When the weather is good for going outside Basswood can always find something to do. This summer it rained so often that it was hard to work in our landrace gardens. The ground never seemed to dry out enough. When it was too wet to work in the gardens Basswood would take his chainsaw out and make a trail through the woods or thin a stand of trees. Using a chain saw is relaxing for Basswood. When he is feeling stressed he goes out with his chainsaw and starts cutting. (One day Basswoods little sister told me that I am going to need to buy him some more wooded land soon or we will not have any trees left.)
You might not be aware of this but the world we live in is stressful. I work twelve hour shifts as a Administrative Representative in a hospital. When I am on a stretch of work the stress just drains the energy out of me, and I do not have the energy to help Basswood in our food forests or landrace gardens. On one occasion as I was getting ready to start a stretch of work Basswood said he wanted to thin a stand of trees beside the drive that goes back into our property. I told him that sounded like a good idea and I went to work.
After my stretch of work Basswood took me out to show me the work he had done. When we got back to the stand of trees a whole section was cut down. I tried to protest saying that I thought that thinning meant cutting down a tree here and there… Basswood said he decided this was a good place to start another food forest and landrace garden because it was a south facing slope. He is right after all… our gardens are all on level ground and we even have one that is on a north facing slope which is not the best idea in Northern Minnesota.
Basswood spent the next four weeks clearing that area. I helped a little when I could. Hauling away the fire wood and stacking and burning the brush. We are not going to work up the soil in the area because there are way to many tree roots to even try. We went to the compost dump down the road and hauled truck loads of black dirt and made piles about six inches high of dirt. Basswood got books from the library that he reads when it is too wet to go outside. He learned about how the local Native tribes hilled up the soil and then planted “The Three Sisters,” corn, beans, and squash. So, we are just making hills on top of the ground to plant our three sisters in our new landrace garden in the spring.
Basswood spends a lot of time and energy clearing land and preparing it for a new landrace garden. We plan on reaping the benefits of this investment in time and energy for years to come. This is my retirement plan. I do not see the wisdom in investing my retirement in the stock market where a Bernie can make off with it. I want my retirement savings invested in landrace gardens that my son and I work each year to improve. Besides you can not get more nutrition than from foods grown in landrace gardens.