Hardscrabble / Trabajoso

[ESPAÑOL ABAJO] I looked up the definition of this word which, in my mind, is always used as an adjective in association with soil or farming. The Free Dictionary lists it as a noun as well:
adj. Earning a bare subsistence, as on the land; marginal. n. Barren or marginal farmland.
Hardscrabble perfectly describes the state of the soil when we bought it, and hardscrabble continues to describe our attempts to move forward. July was a difficult month, because of the pig attacks I already described here. Our wildlife camera recently revealed that we are in actuality supporting three adult boars and three piglets. After seeing these photos, I immediately stopped camping out alone, even though I hadn’t heard the pigs at all this year. Common wisdom is that mothers with young are in no case to be mixed with. I never thought I would miss Shakti‘s stinkiness so much!SixLittlePiggies

The damage the damned creatures do is startling, to the point that this week we’ve seriously considered calling an end to irrigating the Cucurbitacaea (melons, watermelons, squash and zucchinis) that are scattered here and there, many of which are still not fully ripened. It’s just too much water for an area that, each time it’s trampled (sometimes several times a week), results in more uprooted plants. Next year, however, we have a much better permaculture plan to greatly increase our irrigation efficiency.

In addition, in full July summer heat, some of our historic hand-made ceramic irrigation tubing burst; this time three sections instead of one (as happened last year in June). The neighbor, whose tubing is connected to ours, was unable to water for an entire week as we fumbled our way through the learning curve of irrigation hand-repair, which I am pleased to report was equally shared by man and woman. A chemistry background seems to help quite a lot with high-quality cement mixing, although does nothing for the digging…
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Despite the setbacks and the fact that there always seems to be something interrupting the ever-present need to weed and prune and tie up vines and climbers, the larger mandarin trees have several hundred fruits per tree and we kept the garden areas producing and reasonably weed-controlled all the way through the end of July. This is a full month beyond what we managed last year, with probably ten times the garden area under cultivation. It’s testimony to the really significant progress we’ve made in defining what we can grow here. Coming soon: an evaluation of the different sorts of beds, produce and growing conditions that have worked best.

Me resulta difícil traducir la palabra en inglés que elegí para describir la fase en la cual nos encontramos 16 meses después de haber comenzado este proyecto. Conjura imágenes no solamente de un suelo muy duro y pobre (como era el nuestro al inicio del proyecto), sino que de la difícil existencia de la gente que intenta labrarlo. El carácter del suelo se está cambiando rápidamente, sin embargo, y como prueba del tal, nos ha venido encima una plaga que nos lleva al punto de desesperación. Como se aprecia en esta foto de la cámara infrarroja, son 3 jabalíes maduros y 3 inmaduros. Este enorme da miedo de verdad.PigClearAsDay

Al ver las fotos, dejé inmediatamente de quedarme a dormir en la tienda allí, ya que la perra no la tengo conmigo, cuanto me hace falta. Entran casi a diario a buscar los lombrices y escarabajos que, con la mejora del suelo que hemos efectuado, se encuentran en abundancia, especialmente en los caballones que son necesarios para regar a manta y que quieren destruir cada vez que los volvemos a reponer.

Fuera de eso decidieron explotarse 3 tuberías antiguas en pleno calor de julio y como nos falta todavía mucho que aprender, nos tardó toda una semana repararlas bien, mientras tanto el vecino no pudo regar. Un estrés, que nos pasó el año pasado también (aunque siendo solamente una tubería, fue más fácil la reparación). Ya habiéndonos vuelto experimentados en el arte de fontanería campera y alertados de que vaya a ser un problema repetido, nos sentimos más preparados para enfrentar la siguiente ocasión, aunque estaríamos muy contentos si no volviera a pasar hasta el año que viene….