she has said “I do,” Betty (Claudette Colbert) learns that her new husband, Bob (Fred MacMurray), has left his white-collar job with plans to raise chickens on a rustic farm located miles away from civilization. Betty tries to make the best of her situation in their ramshackle house but never-ending repairs, a malevolent wood-burning stove, rain, ornery livestock and a seductive neighbor (Louise Allbritton) do not make it easy! There is never a dull moment in this heart-warming comedy that also introduced the beloved characters of Ma and Pa Kettle (Marjorie Main and Percy Killbride).
Claudette Colbert was in her 40’s for this film but played a newlywed. You would never guess her age.
Ma and Pa Kettle were introduced in this movie. Who can resist Ma and Pa.
Ms. SpoolTeacher has farming in her genes. Her grandfather had an apple orchard and provided for his family with livestock and gardens.
She never met him and by the time she met her Grandmother, she was running a rooming house for Canadian students who were studying surveying. So the farming thing was only known to her through all the stories she heard her Aunt and Mother report of their youth; but it was “in her blood”.
Ms. SpoolTeacher has a page on Facebook where she posts all things interesting to her concerning gardening, farming and the such. She calls it First Do No Harm Front Yard Farmacy.
All of her life she has gravitated to all things having to do with digging in the dirt, designing and of course, fabric.
She’s determined to be food (at least semi-) self sufficient. Mostly because it is so hard to find fresh organic produce consistently in her little town and also because it is much more economical to grow your own.
Speaking of economy, she lost several of her paying gigs to do with housekeeping and has yet to replace them. She has been getting more and more sewing though. Perhaps because she is home more and people can expect to find her there.
She much prefers to sew than to housekeep. Of course, she’d much more prefer to be home 24/7 with all her time devoted to gardening and sewing things to put in her Etsy Shop, Spare Shelf. She’s a year or so away from being able to imagine that. It’s getting close though.
In the mean time, she fits in gardening wherever she can. On her priority list has been to build a Hugelkultur bed. It is basically a mound that is developed by placing organic matter, dry and green over decomposing logs, sticks, twigs and then covering them with dirt.
She has been studying various permaculture gardeners to see how they have done it and to see the successes they have had.
They can either be structured starting with a trench or at ground level. She chose to dig a trench. Actually, she thought that was how they were supposed to be, but after digging the trench, one dog high, (approx. 28W X 18D), she went back to revisit some of the posts and discovered that some start at ground level. Sepp Hozier, famous in the arena, builds them 6 feet high and does recommend digging a trench of about one foot deep. But, it appears it can be equally successful either way. The tall installation adds surface area for planting. The lower ones seem to be better suited for front yard farming where neighbors or the city might intervene. And, unless you have lots of extra dirt somewhere to cover the mounds, the trench gives you the dirt. She really doesn’t have issues as such with neighbor or the city, but thinks she will enjoy the lower profile design.Though she sure likes this one below.
She thought she had a tremendous amount of resources but they got used up quickly. She will do this on her side yard somewhere in the future. It is a much bigger plot and has a slope that would greatly benefit from the contours of this serpentine shape. Now to find more resources. The ones she had were years in accumulating. These are just a sampling of what the years had provided.
The premise with Hugelkultur is that, yes, it is lots and lots and lots of hard, hard, hard work at the installation; but they are a permanent bed that sequesters carbon, releases nutrients and stores water. Not to mention that they are a wonderful use of resources that would otherwise go to landfills or up in the atmosphere as smoke. So, they pay for themselves with labor and resources saved down the road.
Did she say, “A lot of work”? Especially for an old(ish) lady. (60 is the new 40 don’t you know?)
First go in the logs, sticks and twigs.
Aren’t those sticks pretty?
Then the composted material, and dry leaves.
Little Red-Haired Girl is living on the edge! She just knows there is something in there alive and edible. Grubs she likes.
Summer leaves composted fairly nicely already.
She then watered it in, added some of the excavated trench dirt and watered it some again to level it out. She will continue adding the trench dirt, which should create some kind of mound. There is a slight threat of rain tonight, so she’s waiting for that just in case.
Where did it go! Oh, no!
She has a north facing front yard that the house shadows. Come summer though, it is pretty much full sun most of the day.
In between digging the trench and building the Hugelkultur mound layers, she leveled the landing area at the front gate and installed pavers. She does this by eye and the feel of hand, and right over the dirt, no sand. She likes things a little Wabi-sabi.
While this was all going on, the little Anna Apple tree went into full bloom and had bees swarming.
Shortly thereafter the apricot tree went from bud to bloom. The bees were circling the buds aching for them to open
As soon as they did, there were swarms of bees and the prettiest butterflies.
If you look carefully, there is one visible butterfly in between the wires a little to the left of center, (kind of like Ms. SpoolTeacher’s politics!).
“How do people ever find time to be bored”, she asks.
She’s so happy she got this done just in time to plant for spring. She didn’t think she would.
Her house stays too cold to start plants indoors and she doesn’t have heating mats or such, yet. This bed is supposed to contain more heat to allow for earlier planting. (She wonders if that means seeds as well)
Four sewing jobs accumulated while all this was going on. Now to tackle those.
Feast or famine.
Ah, The Good Life.
“The good life“, a philosophical term for the life that one would like to live, originally associated with Aristotle.
Are you living the life you would like to live?