It’s foggy this morning, but finally back to being warm, after a week of weather chilly enough that we caved and put the heat on at one point. The outcome of the rain and chill is a landscape that is even more impossibly lovely and magical than before. Living here in this fairy-tale landscape is a gift.
I’m giving up a day in the garden today for a milestone with my daughter – after 2.5 years of dedicated work, she’s off to her first horse show. All week we’ve been madly prepping – an extra lesson, shopping for all the attire she needs, polishing boots and packing snacks and extra clothes for the day. It’s not the kind of thing we can budget for frequently, but it’s worth every dime. My daughter, who generally asks for nothing, wanted this more than anything.
We’re deep in getting the garden together, but we also took a little time out to introduce the chickens to the yard. It’s time for them to start earning their keep by eating ticks and other garden pests. Statler the chicken, one of our adored Polish breed, took a bit of time to explore whether tree-climbing was also a ‘chicken thing’. We’re not sure what she
thinks but she seemed more interested than distressed. Her sister, Waldorf, and their other companions seemed to find the earth more interesting.
Eli and I have been hard at work on the garden. It’s a combination of building, weeding and planting at the same time. We need to finish up in the next couple weeks so we can turn our attention to projects on the house itself. This is some hard work, but it’s also a labor of love. We’ve managed to plant tomatoes of all sorts, peppers, both the sweet and spicy kind, cauliflower, spinach, Brussels sprouts, lots of herbs, rhubarb, carrots, a couple sugar pumpkin plants, and a Japanese cucumber we are trying out this year. So far, so good. The Thai basil is looking a bit sad, but I think a little heat will perk it up.
We’ve mostly gotten the flowers planted as well, with the only holdouts being the two climbing rose bushes that we got to train up the butterfly gate.
Still to go are more tomatoes, more greens, butternut squash, and a few other things. In August I’ll plant some more kale and greens. I didn’t get to tomatillos or beans this year, but 4 new fruit trees are set to arrive any day – Japanese and Iranian varieties of apricots, a Seckel pear, and a fig tree. This year, we’ll take extra caution with protecting the new trees for winter, since the bitter cold has devastated the ones I have planted to date.
Eli has taken on most of the construction tasks while I weed, move dirt and plant. We’ve gotten a 5th garden bed built and planted already, and next weekend at least 6th should get done, if not more.
It’s looking beautiful, and I find it nearly impossible to describe how it feels to dream of a potager garden and then see it come to life. The old bricks I used for the first few beds will eventually need to be replaced, and there’s still a full half of the garden to build, but it’s transforming before my eyes into the paths and beds of my daydreams, complete with Hollyhocks along the front edge.
This was the beginning. This was the daydream that became a sketched plan over tea with my neighbor, that became an almost-finished fence and brick beds that became the place where I go to play in the sunshine. So much labor and time went into it. Sweat equity that I treasure as much as the finished product. When I look back over my life, it is the things that I’ve built and grown and tended that matter the most.
My children. Eli. And this place.