I did a lot of digging and moving dirt today. (I made the 10' by 3' mound in the picture above by shoveling dirt from elsewhere and heaving it over here. I know it doesn't look that big in the picture, but it is that big. I measured.) I wrote about this work over at curiousfarm. I like digging. I like doing the heavy work in the garden more than I like to fuss over delicate pruning and stuff. I'm sore, though. I'm sure I'll be more sore tomorrow. I'll use Taylor's gardening elixir tonight before bed!
*I* am still feeling very good -- relieved, at peace, excited -- about our new venture. D has had a hard couple of days, though, and I'm not sure how to help him through these feelings. I'm at a place in my own life where I don't expect concrete answers from anyone or anything. I work through my angst (which is just noise sometimes) by working hard on the house or the yard and by going on a walk. I don't dismiss his anger and feelings of being lost after the lay-off. I've experienced this, too. It's just that I don't know any way through that pain and ickiness except by getting busy with real things. As far as I can see, the vegetables, chickens, and dirt don't play petty politics. I trust them not to screw me over intentionally. So, while I'm tender, it makes sense to give my energy to the garden. However, this week, D isn't finding the joy in that.
For me, my goals are simple: really work the garden this year and spend as little money as possible doing so. We'll have to make some investments (seeds, blueberry bushes, chickens, maybe some soil ammendments), and we'll have to be smart about these purchases. We won't be getting any doo-dads or implements to make our work easier. We'll have to use our muscles and our minds to make this all pencil out.
If the only things that happen this year are that we grow most of our own vegetables and sell a couple of dozen eggs, then I will count this venture as a success for the year. We can build on that success for next year -- when, hopefully, we'll get into a good rhythm with selling vegetables and eggs and finding our niche.
There are many challenges ahead of us in order to grow just the vegetables we need. We have never been the best carrot growers, for instance. Our cabbages sucked (very sad because of the sauerkraut and kimchi-making I do). The beets I grew were more minerally than sweet. And you might remember all of those green tomatoes? So I have a lot of drama swirling around in my heart as I move forward with this intention of growing substantially more of our produce than ever before.
But I feel good. I think we can meet my goal. We have come so far already in the almost seven years we've lived here. We've been building the soil religiously. Every year we grow and save more.
Now that E is older (she turns 5 on Friday! She wants her cake to say, "I want a fine birthday!" ), D and I are able to work out there while she does her own garden projects. She's very aware of how important the garden is and enjoys helping. She's also very smart about it all and comes up with connections and insights that blow me away.
My energy (physical, mental, spiritual) feels more focused and free now that we have a shared vision for what we want to do. D and I argue and challenge one another over little things, but we both share the hope that our garden might sustain us more deeply. This is very good, and I am very lucky.