Spring Things

circa 2016

When we first moved to our two acres in the redwoods eleven years ago, I endeavored to grow vegetables in the ground despite the warnings from neighbors that the redwood roots would defeat me. In my ignorance, I believed otherwise and dug massive quantities of roots from my beds every few months until after five years of futile labor, I finally I hurt my back one too many times and surrendered.


Thus began the era of tub farming. Easy living with great results! Yesterday I prepared one of my orchard tubs by turning the soil and adding aged chicken manure and compost, and then planted seeds of chard, lettuce, sugar snap peas, and arugula.

In another tub I planted potatoes next to last year’s chard. Zucchini and tomatoes and other vegetables that like hot weather, or at least warm weather, do not grow well here a mile from the coast outside of greenhouses, and we do not have a greenhouse.

When we came to look at this place before we bought it, the first thing I saw was this magnificent old tree in our woods, her twisted trunk having saved her from felling when the area was clear-cut a hundred years ago. Her twisted trunk means that usable lumber cannot be made from her trunk. We believe she is more than two-hundred-years-old.

We mostly heat our house with a woodstove. We buy tan oak from Frank’s Firewood and harvest soft wood from our two acres. Every year I clear brush and thickets of young hemlocks from which I make great piles of kindling. We also occasionally have trees felled that are threatening to fall on the house or on our neighbors’ houses, and from these trees we get soft wood to go with the tan oak in our woodstove fires.

We recently had five yards of gravel delivered for various projects, and every day I move a few wheelbarrow loads to places around the property. I am very careful not to load the shovel or the wheelbarrow too full lest I hurt my back in the process, something I do with annoying regularity these days.


Really Really You a song by Todd from his new CD Through the Fire.