Seedybeans Blog

Celebrating the Humble Harvests of High Desert Homesteading

Tending new ground

My dream has always been to farm.  Or more specifically to have a farm to farm.  I have farmed it in many place but this has been the first year I have actually lived on land that I own, thanks to marrying into it, thanks honey!!.  We have a 1/5 of an acre with “gardens on every side of the house” as my 5 year-old friend Rownan exclaimed to his mama on his last visit.  Our gardens are pretty much everything that isn’t our house, driveway or piles of stuff to be used at a later date… but a farm, our land is not.   I wanted originally to “Feed the people” and still do, but after years of apprenticing on organic farms I have seen the real economic struggle of vegetable farmers.  I have also witnessed great success, but it is a certain kind of person who can really make a good living off selling vegetables, and let me tell you they are out there, my neighbors in fact, and I am not one of them.  I am too unorganized, go with the flow, too Aquarian…but one of my Aquarian gifts is being visionary and artistic, as well as persistent and hard-working.  I have not only learned about what farming takes, but I have learned who I am, and am very happy with it.  Through my many years of gardening &  farming my vision of growing hasn’t changed, maybe just where and how and what and probably will continue to.  I really thought that feeding people was the imperative, and any thing else was petty, frivolous even.  But now I realize that people need not only be feed by food alone.  There are innumerable things that nourish us in our lives, and one is beauty.  I know this first hand.  I surround myself with beautiful things and when I am not gardening I actually make and sell jewelry–Beauty for beauty’s sake. (more on the jewelry tangent here)  

Sweet smelly simply beautiful Sweet Pea

 

Before I hardly ever would leave room for flowers in my garden, intensely getting all I could out of it to eat.  I saw flowers as useless and too reminiscent of the days when the elite would plant nothing but flowers to simply show their wealth and the fact that they need not grow their own food, as they were too good for that.  I wanted to get as far away from show gardens as possible and get back to how cool it is to grow your our, and tout that!!  Now I make room for both, as balance is imperative I am finding, in nature and inside myself.  I share the front, side and back garden with a healthy mix of flowers, fruit, veggies and even weeds if I find them helpful or useful to the whole.  When have you ever seen a natural ecosystem without diversity of not only plant type, but varieties, species and genus’.  Flowers bring way more than beauty to a garden, they literally bring life, attracting bugs, butterflies and bees.  Without flowers there would be no fruit!! 

Through the garden gate :herbs, flowers and food all mixed together

 

I am delighted by all the beauty around me and since I moved here, to Bouquet Lane, my newest farm fantasy has been a flower farm, it is just begging for it, right?  I merely listen to the call of the land, or maybe just a street sign, but I feel it to be right, deep, real.  My grandfather grew a ton of flowers, and my grandmother would make these elaborate arrangements for every summer super we had with them.  I think if they could have had the luxurious (ha, ha) life of farming they would have.  They raised their family in the 50’s however, were both in the war as a doctor and nurse team.  My grandmother did stay home to raise four children and the garden, but it was my grandfather who really taught me to love plants.  He had a greenhouse on his house where he grew African violets, orchids and cyclamen…with lots of little blue pellets he called plant food.  Our gardening styles may be different, but it runs in the family to cherish a good flower….so a flower farm it is– fingers crossed.  Right now all IT really is, is an 1 1/2 acre plot behind our house.  It was farmed years ago and still has fruit trees in it of all kinds.  I think I even spotted a quince, whatever that is.  The reason it is still open land is mainly because it is locked.  It’s only access through our neighbor’s yard, but would be impossible to get a cement truck, fire truck ,etc to so… no building permit, thus no development for you!!  Lucky us.  The land is catty corner to ours and we can walk into it from ours.  You pass by an enormous cottonwood, I call grandma tree, and enter the land, greeting her greatness as we enter.  

We sneak between grandma tree and the little shed to get to the new land

 

It is in pretty rough shape, it was cleared last year of elms and black locusts that had been over taking it for at least 15 years if not more.  The fruit trees were pruned with a chain saw but are still growing, resilient trees over 50 years old.  At first the clearcut upset me, it was a wildlife habitat and a huge visual and sound buffer between us and the highway.  They were cutting and sawing and chipping for days and I couldn’t believe it.  Then, appeared a huge pile of perfect cut up pieces of firewood right over our fence.  I watched it, and knowing our neighbors (renters) didn’t have a fire-place, I boldly asked, what are you going to do with all that wood?  After a patient few months, he said his landlord said we could have it– ALL.  It took four truck loads to move it from his yard to ours, it heated our little house all winter long and we still have quiet a bit for next winter ready.  SOOOO blessings in disguise.  Once the land was open, I started to vision….To spare you the wait of about a year and jump ahead to now…  My husband approached the owners this spring, and lo and behold, a 5 year lease, $12 a year and there is a well!!  WATER!!..  Oh and if they ever sell we get first dibs!!  I am so excited.  I know a farm takes years to build and I know we may never sell flowers off that farm, but then again, seeing as how it has gone so far, we just might.  Whatever the future holds, the work has begun.  

This one keeps getting her head stuck in the fence-- but we rescue her..silly old goat!!

 

We started by foster parenting a friends goats 4 Nubian girls– who are totally sweet and funny.  We move them a couple of times a day, if we are home, otherwise just once…and away they go.  They are just munching their way through that rough brush and opening it up for us to see what is really there.  They are doing a fantastic job, I am really impressed, maybe a pig next, such fun!!  It will be a slow process, but such a great learning and stewarding experience.  It is an amazing thing for us both to be tending the earth, consciously, together, a culmination of what I believe both of us were put here to do, and do together.   I feel so blessed and excited for the farming journey to keep moving forward, as my husband says, poco a poco, pero adelante.  

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3 Comments»

  Christina wrote @

Congrats on the new land! Sounds very exciting. I look forward to reading more about it and seeing photos of the flowers you will plant. I’ll be your first customer for the bouquets of cut flowers, especially if they include cosmos.

  karen wrote @

I am so excited for you! You brought tears to my eyes. Lovely jewlery too! Down here in ABQ, I am working on the chicken coop, and the abundant Harvest garden, a 1600 gallon cistern and more. I have a tendancy to bite off more than I can chew. Luckily people keep rescuing me! I am thinking of starting a blog – yours has been so inspiring. Dont know if i will have the time, but seems like a good way to share my adventures.

  Erin wrote @

Go for the blog thing Karen– It would be really fun to keep up on your urban farm in the dry lands adventure!!


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