Friday, May 04, 2012

Waiting for the Bloom


It's been a while since I've participated in Friday Farm Girls, and I did miss it.  Thank you to Illinois Lori from Serenity in the Suburbs for resurrecting this old project of hers.  It really does bring me great pleasure to document our progress from finding the bits of country within our small city space to actually creating a life in the country.  Yes, I am officially a Farm Girl now.  Well, sort of.  

In August of 2011 we purchased 11 acres in SE Michigan.  It's like moving to another world.  Our home for the past 15 years, and the only way of life we'd ever known, was located in a very urban suburb of Detroit.  It was my next to youngest son that opened my eyes to the nature that existed around us and made my existence in the city much more bearable.  See?  I always wanted to live in the country.  Our 'Five Year Plan' turned into a '15 Year Plan', and this meant I had to deal with some emotions along the way.  It was only after I accepted where I was, made it home, and stepped out of the way that God was able to do amazing things in our life.

Anyone that's visited The Zoo Crew any number of times knows the journey we've been on.  We are a combined family of now eight children.  We came together as a blended family with seven children never imagining there would be an 'ours' in the future.  Well, surprise, surprise!  We adopted Avery and brought him home from the hospital in January of 2010.  Essentially, we are starting family life all over.  We actually get to raise one, at least one, child in the setting and the fashion we always dreamed of with the others.  It is an amazing gift that I am so thankful for.  

You see?  I never wanted to raise children in the city.  Something within the core of my being told me that I needed to be in the country; my family needed the country.  For whatever reason that was not to be, until now. It's almost like getting a second chance at life.  I am quite certain I would have been more physically up for the challenge at 27 than 41, but you'll hear no complaints here.  There is a big blessing going into it with the love and appreciation I now hold based on my personal experience to this point.  Now is a time of discovery in so many ways.

We have done so many things already in the eight months we've been here.  Time is flying by, and we are setting our priorities.  The property we bought was lacking just two things that I can tell.  One is a barn, and two is proper care.  We intend to provide both.  Our first really big project will come this summer.  We are preparing to erect a pole barn.  This has been such a long process already.  We're hoping to see it come to fruition by the end of July.  We'll see how that works out.  If I've learned only one thing in the process called living it is to be flexible and not hold too tightly onto expectations.

Here is a little glimpse into our new world and some of the projects we have done on our land already:

 Re-roof shed and lean-to as well as animal structure not pictured.
 Remove shrubs and old porch to create new covered porch.
 (Time to take an after picture.)
 Purchased a 'new to us' tractor for all our many projects to come.
Had a double semi load of wood delivered.  It's enough wood to heat    our home for about four years.  This will give us time to manage our property, harvest downed trees, and give them time to season.
The inner pile was as large as the outer.  That's how much we got  chopped and stacked so far.
Cleaned up the overgrown hedgerow of lilacs.  This involved removing two trees and a huge bush.  You can see how wet the ditch was.  It drains nicely and stays relatively dry now.

 Working on the hedgerow.

We cleared this area of all undergrowth.  We are currently preparing it as our first planting bed.  I added a Flowering Almond, two butterfly bushes, and two blueberry bushes so far.  Still lots to do here!
Paid to have the wood pile moved by a local man with a bigger tractor. Now there's room to prepare for the pole barn.
Planted six trees.  This is the Jane Magnolia I've always wanted.  We laid Gypsy to rest underneath the tree.  She was my awesome dog of nearly 15 years that passed right during our move.

As I take the time to get to know our new space on Earth I am finding that I am learning a new lesson.  There is joy in the waiting.  Spring is a time of discovery, and since this is our first spring on this piece of land, everything is a new discovery.  How exciting is that?

We moved here in the fall when everything was doing what it does to get ready for winter.  It wasn't long before the fall blooms faded, and the leaves fell from the trees.  The landscape changed.  Most things living went into hibernation, and so did we in a way of sorts.  We slowed down.  Inside and outside work ceased. No more remodeling, no more big outdoor chores.  The most labor intensive thing we did was stack wood, and we even got a lot of slack on that this time thanks to the incredibly mild winter we had here in SE Michigan.  It was a time of waiting, planning, and getting comfortable in our new surroundings.  We had never lived anywhere else together.  This was a huge undertaking in many ways.

As the weather has begun to give glimpses of summer we have made our way outside.  We have discovered so many things on our land in these few months.  We've learned to be patient and see what things growing do without disturbing them, if we're uncertain as to what they are.  Our curiosity has been renewed.  It is a constant joy to get to know all the living things on our land, plant and animal alike.  We have quite the bunny population explosion going on now, too!  I've discovered where the Chickadees live, and they even built a nest under the roof of our new porch.  I am hoping to have one feed from my hand this summer.  How cool would that be?

Great, beautiful things can happen when we get out of the way and allow ourselves to be guided by something bigger than ourselves.  Some things take longer than others.  Waiting is so important.  Everything worthwhile takes time.  Fall mums are a good example.  In the spring they sure don't look like much.  They're just dead sticks poking out of the ground, if you've not cleared them away the fall before.  I don't know how many times my hubby asked me, "Are you sure they'll grow back?"  I had to reassure him constantly so that he didn't destroy the area where they were growing.  The other day I got to point out to him that they were indeed coming back.  They're barely an inch tall now, but they'll be over a foot in the fall and full of blooms.  Just like they are supposed to be.  Everything blooms in it's time.  Us included.

There are a few bunches of greenery on our property that I have been anxiously awaiting to find out what they are.  Something inside of me just knew they were flowers, even though they didn't look like much.  I pointed them out to the hubby so he didn't destroy them in his endeavors.  He has a knack for doing just that.  Thankfully, we've gotten pretty good at communicating with each other about these things over the years, and he will actually seek me out when it comes to all things growing.  It's just not his department, and he's devastated me enough times over the years wiping out something I've been growing.  Purple Irises come to mind, but that's another story.  Anyway, just about the time I was about to give up the notion that my instincts were correct, and accept that maybe this greenery really wasn't a flower after all, something changed.  Buds appeared on the tips.  I knew it!  The greenery was set to produce flowers, but when?  More waiting.  And, then...

Gorgeous, or what?  Now, I believe this little beauty was worth the wait.  I have a few bunches of them on the property, and I am so thankful.  There wasn't much of the way of landscaping present on our property, so I really have my work cut out for me.  See?  I enjoy growing flowers and produce.  I am so excited to have enough land to actually grow fruit in addition to vegetables.  We have a ton of brambles on the property that I believe to be raspberries, we have a small patch of strawberries given to me by our old neighbor, and there are several fruit trees on the property.  The trees will require some attention, and it will likely be a couple of years before we can really get them to produce usable fruit due to their neglect and the dramatic overgrowth of the plants around them.  In addition to what already existed, I added two blueberry bushes and a cherry tree.  So exciting!

All of these different things, the Lilac Row that needed tending, the Fall Mums, the Brambles, the Fruit Trees, the Mystery Plants yet to be discovered for what they are, and the new goodies we planted recently, all of these things will bloom in their own time.  What a beautiful lesson.  

The Lilac Row needed our help.  We cleaned up the mess, set them free, and got out of their way so they could bloom where they are planted.  

The Fall Mums require no attention.  They are content to do their own thing, and when the time is right, they too, will bloom where they are planted.  

The Brambles have been there for at least decades, I am sure, maybe even longer.  They need no help from me to grow and produce fruit.  Sure, a little tending here and there may help produce better fruit, but the plant intrinsically knows what to do all on its own.  

The Fruit Trees require some assistance, so we will clear their trunks, and set them free from the encroaching wilderness so that they can get the nutrients they need and put their energy into producing an abundance of fruit for a fall harvest.  

The Mystery Plants are content just as they are.  No help is needed from me, but I have no problem relocating them to a new location in order to save them from destruction or allow them to shine more brightly and better share their beauty.

The new goodies require extra attention because they are young and fragile.  They need protection and the proper care to grow into strong, thriving plants that produce their own respective blooms and fruit.

Each and every living thing on our land is unique.  It has it's own personal history.  It's own journey, so to speak.  Each one requiring it's own special amount and type of care to reach it's full potential.  If it is too crowded its blooms will be less abundant and not as easily seen.  However, given the proper care and the right amount of space each one will shine in its own special way.

Oh, how we can learn so much about ourselves and those around us if only we pay close attention to what the things of nature teach us.  God is in the details.  His lessons are everywhere.  If only we learn to take the time to pay attention and take in what is all around us.  Wait patiently for the blooms.  They all open in their own time.

"Bloom where you are planted, and encourage others to do so as well."


Illinois Lori said...

Wow, what a GREAT post! I enjoyed "getting to know" your new place! Moving to the country sounds like a dream-come-true to me, too. :-)

When we moved into this house 12 years ago, it was December, so we didn't know what was here. We have a patio surrounded by a brick wall, and there were rose bushes planted all around the outside of the wall. I was so excited for spring to see them come to life! And they did...and then I was so excited for summer to see what the flowers looked like! But they never flowered. I learned something about those wild "bramble" type things...some (many) of our modern cultivars have to be grafted onto wild root stock...bramble...and then they grow on that "host" plant. If such plants are ignored/abused, the graft can die, and you're left with this incredibly vigorous wild bramble. I was faithfully pruning and loving a wild thorn bush, thinking it would be beautiful roses, LOL! Thick leather gloves, pruning shears, and lots of landscape waste bags (suburbs, you know) later, I had an empty bed aaround my brick wall, and we put in shrub roses, which grow on their own root stock! They're gorgeous...but what a lot of effort that was! I hope your raspberries are just that...raspberries...and that you get to enjoy them this summer!


Tina said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lori! What a cute story. I'm sure you didn't think it was too cute at the time, though. At least you lovingly pruning that thorn bush kept it in it's place and prevented it from taking over and scratching everyone up. LOL! I am quite certain our brambles are raspberries based on the information from the previous owner, and my mom's educated input. However, since they are 'wild' we are really uncertain just how much fruit they will actually produce. So, we'll just have to wait and see. :)

Maritel (merlmd) said...

I enjoyed your blog. Although I am from the Philippines, I live in the "country" too (meaning in the province). I studied in Manila and by the time of my graduation I could not wait to get out of the big city. I will add you to my reading list. I hope you can drop by my blog too.

DoleValleyGirl said...

Visiting from Lori's Farmgirl Fridays... What an amazing story you have! We moved from the "burbs" six summers ago to our little piece of paradise and are slowly working to make it productive. I have to say that I'm a bit envious of your lilac hedgerow; I'd love to have one, but I'm just about certain it would be eaten by the local deer.

Many blessings,

Lisa @ HappyinDoleValley

Tina said...

Maritel - Thank you for stopping by. My son visited the Philippines last year with a group through our church. He just loved it! I will certainly stop by.

DoleValleyGirl - Six summers? Wow! I bet you have done a lot in that time. How exciting! We have a lot of deer her as well, but so far they've shown no interest in my lilacs. :) We'll see how my garden fares when I finally get it in!

DoleValleyGirl said...

Tina, You've given me hope for growing lilacs being that you've not had any trouble from deer nibbling on them. They're one of my favorite flowers, so I'm thinking we'll have to plant at least one and see how it goes.

Blessings, ~Lisa :)

Tina said...

Lisa - I hope it goes well for you. I am thinking it will as long as you can get them established without any nibbles. The property we live on was established in 1900. The old owners were here for 35 years before we purchased it in 2011. These lilacs look to have been here quite a long time. The neighbors across the street, the only ones we can actually see, have a few lilacs near the road as well. Theirs are doing quite well, but they take very good care of their property. We are still trying to regain control and get rid of the overgrowth that established itself from years of neglect. However, I did plant two new ones to fill a big gap left from cleaning up the row and removing anything that wasn't a lilac. They are basically sticks, so we'll see how they do. Good luck! I hope it works well. Lilacs are my husband's favorite as well.


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