Friday night was cold in the cabin, even though I ran the space heater on max all night. But we did have good sleeping bags and futon mattresses.
I warmed up in the morning out digging the holes for the shrubs. I decided to plant most of them in front of the large clay berm back from the barn. The soil of the berm is almost pure clay from digging out behind the barn, so it's not really suitable to plant. I instead went with in front of it, where the fruiting shrubs will be south-facing, yet on a cool moist slope that goes down to the creek and is always wet. The berm will reflect heat and shield them from north winds. It's also an 'edge' environment, on the border of woods, which is highly productive in Nature. Here I planted the 2 azarole [hawthorn], the 5 juneberry, the 2 gooseberries and 2 currants, as well as the medlar.
You can see in the photo above the holes I dug with the pick. I poured a full 5 gallon bucket of water in each hole and let it drain before I put the shrubs in. This took about 5 minutes. I turned the sod upside-down and used it on the downslope side to help hold rainwater in. I covered the roots with a mix of the local soil and half a 40lb bag of topsoil for each plant, then tamped around it with my shoe to take out air pockets. Each plant then got wantered with a couple of gallons as the next few days are forecast to be dry.
I'll wait a year before I fertilize them with our humanure compost, as the topsoil looks pretty rich.
Here the shrubs are in:
I planted the 2 goumi [autumn olive] in front of the cabin near the other autumn olives, and the cornelian cherries over by the blueberries and the transplanted mulberry, at the other end of the same slope as the other shrubs.
I then mowed the lawn, and used a bag of grass clippings to mulch each shrub. I had planned on getting some newspaper to lay down first to actually sheet mulch around the plant, but I forgot it at the store. The woman at the nursery recommended sheet mulching an area you intend to cultivate before you plant, rather than planting in raw ground and then trying to amend it after. In the future that is the course I'll follow, instead of just throwing things in the ground and hoping for the best [fast-food approach]. Even if I just dumped grass clippings wherever I eventually intended on planting a tree or shrub that would help. The area would get nutrient-dense, retain moisture, and earthworms and healthy bacteria would move in as the grass decayed. Though I'd forgotten the paper for mulching around the shrubs, the grass has such a matting effect that even without it it tends to keep down weeds and hold moisture in.
I got finished with this late Saturday afternoon and moved on to finishing the floor of the barn:
Here the west edge is in and sealed with Thompson's:
I took some photos of the view off the top but it's hard to see anything over the low-hanging sun - we had beautiful sunny weather and 70's every day. There were ladybugs everywhere . . . and quite a few flies and wasps up in the loft in the cabin, trying to get out the windows.
We've got to get some kind of bathing situation up there ASAP. Even if it's just a tub out in the grass, or an outdoor shower. Learning to bathe on a daily basis during our camping lifestyle, and gravitating to hot springs, gave us enormous stability. The same thing would happen with our homesteading lifestyle. So after the roof is over the barn and that building's protected, I think the plumbing for the cabin is next. The hurdle is water filtration. If filtering our well water is really going to be 2 grand . . . that's a major expense. I'm going to get it professionally tested first, and get a second and third opinion.
Here are some photos Brooke took before we left. One of Rachael clowning around, probably mocking me:
[And the drive home was only 3 1/2 hours, so I can stop bitching about the 4 hour drive]