And why, you may be asking, did I not just till the crap out of the soil? Lots of reasons. First of all, I don't like tillers. Most of them don't do the job very well. It wouldn't break up the sod fully. I could have removed the sod altogether and then tilled the crap out of the soil. But I'm trying to avoid tilling altogether because tilling creates a hardpan underneath the soil that it's loosening, making it harder for plants to root down as far as they should. Tilling, particularly if you do it every year, also disturbs the life in the soil, the life that makes it better for the things I am trying to grow (like worms and the like). Sure, I disturbed the soil by cutting the sod, but it was minimal disturbance and something I will not repeat. Plus I am assured that I didn't frighten off all the worms- I saw tons when I was turning the sod over.
Now that the first huge garden task is done (phew!), next I need to bring in dirt and compost to build up the newly broken beds (which is another reason I didn't need to do much to break up the soil), get them all mulched or covered in some way so they don't get all weedy before I can plant them, and then, well, plant!
And this week I need to build my chicken run. I have exactly nine days before I need to move the seven chicks out to the coop so I can put the new babies in the brooder. I'm just convinced that I won't be able to do it without help, and my husband has been working a lot lately.
In related news, I finally made AWESOME yogurt! The past, oh, five batches of yogurt I have made have flopped, badly. Now in retrospect I realize that I was trying too hard and being lazy at the same time. I stopped heating it to 180 before cooling it back to 112, or I had a bad thermometer, or I tried to monitor the temp too close and ended up overheating it. But it didn't seem to me like I was doing anything wrong. Finally, I referred to the instructions in Wild Fermentation, and he recommends using only 1 T. of starter per quart. Previously I had been using 1/4 cup of starter per quart. According to the book, using more starter can actually result in a runnier yogurt. I don't know why. But it worked. Not only did I make a successful batch of yogurt- I made a far superior yogurt than I was making before. It's super thick, with a little layer of cream on the top (since I made it from non-homogenized milk). There was no separated whey (I've always had a little whey) and it doesn't need to be strained at all. It's lovely! I tried to take a picture of it, but it doesn't effectively demonstrate how awesome the yogurt is.