Ahead stretches the long road through winter- mile after mile of bleak landscape and little change in terrain.
It is time for the gardener to take a rest in the passenger seat- feet up on the dashboard and weary back hugging the seat. Her right hand, resting on her belly, is rough. The tiny trenches in her palm are still full of soil from her last stop—pulling down plants, chopping them into pieces, mounding them on the beds, layering leaves and manure. Cementing it with water. Her parting gift was cover crops- winter wheat, hairy vetch, fava beans.
The gardener is likely to rest a long time. She might even snore.
She may sometimes wake for a water break– just enough to keep the soil quenched, the leaves rotting and the beneficial microbes alive and well. For this she might rouse every other week.
The only sign of life along the highway will be a lone outbuilding cobbled of hay and Victorian era windows with rags stuffed in the cracks to keep out the wind. A greenhouse shanty– squatting inside are arugula, kale, chard and carrots. A passerby will stop just long enough to open a window, grab a snack and leave. Theirs is a precarious life, nipped by frost at night and at-risk of burning in the day. Cold and wind will be the true companions.
This is going to be a long trip.
Layers of chicken manure, leaves and chopped up plants. Hose is stuck under the layers to water it. Water is required for everything to rot and add organic matter to the soil.
Front: strawberry patch covered with frost cloth. Back: lettuce patch covered with low box and frost cloth
Improvised greenhouse. 4 straw bales and 3 old windows. Usually I do mini-hoop houses but this is my new experiment. We plan to build a frame to hold the windows in place and shore up the cracks.
Dwindling summer harvest– November 11th
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