Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Thing I Miss Most About the Farm

Since we moved a little over a year and a half ago, I haven't really missed our farm.
Isn't that weird?
I think so. I never could have called it.

I feel nostalgic about it. I miss "the space" in that theoretical, pioneer-dreaming sort of way.
I get a little angsty when people talk about how living in the country is such a great place to raise kids.

We're city slickers now. We're rooted. 

But lately...

I find myself pining for a garden and trying not to rend my garments when I think of our current yard, devoid of all vegetation. Nary a tree or flowering shrub to be found. A postage stamp of yellowish-green, unfortunately situated on a wonky incline.

I mean, really.

I took last summer off, living in the BDR. I didn't think twice. A garden just wasn't a possibility there. But now it is, and I'm struggling to remind myself that luscious vegetation doesn't spring up overnight. It's slow going in the beginning. And it costs real paper money.

So we'll do what we can do. We'll start small, but we'll start. We'll build some boxes. I'm sure I'll find a patch of dirt to sift through. With any luck, I'll find some weeds that need pulling.

In the meantime, I have a summer of this a mere 3.5 hours away.
My dad has become a serious gardener.

We had gardens when I was a kid, but I hate to say, they looked nothing like this.

He's made me a believer in raised-bed gardening.
Raised beds are manageable and make fantastic use of small spaces.
Also, they're easy on the eyes. (Hard on the heart. At least right now.)

Last year Dad upped his own ante with the design and fabrication of the Dwight Garber Deluxe Seed-Starter System, aka "The Contraption". It takes up a good bit of the living room. My mom loves it.

When you drive down the road, the house casts an otherworldly glow.

He's starting 7 varieties of tomatoes, squash, zucchini,  8 kinds of peppers, zinnias, marigolds, and herbs.  I'll totally be pilfering some of each.


Dad expressed concern that I often post "bad" pictures of him on my blog. Well, he can't complain now, can he?? I call this "The Thinker".

When I was in high school he was the supervisor for a concrete job for a new Sears being built right beside an Olan Mills studio and a Merle Norman.

Next thing we know, he surprises my mom at Christmas with a professional portrait. Of just him. There's another one somewhere with several different poses cut into ovals and arranged most attractively with an oak frame and a double mat.

No one will ever know if he also scored a Merle Norman make-over.

So there you have it, my dad in a nut-shell. (Only that's not even the half of it.) My gardening hero!

Now it's your turn. What advice do you have for me? Where do I start? I need flowers and hummingbirds in my life. I need weeds and climbers and peonies and perennials. I need long stretches of time spent in the sun, on my little patch of earth, whether it's 6 acres or a postage stamp. Limelight hydrangeas around the front of the house? Do we dare use space for a strawberry patch? And what about trees? Shrubberies? What are your favorite perennials? We're a blank slate, Honeybees. (Also, we're zone 5, just fyi.)