Thursday, August 30, 2007

Enough is not enough



So those chairs are coming in handy.

Last night, I stopped my greening activities and sat for a spell and thought about world domination. And domain, dominion. Specifically, this domain.

What would it take to really produce all our food here?


You see, we are not wanting for land. Despite my somewhat adversarial relationship with its clay soil, I know that this is good land, mostly flat, sunny, open land. I have not been in land-grab mode; I mostly think the gardens I have built have been "enough," though interestingly I have increased their size by about a third each of the three years I've been gardening here.

So I was wistfully planting the last of the beans last night and I wondered if I should build more vegetable gardens this fall. How much is enough? How much do we need? There is a certainty to what we, a family of three, consume over a year. It's not really a year I am concerned with, either: it is those dead months of November-May. How many onions, how many potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips and beets. How much? And when does it become too much for just me to maintain?

Knowing me, I will go for it: I will make more of a landgrab, I will build more beds, it will get done, this experiment will continue. Ah! Carpe diem!

Postscript, the next day:
This is the kind of crazy thinking I do when I am not working. Today, I saw how much paid work had piled up during my 3 days off, and my land-grab plans seem like such happy talk. But the really crazy thing is? I will probably do it: expand the darned gardens by a third again.

10 comments:

Moonbear said...

Go for it.

angie said...

Have you read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver? Read it. :) it will further motivate you for the landgrab.

Liz said...

You only know it's enough when you're dumping a box full of sprouted potatoes in the compost pile in the spring. ;)

Good for you for endlessly expanding! We seem to do it every year, also.

PeakEngineer said...

I'm just getting started (only been gardening a year), but I definitely emphasize with you. I keep choosing to expand the gardens before I'm actually "ready" for it :)

cookiecrumb said...

I'm finding, in my amateur mini-garden, that the planting, weeding and watering is the EASY part. It's then the preserving, freezing, canning of all that bounty I'm struggling with. Well, it's a happy struggle. (Pear cider vinegar! Whoop-di-doo!)
I'm not entirely sure I'm going to plant any fall crops this year. It's been a bit overwhelming... And then, like you, I say Why Not?

Nada said...

Flat, open sunny, you say..hmm..I say, what are you waiting for?

El said...

Moonbear: Thanks! I will.

Angie: Would love to hear about your transition to country living. I read AVM straight off the press. I guess I feel the tide is turning with this book getting such wide reading: kinda legitimizes my life. (Now, concerned relatives can mention Barbara Kingsolver's book and get appreciative nods, as opposed to the "they're doing What?" that happened before.)

Liz: uh, I just found a sprouted box of fingerlings last week. How could I've forgotten about fingerlings? Russets I understand... But yeah, what's a bit more fencing, wood, and dirt, right?

Peakengineer: just started reading your site. Interesting. We're doing what we're doing because we can do it. Can't get people to stop driving SUVs or using coal for electricity, but we can grow our own food.

CC: (wailing a la Ringo Starr) I've got blisters on my fingers! from doing all that shell-bean shucking lately. I adore shell beans (flageolets, cranberries, even overgrown green beans) and I shuck them fresh, blanch them and freeze them. Atop all my other tasks, like, uh, did I NEED 5# of Damson plums at the farmstand today? No. Jam is in my future. Sigh. It just takes some getting used to, and at least maybe you can enlist Cranky's help?

El said...

Nada, I know. I think about your shady hilly site, and get sheepish, but then, you've got coffee and olives local to you (not to mention citrus)!!

Actually, I'm just thinking about soilmaking is all. John Jeavons et al and all that: my soil is waterlogged junk most days, and I need amendments. SO I haul stuff in, like manure, bags upon bags of leaves, and even topsoil. And it helps, but it just means I need to increase my leaf-bag-filching rounds by a third.

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

This is too very funny. I get all kinds of wild ideas that could be colossal time suckers, but seem a good idea when I'm thinking them. There was my idea to start an organic herb farm. To build a fence of fallen branches. To dig a pond a little bit every day. (That was a good one.) To grow lots of extra vegetables for the local food bank. The list goes on and on...

Too bad about the whole job thing, huh?

By any chance were you sipping a nice cabernet when you came up with this braistorm?

:)

--Robin (Bumblebee)

El said...

Robin: An herb farm! (thinking thinking) but SNORT no, cabs don't have me leaning toward world domination; zinfandels do...but now that you mention it I had been sipping a local-ish autumnal red table wine at the time. Leelanau Cellars. Hmm.

But you're right; darned jobs do get in the way of our dream time, don't they?