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Saturday, 4 August 2012

of pond digging, celebrating and desert cities

This week we've had 4(!) helpers around to give us a hand around the land, notably with the pond digging.  Unfortunately it's also been VERY hot so working hours were restricted to early morning and late afternoon, but still, a lot got done and I'm really happy with the progress we've made.

Here we see Theresa and Peter digging on the pond:

 The basic outline is there, but as we get deeper we are hitting some seriously hard clay and the pick axe is required.  This is the overall progress so far:

Ben and I in the meantime busied ourselves building another raised bed / reverse hugelkultur on the very top terrace right next to the road.

The idea is to slow erosion along that particular stretch, so we are filling it with all manner of organic material, such as wooden branches, leaves and leaf litter from the side of the road.  This will eventually build up the soil and I am intending to plant some perennials there.  More of that at a later stage.  I also have a blog post on soil science in permaculture in my head, so look out for that.  This raised bed was Ben's idea, as he has also just returned from a permaculture design course and was keen to practice his new found skills.

Hannah in the meantime went to pick fruit such as pears, apples and plums to make jam:

It wasn't all hard work though as we spent the evenings celebrating together with pizza and music as you can see in the following photos.

All in all I think they've been having a good time.  Ben and Theresa left us yesterday (for the time being) and Hannah and Peter are still with us for the moment.

On a different note, I had to go to Milan yesterday for some boring bureucratic business.  I was a little apprehensive about it all, as I always have a bad conscience when dealing with any authorities...  Anyway, after I finished my business I had 5 hours to kill in the city with no money in my pocket.

Man was that depressing!  I know why I moved away from the city...  I just aimlessly wandered around the streets, trying to find a shady spot to eat my sandwiches and relax and maybe take in one or two of the sights if I happen to pass them.  At one stage I walked for about 10 or 15 minutes and the only plant life I spotted was this:

...a lonely solitary sow thistle.  It's in theory edible of course, but even if I wasn't worried about the pollution, it would be cruel to pick the one plant managing to survive in this desert.  Cities are just human moncultures, which is why they don't work.  Finally I spotted a creative citizen making use of the limited space to create some green:

Then I found something almost resembling a park... but fenced in and 'proudly sponsored' by an insurance company:

Finally my feet carried me into one of the leafier suburbs where they've created this:

I don't know what the solution is to the growing world population, but stuffing them all as tightly as possible into cities and then putting an odd plant in as an afterthought surely isn't it.  I was glad to get back on my train out of this depressing place.

The promised post on edges is soon coming up, so keep tuned in folks... ;)


Stefaneener said...

What lovely community to have helpers come and work. I know that you are gracious hosts. Glad your business was all done.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

What a hateful day you had in Milano, you must have been so relieved to get back to your pond digging even in this heat.

Heiko said...

Stefanie, we had a great time with these helpers, it's great if you click with like-minded people

LindyLou, I much rather did a pond in the heat all day than wondering around a city, ANY DAY.