Got A Home

Well – I’ve Got a Home!

And when someone came up with the phrase “Slow as molasses” – I know exactly who they were talking about. I only had about 3 weeks to find a house and close on it and just couldn’t get people in this part of Virginia to move at the necessary SPEED. Ended up losing my temper twice and got pretty demanding – but I AM in my new house. I was moving at 200 miles per hour and they were going about 25. Eventually, 2 of them got run over. I blew my horn and flashed my lights, but they kept blocking my path and wouldn’t speed up. My philosophy has always been – “Help or Get Out of the Way”.  (Might be a good subject for a future post – the increasing incompetence of the American worker.)

I moved from a beach-front condo on the Chesapeake Bay to a little brick rancher in the Virginia piedmont. Why did I move? And why here? I don’t have a good answer. I had been visiting a site about Homesteading and got to thinking about being more self sufficient. Not talking about living in a bunker, but growing more of my own food, raising chickens for eggs and meat, buying grass fed beef, maybe learning to can extras from the garden, selling produce and herbs at the local farmer’s market, etc.

So I had a picture in my mind of what I wanted – and I found it. The large carport was already converted into a sun room/greenhouse and the previous owner had a huge fenced-in garden. Two acres of the property are located in the county while the main property with the house is in the city. So I have a lot more flexibility with what I can do with the county property – like raising chickens or cattle or having a produce stand. Over the years, the previous owner had planted several trees – a fig tree, a chestnut tree, a black walnut tree, and several magnolia trees. He also built a good sized out-building on the back lot and a garage on the front lot. So most of the work I thought I would need to do is already done.

So I want to plant a couple of grapevines (I just started making wine this year and first batch is excellent) and several strawberry plants this fall. I also plan on converting the garden from rows to raised beds. This should reduce the amount of work it takes to maintain the garden. I also want to create several new raised beds in addition to the garden. I’m not sure how much I can maintain before it gets to be too much like a real job, so I need to control my enthusiasm for now.

The Virginia gentleman I bought the house from, bought the property about 35 years ago. He walked me around the property and showed me every survey stake and told me how he had accumulated the property lot by lot. He really loves the property but remarried a few years ago – and decided it was best to put the past behind him. His former wife had Alzheimer’s and he was her caretaker for several years. He loves the property but it seems the last years with his wife were very rough on him. I told him he was welcome to come by and walk the property or just sit under a tree any time he wanted. He is in his 70’s and it is obvious how much he still loves the house, garden, and trees he planted.

It is late September and you wouldn’t believe all the birds on the property. With a little (lot) of work, the property would resemble a quiet city park. The birds especially like the fig tree and magnolia trees.  I think I will buy one bird feeder for now and make a couple more over the winter.  Also plan to plant some sunflowers next spring.

I can’t believe what I have undertaken. I wish I understood what drove me to do this! Why did I move to an area where I know no one and decide to become a market gardener? It’s not like I have been gardening for the last 20 years as a hobby. This is all new to me. So maybe I am a little delusional. But somehow I feel there is a purpose to this. I just can’t see it yet.

I need a few more days to get the remainder of my stuff out of storage and take 1 last trip back to pick up my other car. And then the hard – and hopefully fun part. Building this into the best micro-farm I can make it.  A real show place the next owner will love.  I’m guessing I’ll probably work harder than I ever have in my life, but I also think I will have more fun doing it. Hope my vegetables will like the Blues and early Rock & Roll since music will make the work more enjoyable.

So no pictures now, but should have some soon – when I find my camera. If any of you have grown vegetables for farmer’s market or are homesteading, please offer your advice. I going to be running hard – but probably not too smart. So all the advice I can get is appreciated.

This is going to be a total change in attitude and philosophy for me. Looking for pleasure in the simple things – a seed sprouting, a flower blooming, an ear of corn that the crows don’t get. So to move forward, I am going back in time – doing what my father and grandfather did – but trying to do it a little smarter – a little less bending – a little less weeding – and a little more produce per acre.

I don’t fully understand what is driving the back to basics movement – but I recently learned that my college educated niece works part-time for an organic farmer, sells produce at the farmer’s market, and just bought a share in a goat (can’t buy unpasteurized goat’s milk, but since she owns the goat!)   I think as people learn that much of our food is grown in parts of the world that don’t have good health controls there will be an even bigger demand for locally grown, organic foods.

And since this site is primarily about music –Nora Jones – Home of the Blues

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