Monday, March 2, 2015

Growing a Sense of Community

Since Rue was born, I have slowly become a voluntary recluse. I spend a lot of my time at home, playing, nurturing, working, & marveling. While I love it, & feel like it has been a good season of life for me, I am beginning to desire some more contact with my friends & family; to reach beyond my little bubble of she & him & myself.

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I have also discovered that, while I always thought of myself as an extrovert in my younger years, I am more content in the role of an introvert in my adult life. I love being a homebody, following my feet when I want to explore, surrounding myself with nature.

A friend of mine posted to Facebook that she was looking for a local community garden, when it clicked. Ted & I have been embracing gardening as a part of our overarching goal of simple living, but have not yet found our groove. We have batted around ideas for this season, including the introduction of a Free Food box for the neighborhood & the possibility of gardening with friends. This year, we invited friends & family who we felt would be seriously interested & involved to join us in turning our yard into a community garden.

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I have not been so excited about something in a long while! We bought seeds with Ted's family, dividing some packets so all our gardens have a greater variety. Some friends in our little cooperative have their own gardens already , so we will swap seeds, tips, & produce to keep our tables full of color & nutrition. Others are donating supplies in exchange for a share of the produce, & others are physically going to garden at our home with us.

There are a few lessons that really hit home for me since becoming a mother. One was that all we really have to give to our future generations is this world. We truly are borrowing from the future in this regard. This realization led me to cloth diaper, to switch to plant-based cleaning products, to use & launder cleaning rags, & eventually, to make my own bath, body, & cleaning products. It has also led me to put aside my fear of bugs (ticks!) & embrace the natural wilds I want to protect. This segued to gardening & growing our own food. (Rue already knows the importance of giving plants lots of love... she likes to kiss our sprouts & pat the plants as they grow!)

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When we bought this house, I wanted the cute built-in shelves & the beautiful magnolia tree in the front yard. We also found we had purchased established flower gardens & a massive rosemary bush, with a fruiting fig tree right behind the back porch. I owe this gardening interest to this home of ours, in part.

I also owe my homesteading & gardening interest in great part to my in-laws. They always garden, every year, & I am beginning to appreciate it so much more than I did eight years ago. My father-in-law always finds me interesting articles about gardening, sustainable living, & herbal medicine, keeping my interest through my love of research.

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My parents have begun asking me for pointers about holistic home living, which also spurs me on. My mom has always gardened flowers, & honed my creative sensabilities, which I find is easily integrated with food gardening.

It's a funny kind of evolution. The generations from both sides of our family are feeding this return of ours to a simpler life; our friends are gravitating to it & joining us, & I have found a vast community on social media who continue to teach & inspire me. But mostly, I am finding who I really am, under the showmanship of my youth, behind the veneer of my public facade. It feels so good to shed that carefully constructed shell & emerge renewed.

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In a way, cultuvating our land & my family has led me to a harvest of my own heart. I cannot wait to embark on this community garden endeavor & see what other fruits it will yeild in my life!

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