Tuesday, May 21, 2013

5 Years of Leaves Moved In One Day

This homesteading thing... whew... it's a lot of work.  It may be a simpler life but it isn't easy.  We had an opportunity to help out our pastor recently.  He had been saving his very ample supply of yearly leaves in an ever growing compost heap... for five years.  This heap was a breathing, growing monster in the back corner of his yard.  He had dreams of setting up a great system but the time to work on it escaped him and it was apparent that it was time for the dream and the pile to go.  His fence and neighbor relations on the other side of the fence were falling down.  Enter the Lewis clan.

Would we like to have all that compost and leaves for free if we would haul it out of there?  Why yes, free stuff for compost, we will most assuredly come get it.  Little did I know that when my husband and I said yes to this that I would be required to come along and help along with all the kids.  My understanding of the situation was that it would be good father/son bonding time. 

So last Saturday morning all of us slumped out the door early with tools in tow; shovels, pitch forks and rakes. We arrived at Pastor's home around 10:00 am and didn't pull out until around 2:00pm.  We shoveled, forked, raked and hauled load after load into our be-tarped trailer and then traveled the 30 minutes back to our property very carefully as the trailer was riding low because of the weight of the leaves.

Then of course we had to decide what to do with all of it.  Do we dump it in a heap somewhere on the property, do we run it through the chipper and shred it so that we can mulch our fence lines or do we start new garden beds with it?  Secretly I was hoping for dumping it in a heap.  That seemed like the quick fix and I was exhausted.  But dumping it in the back forty would mean hauling it by wheel barrow to where we would need it thus actually creating more work.

We decided to make garden beds for next year.  We were able to back up the trailer to the general area where we wanted the beds.  We laid the leaves down for one and then remembered that we have a lot of cardboard left over from moving here last year.  So for the second bed we laid down cardboard and then covered it with leaves.  Then we called it a day.  We still have more leaves sitting in the trailer waiting for us to make at least one more if not two beds.  This way we will kill the grass, create more topsoil and not have to till or if we do till we won't be fighting growing grass which is a bugger to weed.

I came to two conclusions while doing all this work.  1. Farmers don't need to go to the gym. 2. Large families and farm work go hand in hand!  Without the help and hard work of our children we wouldn't have stood a chance getting those leaves moved.  Thanks kids!  I love working together as a family.

A special thank you to Pastor Sam and Miss Jill for giving us the leaves and to Pastor for helping us move them and to Jill for providing tasty refreshments and lunch!  We look forward to sharing yummy produce from our gardens with them!

 The start: 10 feet long and three feet high
 From the pile to the tarp
 Across the yard
Into the trailer
Finally full!
 A new home and more tarp filling and pulling
 The first bed done!

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