Four years ago I had a glorious future dancing in my head--of lush greenery, perfect rows of brightly colored vegetables and patches of huge, juicy watermelons spilling out onto the lawn. My pantry was stocked full of canned corn, homemade dill pickles and strawberry jam. On my kitchen counter sat a perfect loaf of freshly baked whole wheat bread. My deep freeze was full of home preserved goodness and a half side of beef from the neighbor down the road. Outside there were chickens at my feet, and inside my sewing machine was humming along. My perfect angels were seated around the kitchen table doing their schoolwork in companionable silence and there was the smell of fresh baked cookies on the air. I would spend my evenings on the back porch sipping homemade sweet tea with the feel of the breeze on my face and the smell of green grass permeating everything.
I had dreams...vision...passion.
What I didn't have was the knowledge I needed to actually fulfill my dreams, nor the staying power to see it through. I'm a product of suburbia. Lazy by nature, I see the beauty in Easy Mac and disposable diapers. I prefer staying up at night to getting up early in the morning and I do not like bugs or snakes or shoveling anything.
I have a lot to learn and a lot of work to do.
Growing up my days went from the morning rush to get off to the bus stop, to homework--dinner--dishes and bedtime at night. Day in and day out. Our canned veggies came with a Green Giant label, our "family time" marked by sitcoms on T.V., our weekends occupied with my brothers' football games. Don't get me wrong. I don't think back on my childhood as some awful, evil experience. Growing up I was taught responsibility and charity, values and faith. I was given time, love and attention. My interests were encouraged, my grades applauded, my help around the house appreciated. My parents were wonderful to me, and far more gracious than my teen-aged self deserved. To this day they still support me whether they agree with me or not. Over the years they've given of themselves in so many ways and I am and will always be forever grateful.
But I've come to understand that people can't give out what they don't have. At Christmastime my Mom can dress the house to the nines, but she doesn't own a sewing machine. My Dad can give all kinds of wonderful advice on starting up a new business, but he can't tell me how to double-dig a garden bed. The vision and desires my parents have for their life are far different from the desires I have for my own. It's alright. It's allowed. To each his own, right? I wouldn't dream of dragging Mom and Dad off to the old homestead and put a hoe in their hands, just as they wouldn't drag me off to a nice company dinner party and expect me to be able to hold my own with the people I'd find there. It does create a problem though, when a girl goes out on her own and tries to pursue her own very different dreams, for she discovers her growing up years left her wholly unprepared to do...well ANYTHING she wants to do.
So now, if truth be told, I find myself quite lonely on this homestead journey of mine. If I want the knowledge to follow through on all these plans of mine I'd better get my butt in gear and go look things up on the internet. With cussed stubbornness and the internet I can do anything I want to. I can grow vegetables I've never heard of and bake bread in 5 minutes and clean my bathroom with dry towels just like the hotel maids do. I can hack down brambles and spread gravel driveways. I can diagnose fungus and play "guess that bug". I am woman--hear me....er...TYPE!
Seriously though, I have to wonder...is there anybody else like me? All alone in this journey, clinging to blogs and gardening forums....hoping and praying the neighbor lady doesn't notice the melons have taken over just about everything and the half sized corn stalks in their crooked little rows. Anybody else have sewing projects that just look wrong for some reason and dense bread on their counter?