A Deep Love of Deep Autumn

Sunday was the kind of day that pretty women write folk songs about.

Oh sunny day
You rest my soul
You make it easy to see the goal

-Rising Appalachia, Sunny Days

It turned out to be a full and busy day! After church, the boys and I got to work on a project I've been thinking about for a while. Now that all the leaves have fallen and we've got a wet day in the forecast, I decided we'd clean out the swales.


That's not a usual thing for swales. Usually they're kind of a dig it and forget it thing. I'm trying something different. Since my swales aren't meters wide and are more of a trench, they fill up quickly with new soil. I mulched them with leaves last year, and all that high carbon organic matter had composted to gorgeous soil; dark, loamy, and chock full of worms! I think it'd only take two or three years to completely fill them up, leaving just a contoured berm. That's not ideal in this application, as I've read it'll take a minimum of seven years to establish a small aquifer for my food forest using it's swales. Though things are already benefiting; the grass in there stayed green all year with very little watering, where the previous year (before swales) , everything was brown and crunchy by midsummer.

After this past growing season, I'd outlined the beds where I planted my annuals with logs to make them more formal. I liked the layout of things there, so why not make it a thing? Two beds are roughly on contour, just under the swales. One is off to the side of a way I regularly walk, and the other is along the fence. All very convenient to access by my regular walking routes and not in forced shapes or sizes. It feels natural for my garden.


There's two beds now with new soil. Under the soil is a layer of leaf mulch and a layer of all the plants that grew from that bed. I think one more bed will get mounded with the soil from the middle Swale, then the soil from the top Swale will go to the north hugel, which didn't do so well this year due to not having enough soil over the wood. Of course, everything is getting filled and covered with leaves.


Farmer Sam by one of the new beds and a partially dug out swale. Still lots to do, as the bottom swale makes up about a quarter of our swale volume. It got filled with twelve bags of leaves: sycamore, oak, pecan, elm, and magnolia mostly. Each bed got mulched with two bags.

This year I'll plant green beans, cucumbers, and okra in the beds. Those are three things we actually eat, and they'll be good to have close by. The food forest is in our zone 1 or 2, while the north garden area is farther out. These beds are the closest to our daily space, so they'll be the easiest spot to harvest from. I'll make the green beans and cucumbers the closest, since Melissa will be using them more, and I don't want her to have to go far. Part of permaculture is making things fit easily into your life, so I'm incorporating that as much as I can. I enjoy spending time deeper in the food forest, so the foods that are specifically mine can be farther from the house.


After working in the garden for a few hours after church, Sam, Sophie, and I headed back to church to help decorate for Christmas. There's no pics, as it was a busy bustle of fun! The kids mostly ran around outside while I helped hang lights on the oaks outside and set up artificial trees inside. I have yet to drive by and see it at night, but I bet it'll look good.

We picked up Melissa, Sawyer, and the bikes from home and headed to the park after that. I got to poking around at the edge of the woods and found treasure!


Do you see it? Inside a wounded pecan tree were two lion's mane mushrooms!


I'd seen one past it's prime in here last year when I harvested the turkeytails from a pecan stump maybe two meters away. I didn't know they were recurring mushrooms, what a surprise! I left the smaller of the two to grow more and reseed so that maybe there'll be more next year.



The mushroom is currently tincturing in the cabinet next to elecampane and mullein. So much medicine being made the last few weeks, something to do and look forward to this winter!

After all was said and done, I was up for 30 hours from 4 Sunday morning to 10 Monday morning. Work was a bit rough those last few hours, but I rested well after a busy busy day. It's rough on a body to be up that long, but there's plenty to do to support your body through it. Organic diet, extra quality sleep, and adaptogenic medicines like turkeytail tincture are my approach. Oh, and Wim Hof breathing exercises. It works well, so there's no need to worry. I'm not sacrificing my quality of life for my job.

All action for the good of all.


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Comments 13

I love the start you used.. nice! I can just imagine that yummy rich soil. So cool your mwdicine cabinet is growing. You gotta get sage and raw honey in ACV for sore throat season. Good to see the boys outside! Hands in earth. 💜

13.12.2019 03:53

I had a nice happy poetic idea of this post, but it turned out to be not that way lol

I'll add sage to the seed list, but we've got honey and pine needles in water that's been working awesome for coughs and sore throat for now.

13.12.2019 12:39

Cool to see Farmer Sam barefoot :)
Happy Fungi Friday! :D

13.12.2019 09:23
Manually curated by the Qurator Team. Keep up the good work!
13.12.2019 09:28

Cool! Two Farmer Sam pics! Love him and his worm. :))

It's great the swales are so exceeding your expectations. :))

Barefeet in December! I was outside yesterday in my Sorels and super heavy coat and hat, cleaning the addition. But at least most of the snow melted down...

13.12.2019 09:52

Yeah, I think we've had freezing temps a half a dozen days total? It's still warm here, there's still some green leaves on the fruit trees! Was supposed to "snow" on Tuesday, but it just ended up being super foggy. Winter doesn't happen til after Christmas here lol

13.12.2019 12:36

I find it really weird that your swales are so deep and narrow and steep sided. I wonder if that's the reason for filling up so quickly, do you have lots of soil movement downwards from the sides?

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13.12.2019 16:44

It's a weird experiment I'm doing lol

Not a lot of soil movement into the swales this past year, but there was a little. I'm thinking of making the small middle Swale a little more sloped on the sides.

It's not a normal configuration, just something I'm trying as another composting method.

14.12.2019 15:26

You’ve been visited by @porters on behalf of Natural Medicine. Good to see progress in your permaculture gardens! Extra happy to see farmer Sam in there helping out! What a great find with the lion mane mushroom! I have never heard of them before!
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14.12.2019 03:13

Sundays, church, family, sunshine, soil, a project..... there is just such a nice balance in this post, which is really what eco-living and alternative lifestyle is about, even when it's not finished and not perfect.

Lovely post, my dear.

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15.12.2019 01:15

Balance 💚

So many good days lately. The cool sunny autumn is really conducive to getting ready for a hectic productive spring.

15.12.2019 23:17

I can see your boys are having a great time helping in the garden. What a beautiful spot! Your mushroom find reminded me that I need to get out into the woods to look for some here. There are still some around.
I love working outside in the garden and am getting things ready here too for next season.

I will have to look up those tinctures you've mentioned, because I always like to add things to our medicine cabinet and had not heard of those aside from the Lion's mane. Thanks!

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16.12.2019 02:50

It feels like I'm almost always tincturing things these days lol I ran out of alcohol and had to get more. Exciting to be able to make things that can help folks. Mullein isn't a tincture I personally need (I receive its benefits through smoking), but someone out there might not have access. Look into it and let me know if you know someone that needs some :)

Many people have shared medicines generously with me, and I feel the need to share as well.

17.12.2019 01:23