A good friend of mine, Dawne , is wanting to "homestead" her urban yard. We were on a road trip to Tampa last weekend when she brought up the idea to me. Of course, I decided I am more than willing to lend my hand, back and experience in aiding this process. For some of the fruits of my labor, of course.
We reconvened on Monday at her home for some initial planning and design.
I wasn't prepared for what I saw.
Dawne is an amazing person. She was my Realtor when I was looking for houses a few years ago. She is so kind, so genuine, and very quirky. Her SO is a contractor. He is also very sweet, very kind, and very quirky. Really, they're awesome, and lovely, and quirky. Unfortunately, they share one of the same quirks. They're collectors.
As a contractor, Chris has access to a lot of surplus building materials. Which is awesome. I don't see us having to buy much of anything for this project. Or any other project I can think up. Ever. And Dawne, as a realtor, has access to all those odds and ends that get left after an old owner moves out and before the new owner moves in and says, "What the hell is this [fill in the blank] that got left here? We don't want this!"
So you can see where this becomes a problem. They have some stuff. A lot of stuff. Just laying around. Taking up space.
Luckily, Chris has a new warehouse, so building materials will soon have a new home, along with tools, and sawhorses, and glass, and... goodness, everything else out there. Hopefully, I can convince Dawne to pare down some of the yard furniture, plastic pots, and decorative whimsy that clutters some amazingly usable space.
They already have a really cool, very large garden plot. I'm planning to turn this into annual/seasonal vegetable space. It also already has a huge nook for composting, which I jump started yesterday with a special delivery! A truckload of composted horse crap. Florida is Sand. There's nothing to do about it but compost the shit out of everything we can and try to amend to the point of sandy-loam soil.
What I love the most is the fact that both of them are willing to transform their entire yard into edible gardening land. All the perennials: artichokes, asparagus, walking onions, etc., will have their own separate areas around the house and the yard. This means I don't have to take up valuable seasonal space for things that are going to take years to grow.
Plus, they already have chickens. Which is something I don't have to plan or deal with setting up. Just rabbits. And there is already a perfect spot for them. It's a pretty awesome set-up. The labor required is going to be substantial, but the pay-off will be totally worth it. Dawne and Chris are both so excited and ready to take on this challenge. They each had some great ideas for what they want out of this experience.
They just needed a catalyst to get it all started. Hopefully we can live up to all these plans!