Remember back in April when I was doing the A to Z blogging challenge and I stopped at T? That’s because I got a block. A mental block. A bad one. I went two months trying to figure out what the heck U could stand for. Well guess what? I’ve now made it to U and U is for Urban Farm.
When we originally bought our house seven years ago, in addition to falling in love with the house, I fell in love with the yard. Actually, I fell in love with what the yard could become because at the time it was just a “big yard”. In other words, a lot of grass. I know it’s not for everyone, but to me, plain old grass is a waste when I could be growing something. But at the time we bought the house I never envisioned that the “big yard” would transform into the garden it is today. They say gardening is a process and that couldn’t be more true. I’ve found that there may be a beginning, a place in time where our interest is sparked, but if you enjoy gardening, it will never be complete in the same way a painting or a meal or a song may be. Gardening is a never-ending journey, so if you don’t enjoy the experience you’d better get off the ride!
It’s probably an understatement that I love gardening. And while the term “gardening” used to cover pretty much everything: fruits, vegetables, flowers, annuals, perennials we now have separate terms for each type.
Until recently, “Urban Farm” was a gardening term I kind of scoffed at. I envisioned an Urban Farm being a small house in the city with a tiny lot. And on this farm they had a small barn, a dwarf cow, a dwarf horse, a miniature dog and a few stalks of corn in a miniature field. Since then my concept of an Urban Farm has changed, as have my own gardens. The small veggie garden changed into two raised beds and the fruits and veggies have expanded into the landscape. There has been the addition of three grape vines, hardy kiwi, and in addition to the original red raspberries that came with the house, there are now golden raspberries and blackberries as well. And then there’s the blueberry bush (bought a pair, lost one, still need to add another). Oh, and there are pairs of both pear trees and apple trees.
You’d think that would be enough, but since I love to experiment with plants, it’s not. Last Thursday my son’s baseball game got cancelled due to rain and thunderstorms. I found this the perfect excuse to head to one of my favorite garden stores: Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply in St Paul. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I absolutely love this place. Anyway, the little trip on Thursday evening to see what’s new expanded into going back this weekend with the truck to pick-up a peach tree, cherry tree and plum tree (not to mention a few other plants for the veggie garden). And as if that’s not enough, I also signed-up for the Backyard Chicken class next weekend.
I know, I know, I might be crazy, but I’ve been contemplating chickens for quite a while now. Add that to the fact that they had day-old chicks in the store (which were so darned cute) and it brings me closer to getting some. (Yes, I realize they don’t stay chicks.) So if I’m drawn to chickens, why haven’t I gotten them yet? Well, I have been fearing a few things:
- I don’t like to get pecked.
- I was told chickens are messy.
- I was told chickens stink.
- I’m afraid Jake, my rescue dog from the Leech Lake Reservation who has BBs in his hindquarters (most likely from chasing chickens) might kill them.
- I live behind a nature center, so I’m afraid the raccoons, wood chucks (are they carnivores?), fox or coyotes might get ‘em.
- I’m afraid I’ll be a bad chicken mom.
Well, while visiting Egg|Plant I talked to Bob, one of the owners, about my fears. And he asked me one question. “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” I said, “Either my dog or the other critters would kill the chickens.” His response was, “Okay, now you know the worst thing that could happen.” It took me a minute to process it, but he was right. I’ve worked myself up so badly about chickens dying that I haven’t been able to think past that point. Thanks to Bob, I’ve now realized that the worst that could happen is that the chickens will die. And if they do, and eventually, even if I care for them really well, they will, I can deal with it. So now that I know that, I can quit focusing on it. I can redirect my energy and focus on the chickens and the experience of having them.
So this morning, as I continued contemplating chickens, I looked out the window on my backyard. That’s when it dawned on me that if I do this, if I get chickens, I’ll be crossing that line from an Urban Garden to an Urban Farm. I don’t have a barn. I don’t have miniature dogs or mini-fields, but I do have fruits and veggies and two full-sized dogs and a dwarf cat and after the chicken class next weekend, I might even have chickens. I might become an Urban Farmer. I just might.