I’ve got about nothing right now…mostly because I’ve got an idea trying to happen, and I’m just not sure whether it’s brilliant or laughably childish.
It has to do with increasing our self-sufficiency. We have a larger-than-average chunk of land under the Den, and frankly almost all of it is just kind of…sitting there. We have a vast stretch of dead-zone that used to be the back lawn, we have bare patches stretching along both the front and back sides, a massive bare patch in the front and a weed patch under the front window.
We’ve been looking at these areas and saying, “We ought to garden in those. We could be growing an awful lot of the food we need.”
Then a couple weeks ago, I was having an idle conversation with my parents. My mom said something about how much hard work was involved in growing your own food, and I pointed out that really, there wasn’t an easy way around that whole hard-work thing.
I could either spend three hours a day out in my backyard growing it, or I could spend twelve hours a day commuting and working in an office to pay someone else to grow it for me, right?
And frankly, well, I’d rather take the three hours of admittedly physically demanding work. I don’t mind the dirt and frankly I find it kind of therapeutic – and I don’t think it’s doing my back any harm, either. Sure it gets sore by the end of the day, but at the same time I feel better, overall.
Exercise in the great outdoors is funny that way. Even if it does kick up the aching joints, the whole body rather appreciates it.
ANYWAY. We’ve been looking at growing only what we could actually eat, but more and more I’ve found myself wondering just how far I could take things around here.
Could I grow enough to not only feed us, but to stock one of the quarter-sized booths at a farmer’s market? And could I make enough there to not only pay for the costs of raising the food, but to perhaps buy what we can’t grow for ourselves? Eggs for spinach, beef for tomatoes? (Heh, OK, and here’s some proof that I’m way too easily amused: I’ll trade you this beefsteak for that beef steak…HAHAHAHAHAHA! Get it?! Because...beefsteak is a kind of tomato, but it's also...ahem...nevermind...)
But seriously…could I micro-farm enough to actually feed this family?
And hey, how about this: Could I build up enough of a business selling my handcrafts to turn around and pay for the regular street clothes we wear – especially given that I buy about 80% of it second-hand anyway? Maybe I could work up to a full booth at the market, offering everything from zucchini (please, buy the zucchini…GEEZ, the Giving Tree has nothing on our zucchini bushes…I’ve taken to sneaking them onto the neighbor’s porches at night, I’ve grated them into bread and baked them in casseroles and I think my skin is starting to turn green PLEASE, is the zucchini-season over YET?!) (…but I can’t dig them out and plant something else because, gosh, they’re so giving…) to hand-woven kitchen towels, jars of jelly to bars of soap.
When I look at what I do with my “spare” time right now, holy smokes, I’m an old-fashioned general store! And I’m pretty darned good at it (if I do say so myself).
I think I could make things people would want to buy.
And I think I’d have fun doing it.
And if the point wasn’t to replace a paycheck but purely and only to provide food and clothing for the family…if I weren’t worrying about how much I was making an hour or how much more I could be making if things were different…it might even stay fun.
See what I mean? It’s either the lamest duck I’ve ever hatched, or it’s the best idea I’ve ever had.
And I honesty don’t know which it is.
So instead of worrying about it any more, I’m going to load up the Denizens and we’re going to go blackberry-ing.
A couple hours of play-work, and I should be able to lay down six full pints of seedless blackberry jam, and fill up our freezer with plenty of Summer for when this season inevitably ends.
E. B. White
10 hours ago