Monday, February 27, 2012


We've wanted this farm for so long (years and years) and we finally got it, last April, not even a year ago.  So much has happened, and there is still so much to do.  But lately, the harsh realities of time and finances and priorities caused us to pause, take a breath, and step back.  We want the garden of our dreams, but looking at the calendar, I realize I'm rapidly running out of time to create it.  The inside of the house doesn't even have all of its furniture yet.  We don't have mattresses for the beds.  We have two storage units full of stuff from my parents to go through and bring out.  We still need the outside of the house painted and get new exterior doors.  Heck I don't even have the flowerbeds around the outside of the house done.  Then I started worrying about trying to get a large garden put together and planted with only a month or so to go.

It just seems there are times in life when plans for what we want to do, clash with what we are able to do...and this weekend we had to come to that realization...

Friday night, we made a list of ALL the projects and things we'd like to do and it was pretty daunting.  It doesn't mean by any means that we won't do them of course, it just means we needed to take a step back and prioritize.

So, we decided to think about our farm like ripples on a pond.  Just like in the picture above, the house is in the center, and the property around it is the pond.  We need to start focusing on the house, and the immediate area around it, then work our way outward, toward the rest of the property.

This doesn't mean I can't do projects around the property, au contraire, but the garden is such a big huge project for us (40' x 48') and realistically, it would be hard to maintain a large garden while focusing on all of the other things that still need to be done.

Fear not though, I WILL have a vegetable garden this year.  We have several small raised beds in our backyard in the city.  I neglected them this past Spring with getting the farmhouse ready for inspection, going through the closing, then starting repairs, etc.  We have 3 that are built, ready and waiting to be cleaned up and prepped for Spring.  That's a much more realistic plan and an easier way to get a garden going sooner rather than later...and that makes me happy.

I still felt slightly disappointed, but only because I wanted a large garden so badly, I can see it finished in my head.  But then I realized that there are also still plenty of gardening related projects out there just waiting to be done:

We have 10 fruit trees and a few berry bushes to plant.
I need to work on the party/picnic tree area.
Then there are the flowerbeds around the exterior of the house that still need to be planted with bushes and flowers and beauty, and the cobblestone paths that will connect them all.

See, I told you we were plenty of projects!

Perhaps later this Spring/Summer, when all that stuff is done, I can begin work on the garden area...who knows, we might even be able to get it ready for a Fall garden.  SO...we'll have some veggie and herb gardening in our backyard city beds, just not as much as I had hoped for, but that's OK.

The purpose of this blog was always just what it says at the document our journey from city living to country living and i
t's a journey that we realized this weekend we needed to slow down so we could enjoy the scenery along the way...

UPDATE:  Thank you all for your kind comments and support, it's pretty awesome!  It means so much to us!


Ricki L said...

No worries, our eyes are always bigger than practical. It will get done, you just take your time and like you said, enjoy the journey. just be sure and share every step with us! We love following you. It's like a soap opera, what's new with them today? Ha.

Tombstone Livestock said...

my mind is so willing to take on projects but somewhere in between every day life has it's detours, and by the end of the day there are not enough hours to get everything finished.

For your garden projects, pick out your permanent plants and get them started shrubs, trees, etc, then work on flowers later.

Have fun and good luck.

Dani said...

Ah, you've reached the "patience" point of your journey. For all good things come to those who wait. And your 10 acres in the country is the fulfillment of your dreams, so ALL those dreams now need just a bit of patience in order to get them to fruition.

Not easy being patient - I know. But it is a necessary step in the process. House AND garden - that's two much to ask of anyone (or two), but one step at a time... As you say, to prioritize - that is the important step now.

And you two have achieved so incredibly much - you can be well proud of yourselves. The veggies from the town garden will taste just as good as those that you are eventually going to plant in your country garden - I promise :)

Marcia said...

So what was that expression? "Rome wasn't built in a day"! I know what you're going through. It's the vision you have of the final product but there are so many steps to take to get there. At least you're not daunted by the task and have the list prioritized. It will come to fruition before you know it if you keep at your list. Good luck.

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

I'm pretty much sure that all those true farms had evolved over the generations of ownership and not primarily on the back on one, or even 2nd man all in a winter leading up to summer. THough it feasibly could.

Chin up. Back straight. One foot forward and the next one gets you were you are going.

(I ocassionally ponder over the lost productivity of certain projects if I had done them differently from the start and sooner. ;) )

BTW, I merely came because I wanted to say, "Oh Dear" or was it, "Oh bother" or even "Oh brother".

Now I hear hulk hogan in my head and not charlie brown. Shazzpot.

Tonya @ My Cozy Little Farmhouse said...

I am glad you made a plan and prioritized. First and foremost the farmhouse needs to be a home. A respite from the trials and tribulations of the city. You have sooooo much time to accomplish everything.

You saw how quickly your gardens in the city deteriorated due to neglect. A 40X48 garden plot is very daunting. I speak from experience. When we first to our current home the prior owners had a 50X100 garden plot. So what did we do? We planted it. Not taking into account the former owners were retired. We both had full time jobs, a kid in school and an otherwise full plate. Yep it was sooo painful. I would spend 5am-7am in the morning and almost every waking hour once home (between school obligations) for my daughter taking care of that garden. And I lived on site with it. You are travelling from the city to your farm. That is a an awful lot to manage!

I think it is a blessing you are taking time to slow down and re-assess what is important. Don't worry it will eventually be exactly what you envision and more.

Patience grasshopper...

Diana said...

Remember, the best part of this journey is the planning and anticipation. If you do this all at once, it's like buying an entire living room set already made and ready to go. Yes, it's great and yes, it all looks perfect, but you always have a feeling of letdown and disappointment and, "gosh, I guess I'm done." You're loving this because you're creative and you have goals for yourself. But to think that you'll finish them all at once and actually ENJOY the finished product is unrealistic. When you finally do have a chance to plant your gardens, you will be totally prepared and unbelievably excited.

1st Man said...

Yeah, is that like my eyes are often bigger than my stomach? Ha. I will make SURE I post each step of the way. That's what I enjoy doing. For some reason, everyone seems to enjoy what I say/share and for that I am grateful! Please come back and visit!

Kelly said...

Ah, the joys of home ownership. There is always more that needs to be done than there are hours in the day. Last year I barely got my flower beds done and I was working outside the house then. Now I'm down to part time, but still have more on my to-do list than I have time.

I'm glad you realized this, even if it is a harsh reality, rather than pushing yourself and making yourself sick. You deserve so much happiness. You are such an amazing person and friend. Enjoy the dream. It will be the way you want it some day. Hopefully before you get your AARP card. :)

1st Man said...

Detours ARE everywhere huh? I like the idea of picking the permanent plants, shrubs, trees and then work on flowers and other accents like that. Great idea. Thanks for the kind words!!

1st Man said...

Truer words were never spoken. Thanks for that. I guess patience is a virtue isn't it?? Ha. Your words are very inspiring...thank you!!

1st Man said...

Yes, without "the list", we'd probably be all over the place, ha. I see it in my head exactly the way it should be, and I want it like that now, ha. But yes, work the list and it will work it's way into reality! Thanks for that!

1st Man said...

OK, you made me laugh and inspired me. You cut right to the chase and you're right. Sure it could be feasible, but nice farms were build over a period of time not in a few months. Chin's up! Back's straight! Starting with the left foot first, ha. Thanks!!! You're awesome!

Sue said...

I've been at my place 5 years this summer. I'm surprised at how long things take, but then again---WHY get everything done at once???? The journey, dear sir--the journey!
You're on the right track. Make a list, every year set aside ONE BIG project, and squeeze itty bitty projects (is there such a thing?) around them.
And most importantly, don't make it so the farm becomes a burden. ENJOY it!

Frugal Living UK said...

Just think of the garden as a long long long term project. You will get everything you want to to, done in time. I had the same thing happen in my garden (and that is way way smaller than yours) very big plans and then suddenly realising that there aren't enough hours in the day or enough money in the bank to do them all yet. But the plans are still there. This year I will get just one vegetable bed going, maybe another nearer summer and try to do some of the hedging I need. The fences and shed will have to wait. I want a country cottage old english front garden full of old variety flowers and paths but that will have to wait for future years. I reckon the things to concentrate on first on the things that take time to establish, such as trees and hedges, so I am concentrating on those this year.
Just approach one project at a time!

Angela said...

The first thing I'd like to commend you on is making your list. As we began our journey of homesteading we started to realize that we couldn't do any flying by the seat of our pants. Homesteading goals are very important.

Second is prioritizing, which you have done. No two homesteaders will ever do anything alike. We can draw inspiration from others that have more experience, but in the end, its our own personal needs that dictate how the outcome will be expressed.

During the our first year here, I visited so many homesteading blogs and thought to myself, "how the heck did they get it all done so fast?" and by doing that I ended up looking at my own actions and wondering why I couldn't get that much done. I belittled myself personally. But there were homesteaders out there that had the courage to actually be honest. There seemed to be a shift in how they presented the things they do. They were admitting that they made mistakes, bit off more than they could chew and felt discouraged by their lack of progress. I thought to myself, "ah, finally! Honesty!" I knew they weren't perfect, but for some reason the way they were presenting themselves made me fell less. Does that make sense?

I finally decided that it was up to us as a family to take on projects and move as fast or slow as we needed to go. We are coming into our second year here, and I have put the pressure on to push harder, faster and build better than last year. My homesteading goals for 2012 are indeed unattainable, but at least we can take a shot at trying. If it gets done, I scratch it off my list on the Homesteading page on our website, and if it doesn't, it will be carried over to next year.

We are nowhere near being self sufficient, but we're working towards it.

When you plant your fruit trees this year, you can plant the following around them right after you put the trees in the ground:

first row ring around the tree: onions, green onions or scallions
2nd ring: cabbage alternating with celery
3rd ring: more onions

They can be your ripples :)

You'll be surprised how much can be planted under fruit trees. We were able to get 495 cloves of garlic planted around 9 fruit trees this year. Soon we'll plant out the rest of the rings with chives, cabbage and celeriac.

Take a breath and enjoy the process. What's the old saying? "Its not the destination, but the journey that matters."

1st Man said...

You know, that's so true. I want a large garden but realistically, keeping it up might have been a problem. We have slowed down and we're committing our list to paper (and maybe even post it on the blog under a new tab). You're so right, the house needs to be relaxing, and an escape, not just from the city but from working around the property. A place to sit and relax or take a nap would be nice, ha. Thanks for the support!

1st Man said...

Ha, great analogy. You look at it and go "wow, that's it? I'm done?" and that's it. You're right, I want to do the little things along the way and enjoy what is created. That's what we're trying to do inside now. Baby steps I keep telling myself! Thanks!!

1st Man said...

Awww, how do I reply to that? You are awesome, thank you for the kind words...

Side note, I'm still a few years away from AARP card but not far I think...maybe that should be a goal, get the property done BEFORE the AARP card comes in the mail, lol.

Thanks again!

1st Man said...

Yeah, I think we see pictures and come up with ideas and go "wow, that will be great, I can do that" and then it takes much more than we anticipate. The journey, it's about the journey! Thank you for reminding me of that. And definitely don't ever ever want it to become a burden...thank you!!

1st Man said...

Dan, that's perfect advice! Sounds like you and I have more in common than we realize. I want paths and flowers and big gardens, but it will just have to happen later on. I like the idea of concentrating on the things that take time to establish. Hedges around the house and the fruit trees are first on my list. It makes perfect sense! Thanks for the reminder and the supportive words!

1st Man said...

OMG!!!!! How do I even reply properly to the advice you took so much care to write?? Your note really makes sense. I checked out your list and I love it! Might have to do something similar (and credit you of course!).

As for the rings around the trees, I've ready through a hundred garden books and have never heard that. Sounds awesome! I love that. Need to check that out.

Thank you again, SO much for the kind thoughts.

Lynda said...

List?? You have a list??? OMG! That's what I've been doing wrong...I DON'T HAVE A LIST! May I borrow yours? Hey, I'm totally impressed with the things you've already done in such a short time. We've had my husband's grandmother's home for 36 years and just had the floors refinished THIS was one of the first things I put on my LIST the day we moved on to the property! My suggestion: plant a fruit tree, a rose and some asparagus asap...makes me feel good to visit with all 3 everyday!

Bee Girl said...

You will get everything done that you want to get done, one step at a time :-) remember, even the tiniest of steps still get you where you're going! Breathe, relax, enjoy the process...It's yours to make it what you want! Remember to make memories in the process, too :-) Have a weeding party or a planting party or a planning party...whatever...but invite your friends and have some fun :-)

1st Man said...

Ha!! That made me laugh!!! Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad to know that even years later, not everything on the wish list gets done. I LOVE the idea of a fruit tree, a rose bush and asparagus (I never thought about that, and have always wanted it!). I like that you visit them...and it makes you feel good. I will take that advice!!

1st Man said...

A weeding party! A planting party! AWESOME ideas. You're SO right, it's about making memories...we need to enjoy the journey. Thank YOU for your support!!