Written and Posted by: Lisa Simpson
I am going to show you something that is terrifying and might not be appropriate for small children or people with a tendency to faint or throw up. Okay, ready?
In the first two years here, most of our spare time was spent simply cleaning up the property. Amongst the 50 year-old apple trees was a leftover collection of rickety buildings (one held up by a single piece of lumber wedged in a corner), piles of junk (we lost count of the freezers we found in a blackberry bramble. 15? 20?) and enough rats to convince me that a Disney movie about a rodent with chef-aspirations was not a cute idea. Where most people saw potential we saw another long weekend trying to convince the HazMat dump to accept paint cans that had last been opened in the Truman era.
It’s uncharacteristic of me to be the “yeah, but” person. I want to do something, plant something, grow something. Yeah but… mosquitoes, deer, rabbits, hardpan, wetlands, compost. Yeah, but… slugs, moles, crows, micro-climates, mulch, frost dates, weeds…. People see potential, but like any blank slate it’s intimidating to not know where to start. You want me to organize your office, your house, your life? I can do that. I haven’t a clue how to grow a tomato, much less a slightly overgrown and benignly neglected English/French garden with benches and flowers and a wood-burning oven. How does any of that happen without a staff and groundskeeper and a couple hundred years of heredity?
The East Coast and the Olympic athletes have had a rough winter, but for the rest of us here it’s been a lovely early spring and I keep looking out my window at this stretch of green grass and I keep thinking I oughta do something with it. I thought about what I buy most at the market (herbs, potatoes, collard greens, lettuces) and I think I can grow that stuff. So I’ve sent off for a seed catalogue and I’m thinking about, you know, gardening, in general because I’m so inexperienced I don’t even know specifics to consider. Listening to Real Gardeners talk about soil prep and amendments, temperate zones and compost composition is like listening to adults in Charlie Brown cartoons. Waahh Wahwah wahwahwaahh.