Growing Our Food - Part 1

The most essential part of our sustainable living strategy in our homesteading dream is to grow our own food, which, to me, means learning to garden. Now I am not saying that Cam and I can't garden, but I will say that we are still learning, with the emphasis falling on me. And if you saw our garden last year, you would agree with me; there were cramped tomatoes, peas falling over, and squash vines climbing up the beans. Oy, and you should have seen the year before with weeds taking over the garden come August. So this series of posts will not be intended to be instructional by any means (that would be unwise frankly), they are more to show how we are learning and getting ready for our big dream of self sufficiency in Vavenby. Our goal is to grow as much food as we can in our garden in Northern Alberta, and do our best to preserve the bounty from it so we can enjoy it all year.

It is just about March, and the true sign of Spring appeared on my doorstep a few days ago. It was The West Coast Seeds catalogue (yes, I know I do not live on the west coast, but they offer organic seed varieties, and it is "local" or as local as I can find.) So with the first signs of Spring, it is time to start planning this year's garden and that is what I will share with you today. The Garden Plan...

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The 'why' in the plan

Why? Why do I want to live off the grid, in the back country, growing my own food, and working outside all day? Why, oh, why? Yeah, you probably already know the answer to this because you have that same feeling in the pit of your stomach, the same feeling that I will describe for you in five bulletin points. You got it, The Five Reasons I Want to Live In the Country, and no, having a horse or being a horse 'person' is not on that list. Sorry horse people.

1. Hearing the song Mushaboom*

Years ago, in high-school, I had a friend who lived in the country, an hour outside of Ottawa, where I grew up. Her parents had the cutest place on a small lake with a big garden, and we would go there and party mostly, but we would also drink tea and look out the big windows and listen to old records, and it was great. And before that, in primary school, my best friend and I would watch Martha Stewart marathons and we both wanted to be her so badly. Well, her, but cooler. Wanting to be Martha and live how my friend did in the country did not formalize into a homesteading dream until I heard Mushaboom. I'm pretty sure I was living in Northern BC at the time, and that song spoke to me, I thought Leslie Feist wrote it for me. Like she stepped into my mind and pulled out all of my dreams I hadn't dreamt yet and wrote a song about it. The dirt rodeknee deep snowwatching the fire as we grow? That was it, I was sold. And then the staff at the pub where I worked, put the song on the evening playlist and I listened to it on repeat for five years, forever cementing that dream in my mind. And it wasn't until years later, when I met my partner, that I realized that dream was possible.

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