Five years ago this summer, my family went from itinerant rental-dwellers to first-time homeowners. In all those years slogging through the desert of white walls and beige carpets and a few sad plants on the patio, I dreamed a dream of the idyllic life I would have once I had a place to call my own.
I would have goats.
There would be a huge organic vegetable garden to sustain my family.
My house would be clean and perfect and artistic and cozy.
My yard would be a quaint cottage-like riot of morning glories, hollyhocks, foxgloves and daisies.
*Cue epic music*
I dreamed a dream in time gone byyyyyyy…..
And then…we actually bought a house. Those of you with a home and a mortgage and finite amount of money are laughing with me right now. I mean, what a wake-up call, right?
But still, it's way cooler than apartment living. I can paint the walls whatever color I want and nobody can stop me from destroying all the lawn in the backyard to grow vegetables. Score!
That being said, I have learned quite a few things over the last five years, through a lot of frustrating experimentation. Like:
1. Organic gardening in Florida is really for people who have nothing else to do besides think about organic gardening. It's a full time job. And although my yard is pretty big, the space with full sun is not actually big enough to grow anything besides a few cute snacking veggies. Not worth it for me.
2. Chickens and other livestock are for people who want to be stuck at home. Like, all the time. Cause getting people to babysit your chickens when you go out of town is not as easy at it sounds. Plus they destroy what lawn is left after all that veggie gardening.
3. A clean artistic house is for people whose kids are grown or go to public school. And possibly for people who have maids. The best I can hope for is a moderately clean house that is semi-artistic. Cozy we got.
4. Cottage-like plants hate Florida.
So. After beating my head against the wall trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, I've decided to give my chickens away, give up on vegetable gardening, be okay with kid-messes, and stick with what I'm good at, which, apparently, is growing pretty, non-cottagey plants in the yard. After years of dissing tropical plants, I'm learning to love the things that actually grow here. I do still really hate 99% of all palm trees, and I'm not a fan of bromeliads (a.k.a. mosquito breeding grounds), but there are a lot of pretty plants that are way better to look at than a lumpy denuded dirt patch that smells of chicken poop.
Now my current task is to design an oasis that can take the place of the minefield we currently call a backyard. Today I did a little doodle, to kind of cement in my head what plants I know grow well in my yard, and so I could have a visual of textures and heights so I can start putting things together. Plus I just like to doodle.
I guess my point is this: wherever you are at, own it. It's not worth the headache trying to be something you're really not (in my case, a homesteading, all-natural, veggie-farming, chicken-raising perfectionist) when you can be just as happy growing what grows and living the life you've been given. I'm finally realizing (after about seventeen years cause I'm dumb) that God has me where I am for a reason. It may not be the life I thought I'd have but it's good nonetheless.
Now to go hunt down some black bamboo….