Color me inspired. I have been reading Cold Antler farm, a blog about a city-based woman who decides it is time to make her dream come true by starting a farm. This has always been a dream of mine in some form or another, although I wouldn't say it is has been the number one fore-front topic on which I obsess. We all have our over the top obsessions, some more heroic than others (ok, mine appears to be, um, brownies), and then we have our more manageable passions and quiet dreams. And if I never live and work on a real honest to goodness farm, I'll be OK. However, I do think I've got come compost in my blood (ick?), and combined with that oh-so-trendy desire to live more greenly, I think we can make even our lives in suburban MA a little closer to the earth-based vision I hold in my head. And for the next house … who knows … Vermont or rural NH are not that far away, and Mr. Right likes the sound of both of them. Even if he's not completely convinced he loves the idea of cleaning up after chickens. But I dream of having hens scratching about in the yard and gathering still warm eggs with my family. Of trying to figure out what to do with all that extra goat's milk we are getting. Of surpluses of rhubarb and of a real root cellar.
Now that we are more or less installed in the new homestead, what steps can I take to get the place running in the right direction? First off, this is the first time I have ever been a homeOWNER which I guess is another way of saying LANDowner (which immediately makes me feel guilty in a kind of "nobody owns the land" kind of way, but you know what I mean). This is important only in that it is the first time I've ever known for pretty sure that I'd be living in one spot for more than just a year or two.
Which means, for the first time, I can plant PERENNIALS!!!! This may not be cause for celebration in your world, but in my world, there is nothing more wonderful than thinking to myself, "I'd sure like some fresh raspberries right now," and be able to go out in the garden where there are raspberry bushes begging to be picked. As opposed to going the store and feeling depressed at the tiny plasticky box with 12 moldy berries for $4. Or aspargus stalks popping up, signalling that spring really IS coming, despite the fact that April in New England can be worse than February in New England. Or … eating blackberries right off the bush at dusk in early August while they are still warm from the sun and the mosquitoes are buzzing around your ears. Sounds like heaven to me! Rosebushes! Morning glories! Fruit trees!
Of course, all these visions are even now, years off. You don't get much year one, you're not supposed to eat them while they settle into their new spots, so tells me all those to whom I've been waxing enthusiastic. But you don't get any if you never plant 'em, I say!
In addition to the most wonderful perennial lifestyle we can now adopt, there are things like composting bins and rain barrels. I really miss composting as I got pretty used to it at our last place. It cuts way down on the amount of trash output, and so it's less taking out the trash, less stinky trash in the house, free fertilizer, and all kinds of happy smug feelings when you aren't throwing away piles of beautiful rinds and peelings that you know can be put to use.
Now chickens … well … that probably isn't going to happen anytime soon. We have a shared backyard, so I'll be lucky if I can get away with composting. Someday, please forgive me for saying this, but I can't resist: the chickens will come home to roost.