Preparing garden soil at Parr Field

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Thursdays are typically field trip days for Chrysalis Alternative School so today we put the ‘field’ in our field trip by going to Parr Field and making some progress on the soil preparations for next week’s planting activities.  In an earlier post you can see that we moved 4 truckloads of compost to Parr Field and today we are clearing the field and spreading the compost.

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We basically work like an army of ants. Clearing weeds and roots, raking up the debris, filling and moving wheelbarrows of compost, and spreading them out on the land.  After all this is done, we can till the soil and make our rows.

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As the sign in the previous picture says, “No dogs in garden please.”  Unfortunately some people with dogs don’t have enough consideration, attention, or respect to not only keep their dogs out of the garden, but to clean up after them.  The bag above is full of dog feces and we hope we got most of it.  I have found that the worst part of dealing with extemporaneous factors in agriculture is dogs: both people’s dogs and prairie dogs.  Some people don’t manage their dogs and they go all over the place and make messes.  They are digging up the raised beds at Chrysalis and so now we have to hassle with building a fence there too.  They have killed my chickens several times.  So for those of you who have walked your dogs at Parr Field, you will be locked out by this weekend, which is unfortunate because by locking out people with dogs, we also have to lock out the community.  Dog owners can make a donation to AIRE with ‘dog fence’ in the memo and once we raise $500, we will build an interior fence and allow the public back in.

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Despite these and other challenges, we will persevere and figure it out because we are a strong and determined community.  Agriculture teaches us to meet the seasons as they come, to weather the storms, and pick ourselves up and try again or try something else should adversity strike.  Some of the youth participants above will be part of the project over the summer and make a little money while feeling the pride of planting with the elementary kids, giving them seeds, making their own chicos, and feeding the community.  The adults are an integral part of the project as supporters and facilitators.

IMG_5340We returned at the end of the day to finish what we started.  The soil is ready for tilling this weekend.  We just have to spread out the remaining piles of compost and fire up FIERCE (aka Atiller the Hunn), our 8 HP BCS mean-agriculture-machine.  Here we go!  The most exciting part of the year is coming!

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About Miguel

Miguel Santistevan is a researcher, educator, and advocate for traditional agriculture crops and systems.
This entry was posted in AIRE, Chrysalis Alternative High School, Parr Field and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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