I have had two hopes/dreams for my life. One being to own land. To have property. To be able to look outside my window, to walk out the door and know that the grass under my feet, the flowers, the rolling hills are mine. We moved to Tennessee when I was in fifth grade. It was the first time that we had a decent bit of land, not just a yard. I loved it. There is a sense of hope with land. Hope for the future, for the possibilities of what can be. There is also a peace, a contentment. I don’t know if I can put it into words, but I think you will know what I am referring to. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm.” Sitting here now, looking out my window, it makes me wonder why I am not outside enjoying the soft, yet warm rays of the sun. Allowing the humid air to wrap me in its blanket. To enjoy the gentle songs of the birds, the not so gentle talking of the hens, the wet grass between my toes. For years I would ask my parents for a bit of their land. I always remembered to include it on my birthday and Christmas list. I don’t know if my parents ever really realized how much I wanted it. Just a bit of their land. 5′ x 5′ would have suited me just fine. I still know the exact spot I dreamt of owning. I don’t know why I picked that spot. There was nothing there. It was just in the middle of the yard. Now there is a tree planted. Not by me, but a tree growing all the same. As I grew older, I stopped asking for land, but I never stopped dreaming. Always of 100 acres of land to call my own. How that land looked changed through the years. In high school, after a trip to Italy, I wanted a vineyard. In college, a ranch. After college, a farm. Now, I want to live a life that is as self-sufficient as possible. I want to live off of my land, grow my own food, make what I need. To live a quiet and simple life. For now, I am trying to learn how to do so on the land where I am.
First phase: learn to grow a garden and produce as much food as I can for myself and source the rest as locally as possible.
The first couple of years were a failure…totally. Thank goodness for our CSA share. I traveled so much with my family that it was impossible to maintain a garden. Plus, I never built a fence around my raised beds and lost the majority of my produce to rabbits and our dogs who loved to dig in the dirt. The only bed that survived was the asparagus, plus a couple of lone eggplant, radish, and beet plants.
This year was different. I was determined to have a garden and make it work. We built new beds to expand the garden and had a fence put around the majority of the space. I had a dump truck full of dirt delivered to fill all the raised beds. My sisters came home for my birthday and that is how we spent the day. Digging out spaces for the beds, filling wheel barrows with dirt, and dumping them in the beds. What a blessing to have extra hands. And then the planting began. My poor father. As soon as I have one bed planted, I am ready for him to build me a new one.
Over the past couple of months, I have fallen in love. I love starting and ending my day in the garden. Spending hours watering, weeding, and working on projects. I have been surprised by how relaxing and delightful it has been. I am absolutely in love with it all. The philosophy of Addiah is to promote a life of quality, beauty, simplicity, authenticity. That is why I sell and am in love with Baker Creek Heirloom seeds. With every purchase made online, I include a packet of seeds as a thank you and to encourage heirloom seeds and a natural farming method; good food, grown by yourself or those near you. I know that not everyone wants to grow their own garden, but my hope is that they will spread the seeds to someone who will. We can get food from anywhere in the world. We are so blessed. But sometimes, it is not having anything we want that matters. It is having something good, something real, something by our own hands, grown by hard work, sweat and pain (and even sometimes tears). It is incredible to witness the growth of a seed into a plant, to see it bloom and produce as God designed it to.
May you enjoy the open, however, wherever that is….Virginia
“There is delight in the hardy life of the open.”…Theodore Roosevelt