Yes, it is a little play on words from the duet by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong because today I am writing about my homesteading dreams. Maybe re-re-dreams is more accurate, since I’ve already started twice and had to stop due to the death of my spouse and another time due to the pesky necessity of that J-O-B thing. I joke with my close friends that I am on plan number 4,379 🙂
I’ve written on the impetus for the dream’s formation on the blog before, being hit by a tornado and feeling helpless and ignorant. I’ve subsequently been through another direct hit since then, but was more prepared if not less frightened. The added burden of helplessness and ignorance I had lifted somewhat. And just last year one blasted within two blocks of me. Mind you, in two of these three occurrences I was living nowhere near ‘Tornado Alley’. Here where I am now, there is no way to prep and protect, and living so close to the coast, when water spouts make land they leave very short lead times even for warnings.
The desire was in place prior to the impetus event, but we were inching slowly towards it. Lifestyle changes were done first in town, then in suburbia. From there I bolted straight to the countryside to a small farm in Virginia as a care-taking couple, although it was more singlet as my husband remained behind to transition his work life and to move our belongings, coming up only every other weekend. It was during that time that I started writing publicly in another place the snippets of my challenges and wide-open exposure of the ignorance gap between desire and fulfillment. That I lack in many areas isn’t hidden from me. What I do not allow that lack to do is deter me. I’m still the optimistic, somewhat reckless and impetuous believer in the possible.
Almost five years ago I wrote the below first post as I headed out on that adventure very shortly after my husband’s death (which, for all who might wonder, I do NOT recommend for anyone after the death of a spouse. Just stop and be still.) But the woman who wrote this post is still alive and kickin’ as is the dream. I’m down two dogs, having had to re-home them when I lost the farm. This is another glimpse into who I am and how I face life. Enjoy!
This is how I thought that my blog would start many months ago….
“The Homestead Seedling of my Mind
The land is quiet, except for wildlife sounds. The diluted light of morning dances off of the rising mist of the ground as a towhee sounds in the distance. He’s been up since before dawn, as I, calling out to the day. The aroma of freshly turned earth mixes with the taste of dew, and I hear the animals’ stirring as fresh coffee scent drenches the kitchen air. I step across the threshold onto our land, and all is right with the world.”
The key word there is ‘our’ land. But now, it is only my land. Oh, I suspected there would be times when I would work the land alone, garnering all of the goodies for myself…birdsong, sparkling dawns, quiet moonlight dances, slug body patrol and tomato horn worm decimation; he traveled for work from time to time. I planned for times of solitude, tucked into my life like little snuggly tidbits. Now that sprinkling of solitude that I would embrace has become the ‘new normal’ of my life. It is too soon to pronounce if it is to my liking. For now, it simply is.
I am ten days out from stepping onto the land that will be my new homestead. What am I feeling? Mostly exhaustion right now. Packing an entire house while working 12-hour night shifts is a bit overwhelming. I entered the realm of second-guessing about, oh, three hours after the closing. Oh yes, the words “WHAT were you thinking?” tumble around willy-nilly when I least expect them. I swipe at them with packing tape and the old scissors. I’ve no time for second-guessing now. Doubts get tucked into the boxes of stuff that make up my life in the corner spaces and crevices, to come tumbling out at unexpected times as I unpack and settle in to the new place. I suspect that doubt will join grief, and keep it company – and I only hope that I learn not to jump so when one or the other comes rushing around a corner and confronts me, catching me unawares. If I keep them separate from sadness, and forbid all three of them from ever occupying the same time/space continuum, I should be okay.
Okay. Such a benign word. “How are you doing?” “Okay.” What? You want the full disclosure? I think not. Surely you’ve other things to do today 🙂 Besides, at any given moment, I really am okay. Doing alright. Hanging in there. It is those other moments that are best left undiscussed for the time being. Remembering. Missing. Revisiting. Those are the land mines of the mind. Or would that be…mind mines?
For now, I need to stay focused on the forward motion of moving. Focus on the future garden beds. Seed catalogs will be arriving shortly! That means planning and dreaming and probably overspending. If I planted all the seeds that I currently have tucked away in their little packets, why I could feed at least three or four families, I’m pretty certain of it. And the flowers, oh the flowers I could have! And I will have them, eventually. The memorial garden will be fitting, and filled with the plants, flowers and trees that he loved. The herb garden proper will come to fruition as well, including the white picket fence with bobbing cosmos and trailing morning glories and moonflowers festooning the pickets. There will be walkways and tucked away places to sit for reading, listening, observing, or just being. All of it will take time though, just like healing does. It cannot be rushed. And I so love how genteel and perfect this sounds in typeface. HA! I know me. More likely it will look something like this…
Mud puddles, with large white and muddy dogs splashing mud buttons on the white picket fence that is leaning up against the barn waiting to be installed. Nearby will be the pile of tools that I meant to put away when I finished chasing the dogs away from the freshly tilled garden beds because I was absent-minded and left the gate ajar. I might even be trying to locate the gloves and weed-eater twine that I know I left lying here somewhere? Oh, and what is that plastic milk jug that is half-chewed doing over there next to the imported beer cans that the Pyrs have brought home from their wanderings in the new neighborhood? And crap, I left the tea kettle going again and it’s empty and smelling up the yard because thought I’d only be out here for a minute and then. Well, you get the picture don’t you?
Yet I will dream, and dream big. I will work, and work hard. And somewhere along the line, as time passes, my heart and mind will heal, and the six acres will begin to resemble some of the pictures that I carry in my head, snipped from magazine layouts and internet sites. And I invite you to come along with me. Maybe you too, are a dreamer. Perhaps a doer even. You may chuckle at my mishaps, cheer my accomplishments, and fend off my frustrations. It is an interactive endeavor, for what good are words that go unread? I cannot promise it will always be fun or happy. It might even be tedious. Because life is never static. Time is unrelenting, moving forward even while we stand still to check what time it is.
Oh, and while you are here, could you help me find the packing tape, scissors and Sharpie? Because I know I had them over there last night….
Here are photos of the babies I raised and had to let go. It was another bittersweet loss, but I know today they are happily ensconced in new homes with owners who love them.
Their first day of arrival on the farm in Virginia – a brother and sister named Bonnie and Clyde.
What they grew into, almost three hundred pounds of Pyr lovin’:
So yeah, I’m on target for planning and dreaming, and I hope all of you will stay with me on the course 🙂
~SE (who is dreamy today)