Day 1: setting up camp

This morning we took a tour of the homestead with our hosts. Karl and Melinda bought the property, some 43 acres in Annapolis, CA, 9 years ago and have been steadily adding buildings and animals and plants every year, 

 We met the goats and chickens, took a peek at the tiny orchard - raspberries are popping up everywhere - and checked out the various buildings they've put up - a shed, meditation room, office, chicken coop, and compost toilet. Then we took a walk through the garden and gawked at the collard greens, the incredibly sweet and tender kale, abundance of cherry tomatoes, squash and pumpkin patches, hot and sweet peppers, eggplant, cucumbers and runner and pole beans. Which really made me miss Mom's garden. Ahhh. But it's amazing to be around growing food again. The kale was so tender you could just pull it off the plant and stuff it in your mouth. 

When they were first deciding where to put the garden they looked all over the property and finally picked the most barren plot next to the house. The property had been logged up to some 60 years ago, so much of the soil was compacted, but the redwoods were starting to grow back. So they planted their garden but the vegetables would pop up and then just stop growing short of their full size. It took a while to realize that the redwood roots were blocking the growth of the veggies because the lateral roots are so shallow. It's incredible how much of gardening is a mystery to those who partake in it.

After the tour we got to setting up our camp, about 1/3 mile from their house on a clearing made from compacted soil on an old logging road. We cleared manzanitas and little fir saplings and a whole lot of grass and leaves. We disrupted a lot of ground today, staking our territory and dominating all that was around. Immediately upon selecting a site for "home" your instinct kicks in to kill everything else around you. We stabbed quite a few scorpions and strange burrowing bugs. But if you do the work yourself (instead of having hired hands) you also have this constant reminding of how much of an impact you're making. What grass did we pull out today? Who fed off of it? Who lived under it? How was that grass affecting the soil? What was prevented from growing because of it? And on and on it goes. Karl is a mushroom nut and I know for a fact wherever we clear those leaves no mushrooms will grow. Did you know after a forest fire or controlled burn that many times the first thing to grow up will be little morel? [Hey cricket get off my iPad.]

After a long day of raking and digging and picking out stumps our soft city hands were all blistered up. But we do have a glistening white canvas tent to show for it. Of course our car is in utter disarray, we're lacking a grey water area, a kitchen, a cat hole, and clean hands, but the fire is roaring and we're warm, dry and enjoying the crickets. So I'd say today was a win. How about you? 

We'll have an almost time lapse to show to you soon. I say almost because apparently taking 1 photo every five minutes does not make a good time lapse, but I'm learning.  

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