There are old outbuildings in our backyard. Split rail fences surround what must have once been a pasture. And rocks - piles of them. Proof that this land was worked many moons ago.
And yet by the time we purchased our homestead in 2014 this land that would have fed families once upon a time had fallen subject to the invasive whims of tree species like buckthorn and prickly ash. Biodiversity was all but eliminated.
We have begun the long yet hope-filled task of working our land. Space is being made for different native species to thrive. With each consecutive growing season we find ourselves taking steps to slow the spread of the invasive interlopers. Plantings such as serviceberry, elderberry and high bush cranberry are tucked into the blank spaces creating habitat as well as eventual food sources.
Inspired in part by the principles of Hugelkultur, raised garden beds took shape atop the marginal soil and bedrock. And so we have begun to build up the soil after years of disuse.