Friday, February 19, 2010

Our Own Mountain

The giddy bliss of living here still finds new ways to make me deeply happy.

The south side of the house is fenced around and was once a dog run. When we moved in it was the bare, dry, sun-scorched zone that I mostly avoided, except to contemplate its ultimate purpose. Well, since all the great rain we've had, the area greened up, with weeds, and it is easier on the eyes, sheltered and appealing. I figured it might be a better place to house the *farm* until the lottery coughs-up barn money, so that is where I moved Betty and Joe... the south side.

What a great decision. Rather spontaneously I tore down the messed up shelter, then dragged coop and hutch across the lawn and around the corner of the house to their new zone. I can fence in Betty, while still giving her free-range space. Now the kitchen entry does not have to be a -ahem- POOP DECK. That is progress.

I think I can muster about 42% more interest in decorating and arranging my exterior farm, than for "normal" decorating. I hung some art, and dusted. Worked on the color scheme. Pulled weeds. Watered weeds. Accessorized weeds. My dear potting table of eleventy years was put in to service again. And as we sat back to soak in the loveliness, it occurred to me that by summer the green weeds will be toasted duff, and the loveliness will have lost most of its power over our hearts. It will be too bright, too hot, too dry to be a farmy nook for our livestock.

And so I brought home trees. More trees, and a planting box and trellis. Setback from the house, but not on the fence, in line with the west heading sun, I planted a Genoa White fig and a blood orange. The fig is a new variety to me, but blood oranges are a longtime sentimental and flavorful favorite. The fig is hilarious. It's a ten foot pole. It looks like the world's worst horticultural choice ever. It is a stick in the mud. Cracks me up.

The last feature of the south side is the mountain. In fact I think this whole thing merits caps. South Side Mountain was built by all the trenching, ditching, hole digging, earth moving labors of the Fall, when we were getting control of drainage and repairing sprinklers. I love saying "we." There is more digging in our future... and Geoff was going to have all of the dirt hauled away at once. But now that we have claimed South Side Mountain for ourselves, it shall remain right where it is. It will be a pumpkin mound, or seeded for wild flowers, or we will sink a fire pit and call it our own South Side Volcano.

In the meantime it is a quarry-castle-hole digging place. This makes me happy. I love dirt, and earth, the coolness and the warmth, the wealth of opportunity. Joe, the rabbit, was digging in the soil, then throwing himself in to the the loose dirt. Betty was having a record breaking dust bath. She looked euphoric in her rapture. I have waited seven years to witness and enjoy this liberty and earthly delight.

Max and Maria played for hours. I fell asleep beside Betty. Alex took a homework break and admitted he was not too old to want to join the dig. William too recognized the attraction of dirt play. I fondly recall his tunnels to China. I was afraid Max and Maria would not have this experience... freedom and ownership, time lost to being in the dirt, making stories and games, escaping to imagination. We have played, of course, at the beach and in other gardens. But the tunnel they made is still in their garden, not washed away by the tide, or collapsed by a careless landlord. No one will object to what they make, what they explore, what they tear down. It is their own.

I do not tell them that this is "special." I am not teaching them to see it in a particular way. I like them to make of it what they will, and my pleasure is in being a witness, being beside them, planting seeds.

There are many pleasures in life, many things to desire, and places to see, but this... being in our garden, listening to their plans and watching their play... this is one of my greatest pleasures.

New seeds, likes wishes and dreams in a packet.
There is so much goodness already sprouting and taking hold. I am deeply happy.


Susan said...

Natalie, the joy you feel about your new home just EXUDES in this post. It's like molten honey pouring down over the page. I'm so happy about your happiness. What a wonderful feeling to have your own spot of land that you can do with what you will.

Now that you have that nice enclosed backyard, you really should get Betty a couple of friends, doncha think? :)

tara said...

Ah, the poop deck. I know of this poop deck and it is a constant battle.
My chickens (and such) tend to be where I would rather they not be.
Digging in dirt is such great fun. Again, however, there is digging where I'd rather there not be any. We have 2 acres. Why the front lawn?

judy in ky said...

So pleased that all of your digging and planting dreams are finally coming true! Your happiness shines through in photos and words.

Missy said...

Love South Side Mountain...and the pic of bucket Maria is too darling!

Laura Jane said...

Sigh. (that was a happy sigh)

There's nothing to compare with having a yard for children to dig and get dirty and imaginative in, espcially if you still have so much gardening and livestock room.


We're with you. So happy.

mtnchild said...

Are you happy or something? ? ? You seem so pleased to have your very own dirt to play in ... are you OK?

I have a poop deck x5, and there are 4 steps for them to mess up. Sooo fun!

Have a ball, you deserve it. Just keep an eye on the sky because you could have your very own MUD!

Tiglizzyclone said...

I hope you all have lots of fun! I love seeds, dirt and gardens!

nikkipolani said...

Ah... the joys of your very own dirt!

cristina thornburg photography said...

Can we come plaaaaay? I think the cousins would LOVE your dirt! :P