I just love the way things unfold in this adventure. I just get on with my life and all our helpers just show up when the timing is right. Last Saturday, Kristof showed up with his digger – a kind of mini machine that he wields like a body extension, with such exquisite dexterity and refinement. Just watching him dance with the mountain of dirt from the neighbours, reducing it into an orderly ridge all the way down the side of our land, cleverly shifting the pile from place to place, and leaving order behind him.
Watching him get to work on the swales was even more amazing – he could wield the digging arm with the delicacy of a finger, going right up to the line traced by the sticks we placed last summer, and taking a delicate bite out of the ground. He managed to complete half the job by himself on the Saturday, and planned to return later in the week with some extra help and equipment to finish the job.
To add a little spice and anecdote, after I had left to return to Brussels in the evening, and Chrisje and Ria had eaten their evening meal, they were roused by a knock on the door – it was Christophe who had backed a rear wheel of the truck he brought the digger in into the ditch between the access path and the maize field at the bottom of our land, and needed help to extricate it. So Chrisje sallied forth into the gathering darkness and found herself behind the wheel of a good-sized truck for the first time in her life, while Christophe shone the digger’s lights and helped nudge the truck into traction with the soil so she could drive it back up out of the ditch!
When I returned to Ransberg a week later, after spending four days at Kasteel Nieuwenhoven with Women Moving the Edge 10, the swales were dug and I could see for the first time in the world of form the shape that our garden will take in the future. I was astonished to see that the top pool, which will become the reed bed, was already full of water, and the swales were already fulfilling their drainage function. They also fulfill a separating role, marking out different areas in the lower meadow, like small fields in which we can create different ecosystems to grow different combinations of crops.