Saturday, August 27, 2011

Back Among the Living

This was a rough summer. Let's just get that fact out of the way.
I am naturally introverted and when I feel stressed I withdraw until I feel safe enough to come back out from under my rock.

"Hi" *waves*. I feel safe now. Relatively.

This summer I attracted the attention of my town's new Mayor and the City Council's Code Enforcement efforts. It seems someone doesn't like big gardens or backyard chickens. There are no specific ordinances prohibiting these things so I was scrutinized for the length of grass along the edges of my growing beds. Many visits from our town cop. Many threats of fines and liens on my home. I fired up the weed eater. I mowed, I edged.

Then the complaint changed. My yard was found to be full of  refuse and waste. I still don't know what that means but looking at the yard I have to assume they meant the compost bins I'd carefully constructed of white lattice so as to make them attractive enough to placate the neighbors. So I built two vertical compost tumblers so my compost could not be seen.

Then I was told I would be fined if I did not cut down the weeds. I don't have weeds, I have a garden. I have to admit, the tomatoes got a little large. Maybe I'm getting good at this garden thing.

So my summer was spent trying to comply with what I felt were unreasonable demands instead of enjoying my hands in the dirt and green growing things. I'm in the process of building a 6' privacy fence. I've wanted one for a long time but I felt I couldn't justify the expense. Now I simply must have one if I'm going to continue.

A few things did go well this summer. We tried a new/old variety of corn that, so far, has met the needs we have. We grew a blue corn that is tasty, if a little chewy, as a sweet corn. It can be left on the plant to fully mature into a beautiful blue flour corn. I'll be sending it off to have it tested for protein content so I'll know how to use it in chicken feed.

The CSA grew a little. We served 12 member families with weekly deliveries of fresh eggs, whole grain bread, and fresh fruits and veggies.

The figs produced a little crop and the Asian pears bore fruit for the first time. The chickens are happy, the garden area is twice the size it was last year.

I was awarded three scholarships to help out with school costs, which makes me very happy. It feels good to have a good GPA and to be recognized for it in a way that relieves some of the pressure of being the only parent in the house.

Fall is here. The temperature has not realized it yet, but the sunlight has definitely changed. Time to harvest, tidy up the growing areas and take stock. I learned a lot this year, not all of it positive. Fall always feels like the completion of the cycle. The old Celtic New Year was Halloween, which I completely understand.