So. I’m Annie. I’ll be your guide to an adventure in urban sufficiency, wild tangents on food, cooking, family life, and the inner workings of a quirky mind.
I am a BIG dreamer. I don’t usually over think my decisions, I just jump in with the confidence that I can succeed if I try hard enough. This usually works. For instance…I applied for a doctoral program before analyzing my options, and now – having finished 3 years of course work – I am but a dissertation away from achieving my PhD in Higher Education. I love a challenge!
So, when I looked up one day and realized that my corner lot in a big city neighborhood was basically wasted, I decided it was time to see about raising some of our food, teaching my daughter about the growth cycle, and turning the dead (thank you water restrictions and a basic desert climate) lawn and unused hillside into my version of a farm. Simple, no?
Step 1 in the process: Decide what goes and what stays.
- Since the voles ate the rose garden, that can go. Add one raised bed for corn and peppers.
- The fence next to the raised bed is perfect for vines. Add two raspberry plants.
- We have a huge, unused space in that slope above the retaining wall, out go the weeds, in go three levels of terracing and a lot of compost. Add ONE MASSIVE HEADACHE.
Step 2: Realize that hired labor is only as good as the price you are willing to pay for it.
- Hire the crew of itinerant gardeners that usually work on our yard when I have run out of time to do it myself – due to my full time job, 7 year old daughter, PhD work, editorial duties on a professional journal, and church involvement. And YES, I do still plan to have a garden, thanks.
- Pay $$$ to have them dig out and terrace the slope.
- Fire gardeners when they decide that their best work includes sawing up the lattice work from my back patio to create a makeshift fence to keep the dogs out of the garden, then hang a gate 1 1/2 feet ABOVE the “entrance” to the garden – thus allowing the dogs to roam freely but keeping me out unless I stand on tiptoe halfway up the precarious stairs they have created by using pre-made stair stringers “installed” UPSIDE DOWN and leaned shakily against the wall, while ducking as I open the gate that rapidly moves outward as it swings open directly toward my teetering body.
- Sit on bottom step as I attempt to grasp the logic that goes into installing just one fence section and a gate – all to keep the terriers from digging up the garden – when the dogs can easily just climb the new mountain of displaced soil and walk along the top of the wall. Realize the fault is mine for not having trained my dogs to recognize the obvious symbolic boundaries represented by a gate, even when the gate is not really attached to anything but my hopes.
- And so it goes…
Stick around, as they say, this project should be good for a laugh!