Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day Two at Knockanode

With the first day, I traveled to the otherside of Avoca to meet a woman who was building a polytunnle and moving compost to prepare for sowing in the next week or so once the cool weather moves out. We discussed different crops and animals that can be raised sustainably in the area, and what should be considered when designing a new garden. we aalso dicussed new types of pest and disease control known as biodynamic farming, which is similar to her study of homeopathy. (the  use of an herb, in very slight amounts given to one experiencing sytoms similar to the effects of the heb ingested as a way to balance out the bodies energy and ailments. In dynamic farming, if a case of pests such as slugs were to effect the crop, a slug would be burned, and a small piece would be diluted into 10 parts water, a sample of the mixture is then diluted once more in ten parts water and this process is continued until a very slight, hardly noticable amount of the slug is within the substace. The final mixture is spread through out an effected area to keep slugs from returning in responce to the presence of the dead pests negative energy lingering on the plants.  Her house, perched at the edge of a rolling hill, looking over a hudge green field with hedges seperating plots, and past that, through the gaps of the hills the sea could be seen. the site was named Tigh na Mara, or sea view in gaelic.
Once back to Knockanode, i spent the remaining hours of light walking through the gardens, learning the property and taking a hike through the beatiful forest surrounding them. Out in the forest I came upon an area of thick rows of trees, some areas so full of evergreens that one would not be able to see or move through them. My host tells me this is because of an agreement between Irish Farmers and the Brittish government to cover thier open fields with specified spicies of hardwood for undisclosed reasons in return for the equivelent of what they could make off the fields growing local crops for buisness. This agreement was believed to contiue for a near fourty years once the farmers signed and agreed, destroying thier fields, but without notice the payments stopped within a decade and the propety owners went broke. The land that has experienced this occurence is now unusable as agricultural land, with most of the soil cosidered too acidic from thick carpets of pine needles, and the amount of work required to clear just one acre of the dense hardwoods. (seems like governmental abuse and conspiracy against small farmers in my opinion.)
That evening, after a few laid back hours at the pub enjoying a liverpool football match, I joined my host, Feargal to see the parts of the house he was repairing and remodeling after a destructive snow storm last winter. We found ourselves discussing politics and current events between Europe, Ireland, and The United States for several hoiurs until half past three in the morning. At one point in the night, we walked into the forest close to the house in the moonlight for him to show me what is known as a fairy village, also known as nature spirits. In this circle, seven houses will be built by seven individuals to scale of a small creature from seven different types of wood gathered from seven different forests complete with windows, doors, furniture and water proofed walls and roof. Once the village is complete, and the spirit of the circle becomes alive, the nature spirits of the forest with take notice, and join together to live and celebrate starting on the Day of The Dead (Halloween) at midnight when one that is at peace and spiritually balanced will be able to sit at the ceneter a watch as the creatures dance and sing through the night, and then visable to the viewer as they live in these houses. A visitor to the house this afternoon, who is considered spiritually advanced, took a look at the progress of this fairy village, and claimed that the propety was full of the creatures keeping watch over us, and when it is complete, they will surely be present. One house is completed at the time, and three more in progress, and if interested, I have been offered to contribute a house during my stay. The completed house had been build by a French Wwoofer the past year, and Feargal thinks more visitors from various cultures cintributing is the best way to aquire the uniqe qualities and balance a spiritual force would be attracted to.
This morning I woke up later than I would have liked after the late night, but Feargal slept in as well. I began to clear brush and weeds around five boxes that had been used in years past and leveled out rows of sod arranging the boxes in a more manageable and optimal positions for lighting and harvesting. I then spent the rest of the afternoon working in the small orchard, replacing young pear and apple trees that had been damaged by deer the year before when the fencing failed. I had to be cautious with my arrangements, noticing two cultivars, Golden Delicious and Fuji which will cross pollinate if grown too close. Darkness takes over close to six, and I was forced inside as the cold night air settled.
It was a good day of work, yet an earlier morning would make it better. Tomorrow I will start to break down a collection of shipping crates left over from hauls of stone, wood, and tiles used to repair the house to build raised beds from. A few days of laborous clearing and leveling of the ground folled by building and filling with topsoil that will be gathered out of the forest. Within another week and a half we would like to be ready to start sowing peas and lettuce along with starting several crops indoors to prepare for transplant at the end of the month. Although locals are worried of the cold weather and heavy snow in europe to come this direction and furthur delay the start of thier growing season.

1 comment:

  1. You should have mentioned what Knockanode means !
    In case you don't know it means the Hill of Knowledge.
    I've spent 5 months there in total.

    Nice article