Breaking ground

Our family’s dream of an organic farm is kicking off.

In February this year, our neighbour cut down the two towering jackfruit trees in his backyard that were casting considerable shadows over our land, which meant that we would now have lots of exposure to sunlight.

Lamb and I watched, awestruck, from the bedroom window as the hired men next door got to work.

A nimbler fellow never existed!

Last month, we got our farmer friend Yahqappu over to have a look at our little green space and tell us how to get started. He was a great help, because Sweet Man and I had absolutely no clue how to begin and we weren’t about to waste our time and effort learning by trial and error.

The first job was straightforward – we would have to dig 12 inches deep to remove all the brick and stones, big and small, so that the plant roots would be able to grow down deep.

After shopping for some fierce-looking tools, Sweet Man got down to work immediately.

Look at the size of those teeth!! The Bunnies are absolutely forbidden from touching that godzilla thing.

Sweet Man, it has to be said, is my better half. Totally. The only help I gave him consisted of handing out jugs of water and one of Piglet’s nappies to use as a head cloth.

This was sometime last month, and he has made double the progress since then. DOUBLE! I am so proud of him.

Just look at all those rocks! You can’t see it, but there’s lots of brick under that pile.

Two days ago, Puppy and Lamb had great fun helping their Papa separate all the brick and rock into mesh bags. They were both such good little helpers and didn’t complain one bit even though Puppy said her hands hurt a little after awhile. They just kept going!

Sweet Man did more tilling this afternoon while I had a lovely snooze with Piglet. He thought I had enough of non-stop days this week and let me sleep through lunch time. Forget cooking lunch, he said, we can go out. (You see why he is my better half?)

Come planting time, it will be pay back time! Everything should be ready for Piglet and me to join in the fun.

Ever since Sweet Man started all this ground breaking and looking more and more like a farmer (minus the nappy head cloth), he has begun nurturing a theory about work: Physical work is good. It is good not only for the body, but for the soul. City folk with all the conveniences of modern amenities have, he says, lost an appreciation of this kind of work. We have become so pampered that the slightest thing becomes so burdensome.

I couldn’t agree more. I don’t really like scrubbing the toilet or ironing. But such matters have to be done by yours truly in our household, and while I am doing them I get the chance to think. About lots of heart-soul things …

There is meaning in tilling the land, wiping the floor, changing a nappy. We don’t want our children to grow up believing that menial work is fit only for the poor and uneducated. We have seen enough of little children being waited upon hand and foot, ordering their live-in domestic helpers around as if they were living in the age of slavery. Underlying the veneer of our sleek, upper-middle class lifestyle is a whole lot of class-centric thinking fit for the sewer.

But back to the sweetness of our little organic farm. Yahqappu will soon be bringing us 100kg of vermicompost to enrich the soil. Lamb can’t wait for to dig his hands in. He adores worms! Sweet Man has begun sourcing for a suitable container to begin collecting rain water. I’m starting to wonder where we should plant beans, tomatoes and chillies – and how to keep them growing completely pesticide free.

Organic farm, here we come!

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7 Comments

  1. Take my hat of to Team Sweet Man and Mama J…i remember digging 3 holes into clay soil for some plants and swore that i would never dig hard earth again. so your husband is truly to be commended on a great backbreaking job. Looking forward to seeing pics of your veggie plot as it grows…the kids will love it and learn lots from it! Missemm just enjoys foraging for vegetables to eat, especially the baby ones and saving the earthworms too!

  2. Sounds great what you are doing. I started a small vege patch to teach my two little boys about plants. You just gave me inspiration to do more.

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