This morning I finished the path to the Rabbit Gate! More to do on the outside, but that’s another day.
I dug enough to level the path for comfortable walking and the uphill side rocks are bigger than the downhill side, to hold the hill back. I did leave some slope to encourage water to continue downhill to raised bed 8 and not settle in the pathway. I will eventually add another layer of rock on the uphill side and even that much helps slow water runoff, but it is rare that I have enough rain at one time to “run off,” the sandy soil soaks the little moisture up.
This photo shows the curve to allow the gate to open wider. The rocks behind the fence help hold the hill off the path. This needs more work but will keep the soil from covering the path for now. Looking through the open gate gives you an idea of how much needed removal to allow the gate to open. I have removed some on the outside, but it still encroaches.
To the right and downhill is the pathway to raised bed 8, which will berm up about 8-12 inches and soften this slope. I will fill it in.
This photo shows where I put some of the dirt dug from the pathway. To the right was a steep drop from the hill, and I placed the stones a bit away from the drop to not dig more soil away from the Pinyon Pine far right. I filled in to make this less treacherous to walk on. Once it settles, I will add more. Pinyon seems to have survived the bulldozing done for the concrete pad (now a potager), I expect it will survive covering its roots again.
Bed 6 is ready to plant again, since I pulled most of the onions and dried them, including tops, during the Dog Head Forest Fire scare. Gave me something to do inside while avoiding smoke inhalation. Plus I figured dried onion is better than burned away. I only have a few to let mature. Oops. I don’t normally cook with dried onion, but I will this winter. I need to plant something rabbit proof.
Back to making a pathway to the Southwest Gate. I have removed a lot of gravel from my cabin-in-dreaming living room, but there is a substantial amount left.
I will branch the Southwest Gate pathway to the right and meet up with the pathway on the lower terrace. That’s where I saw the Horsetail Milkweed and where I have Horehound.
It is wild and overgrown and I have to remind myself that I planned it! It was one wizened plant every 6 feet when I moved in… dead! No pathways needed. I have gotten biomass to grow and the soil, not great yet, is certainly improved and with better water retention.
So I get to hew my way through, and carefully transplant any precious plants before covering with gravel (or shift the path). I laid carpet strips for the path when I ripped it out of my house the first year, so it is under the “biomass” that I have been clearing out while building the pathway to the Rabbit Gate.
A good morning in my slowly developing food forest. It seems little every day, but over time I see progress. I transplanted a tiny prickly pear that came up in the path uphill. Easy to step over now, but that would pass. A friend in Albuquerque has another load of compost materials for me, more biomass and more progress.
It is clouding up and I hope I get the forecasted rain. Inside chore time. I started buying fruit in small 10 ounce glass barrels. As they empty I lightly sand, then spray paint the lids black. Now that I am increasing my dried materials for the Pharmacopia, I think these jars will serve nicely for saving medicinal herbs. I plan to make a 1×4 open rack with scrap wood to hold them and these are prettier than my canning jars. I count them almost free since they are less than a penny per ounce more than fruit canned in metal and taste better. I
have been looking at labels, too. This year I will have a lot more to store and track since it isn’t just food and tea. The big dehydrating push will come in late summer and early fall but a few things can be done now. One project that does not involved rocks and a shovel. 😉