The winds that began the fire event Oregon experienced at the beginning of September brought with it a level of chaos unrelated to flames. So many lives were interrupted, uprooted, and, left in disarray. Even now, the fires are still burning on remote hillsides where rain only dampened them, but didn't get them all the way out.
On our property, the chaos entailed the felling of one of our three 50 foot dogwoods that stand as sentinels at the front of our property. Luckily, when it toppled, it was pushed into a neighboring tree and was easily felled by our local utility, Portland General Electric.
In the days that followed, it was necessary to stay indoors because of poor air quality. For us, that meant a delay in school & setting aside a fair amount of work while we waited for rain to fall. In some ways, that slow down was good. It allowed us to rest. It gave us space to read and embroider and watch movies from the early 90's our small one didn't know she needed to see.
It also gave me time to contemplate what should be done with our fallen tree. Typically, Miguel would have had that tree chopped and piled in a matter of hours. But this time, we had to wait out the weather, which allowed me to learn about Hugelkultur.
Hugelkultur is the practice of taking fallen trees & logs into your landscape as part of the mulch for either mounds or raised beds. The practice has been around for centuries, but was recently made popular with all the attention being paid to permaculture.
For us, as upcyclers, encountering the idea of Hugelkultur was a eureka moment! Our fall gardening plans already entailed moving all of our plots to the back yard into higher raised beds. With our felled tree in use, now our raised beds will not only fill faster & more affordably, but they also will retain water longer, making our garden more sustainable overall.
We'll make sure to update you on our process of building our beds & then how the beds work out in the Spring.