Sunday, June 30, 2013

Farming our Yard

I'm not sure why this dream grabbed hold of me, but it has.  It makes very little sense what I'm doing or why I even want to do this - but here I am.  Doing.  Throwing all my hope into the ground, desperately needing it to grow into something bigger and more than I can see right now or possibly understand.  It seems unrealistic to want so much from a garden, but I do.  My dreams for it are wild and unfair.  

Sure, I want this garden to give us life and food to eat.  The amount of money we spend on organic produce is mind-boggling and certainly not sustainable for the long haul. So, gardening with the purpose of providing my family with chemical-free food (and reducing the amount we're spending each month on organic produce) sounds like a reasonable goal (until I remember that my thumb is only the lightest shade of lime green).   Gardening in hopes of eventually getting food in return seems logical.

What doesn't seem fair is how much I want this garden to teach me lessons I don't even know I need. I'm not sure exactly what I'm missing, but I have this nagging suspicion I'm definitely missing something.  Big pieces - lost.  I can't help but believe that this disconnect from the earth, from faithfully tending it is causing some pretty significant disconnects in the ways our family probably relates to people around us, how we prioritize our lives, and even process our faith.  I don't think it's outright crazy to expect that a large chunk of God's character and nature can be found and better understood in the tending of the earth.  And friends, let me tell ya - if there's anyone who needs to better understand God's character and nature right now - it's this girl.   

All my hopes for this big ol' garden are too vast and complicated to put into words.  All I know is, I need this garden right now.  My family needs it.  We do.  

So we designed a large garden and Aaron did math that involved square yards.  This is where I would have thrown my hands in the air and declared gardening too hard if it weren't for him.  A dump truck from American Stone and Turf arrived in our driveway yesterday carrying 10 yards of the stinkiest organic dirt you've ever smelled.  We should all be really thankful the technology for scratch and sniff photos does not exist. Now I know where dump trucks get their name.   

As if this project couldn't feel strange enough - the garden isn't in our backyard.  Our backyard is wooded and almost entirely shaded.  So, the garden is actually on the side of our house where our neighbors and everyone else can see it. I feel like I just threw my crazy out into the yard for my whole neighborhood to behold. With the help of Pinterest and lots of trips to the Antique Rose Emporium for inspiration, I hope we've picked a design that is beautiful enough to keep the people living near us from hating our guts (especially since we're adding chickens and two lop-eared bunnies in the next month). 

About five minutes after the dirt drop-off, the boys and all the neighborhood kids buried themselves in the manure pile.  Why?  I'll never know.  Thankfully this is where having so many boys and extra kids at our house every day paid off.  Even though it was 105 outside (not exaggerating) they all worked alongside us like little champs. What seemed like an impossible job went far more quickly than we could have ever predicted or imagined.

We got rid of our grass using - what I like to call - the suffocation method. Thick, thick layers of newspaper go down first.  Then you drench the newspaper with water.  Then cover it with a really thick pile of high quality soil.

It looks like we finally got fed up with our kids and buried them in the yard.

There is still so much to do before we're finished, but after the longest, sweatiest day, phase one is complete. The beds are in!

We're all excited and a little nervous.  Okay, a lot nervous.  Can we do this?  We don't know.  What I do know is I've never counted anything as a total failure in the gardens we've attempted before this one.  We've learned meaningful lessons every time we've entered into any sort of relationship with a garden of any size.  Even when those relationships were only casual and half-hearted - they taught us rich, unexpected lessons.

Grow on, giant garden.  You scare us, but there is no doubt about it - you hold an awful lot of our love, dreams, and hope.  


Mrs. H. said...

Are you serious about chickens?! I was actually going to ask you when you were going to get some chickens. ;-) So excited about all this for y'all! Best of luck and please keep blogging about it. :-)

mandi said...

Oh yay! This is all great news! And girl- you are starting big! I gardened in the front yard the entire time we lived in Brenham. Ain't no thang. I'm excited for you! I think the best rule in gardening is not to be afraid to fail. Because things happen you can't control. But it's so worth it. And the chickens and the bunnies- you are going to love them!
Exciting times!!!

kathrynpeebles said...

You've probably figured out the best way to do it, but one thing I wish we had done when we put in our little garden (three 4'x8' beds and three smaller ones) is some sort of irrigation / sprinkler system. Maybe your yard already has that, but if not you might consider adding one. The death / low production of most of our organic veggies is not pests (what I was worried about), but because I do not water it enough! Best wishes for the garden!

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

"My dreams for it are wild and unfair."

You are my soul mate.


ps- Word veri today is "eulogizfng". Seems fitting on account of the graveyard you've got brewing. Also, it's hilar.

Hendrick Family said...

Kathryn -

Thanks for the info! Good to know about the water. I think I'm mostly scared of the bugs too - so I'm glad to know to be on the lookout for water-related issues.

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