I actually have something interesting to say today! I would like to share a small dream.
Throughout my life, I have had several dreams in my life, of the things I want to do. Some people might call it a bucket list- you know, a list of things to do before you die. I like to keep my bucket list small and reasonable. When I was very young, I wanted to learn to scuba dive- when I turned 12 (the youngest legal certification age), I got certified and began to dive. Later in life, I wanted to visit Australia and California. And one very special year, I touched the ground of California on my way to Australia to visit one of my best friends. Amongst other things I have wanted to do (and accomplished) would be to finish a novel, breed a cat, and become part of a therapy dog team.
So, with much of my bucket list dreams accomplished, I began to search for what would come next for me. What did I want to learn, what did I want to do, where did I want to go? With so much in this world a possibility, those seems like big questions if you have no starting direction.
Thankfully, due to my terrible navigation skills, I am quite good at being directionless without panic.
What I have more or less stumbled upon in my life is the desire to grow things. I started with the small pipe dream of growing my own avocado tree- I LOVE avocados and they are super, super good for you too. I don't live in a climate that would allow an avocado tree to survive, but this perhaps won't always be the case; and if it is, I can build another plan to construct a greenhouse. Which I might do anyway, for winter lettuce and carrots and other delicious things.
I had grown an avocado tree once before in my life. I planted a seed in Indiana, while I was working there for a year. However, I killed it horribly by leaving it near an open window in the winter. Why was the window open in the winter? I honestly don't remember. RIP first avocado tree. With that lesson in mind, I planted a few avocado pits in the correct manner and I have been nursing them for over a year now. I have lost one of them and there is another on the way out for reasons I cannot explain, but there are... four that are still in good working order. My favorite lives in my room, and has a double trunk. I'm hoping the trunks will someday grow together to form 1 tree, but I don't know how likely that is.
Anyway, once I saw how well those trees sprouted, I got excited. If I could grow avocados, I felt like I could grow anything. And so I started to dream of having a garden. My dad, of course, didn't help with the idea, telling me that he would make a garden in the backyard- there's no room, for one, and for two he'd never get around to it in time. My mom's friend Liz has been growing stuff on the land she got with the farm house she bought and is repairing. I want to help, to get some experience in doing it, and to foster my little dream.
But take a step back. The dream isn't just a garden- anyone can have a garden, limited of course by the size of their living space. Today, people can even grow tomato plants from a hanging pot that can go anywhere, even inside a house! But I don't want a few plants inside a house; I have that, and it doesn't feel quite right yet.
Imagine, if you will, the things I see in my mind. Imagine an acre of land, with or without a house; although, preferably I would be imagining it without a house, just a plot of land within driving distance. Now fence it in with nice silver mesh fencing, 6 feet tall with a wire top to keep animals like raccoons out. Add a nice gate, one that opens easily. Across the acre, in one corner is a chicken coop. Not very big, not very flashy, just a brown wooden coop with a dozen nesting boxes built into the side. That side of the coop would have a hinged wall, so that you could open it to access the boxes without going inside.
Across from the coop is a large compost bin, and inside you've gotten yourself some BIG earthworms. Perfect for fishing, because you know you want to eat some fresh caught fish now and then.
Now imagine that you've turned that far side of the acre into a small orchard. You've got 3-4 apple trees, a few cherry trees, a couple of really nice peach trees and if you've managed to get someplace warm enough, an avocado tree or two. I could definitely put up with a nectarine tree and a pear tree, if there was space! I'm sure there are others I have forgotten, so just imagine whatever fruits are your favorites, growing across the way!
In the front half of the acre, you've created a food garden. You've got lettuce for salads, carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, squashes (butternut, summer, acorn... whatever kinds you like best!), strawberries, raspberries, and maybe a couple blueberry bushes. You could even plant a few corn plants! Of course I would probably have a watermelon plant, and maybe a nice pumpkin plant- of the kind that's for eating, not carving. Pumpkin soup and pumpkin pie! Plus baked pumpkin slices are really good too.
And back around the entire acre is that fencing... of COURSE I would be growing grapes and snow peas and green beans and whatever other climbing plants I could. They would provide vine cover over the fence and it would make the most use of the space I had. If I was really inclined, I could plant a good grape for making wine, and learn to make my own! Michele's mom created her own apple brandy, which I hear was pretty good- some nice wine and some good apple brandy. Maybe make some warm spiced apple cider in my crock pot.
The possibilities for an acre of land to provide all the produce I could want for a year is just endlessly exciting. Canned fruit from my own orchard. Veggies we've frozen for later. Ciders, butters, jams... and fresh eggs, don't forget those. It seems like such a great idea, to dream about and think of new things for. A new seemingly impossible goal in life.
Once upon a time, I set my sights on Australia as an impossible goal... but after spending six amazing weeks there, I've begun to think anything is possible!