This past Saturday the 23rd we had our weekly 10am - 2pm workday. I saw some familiar faces and met new friends too. As we establish our presence at the site by showing up regularly, weed-whacking, and organizing supplies people living nearby will stroll in to talk about the project and even come back to lend a hand.
The weather's been rainy on and off for the past two weeks. From the beginning of the day a steady mist fell on the farm. It wasn't heavy enough to warrant packing it in, so we loaded shovelful-after-shovelful of dirt into wheelbarrows, careful footing on the gravel decline, delivering our earthy cargo to the low-side of the lot to build a ramp for access into the larger farm. Scraping dirt to level a hill near the entrance of the lot will provide space for a demonstration garden to show folks what can be grown seasonally, and we can teach how to do it.
We broke for an early lunch generously provided by Tree, served up by Page. It's worth paying attention to how a gesture like thinking a head to make a meal for volunteers can communicate genuine appreciation and care. Believe me, on a cold, drizzly day of shoveling dirt, warm soup is no small thing. Thanks, Tree!
While the precipitation was only annoying at first it picked up and left me and the other volunteers drenched! The dirt we were moving to create an access ramp turned to lead in our wheelbarrows. Before finally giving in to the rain, Page and I staked out two long planting beds giving the area the look of a real garden, while Pastor Megan relentlessly tamped the loose soil into solid ramp-form. When the rain began to drive and hope that it might just pass left us, we all scrambled to put our supplies back in the shed, lock down the wheelbarrows, and tidy up before getting out. It was around the time that the last shovels and rakes were safely returned to their places that the clouds burned off and the sun finally broke out. Figures.
For all our effort, we did successfully complete leveling the hill up front for a demonstration garden and our ramp is looking good! Our next step is to stake out the rest of the lot for planting beds and get truckloads of manure brought in to amend the soil. Turns out the soil in this part of town is sand. My hope is that by this upcoming Saturday we'll be working manure into the soil to make it suitable for growing food. I've never been this excited by horse poop. If you or any of your friends have access to material we can use for stakes I'd appreciate it greatly if you could send it along. Or, if you want a part in turning a vacant lot into a food-growing space come out and join us at Eddy and Gough from 10am - 2pm this Saturday!