Tag Archives: urban homesteading

Our Garden, Three Years Later

Our lime tree is growing, just not any limes.


Our fig tree is a much taller stick, with occasional leaves and fruit that never ripens before falling off the branches.


Our avocado tree died, twice.


Our compost bin is quite literally a feeding trough for rats.

Our rain barrels are cracking under the weight of all the water they are collecting for our non-use.


Our garden beds are weedy, but that trooper of our rosemary plant continues to bring its aromatic gifts to the table.



I tried to plant a much too belated spring/summer garden after our first winter success.

jalapeño plant

baby tomatoes

basil plant

However, the shade and the drought and my all-day sickness meant it ended up a pile of weeds.

Last fall we tried again, with friends, and were met with the same fate.

Here’s the thing. I don’t like gardening. Ben has no interest in it. Bugs gross me out, a lot, and I’d rather sit on the couch and watch The West Wing than tend to the garden on a daily basis. I do love the idea of a garden though, oh so very much.

I’ve decided the idea is not enough to continue my fruitless investments. Organic soil and compost and fertilizer and plants add up to quite a bit of change, especially when there no return on the investment. Yes, if we had rich soil and used our compost to actually create that brown gold instead of feeding vermin and grew our plants from seeds and everything actually grew, yes, it would be quite a frugal endeavor. Not to mention all the positive environmental implications.

However, for $650 I can order a share of local produce from our co-op every other week. For $260 we can buy a dozen fresh yard eggs every week.  It is almost exactly what we need, and I have minimal encounters with bugs. And so this is what we are doing.

Someday, maybe this spring, I’ll clean up the beds and plant a thing or two. Not for real ambition, for Leila. I want her to see how we get the stuff on our plates and take an interest in the nuances of growing it. Plus what kid doesn’t enjoy playing the dirt, with bugs? Who knows, maybe she’ll get the hang of it, and we can have that amazing garden after all.


You know that feeling, when you make sure to buy a crib with non-toxic finishes, along with an organic mattress, organic mattress pad cover and organic sheets, because you are not trying to be obsessive or anything, but you do not want your most precious little bundle breathing in toxic fumes all night long (well, at least after you actually move her in the crib after almost half a year)? And you get a bit anxious one Sunday and make sure all those toys going in and out of the mouth all day long are wood with water-based dyes or at least plastic that is recycled and BPA, PVC and phthalate free because it is her mouth, for crying out loud? And you try to introduce just seasonal, sustainably grown produce for the most part, though you occasionally have to round it out with plain ole organic or even conventional (because an avocado-a-day habit gets expensive), and once you did give her Gerber pears, and though a small part of your rational brain knew that was perfectly okay you did feel mildly panicky about it? And you buy overpriced toiletries in the name of superior quality even though you should probably be way more concerned with the major freeway in your wildly polluted city so close to neighborhood you walk through every single day? Then, one weekend, after a year of intending, you get your husband to make a run to Home Depot and buy a DIY lead test kit and he does it and that chipping paint on the windowsill in the nursery tests POSITIVE?


And then your husband does a few more tests, including a retest of that one spot, and they all come back negative, but you figure you should probably get a professional in to make sure? And you get things in line to test your house and yourself and your babe? And some people, like your doctor, are reassuringly relaxed about it, and other people are making it seem like inevitable doom and in the midst of it all you are legitimately calm? And you can somewhat appreciate the irony of parenting choices and home ownership and life in general?

Yes. That’s been the past several weeks around here.

13, 12, 11, 10, 9: Lots of Other Things

It’s May. My 30th birthday is on Friday. Wow. I’d be more excited if I wasn’t so tired. I’ve gotten a little behind on the countdown. We’ve spent the past couple weekends at the farm, and in between I’ve opted to go to bed in lieu of staying up to write a bit (see aforementioned sentence referencing my current fatigue). In fact I almost opted to postpone this post for another day, but then I might miss my birthday all together! I’ll keep it short and sweet because A#1) I’m too tired to write much and B#2) I’m sure you’re too tired of my ramblings to read much.

13: Health

Nothing will make you cherish your health more than illness. The list of friend and family battling various and sundry illnesses and injuries never seems to abate. Both recent sad news and today’s glowing report from Leila’s two-month well-baby make me extra grateful for my health and the health of our little family.

12: Good Food

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. ” (Hippocrates)

I got a little lazy about food the month after Leila was born. Amazingly generous friends and family brought us lovely dinners. However, for the first time in my life sleep trumped food and I sometimes forgot to eat. Then I satisfied my hunger with not-so-nutrient-dense-food such as cake and ice cream. Not the best lunch choice, and I think I’ve been paying for it. For the past month Leila and I have battled an annoying case of thrush. Last Friday I started an anti-Candida diet. I miss sugar so very much, but I am acutely aware of my gratitude for delicious whole seasonal foods.

11: Our Garden

Well, the last time I gave it any attention was last June, but in spite of my neglect our resilient garden is springing up tons of volunteer veggies. Bell peppers, green onions, itty tomatoes, lettuce, kale, basil, sage, oregano, fennel and rosemary are blooming. I am still quite far from being able to claim a green thumb, but I am grateful to feel a little empowered that we can grow our own food in spite of ourselves.

10: Running

I may no longer run but I am quite grateful for the time I did. For years running was a therapeutic escape. I love those memories, and I love the accomplishment of training for and completing a marathon.

9: The Jobs That Didn’t Work

I could probably ramble about this for quite some time. I’ve already shared about Pappasito’s. Suffice it to say that though I look forward to finding one that sticks, I am appreciative of where the many jobs that have not worked out have led me.

I’ll continue tomorrow…

For now I must give my bed some attention.