Here I sit. Outside in the sun of California's southern bay, catching every smooth breeze in my untended mane of hair. It is Saturday after all. I hear the constant but varied clanking and chipping of rock in the near distance. My husband is working on his first stone tool - a beautiful and shining spectacle of obsidian obtained through the Internet as a recent Christmas gift.
I am not making tools. I have just finished drying a surplus of cherry tomatoes in the oven. Perhaps they are too dry- time will tell. I have spent the last few hours sitting under the wisteria canopy in the backyard of our rental house in Torrance, reading books about finding love and farming (at the same time) in an attempt to live vicariously through the lives of the authors.
At the moment we are living on leased land. For LA it's a pretty good size, probably because it lacks a garage. The dirt was light brown, loose, and devoid of life. In the interim between moving back to Indiana and living where we are now (thats a whole other story), we opted to make the most of it, trying out some gardening here to learn from our experience. Having shoveled the sad land and picked out the skeletons of weeds, we headed to the local farmers market and purchased worms which promised to breathe life back into the cement encased plot.
Four cherry tomatoes, two peppers, one eggplant, and a cucumber later our dirt resembles roasted coffee grounds and is teaming with life. We recently pulled out the expended cucumber and planted two young zucchini plants, also purchased from the farmers market. It turns out we don't eat that much cucumber but ended up buying zucchini at the market week after week. Lesson one: when you are growing food for yourself, plant what you eat.
We also added some worm castings to a forgotten piece of dirt near the shed that houses the weed mower (we don't believe in growing grass in climates that can't support it naturally) and some of the other belongings we can't fit into our small rental and planted kale. It's our first experience with growing the stuff, but we purchase it fairly regularly and figured it would be worth the try. White flies have nearly decimated it, but J has been vacuuming the plants and they are starting to show promise.
All this is in preparation of our our future homestead. I dream of heading out to the hen house with a blanket around my shoulders while I wait for my morning coffee to brew and my fresh baked bread to toast. I can almost taste the crisp air that brings out the sweetest in the apples we haven't yet planted. We have a dream for our cozy quarter acre in northern Indianapolis. Farmers often talk of using the winter as their time to plan...this is our extended winter. It just happens to be September, sunny, and 75.