Roots…

Dear Reader,

The first season living with Rousseau’s Garden was challenging, rewarding, exasperating, exciting, and inspirational.  My free time is spent mostly thinking about new ways to look at and develop this project; eventually, I would very much like to be a “professional” homesteader so that all my time can be spent that way.  The garden had its hits and misses, and I’m prepared to make new and better choices next season.  The chickens have been utterly and completely wonderful; bringing them into our family was absolutely the right thing to do.  The additions and amendments we’ve made on our property have led to a very enjoyable outdoor life for our family and friends.  I’ve read soooooo much about urban homesteading, it’s felt like being in school again — in a good way 🙂  I’ve learned about sustainable practices that I didn’t even know existed and that I certainly didn’t think I’d enjoy, but I do!  My children know where food comes from and enjoy participating in its cultivation.  But the most important thing that’s come out of Rousseau’s Garden so far is not easily described.

What I deem the most important early outcome has been the existential roots that our family has been able to put down.  For years, the manly man and I have sought peace and contentment through massive change — and it’s been as counter-productive as it sounds.  By dedicating ourselves to this project, we’ve come to love our home, our neighborhood, and our newly discovered sense of place.  We are feeling more settled and attached to the simple joy of caring for our property in a way that is productive and not vain in the service of conformity.  We no longer put down grass seed or water the grass we have.  We no longer worry about bare patches; instead, we see them as opportunities or as places where the chickens spent some happy time.  We finally put up a small barn that has allowed us to take better care of what we have instead of replacing it every year.  We don’t just sit on the deck; we sit all over the yard and are amazed at the vistas we’ve missed for so long.  In addition to our increased vegetable gardening, we are putting in fruit bushes and trees that will be beautiful and abundant.  We’ve attracted a fascinating variety of wildlife and love knowing that we have an hospitable environment that they enjoy as much as we are finally beginning to.

The best part of all is that we’ve just begun.  There is so much to do, in terms of permaculture, learning, and living, and it’s all before us, yet to happen.  I imagine a lush and variegated, almost fairy-tale like miniature forest of beautiful foods and flowers, flora and fauna, and us sitting contentedly in the middle of it all.  I imagine jars and jars of delicious food put up in the pantry, full of sunshine for cold days.  I imagine my laundry blowing in the breeze while my boys excitedly announce the arrival of each new egg.  And, for the first time, I know that it is all possible.

Until next time,

JMW

 

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