Six months into 2013 and my gardening and growing season have not even begun. I surely thought I would begin something by now. But the process of buying the house that I am currently renting is coming to an end. The appraisal came in very low and dealing with flood insurance quotes gave me the opportunity of finding something else and to own up to some true feelings about this house. I don’t want to live here. While renting the home and living in it for nearly two months, I was able to get a good feel for what each day would need in commuting and living. After beginning my new job and traveling 20 miles back and forth over the mountain and down a mile-long dirt road to and from home, I realized this isn’t working for me. The property and house need more work than I am willing to expend, and at this point in my life, I want more free time for me and less time on home improvement or grass cutting! The quality of my life is very important. I no longer want to spend the majority of my time fixing, repairing, cleaning or driving. Yeah, housework, definitely overrated! I like working hard, but at the chores that I choose and not exhaust myself on repairing or replacing something in the house every weekend. I also don’t want to spend hours cutting two acres of grass. While I have wonderful ideas of changing over from grass to gardens, I did not begin that here and rightly so. It isn’t where I want to be.
I had so many plans and ideas and new things to attempt. I was excited and couldn’t wait to get them started on this piece of property. My friends and family were excited as well! But after living here and settling into a regular routine, I realized this just isn’t the home of my dreams. The property has a lot of peacefulness and solitude and it is a wonderful place to reflect and relax. It’s a great get-away home! The house is unique and fits my style of living, but the work needed to fix up the house and the maintenance of the yard is more than I am willing to give. The commute over the mountain and into the valley, while beautiful, has already caused me to dread the drive. While the deer are everywhere in the mid-Atlantic area, I have had two encounters so far, with one colliding into the side of my car. And now, my job is requiring extra time when we kick off a project which will make the commute more painful during early mornings and late nights.
There were dreams of cherry and peach trees, chickens and goats, and a large tiered garden laid out on the sloping hillside next to the house. I loved that my dogs would romp across the property chasing sticks and did not have to be tethered to their leads. My sister had sent me a North star cherry tree to plant that arrived several weeks before leaving Colorado and I was going to plant it on this property. So far, I could not find the right spot for the tree, and I placed it into a large planter on the deck. I had purchased seeds to begin planting some native wildflower beds, but never begun that process. The only thing I managed to do was plant eight different herbs in two window boxes attached to the house. And thus that is the only time I’ve spent working in soil this year.
It feels odd not working the soil and planting something. Anything! Or weeding! The magazines and articles have piled up in stacks near the kitchen. The thought was there but never an attempt. Almost like I knew this is not truly the place of my dreams after all. Not many of us get the chance to try a home before one buy’s, but this was a good exercise for me. And I know I romanticized a lot about living here, too. I tend to do that–romancing the home. Thoughts of wood stoves and snowy days, cup of hot cocoa and wrapped in my mother’s afghan with the cat and dogs curled up on the floor and in my lap–yeah!
These magic moments will happen, just not here. And I’m happy about admitting my true feelings and coming to terms with them. So now begins the hunt for another home and one I hope to find closer to where I am working. To be honest, I prefer to live near Shepherdstown, West Virginia. It’s always felt like my type of place, with little cafes and shops and myriad types of people. Maryland is just over the creek and friends and family not too far away. I’ve always liked the town and took classes at Shepherd University 11 years ago. Once settled, I plan to look into starting up new classes and might take up art and literature, and pick up where I left off earlier.
I realized over the past two months that I had a lot of changes that I was maneuvering through. Some of those had to do with finding the right farms that raised food in the way that I support as well as local co-ops and grocery stores. My carbon footprint increased exponentially after moving here because the types of places I frequent are at least an hour’s drive. Even the local farmers markets were a 30 minute drive away up winding two-lane roads.
I am looking forward to finding something else and reducing the driving time. Then I’ll be able to start planning that garden and orchard. I probably won’t have chickens and goats, but there are many around here that do and I’m sure I will find the products or items I need once I get settled. And I’ve changed up the list of preferences for the next property. I’ve decided I don’t need two or more acres unless half is wooded and the house is in reasonable condition so that my time is not wrapped around home repair. Creeks are not necessary especially if the property is in Flood Zone A! The house can be old or new, as long as it does not again need a lot of work to make it habitable. Maybe I will have something in mid or late July and can actually begin that fall garden and start building the soil. In September I will begin planting trees and the one North star cherry will become the start to my “holistic” orchard.
Yeah, it’s all good. I may romanticize and become giddy and jump in feet first sometimes, but is that necessarily a bad thing? No. And I will find my place and I will make it a warm, inviting and comfortable place to dream.