Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Happy Place, Part 1

This last week I have been battling allergies, as well as my oldest son and now my hubby.  Maybe it is the cacti blossoms?  Could be, I have never had a problem with allergies in July or August before.  Of course with my background, it then turned into a sinus infection...how gross, complete with those horrid sinus headaches (ugh)!  Needless to say, we have been consuming alot of honey, tea and healthy produce to fight back for our health.  Not to mention our peace of mind.  After this last bout of nastiness, I had enough and my husband and children have agreed to go to a 100% plant based diet from now on since I no longer want to deal with this junk.

During a few of those horrible sinus headaches this week, the puppy would decide to start barking or the boys would start bickering or something would happen.  I felt like the starfish in this little clip from Finding Nemo:

So what is my happy place?  For those people who are avid gardeners, who love their fruits, nuts and veggies and for people who love health in general...your going to love this!  If you are already eating a 100% plant based diet, you are going to fall in love with my happy place...but you will have to plan for your own.

First off, my happy place starts with land.  It would be nice to have cleared land with no trees growing on it, but I will take what I can get.  What is a little hard work in removing existing trees to grow your choices?  I am thinking that I will need a minimum of five acres.  The house itself does not really matter, but here are a couple of ideas that I would be happy with...something large enough to accommodate my love of cooking and feeding people (love having people over for dinner!!!) as well as a sewing room (plus, I want to learn spinning and weaving later on), and of course accommodate my grandchildren and great-grandchildren someday, but small enough to feel cozy.

Obviously my happy place will not have a common street in front of it, no, perhaps something like a cobblestone drive.

The water and the little bridge are a very nice touch I think!

On to cultivating the land.  I would like to make as much of the land as possible while doing two things...making a living and helping as many people as I can in the process.  This will not be as difficult as you think.  It will take hard work and effort, but it can be done!  Here are some words and phrases to know for a bit later: Torah FarmingBio-Intensive GardeningEspalier, and Vegan Organic Gardening

I would start off with the trees that I would like to plant.  They would need to be spaced out accordingly and then I would have them trained to grow flat (Espalier), or some may be trained to grow ornamental.  Trees that I would love to grow are Hazelnut, Cherry, Nectarine, Peach, Plum, Pear, Pomegranate, Figs, Olives, Grapefruit, Lemon and Orange.  I am sure my kids would love me forever if I included banana trees, but this is my happy place...they can grow bananas on their land.

Here is a very ornamental walk through.  Isn't it beautiful?

Here are flat rows which are really great for saving space.

Next, let's get the berries going!  Strawberries are an old favorite.  My Grandma taught me that when you plant the strawberries, for the first year you pick off all the blossoms to promote a healthier stronger plant that will yield more later on.  To feed one person, you need about twenty-five strawberry plants.  If you are like me and want to can jam and freeze some for use during the off season...you will need more.  I prefer to grow the strawberries in containers.  My favorite container gardening book is, "McGee and Stuckey's Bountiful Container," by Rose Marie Nichols.  I found these planters and I think they are my favorite strawberry planter to date!

These can actually be stacked quite tall and look lovely as an ornamental when the plants start growing runners.


For the rest of the berries, I will be choosing raised beds and the Bio-Intensive/Vegan Organic Gardening Methods...not to mention incorporating the Torah Farming methods as well.  Berries other than strawberries that I would like to plant are Currents, Blueberries, Lingnonberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, and Huckleberries.  Some of these can get pretty wild, so I would like to train these just like training the fruit trees.

For me, vines are essential!  I have read Proverbs 31 over and over and over all of my life.  Verse 16 always seemed to be highlighted...she plants a vineyard.  Of course Grapes are the first thing that people think of with a vineyard, but there is so much more!  Melons, Squashes, Pumpkins, Beans, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Kiwi, etc.  In a small space I will need to again do raised beds and vertical gardening with vines.  Vertical gardening is healthier for the plants rather than letting them sprawl on the ground to be eaten by ground dwelling pests and bugs anyway.  My current book of gardening awesomeness is, "Vertical Gardening," by Derek Fell.

Those squash and tomatoes look not only appetizing, but also lovely grown like this!


Greens are going to be a big deal for me.  I recently read, "Green Smoothie Revolution," by Victoria Boutenko and I now have a renewed appreciation for greens.  In fact I realized that many things that have been sent to the compost pile such as squash and pumpkin leaves can actually be eaten for their nutrients!  Growing up we grew lettuce and spinach and that was it.  Eventually we stopped growing that as the cheaper processed food was loved by the family more than salad.  Bad choice, but we can't change the past, right?  So now, I am getting introduced to new things like Kale and Tree Collards, Cilantro and Parsley.  I am very excited about the idea of growing Tree Collards!

I am going to leave you with this little bit for today and continue with Part 2 next Tuesday! 

I would love to hear from you!  What do you like about my happy place so far?  Is there anything that makes you happy too as you read this?  What is your happy place, your paradise, or your dream?  If you choose to write about your happy place, please link back in the comment section so that I can read about your dreams too!