Happy New Year. May 2015.

We are all given the same amount of time in a day. 24 hours to do exactly what we want, or exactly what we need to get done before we lay our heads on the pillow at night. We are also given 30 days a month to change our lives, we are also give 365 days in the year to change the world. That is a grand total of 8,760 hours to simply be productive. The last 8, 760 hours that started Mother’s Day weekend of 2014 was sure a fast year but definitely not a repeat of the previous 365 days of 2013. No “Groundhogs Day” going on here that’s for sure.

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In a matter of 8 of those hours and with the Sailor Black-Dawg helping me dig out the garden space and the side of the house our lives have changed for the better. Our health has changed for the better and our doctor bills have lowered … for the better! Over those 365 days we never really would have thought that three dead looking bodies and one solid prayer of hope could change the lives of so many.

Our immediate family members enjoyed so many meals from the garden and we packed away so many jars of goodies last summer that we were astonished by the amount that was provided. The real joy was the idea that we could give some away. I do admit I was a little stingy at first but over the year I came to realize that it was just fine to share, to give away and to surprise people with half gallon jars full of ready made salad greens that were sealed tight and lasted two weeks in their fridge! The smiles were smiles of gratitude.

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There have been many changes over the last 12 months and the visual changes of the garden have got to be the most noticeable. We went from a patch of dirt along side the house no larger then a twin bed it seemed like to a huge 10×30 square piece of land that was tilled up and domed up like three dead bodies.

It took serious convincing of the boyfriend to allow that much grass out of his loving tender care but he finally let go and actually helped till. He is from the South and you all know how hard it is for any South’ner to give up land. 😉

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We have gone from kneeling on the ground and pulling weeds through the murky waters at one end of the pumpkin patch to nicely leveled ground with titty pink boxes that are evenly spaced with the drainage problem fixed and more room to grow more food. With a grand total of 350+ square feet of garden space we are actually able to rotate our crops and amend the soils in each box for the next years seeds.

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It’s not just as easy as throwing in some starts in back fill and hoping for the best. No it definitely takes a good long silent prayer for help, a few angels and a whole library full of really well written books to learn from. This last winter those books were all over the kitchen table and my massive design desk.

Huge pieces of butcher paper with scribbles and big empty squares, salvaged glass windows were hung on the wall as make shift white boards for design ideas, and recycled skylights protected our leafy greens through the mild winter months. Little by little our small garden space took shape in our heads. There was one moment last summer sitting in the ferry line, coming home to the island that we live on, when we sat in the cab of the truck and worked out the numbers on the costs for new garden beds and the materials that they would be made from. Island prices for wood were outrageous, just like our veggie bill from the grocery store! We didn’t even look into the cost of cement blocks at the time because we ended up choking on our lunch at the price of wood. So being the resourceful human beings that we are we sent a goal out into the universe – really it was another prayer on the wings of our neighborhood eagle – this is how it was stated aloud.

“May 2015, we will have brand new to us garden beds that will be: build with sturdy lumber that we will find, collect and pay no more than $100 for and we will paint them with the left over paints that we will mix together from the shed. We will shape the boxes square or rectangle so that each bed can be planted with companion plants to bring in pollinators and protectors for the veggies allowing for good veggies to nourish our bodies and a sense of freedom from the grocery store.”

Well … it happened. All of the wood for the boxes came in from many different sources. A couple of our landscape clients ripped out their perfectly good decks and the wood came home. A couple of the early boxes were built from tongue and grove slats out of a house remodel and were too good to pass up at the junk store. All the boxes were painted the lovely titty pink from the mixed up left overs of painting projects which eliminated the waste cost at the dump. Now each box sits in its place with layers and layers of cardboard, compost, topsoil, back fill, sand, and of course starts for the spring season.

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The design process proved to be a little more complex than I originally imagined since the boyfriend allowed more space than originally thought. I am always up for a good challenge and this was perfect! We gained another 50 feet that now houses our cold crops and the starts to our tomatoes. Talk about hard-core impatience. I was praying for spring like you can’t imagine. Oh hell, I will admit that a couple of weeks after putting the Christmas tree up I started seeds! (As you could see from the Vines videos this winter.) We had beans by February! Unfortunately, the corn died off but the whole planting process renewed spring within me and kept me going through the dark months.

The one major bonus that came along for us was the new fencing that we were not setting goals for, we didn’t budget for nor did we even expect it. It was more like one of those long-term goals that was drawn up on paper “the new home for the raspberries” but not really on the forefront of our minds. Thanks to some friends that took down their old garden fencing that was hand-built we got not only that new home for the raspberries but a trellis for the vining fig and to great walls for the Boysan and Logan berries! SCORE!! We loaded each panel up and with hugs exchanged we drove them beauties home for a new life as a living wall of berries!

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Not only has the physical appearance of the yard changed, not only have the boxes been put in place and filled with yummy starts but the inside of our bodies have changed with great food that we have grown for our selves. We do grow what we eat and nothing more. There is no sense in wasting the eggplants since no one eats them. We grow what we need and not too much more. If we do have more than in gets put up for the winter months.

You know how squash can be … prolific!

Those extras get happily passed on to others. Now with all the space that we have there is definitely room for more. We have the chance to “Grow A Row” for the Food Bank and for boxing up things to hand out to the neighbors if need be.

Our little community of neighbors may not know this but they have helped in so many ways in getting our happy little garden space growing. Each one of them have yards that are loaded with blooming pretties of some sort or another, they all have invited birds, bees, and insects that bring a healthy community of wildlife. We have what you could say our own little permaculture right here on our 5 acres and 8 houses.

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This last year 365 days have seen a multitude of changes and the changes that everyone can see has been for the betterment of our own personal lives, hearts, and souls but also for our little community of 8 houses. Next is the betterment of the outside community which is our small town and the people who live with in our 57 miles of an island. We will get there … we have plans!

This is just the beginning to finding our personal freedoms from the grocery store, from the doctors office and from wasting what we don’t need. Our lessons have been documented and what we have learned will be passed on to you when you read through up coming posts. The structure of the garden is now in place but the lessons we learn will keep on coming just as the produce that grows with in the soil that we have created. Our freedom starts in the soil, our roots need nutrients just as our lives need a solid foundation and room to grow.

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