Here it is: The WISH LIST. Four pages, three of which are covered front and back. After going through the Baker Creek Seed Catalog, this is what I want. Well most of it. I don’t have enough room for it all, so it had to be pared down, but this was the first draft.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I was SO DONE with gardening just 2 months ago, and here I am going through seed catalogs and planning the next one. Some days I just want to be a “lazy” book reading, movie-watching suburban housewife. Kind of like my summers as a pre-adult. Before I had a job. Minus the “wife” part. And the kids. I look back longingly at the summer I turned 16. No job. New boyfriend. No school. Just the behind-the-wheel portion of driver’s ed. The boyfriend spent most days working with his dad. All I had to do was wash dishes (there were only 3 of us and we used a lot of paper plates), eat, cook dinner (it was much less involved back then), ride my bike across town to driver’s ed, take a shower, read a book (I went through The Lord of The Rings that summer), and wait for the boyfriend to come over or pick me up. It was so glorious! No yard work – mom did it. The only place that needed serious cleaning was my sister’s room – and that was her problem. No dog hair. No nasty toilets to clean from little boys who miss. Now I watch my college student at home on Christmas break with envy…
But this homesteading compulsion just keeps coming back. What exactly is driving that? I suppose it has its roots back before that glorious summer. (Actually, most of my summers were glorious back then.) Despite being raised to be a good student, go to college, get a good job and make lots of money – all I REALLY wanted was to be a wife and mom. Even when I entertained thoughts of an exciting career, the wife and mom thing was always there. I wasn’t quite sure how that was all going to work out, but I didn’t worry about it. I have always liked cooking and baking from scratch and back home with mom is when that started. I enjoyed being with my grandma or grandpa in their little backyard suburban garden picking green beans. I liked watching and sometimes helping grandma prepare apples for drying or sauce, and making whatever it was she was making. I liked watching her or my mom iron clothes, and liked it when I finally got to iron clothes. (I actually still basically enjoy ironing – it’s the loss of time for other things that annoys me at times.) I wanted to dress my children in cute clothes and play with them and show them everything I could.
I didn’t have to wait long. The boyfriend and I were married a week before my 19th birthday. Baby #1 came 2.5 years later – almost to the exact date. After high school I had gone to secretarial college for 9 months and had worked for about 2 years, but was THRILLED that it was financially possible for me to quit my job and stay home with my baby boy. And except for a 3-year time frame after Keith was discharged from the Navy, I’ve always been a stay-at-home mom.
So, before this becomes a long memoir, I guess this thing that drives me is just who I am. Who God made me to be. Even when I’m outside climbing the wobbly fence to get in a pig pen to pull a muddy bowl out of a soup of mud so it can have clean food and water, or when it’s below 0 and I’m pulling frozen bowls off the frozen ground and throwing them down to beat out the ice, and when I’m saying “I’M DONE! I HATE THIS!” – even then I’m internally thinking about what I want to grow, or a better way to deal with the animal issues. I want to provide the best food for my family that I can. It started with occasionally making homemade white bread for my mom and sister, and has morphed into making homemade whole-grain bread with freshly-ground grains that I ground here in my kitchen, fresh milk from the goats, fresh eggs from the chickens, fresh veggies from the garden – in my backyard. It is a LOT of work. A LOT. But I have to do it, because it’s what I believe is best for us. And I don’t always hate it. Just sometimes. Sometimes I LOVE it! Most of the time it’s just life – no better, no worse than any other thing I could be doing.
So here we are at 2015 – and a new garden is waiting to be started! A clean slate to fill! Our goal this year is to eat only what we produce as much as possible, so variety was in the back of my mind as I shopped. We’ve used various seed companies in the past, but I’ve been leaning more towards heirlooms the past several years, and this year I ordered from three companies. All the seeds came from Baker Creek. I got their FULL print catalog – and it’s a beauty! Lots of articles and information, in addition to full descriptions of all the seeds. The only thing I’d like better would be to have a photo of EVERY plant. Seed Savers has a photo of everything they carry, which I like. I’ve used them for the past few years and this year decided to try Baker Creek, just ‘cuz I like a change now and then. They both have quality heirloom seeds, and are priced about the same, so I feel equally good about purchasing from both of them.
As I was going through placing my order, I decided that I didn’t want to go through the trouble of starting my onions from seed. I tried last year and it didn’t go well. So I decided that going back to ordering onion sets would be a better option this year. Baker Creek doesn’t have sets, so I found my Territorial Seed catalog. I’ve never actually ordered from them before, though I get one of their catalogs every year. While I was looking for the onions, I found the mushroom kits. Hmmm…… I’ve wanted to order one for 16 years and never have. What am I waiting for?? So I ordered two: Portabella, and Lion’s Mane. The Lion’s Mane says it tastes like lobster when fried in butter and onion. I can’t wait to try that! The good news is I will be able to start those as soon as they arrive, as they are indoor kits. So in about 6 weeks I should be starting to harvest fresh mushrooms!
And last, but not least – potatoes. We haven’t grown potatoes in a few years. We generally have low yields. Our soil is hard, they’re difficult to dig up as a result, so we quit. But this year I decided I really want to eat some all-blue potatoes. Those are our favorite ones! And since the tomatoes-in-a-5-gallon-bucket didn’t work like we’d hoped, I think I’ll try the potatoes in the buckets. Then we can just dump the buckets and pull out the potatoes! I’ll let you know how that works out in about 9 months. Sorry I don’t have a picture of the catalog. I bought them from Wood Prairie Farm in Maine. When we were ordering potatoes regularly we got their catalog every year. But since we quit a while ago, I guess they decided to take us off their mailing list and save a tree or two. Thankfully the internet makes that not so much of a problem.
So, that’s it – the garden plan for 2015. Stay tuned for results as the year goes by!