Today I had a couple of new friends, Noah and Christopher, come visit on the farm and help me with the flock and the garden. First we corralled the goats in the barn to keep them out of trouble while we went out to feed the sheep. After last weekend’s shearing and then several “scary” visits from strangers this week most of the sheep were feeling pretty shy. Elizabeth and Larry were happy to come say hello and get treats and scratches though, as always! After that, the guys and their mom Natalie and my friend Alicia helped me fill the raised bed boxes with sticks. I borrowed this idea from “hugelkultur“, a German method of building raised beds with wood at the core. As the wood rots, it slowly composts and feeds the gardens. Usually hugelkultur raised beds are built into mounds, not boxes, so I’m not doing “true” hugelkulture, just borrowing one component. Then came the hard part– digging up piles of composted llama manure out in the pasture and hauling it back to be dumped in the boxes. Thankfully we have a new yard cart which is much easier to use than our rickety old wheelbarrow. Assembling it was our morning project. Still, it takes a lot of shoveling. We only got a few loads done, but it was a good start. In between heavy lifting and water breaks, Christopher and Noah collected a jar of violets for me to make violet vinegar. Ever tried it? I haven’t but am eager to see how it turns out after sitting a few weeks! After the boys left, Alicia and I installed a gutter on the roof of the garden shed (much harder than anticipated due to the crazy bush that kept attacking us, and the ridiculously hard wood of the roof eaves) .And then set up a rain barrel to collect water from the shed roof and feed it into the raised garden bed irrigation systems. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get more manure moved into the beds. I’d like to have at least a few plants in the ground before the weekend is over!