Tired, sore, happy


I think we’re finally figuring out how to do weekends around here.

Two parts work and one part play, we found a fine balance between hauling compost and playing frisbee over the past couple of days.

Weather like this will do that. Sunny and not too hot, after such a long winter we were all drawn outside, for as many hours as we could manage. For garden prep and sipping iced tea, hauling brush and riding bikes.

We did a ridiculous amount of yard work in the past three days, something that has been back-burnered since we moved here some 6 1/2 years ago. It’s never top priority, so in our world that means it simply never gets done. But we’re determined to reseed the “lawn” (more accurately the mud amoeba with a grass border), and rake away the hard-packed spruce cones and needles, branches, and dead leaves and give this yard a fresh start.

When not giving the back yard our all, we were rebooting our raised garden beds. We built them one year ago, but made some mistakes in our shooting-from-the-hip construction techniques. So this year they needed a do-over. Our original design was compost-over-strawbales. But the bales collapsed, dropping deep inside of our raised beds, and the compost was a bit too rich for some of our crops.

We set to work removing the contents of each bed, then layering limbs from our fallen boxelder in the bottom of each bed as a modified huglekultur bed. On top of that we layered chipped branches, the straw-compost mix from the emptied beds, and finally topped with a few inches of additional chipped trimmings.

This latter layer was inspired by the Back to Eden deep mulching method. We’re excited to give it a try for weed control! As usual, we’re winging it, so time will tell.


After gardening, Lupine and I set to work digging parsnips.

This invasive species is an escaped garden cultivar, and the leaves and stems contain a photo toxic compound that causes wicked, fluid-filled blisters to form on the skin if you come into contact with the plant on sunny day.

Despite their nasty above-ground tendencies, below ground they are ordinary (if rustic in appearance) parsnips! Delicious, nutritious, sweet root, suitable for sautéing, adding to soups and stews, or grating raw.

It was a rewarding wind down after a busy day.


And, at long last, we paused to celebrate spring this weekend. Yes, we already celebrated May Day (the mid point between spring and summer), but on account of first snow and then the stomach flu, we had delayed our spring celebration longer than was reasonable. So on Sunday we indulged in some treats, and our usual celebratory goodness.


On an evening bike ride, Lupine was distracted by the litter along the roadside. “Why would people do this?” she agonized.

Finally, she couldn’t bear it any longer. She pulled her bike off the road and leaned over to pick up a beer can. I got off my bike as well, and scooped up a second can. We placed them in her bike basket and rode on.

She stopped again and again and before we knew it she was scrambling up the road cut to pull take-out boxes, plastic bags, and beer bottles from the weeds. All of us joined in. (How could we resist?)

On the ride home, her basket was overflowing. There was so much litter heaped in her basket that plastic bottles and bags were flying out as she zipped down hills, and we were perpetually making U-turns to gather what we’d lost, amidst peals of laughter.

Back home—without a word—she set to work sorting it into the bags she had found to take in for recycling. I was reminded of the words of a friend who said, “The world is full of two kinds of people: takers and givers. We must decide which sort of person we choose to be.”

And perhaps this is how the world is saved. Through small, loving actions; through caring; through the belief that even one, small person can begin to change the world.

And just like that—through awareness, love, and action—the world became a more beautiful place. “That was so fun,” she said. “Let’s do it again tomorrow.”


And now–somehow–it’s Monday. Back to work, back to homeschooling, back to a slower pace as we heal our sore muscles in preparations for next weekend’s marathon!

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