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 must have been 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. Our first growing season found us focussed on freeing the orchard and planting elderberry, raspberry and serviceberry to slow the spread of the invasive interlopers.
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.