Been awhile since I've shared one of these, eh? I blame Facebook. Or credit Facebook. Or something. I usually share photos on our business Facebook page, Daisyblend Organic Creations. Lately I share the little newsy things there and save the lengthy, in-depth things for here. You can find me on Facebook by clicking on the badge on the sidebar. Be sure to visit and "like" the Daisyblend page, too.
Of course, most of that is weeds.
In February I started tomatoes, peppers and some flowers and herbs in the greenhouse. We had a long, cool spring so I paid dearly for those plants, running a heater to keep them warm. The tomatoes did okay, the peppers died and we have a few flowers to transplant. By April I knew this was not going to be a year I could focus on gardening, so I decided to just put in a few things and not worry about the rest. Before Denny even moved in he was over here helping us prepare garden beds, putting in the tomatoes and some peppers I bought from a friend. We also managed to slip in some Chinese Red Noodle beans, which are blooming so prettily right now...
The kids and I grew these last year and love them. Next year we will grow tons, skipping the green beans altogether. I slipped down to the garden this morning to nab these photos. I have one calendula plant blooming...
Denny has written at his blog about bringing permaculture to Make-It-Do Farm. As he says there, I am not new to the idea of permaculture and have been implementing some of it through the years. During the winter, when I discovered that he was into permaculture and writing articles about it for a local newspaper I considered having him come over and brainstorm with me regarding my farm. One of my favorite things! (So, he came over and decided to stay, what can I say?) The problem here has been two-fold: 1) not enough time and money to install proper goat fencing, limiting all my gardening to a 50'x60' fenced area I knew I could keep the goats out of and 2) not having enough time and energy to do much more than I was already doing. There was always something around here... between raising children, chasing goats, housecleaning, cooking, routine maintenance on the house and property... Well, I needn't tell you all the things that eat up a mother's time, but I should stress that I was juggling everything myself, almost functioning as a single mother. Stress, yes, good choice of words. On top of having to manage all the typical responsibilities that a husband and wife generally share, I found myself often burdened with having to help my husband find work and to find ways to make ends meet when he wasn't working.
It's beyond awesome having Denny here, forming a partnership in all areas, having his opinions and expertise. One of the first things he got excited about regarding the farm was beautifying our dooryard. As he shared his vision with me I couldn't help but tear up just a wee bit. I had wanted so desperately to clean our place up and make it inviting and pretty with stones and pretty flowerbeds. I had been rather in despair regarding our property, actually. I was embarrassed to have people over, the property was such a dump. I would gather the kids and we would try to clean it up periodically, but it seemed an effort in futility. There would be piles of scrap metal and soda bottles and tools littering the place again within a couple weeks. I was the only one who cared, the only one putting forth any effort. I daren't try to clean it up AND make it pretty and inviting. What would be the point? Sigh. Anyway, it's nice to have a partner who cares now. And who is willing to help clean up the junk AND help beautify it AND help maintain it all.
Now I wish I had some "before" pictures, but, of course, as embarrassed as I was by it all I refused to allow it to be photographed! But here are some of the things Denny has worked out...
Building a bed with the stones that were migrating from alongside the driveway and taking over the dooryard, piling the beds high with old logs, leaves and straw, compost and soil, planting some perennials that he dug up from his place on the lake. I can't look at this without being overwhelmed... It means so much to me. The picture doesn't do it justice. So sweet and charming.
From the other side... an herb spiral with lavender, skullcap, garlic chives and oregano. For now. More to come.
Hostas, ferns and wild ginger gainst the front of the house... (Sorry! Bad pic. Rainy morning, low light.)
Denny with Little, Atira and Blue, setting stones and concrete pavers around the front stoop.
Sigh. I love it.
It's weird, though, reading about it all on his blog. I find myself with mixed feelings. I am so in love with him and all he is doing and I feel very much a part of it, not at all like he is taking over, nothing like that. I love the fact that because he is joining me in taking care of all the must-do's around the place we are both freed up to work on some fun and beautiful projects together. I love that we share a vision. We both love to dream this stuff up, we share an asthetic sense as well as sense of economy (making projects beautiful, natural and inexpensive), we both enjoy getting our hands dirty and involving the children. But there's something that bugged me after reading his post and it took me awhile to put my finger on it. And, well, I guess I am a little bitter about my past. These are things I would have liked to do all along... making my house and property pretty as well as functional. How I wish I'd been able to plant flowers everywhere and to lay stones out front! I feel like I was rarely able to make "beautiful" happen. I was swamped and alone, barely able to get the necessary stuff done. I had time to focus on doing one thing well and that was raising the children, which I think I have done fairly well so far, if I do say so myself. But it seemed like the place was falling down around my ears. I had to take a walk around this morning and remember everything I have accomplished over the almost seven years I've been here, what this place was like when we first moved here. If it weren't for me there wouldn't be a beautiful (lush, green, weedy) garden and yard, fruit trees, fencing, chicken coop, goat barn, chickens, goats, cats, or seven fantabulous, beaming children. There have been some improvements to the home because of my initiative; a better deck with a roof, decent siding, better windows and doors, etc. And my home is comfortable, if rather, uh... lived in, and everyone who walks through the door finds ample hospitality.
I get too easily focused on the things I haven't done or couldn't do, in every area of my life.
I am so grateful that Denny was willing to throw his lot in with us. There was so much to be done here. He saw our beautiful property and saw the potential, yes, but he was willing to help get the place up to par before jumping into the purely fun projects. We had plumbing issues; a bucket under the kitchen sink because it wouldn't drain, a toilet that wouldn't flush, a clogged bathroom sink. We had goat issues; the area Bobby and I had tried to fence was not holding them. We had money issues and heart issues, too. When I think of what the man has taken on... I can't help but believe him when he tells me that he loves me and the children and thinks we are the most amazing people he has ever met. What else could possibly possess him to burden himself with all of this? He will give a slightly exasperated sigh reading this. "You are not a burden," he will say for the 28th and a half time. And I understand. What we have, it is no burden. He is not some hero, swooping in to rescue us... he is another human who has his own needs and desires and we are joining forces. He benefits from the life and vitality here, the love and friendship. The partnership. The family. There is much joy and peace and satisfaction as we merge lives. I look forward to what every day brings.