We got some much needed rain today here at Kuska Wiñasun Homestead, more than an inch and it’s still coming. Rain plays a role in the type of chores you can get done on a homestead, and today I spent most, but not all, of the time indoors, starting some more plants from seed, and potting up some small seedlings that germinated a while ago.

potting station

My planting station in the basement; potting soil, containers, root knife, and an iPhone for watching documentaries on Youtube.

Many of the perennial herbs that were planted in the middle of March (elecampane, marshmallow, and feverfew to name a few) were a bit crowded in the small pots they germinated in and so I transplanted them into larger containers so as not to stunt their growth. I noticed that while these plants were slow to germinate, they had well developed root systems much larger than I expected for seedlings that looked so tiny. I also planted a few things from seed that we are very excited about growing: Monkey Puzzle Pine, St. John’s Wort, Ashwaganda, Blue Bean, and Lovage.

elecampane seedling

A healthy elecampane seedling, a great medicinal herb for lung and digestive problems.

By this point it had been raining for a while, and our garden swales were starting to fill up. I noticed that they weren’t filling up evenly, and figured that it was a great time to get the hoe out and start leveling the contour paths. The small amount of water, about an inch or two, made it easy to find the high spots and then scrape that soil to the low spots. Then it was just walking up and down the swale, seeing how deep the water was at different spots and filling in with clay as needed.

garden swales

Taking advantage of some summer rain to work on the garden swales.

This was pretty fun work in the rain, and I felt like a rice farmer in China working on his paddies. The combination of a steady, rhythmic rain, and the watching the water slowly creep along the swale as it became level was very relaxing.

garden swales permaculture

So today was a rainy day not wasted. Some inside chores, and then some outside ones made easier with the help of the rain. We can also thank the rain for watering in our garden, filling up our ponds, keeping our shiitake mushroom logs moist, and charging up our forests with a much needed soak.