Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark
For the straightforward pathway had been lost

I was fed up. I had to leave the city and see how far I could untie myself from the system. I no longer felt at home in modernity, I no longer felt free.

I found an old house in the village I grew up in, with some land. A place where I could live with loved ones. I got lucky.

I will write about my luck every day. If you feel a similar desire, you will someday get lucky too. When that time comes, take inspiration from these words.

Day 7 ~ Ground Elder

There is a small moat behind the chicken coop. I spent an evening weeding out ground elder on its shore. The moat is very shallow and probably only half a meter wide. Enclosed in trees and garden walls. Occasionally a school of carps can be found swimming there.

Ground elder is eddible, but also a bit of an aggressive grower so I decided to dig it out from the roots. There's an abundance of worms in this part of the garden. I put half of the ones I dug up in my compost heap, the other half on top of the ground of the former chicken coop.

I threw out the roots, but left the stems and leaves of the ground elder on top of the mulch I covered the chicken coop with. It has quite a pleasant citrussy smell which helped cover up the last bit of the acidic manury smell around the place.

As I was working I slowly became one with the garden, just one of the many living things going about their business there. Only the church bells reminded me of the passing of time.

Day 8 ~ The Church

Our corn will need some nitrogen soon, so I went to pick some nettles. In this village, there's a small enclosed area of trees behind the church. Since I grew up here I know it very well and it used to be full of nettles in certain areas. So I went there with a small bag and some gloves.

Passing the church, there was a funeral going on. Light music could be heard from inside. A church has a wonderful role in a small community like this. The area behind was very well kept, maybe better than it was when I was young. This meant there weren't as many nettles as there used to be, but still plenty. I collected a bag full of leaves, careful to not take any seeds with me. You can probably take the entire nettle too, but I had all the time in the world anyway.

When I came home I threw the leaves in a bucket and filled it with water. In seven to ten days it will be fermented and start to smell. I will filter it with a cheese cloth and put it in bottles. Dillute it with water in a one to ten ratio and I can fertilize my corn.

Day 9 ~ Oysters

We decided to go to Zeeland to gather oysters, mussels and razor clams. Unfortunately we didn't find any of the latter two but oysters were as abundant as weeds. We cut open our hands trying to pry oysters free from the rocks at first but quickly got the hang of it.

When we were done we found out that the other side of the pier where we were gathering had just as many oysters that were a lot easier to pick. As a result, we brought home three buckets of which we only managed to eat two.

Oysters are great raw, with nothing added to it whatsoever. A tiny bit of lemon if you must. But we found they are also very nice when put on the barbecue untill they pop and hiss. Cooked oyster can be very dry but this way, they stay moist and taste amazing.

My body needed a break after 8 days of work. Prying oysters loose from rocky piers was actually physically pretty similar to a lot of things I had done the past week. Still, it was relaxing. I Went for a swim too. Wonderful day.

Day 10 ~ Sprouts and clamshells

Today is the first day of office work. When I came home I noticed not just the kale, but the brussels sprouts and edamame beans had sprouted as well. Great to see since our previous effort of sprouting edamames yielded only one succesful sprout.

The corn has begun to grow again after being transplanted, which it apperantly doesn't like. The zappalitos are starting to reach out vertically. Their sprouting leaves are dying. I suppose that is normal since I see it happen on every individual plant.

I can water my plants using the moat out back. If I reach down on my knees and hold my watering can a particular way I can fill it up. For some reason I hadn't realised I could use the moat. It's nice when something you need is provided just in the place where you need it.

I wanted to use some leftover clam shells to reduce the acidity of the chicken coop soil. I threw them into my branch grinder to see if that would grind them. It worked quite nicely. Applied the ground shells to the soil. Lets see what happens.