Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mandala Garden

A mandala garden is a circluar garden incorporating keyholes and zoning ideas outlined in the Permaculture work of Bill Mollison I was somewhat rushed while creating my garden this year, in fact, I had sworn to not garden at all and save myself the heartache and frustration, but sure enough, as the end of May sparkled and shone, I had a compulsive urge to plant, not just any kind of plant, but a beautiful mandala garden. I had been stewing over where to put it and what kind of soil to create all winter without coming up with any real plan. Our bales of bedding straw had to be moved cause the goats were climbing up on them and jumping the fence, but when I moved them, they all fell apart and left a big mountain of straw and my puny mind went, aha! the garden shall be here, in this mountain of straw. I set to work and had some help making an interesting looking fence from what appears to be giant garage door sections (read heavy) and basically worked way to hard into the night to make this garden plantable for the first week of June. I mixed about of tonne of llama manure into the straw and was going to use potting soil for planting into but ran out of time so I just planted directly into the straw/manure and hoped for the best. Enemy #1: Ants. The anthill that I was kindhearted enough to ignore in the corner of the garden became the first fatal flaw. The ants meticulously collected all my seeds and stored them in a pile that I found a week later when all my salad greens sprouted in the same spot close to the anthill. Enemy #2: Dry June. My subconscious (and my neighbour) repeatedly warned me that I was planting too far from a water source. I figured with all that sponge-like straw I wouldn't need to water. The water that I did pack up there was too little too late. Enemy #3: Chickens. It was a couple weeks before I realized the chickens had made a hole under the fence and were eating the tender young shoots (and not the ants). Enemy #4: everything else on my list that is prioritized before working on the garden which was the whole reason I promised myself in Feb. that I wouldn't plant a garden this year! *sigh*

Well, now that I've got that out of my system, I'd love to share with y'all a bit about my morning and all the delights that rose up with the sun. The kids slept late cause we finally got around to changing out our broken hot water heater last night, which had to come out through the bedroom and we were all up late (don't even ask how long I've been without hot water *hint* that's one of the reasons why I've been feeling so pissy lately). I took the opportunity to do chores while they slept and was greeted by a goat hanging upside-down from the fence by one leg. She must have got it in her mind to have an early breakfast and she had seen me fixing that section of fence a couple days ago so what better reason to go and try and demolish it by jumping over and getting all tangled up. Luckily she was not hurt, but is limping around a bit and looks rather humbled. While I was cutting the fence to free her leg, I managed to leave the gate open and the llamas (who can smell an open gate from a mile away) came charging down the hill and two escaped before I noticed my folly. About that time the kids woke up and started howling so I finished freeing the goat, sat the kids down with breakfast then ran out to milk the other goat whose incessant bawling was scraping at my nerves. Back at the house to strain the milk, there was yogurt everywhere and Rowan needed a change of clothes. I brought him out with me half naked but happy, to feed and water the rabbits and one of my new males was moping. I think he was stressed out by the other male next to him who was being all territorial and intimidating so I moved him to another hutch and noticed the two llama escapees where no longer peacefully grazing the front lawn. Got the kids packed in the wagon and we started down the road cause for some reason, the llamas love to go high-tailing it over to my neighbours horses and hang out and eat their hay. Rounded'em up, back to the ranch, locked up in recorded time, the kids were shipped off next door cause today is my studio day but what I really need is a neat whiskey and a long walk.

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