Monday, 17 September 2012

I get by with a little help from my friends

The time has come to pay tribute to the friends and family who helped out in the garden this year. While it is true that "many hands make light work" it is also just a nice place to have lots of people around; a big farmhouse kitchen to eat meals in, a pool to cool off in and the beautiful paths through the woods to the corner of the field that Christopher so carefully maintains all season long.

Avo has helped out on projects for over twenty years, from building the deck and the stairs (twice now) with Christopher, to working with Alex to prune trees in our woods. He has provided the chainsaw again and again - most recently to deal with the huge limb that broke off our old apple tree, one of the few trees that we inherited when we bought the property more than twenty years ago.
Avo ready to start replacing the back stairs
Alex and Avo discuss strategy for removing this pine tree

Alex's primary interest is in trees. She has provided and planted many native trees and roses and helped plant the whips that we got to start our woods. And she has returned to prune many of those trees which have grown into a bona fide little forest. Together we also made the hot boxes this spring. And she has pulled many a weed over the years.
A sunny day in the spring as Alex prepares the ground for the hotboxes

Diane is a more recent recruit.  This spring she mulched our struggling young trees with cardboard and clippings from the pruning Avo and Alex were doing on the more established trees. And I think, despite the drought of this summer, that the young trees Diane mulched have really benefitted from the reduced competition at their base. Then later in the spring we worked together on planting the first potatoes.
Diane digs trenches for the French Fingerlings

Benjamin and I had never met but we had a warm relationship through email since he has become a member of the CSA this spring. So I was thrilled when he volunteered to come up and help out. While he weeded the raspberries and dug Yukon Gold potatoes I was finally able to weed the leek bed. Later he helped save lettuce and kale seed. Only later that day did I learn that he took time to make the visit ten days before his wedding!
Having finished weeding the new raspberries Benjamin moves on to digging Yukon Gold potatoes

Jill came for just over 18 hours but even so she stayed long enough to dig some of the Banana Fingerlings.
 Jill puts her efforts into digging Banana fingerlings
Charlie has helped me in so many ways in the past couple of years. He is really the only other person I know in my area with whom I can swap tales of woe and triumph and compare how the season is going in general. As a farmer with a diversified operation including fields of grain and livestock he has also been able to help with everything from tilling my new bed in the field to giving me some of his own organic rye to plant as a cover crop this fall.
Charlie tills a new bed in the field

Thea and Scylla
And last but certainly not least, my four footed constant companions, Thea and Scylla. They keep me company, agree with everything I say to them all day long and remind me that by the time the shadows are long, the time has come for some R and R. Which is a glass of wine or beer for me and playing "catch" for them - the squeaky ball for Thea and the cuz or "squirrel" for Scylla.
Scylla covetously guards her cuz while Thea keeps a watchful eye as I add manure to this about-to-be seeded bed 
And now four months later all that has really changed is which bed we're in
 So a big thank you to everyone who came and helped make another successful season!

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