So a happy Alice is one that is on vacation. Yep, Stuart and I actually left our safe haven of bluebirds and meadows and trucked it up the blue ridge mountains to the relaxing town of Hendersonville where my father and his girlfriend own a cabin in town with an acre pond. We raided my dad's awesome garden for
these delicious mulberries and raspberries. I've never had the pleasure of plucking either fruit from their ground rooted source, so what a pleasure. We'll be trying to grow both of these fruits, although I hear raspberries are tricky in our region. There were also ripe blueberries (garden planted), and on a hike up to the top of a mountain near Lake Lure we scavenged for mouthfuls of ripe, juicy, sweet and tart blackberries. Can we say heaven? Most definitely.
We also got a self-guided tour of my dad's leaf mulch pile. He got all the leaves collected from the town of Hendersonville dumped in his garden. These pictures do no justice to the size and scope of this pile of leaves. It goes back about 50 ft behind my father, and about twenty more ft in both directions to the right and left. HUGE!!!! This is the one of the best assets a farmer can have, this mound of organic mulch, and my father is quite proud of his pile. Within a year, even if left alone, around 1/5 of the pile will turn to leaf mold, a rich, velvety textured organic soil amendment that is basically like worm castings. Last year the town of Hillsborough brought leaves to us, shredded up and ready to mulch, and saying goodbye to those leaves was probably the hardest part about leaving our former garden. Leaf separation anxiety is a real condition. We did a soil analysis on some leaf mold from our old farm and the nutrient content was off the charts. Needless to say, my mouth was watering over this mound of goodness. Wish we had the luck of such a vast organic pile with which to condition our soil, but I guess cover crops, chicken manure, and rabbit manure will have to do for now. We also did a bit of canoeing and Stuart got to show off his mad skills. Feathering, j-stroke, draw-stroke, his triple lutz diparoo stroke, and all those other great strokes he loves. When canoeing.