Thursday, July 17, 2008

Suburban Nature

My life long dream is to own some land and live off of it.  Like homesteading ... grow our own food, raise animals ... be at one with nature.  My inner hippy earth-mother begging to come out.  But alas, I live in town, in the 'burbs.  That's ok.  I like it here.  But a girl can still dream about harvesting wheat, spinning wool and gathering eggs from the chicken coop, right?  

My ultimate dream?  A COW!  Oh yes, I want my own cow.  We are big raw milk fans in this house.  That's another topic for another post.  But don't think I haven't been tempted to put a cow in my own backyard here in the suburbs.  I think the neighbors might notice though.  

Anyhow ... so we do what we can with the little bit of town yard that we have.  We grow a garden and commune with what nature has to offer us.  My husband took on the garden-planting job this year.  Yes, I admit I was a little upset at him stepping into "my" territory.  I was raised in the country.  Sort of, at least from age 11 when my parents bought a 10-acre farm and we moved out of town, until I graduated from high school and moved to attend college.  Before that we lived in "town" but it was a small town surrounded by country life, so I feel like a country girl through and through.

The garden has always been my thing.  It's in the genes.  My parents always had an awesome garden.  My daddy still plants a garden plot every season.  My Grandma Ona always had a garden and "put food up" from the abundant summer harvest.  She would can, make jam, freeze, dehydrate ... nothing went to waste.  I could shell black-eyed peas by the age of 2!  So my entire married life I've always tried to plant something, somewhere, no matter where we were living.  A small patch of lettuces in our tiny 2'x4' "backyard" in our first apartment; pots of peppers and cherry tomatoes on a balcony of yet another apartment; broccoli in our Bay Area side yard; and always some herbs wherever I could fit them in.  

Then we bought this house some 14 years ago and I was blessed with a big side yard.  I immediately saw crops to be planted!  After clearing the debris from the previous owners, my hubby created 4 raised beds for me.  We've planted something in those beds every year since.  Some years have been spectacularly bounteous, others sparse, but always something has been reaped.  A few years ago hubby took on the task of composting.  He actually researched this (he researches everything!) and he dutifully replenishes the garden soil every year.  He's now looking into a self-contained worm farm.  I'll keep you posted.

Anyhow, back to the fact that this year hubby decided to plant the garden himself.  I really wasn't in a position to protest since I knew I just wouldn't have the time or energy to do it myself this year.  With so many other things going on ... homeschool group stuff, a 3-year old to keep up with, and a back injury that landed me flat for 2 weeks ... I let hubby do his thing in MY garden.

He planted tomatoes, corn, 3 different types of squash and a pepper plant.  It's going pretty good.  We've had some good tomatoes come off.  So good, they attracted some unwanted attention:
Yes, that Blue Jay really is giving me the evil eye.  I have just stepped between him and the red, vine-ripe tomato he was planning on having for breakfast.  Ok, the blue-jays and mockingbirds have always been interested in our peaches and apricots (we have 2 trees in the yard) and we pretty much let them have everything on the tippy-top branches.  We're willing to share, up to a certain extent.  But I've never had them come for the tomatoes.  And now I'm not sure I want to share anymore.  Mr. Jay is like the house-guest that doesn't know when to leave and starts taking advantage of your hospitality.  Well thanks for the stone fruit, but that harvest is over, I'm moving on to your fine tomatoes!  I've tried setting the cat in the window to scare away Mr. Jay, but being a blue-jay he's not going to be deterred by something as silly as an indoor cat!  

I don't know if you can see from the photo, but way up high on the power lines in the distance is Mrs. Dove.  We also have a family of doves that live in our suburban garden.  Not the brightest bird in the avian world.  Maybe I'll post about the doves at a later date.  Still ... the quandary of what to do about Mr. Jay eating the tomatoes?  Oh wait ... this is hubby's garden ... hmmm ... I'll let him research that one! ;-)            

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have birds eating your tomatoes, too? I've never had that problem till this year. I don't have those nasty tomato worms, but I have birds and they're driving me nuts!