My first gift to myself is 10# of worms. I bought them online yesterday in the hopes that I can eventually feed horse poo to chickens, producing all kinds of nice worm castings and worm tea for my gardens. The worms will eat the organic matter (and boy are we up to our barn boots in organic matter!) and do what worms do -doodoo. They should double in numbers every 60 days and digest their body weight of organic matter every other day. Under optimum conditions that means 35# of waste turned into fertility every week. Yippee, that is really cool (to a farm geek)! I have done under-the-sink vermicompost before but this is such a larger scale and really just a fraction of what I would need to make a serious dent in my chicken feeding. But we have a lot of poo and the space to make it work so let the great worm experiment begin!
The other gift to myself are garden tools. My husband is forever telling me that I should use the right tool for the job (love you honey). He is right (but ssshh, don’t tell him!). I bought a broadfork and a collinear hoe from Johnny’s. I really do not want to EVER run the rototiller through the garden again. I hate how it pulverizes everything, destroys the soil structure and creates a tiller ‘hardpan’. But I didn’t know what else was available, that was how it was done as I was growing up. I also have to say I loved how the garden looked afterwards, all fluffy and tidy-ready to go, right? I didn’t realize that underneath that tidy exterior was mass destruction! The broadfork should work great to get the garden ready for planting and give me a workout. See how this works: one stone- two birds? I also realized that my garden weeding consisted of hacking out big weeks (last year I had a lambs quarter forest- couldn’t even hack ’em down with a machete!). I made a huge deposit into my garden’s weed seed bank last year and I need to get them when they are just sprouts. I think this type of ‘weeding’ may be another leftover from my childhood. I recall being recruited to ‘weed the garden’ — get on your knees and pull out the big stuff–type of work. I probably just wasn’t trusted with the hoe to pick out the differences between baby quack and baby carrots! The collinear hoe looks very cool- a sharp blade that you can run with precision just under the soil surface while standing upright. Between that and the larger stirrup hoe I am hoping I have the right tools for the job!