unfinishing the lawn.

“just crawl up into the hay wagon & throw the bales down.  then put ’em in your car.”

i imagined the pause in my brain, the “um, what?  by myself?” to be audible. but the friend i was with didn’t blanch, so maybe i was the only one that heard the hesitation. i mean, i grew up on a farm, but i don’t know a blame thing about hay or hay wagons, & just shimmying up into one. . . well.  i felt the uncertainty, about hay, about gardening, about all of it in the way i remember feeling, standing in front of the big double doors at the hospital with a newborn in my arms.  only less life-threatening.

i did the climbing up, the throwing down, the loading, & no one said i didn’t belong in the hay wagon.  in fact, on the way home, i kept hearing bruno mars/mark ronson’s song, “uptown funk” with the catchy “don’t believe me, just watch” line.  i sang it at the top of my lungs rolling down the highway between all-kindsa farm country while the toddler slept in the back.

stripes & plaid, baby.

this, as you know, is plan B.  we had planned, in our master plan of britz life, to move to a homestead-ish place, erect a small living quarters, & begin tilling up the land.  we aimed to grow things.  to become a little more self-sustaining & self-sufficient.

andy has felt this way a long, long time about sustainability & self-sufficiency.  me, i’m later to the party.  but about a month before my hay wagon debut, i’d been grocery shopping at wal-mart when i was struck with the sad desperation that without a store, i couldn’t produce one iota of food for my family.  this has always been true, besides a sideline of kale that grows like a weed in my tiny garden.  for some reason, though, this bothers me now.  me & wal-mart, we just got personal.  i don’t appreciate your ease anymore, store.  you are stealing from me a self-sufficiency common to my grandmother.  but no more.  or, at least, i hope no more.

don’t believe me, well, we’ll just wait & see.

so, since we still live here, in a decidedly developed neighborhood, we are taking out the lawn.  unfinishing it.  food not lawns, as they say.  i’ve been working my arms out with a claw-like tool, shredding grass into shaggy orbs that get discarded in the ravine behind our house, while andy is the mastermind behind the design & layout, & all the hardest labor.  i’ve been planting seeds. some days with help, some days solo.

this happened for ten minutes one day.

we’re expecting, too.  chicks.  (come, now.  the newborn reference was not a lead-in).  fifteen little ladies on schedule to arrive next week in a box at the post office.  which is super exciting, except that we know nothing about poultry.  maybe less than nothing, if that’s possible.  these will be chickens for eggs, as opposed to chickens for meat.  eventually they’ll probably be in my stew pot, but here’s hoping that’s a long while off.

so, that’s where we’ve been.  in the yard, at the library for backyard homesteading books, bent over pencil-and-paper charts at the kitchen table to keep track of this newness.  cutting down trees, dragging limbs (tree, not child.  well, sometimes child.), sitting around a bonfire roasting hotdogs cuz mama ain’t got no dinna plan.

we’re giving square-foot gardening a try.

thal even put together this from the small living part of the treehouse tree that came down.it’s a heckuva lot of fun.  work, smashingly harder work than i’ve done in a long while, but fun.

& the bruno mars song, then.  you may as well watch, whether you believe this can work or not.  by myself, i’m trepidatious.  we’ve planted potatos upside down, tilled up already-planted peas.  i’m working around the schedule of four children (really?  didn’t i just feed you?).  andy suddenly has oodles of work.  but God pointedly has us here.  so, we’re not solo, whether we feel like it or not.

halle-freaking-lujah.felled tree for an outdoor table in the garden.  or smallish boy platform.  

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