let it grow

I grew up on a series of 2-3 acre homesteads. The houses were handyman specials, the land was rocky, the animals were runabouts, and I’m pretty sure that no one knew what they were doing. Add in poverty and familial disgruntlement, and growing up “on the farm” was a miserable, chaotic existence that I gladly escaped when I moved to the city.

Fifteen years later, I dream of land. I feel like I’ve tried out every city stereotype, living in hot spots and running after my career. My fella and I currently own a house on nearly a quarter acre in a small town surrounded by an industrial city. There are two drugstores, a coffee shop, and a gas station within walking distance.

I thought a nice garden would cure the itch for land.This year, we covered 78 square feet of prime front lawn with compost and planted food and flora. We plotted out a blueberry circle and will be using an old hot-tub foundation frame as a permaculture potato bed. I have planters inside our living room window and onions sprouting in the kitchen.

I thought going to farms and canning produce for the winter would sate my longing. After gallons of applesauce and marinera, I’m still looking at the yard, seeing less grass and more corn. In the back yard, by brain superimposes a chicken coop (nice and tidy and urban), a greywater pond system and yet more plants. And I wonder if I’ll ever be able to sell the house with those changes.

I caught myself trolling Craigslist like a villain last week, looking at the ads for rabbits, goats, chicks and cattle. Chicks and a rabbit are definite additions for the next year. But why am I scanning for grazers? My neighborhood has a distinct “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but I don’t have the property to do anything more. In any case, I don’t want to push at the neighbors’ tolerance for those “crazy environmentalists” next door.

The more I connect with the land, with the food cycle and life cycles of season and bug and beast, the more I must follow it. Observing yeast, the changes in a growing bean, the continual birth, growth and eventual passing on for everything to the next stage of the cycle – it feels right at the core of my soul. Perfect, salient, and I want to persue it.