Tag Archives: garden

Spring Update


Spring has sprung here in rural West Tennessee. The worst winter in about a decade has finally released its frosty grip on this red clay soil. What was brown and dead is now green and thriving again. There could be no better metaphor for my life as of late.


Yes, I have come back to Tennessee and, while I can’t say that I am happy about the circumstances regarding my return, I am more than happy to be home. The frosty grip has been lifted and I am thriving again even if only in very small ways.


The garden has been planted. The seeds have been sewn. The red clay soil has been worked and nutrients have been added to improve its quality. In a few seasons, if the hard work continues, it will be something to be reckoned with. There is so much promise and hope for the future.


There are other projects in the works for the fairly near future. Two tables like the one I designed and helped to build in Florida (pictured below) will be built to suit the needs of my ever-growing extended family. Much furniture that came from my grandmothers house will receive new life. There will, of course, be pictures and details in the coming days.


Yes, there is much promise and hope for the future. I could not be more thankful for the wonderful family that I have been blessed with. I am also eternally grateful to the incredible friends that I made in Florida. Both parties encouraged me to do whatever I needed to do to achieve my dreams. I am proud to say that, while I am still a bit flighty with the desire to go and experience other things, my heart remains firmly rooted in this red clay soil.

Until next time,


New Hope for the Spring


I have been setting goals today, y’all!  It’s pretty much just a list of smaller goals and how to achieve them with the long-term goal being self-sufficiency.  I’m not sure how long it will take to be fully self-sufficient, but I know it doesn’t happen over night.  Or even over a year.  This year, the idea is to test the waters and see just how much food we can produce and store for our little patchwork family and whether or not it is really more cost-effective.  Since gardening seems to be something that we just do in these parts, I can hardly see us stopping in the near future.  I can see, however, that we have a lot to learn.  The following is a list of things that I hope to accomplish before the end of March or so as spring begins to fade into summer.

1) Finish cleaning out the barn.  We have two rather large barns on the property that are full of junk.  We have had about three marathon cleaning runs on the Back Barn but it’s so dusty that after an hour or two we have to call it quits.  The space could be incredibly useful to us, we just have to take the time to make it that way.


2) Plant a herb garden.  I have the desire to cultivate my own herbs in pots that can be moved around based on their individual needs and brought inside to enjoy year-round.  This should only be a small undertaking, but I’m not ruling anything out.

3) Finish the compost bin and start composting.  We have some of the basic construction already underway, but I broke the hammer.  Actually, “broke” is the wrong word considering that I managed to bend it.  Yes.  With the gracious help of He-Man’s dad, this project should be done and the composting underway in no time flat.  *fingers crossed*

4) Till the garden and make it bigger.  Last year’s garden was a decent size, but I am ready to go bigger.  We have crazy amounts of dwarf okra seed that I saved from last year’s harvest that I want to take advantage of and I have compiled something called the 2014 Garden Wishlist that, in another post, will show just how ambitious I’m getting.

5) Get the early crops in the ground to start the garden off with its best foot forward.  Last year there was no crop rotation.  Everything got planted at the same time and if it grew, it grew but this year I know better.  Early greens as well as potatoes, onions, and garlic (which will all be done in containers for easy harvest) will go in first.

6) Buy an almanac and actually read it.  I have always wanted and almanac but never actually took the time to buy one so if my assessments in #5 are a little off, I’ll figure it out sooner or later.

(photo courtesy Wikipedia)

7) Buy and learn to use a home canner.  This is also something that I have wanted for a while but never actually got around to buying.  I realize that not everything can be canned but I already know how to dry things and use the freezer so we won’t go there.  This is all about putting back some of what we produce to see how much is left over (if any) by this time next year, with the goal being to have a surplus and eventually a stockpile.

8) Keep a ledger of how much was spent on and produced in the garden.  Not only will this help me to decide whether or not this is a cost-effective way to spend 3/4 of the year, but also how many plants we need for the next year in order to attain self-sufficiency.

Eventually, perhaps many years into the future, I want nothing more than to never have to go to the supermarket again.  I want to be able to produce all of my meat, cheese, milk, and vegetables right here.  Is that so crazy?  That’s not to say that everybody should do the same, I just think that it is the lifestyle that I would like to pursue.  AND, in case you’re wondering what you can get me for my birthday this spring, I will be accepting solar panels, daffodil and iris bulbs, goats, and bee-keeping equipment. 🙂

Until next time, my dears,