Friday, June 11, 2010

The Trade Off

 Ugh.  Well, we're in a little over our heads.  Again.  This is something that seems to happen to us a lot.  We get excited.  We see an extremely pleasurable end product.  Then we try to run and leap over all the learning that has to come before in order to actually achieve that extremely desirable end product.  Usually it happens with animals.  More than once (I hate to admit) we acquired animals and then scrambled to build, find, expand the home for said animals.  It is very easy to see, with alive things, that you have missed a couple of steps, chickens get cramped, bunnies have babies, and lettuce bolts.  For this very reason we decided not to get any additional animals this year and just focus on preserving our foods and getting our yard ready for more planting ability.  We did plant quite a bit.  We ordered our seeds and made a little calender during the cold and easy-paced winter months (the calender has been completely ignored).  We built cold frames and started our seeds in them and under lights in the kitchen.  We even rented a community garden plot again at a local land trust in hopes of having better luck with our tomatoes this year (last year's attempts got gotten by the blight).

Well, many of the things we started from seed indoors looked wimpy,  and a bunch of the things we started in the cold frames needed/needs to be transplanted and just hasn't yet.  I'm not really even sure why.  I guess I don't really have a lot of time to do that sort of thing.  But I'm not really sure at this point what I am doing instead.  I guess taking care of my kids?  They're practically feral, so I can't imagine that it's taking up that much of my time.  For a while I was getting up at 5:30, an hour before the family, so I could do some outdoor things in peace.  It was really, really nice, actually.  I felt like I was getting some time to myself and getting some nagging projects done.  But then I started wanting to not get up at 5:30 am and instead sleep in (until 6:30).  What a looser.  So I guess I will have to get back on the "getting up like a crazy person or a runner (same thing) at the crack of dawn" thing and transplant some basil and zinnias.

We have deiced to forgo the garden plot.  Although it's in a place that I frequent with the children and it's only a mile away, so not far for us to walk, it seems unlikely that I will be able to walk there everyday at a regular time to water, weed and harvest.  It's a little too much strain on my primary job which is parenting.  I know there are some super women out there who do it and any tips would be great.  But I am not She just yet and if I have to do the garden march of tears everyday my children will get yelled at, ignored, and have a generally cranky mom.  It's just not the holistic nature-y childhood I'm trying to cultivate for them.  We have also decided not to stress too much about the things we have started and could be harvesting by now.  Instead we've deiced to just get the yard ready to plant in the fall for our winter greens and carrots and things like that.  We put the unused seeds in the refrigerator and will just wait until next time to try again.  We are a part of two farm shares this summer and should have plenty of produce to eat and preserve without trying to learn so quickly under summer pressure.  I mean, we seriously still don't know all that much about cultivating soil.  Again, with the house for your alive things! 

 Last year we purchased the Rail Road ties to the right for a ridiculously cheap price.  This year we are planning to make four beds about 3.5'x9' in this spot to give us more gardening space.  My husband is holding up the root of a forsythia that was in our way.  I have so many of them, and am not such a big fan to begin with so I deiced we would just dig it up without trying to transplant

There is just so much to learn, and I am so impatient to know it all now! But I don't.  And we've only been learning in earnest for two or three years.  In that time we have learned a lot. I can remember being around seven months pregnant with Athena and kind of panicking about teaching her about wild edibles and herbs.  I felt really hormonal about her not loosing this ancestral knowledge about the earth and its cycles.  Something I was determined to teach her, and that I would have to learn in like TWO MONTHS! I'm not sure if you know this, but a few minutes after they are born they start wondering about when nettles grow and the various ways to prepare them, as well as their health benefits.  It's a fact and you'd better get ready.  Anyway, I managed to take it one step at a time, and I can now safely pull together a wild meal as well as cure bug bites, open wounds, skin rashes and lighten the flow of a heavy period.  As a family we're getting there.  To my delight my kid could tell the difference on sight between peppermint and spearmint at the age of three. They are definitely picking up a sense of the earth's timing and offerings. There is just so much more to learn.  Perhaps the lesson in this, as in all things, is to be contented or even joyful with the process of learning.  Because surely, if it's done right, that never stops.
I guess I'm not willing to miss watching  Athena help her little sister "birth" her baby cat, even if it means a slower learning curve and less homemade ketchup. 


  1. I'm so very proud of you... <3

  2. One step at a time, right? That's the thing about a garden - you have to roll with the punches and learn the rhythm. I think it actually makes you learn to move in cycles - growth happens even if you don't see it. Plus, any work you do now is like a multi-year investment on food - *right outside your house!* ps: I want cold-frame-making lessons this fall!

  3. If you have any questions about prepairing your veggie beds organicly you can talk to Warren (my hubby) he has been "Learning" and doing this with our garden for about 6 years now...I think he is just starting to feel confident in what he does! It all takes TIME....
    I thought you were a supermom, you mean your not? I still think your super anyway...even if you do choose to parent your girls instead of transplanting basil!

  4. You can find many homesteading and off the grid books on cd at:

    dvdtruth (com)