Meg Tilley Anderson BLOG

      "We've gotta laugh. We swapped immortality for accessories."
      -- meg tilley anderson

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Road to Mushroom Mountain

The Road to Mushroom Mountain
This morning I returned from the Georgia Organics Grits and Vigor conference.  I hadn’t taken my house keys with me, after all, Bond had stayed home and could let me in.  He didn’t answer the phone both times I called and only Stevie and Ernie came to the back door when I banged on the knocker. After I checked to see that the cat patio was locked (he hadn’t fed those cats yet) I went around to the garden gate.  I was delighted to go directly to the next gate, the Sunken Garden Gate, without dog company because I’d made a point to finish that project before the conference.  I entered the house to find Bond in his shower attire, why he hadn’t heard the phone or door knocker.  SO good to be home!
I moved my suitcase and 2 bags of conference booty into the house and shared the loot and good news.

After puttering all day, I tidied up the cat patio.  I discovered a chewed up plastic bag with a Mushroom Mountain label. WAIT! Where did the cats find this? Did they find an old bag from a past purchase? I’d used inoculant for legumes before. I’d better take a closer look.  Damn! It was the one pound bag of mycorrhizal granules I’d purchased yesterday to inoculate seeds I’m sowing on the Tilley Farm to help remedy years of conventional farming. I figured FlirtyGirl had nabbed it from my luggage while I was going around the house so I went to the back door.  I hoped she hadn’t eaten it; no telling what it would do to a mammal. To my relief, there was a little trail leading from the door, around and under the fence and ending under the oldest wood pile mixed in with all kinds of organic matter. I had no choice but to sweep it all up.  I’ll still use it.  I’d intended to make my own mixture from the abundant microbes here at home anyway.  Now I just won’t be able to compare them (unless I buy another bag.)


I must be living right. I have friends who know how to do things I can’t do and tools and materials to make things happen (in the right season).

Just Diggin' it.
The clamshell digger (2ft. depth marker) has black topsoil.
The auger (3 ft. marker) has red clay subsoil on it.
Not shown, plywood scrap to slam the shovel onto to get the dirt off and make it easier to rake or hoe the dirt back into the hole. Use 2 to keep subsoil separate from topsoil.
30 years ago we began fencing Daddy’s lot in Parrott, as soon as we got dairy goats.  We began with a barn (shed roof apron around the old garage) and three 25 ft. x 25 ft. pens where we rotated goats and gardens.  The fencing had to be 6 ft. tall to keep goats in and predators out. 6 ft. fence, posts 1/3 in the ground = 9 ft. posts in 3 1/2  ft. deep holes with room for gravel at the bottom.  You can get most of the way down with a clamshell post digger and then have to switch to an auger because there's not enough room in a deep hole to pull the handles apart with a decent load of dirt. Bond got his workout putting in that first goat pen. We had cross braces in every corner, 28 holes or 98 running feet! Eventually we fenced in the south acre pasture, after we bought a one-person gas powered hole digger in a frame, that even I could use.

Time to Plant Posts 
We began fencing in winter. As the days grew warmer the ground got harder. Our neighbor, Frank Alston remarked, “Everybody knows there’s a time to plant and a time to harvest.  Around here there’s a time to plant posts. That’s wintertime. In summer this clay is hard as concrete; you may as well give up and wait for winter.”  I got around that with a single drip irrigation emitter on each spot for a day before digging. That way the water went straight down to soften the soil.
The goats are long gone.  The fences keep dogs, cats and gardens separated.