From A Gifted Beginning to An Unexpected Gift to A Great Wondering

Last year, around this time, my family welcomed into the world a baby Christmas tree, and I promised to love and cherish it as long as I could (see here for that post).  Well, as circumstances would have it, “as long as I could” was not very long, and the tree started dying on me and I couldn’t figure out how to revive it. It began to attract tiny little flying bugs and I decided I would have to throw it in the garbage and start over some other year with a new tree. So I took the long walk to the dumpster behind my building, and, as fate would have it, on my way to the dumpster, as rarely happens, I bumped into someone- I bumped into one person only, and, as further fate would have it, this one person happens to be a notorious plant tender that lives in our building- a real indoor farming aficionado and a really enthusiastic guy in general. He asked where I was going with the tree and I told him the story, and he seemed very upset and almost hurt (which I understand now as being the product of someone else trying out his favorite hobby and not taking to it so well). He offered to take in the tree and care for it, to rehabilitate it, and to find me the next Christmas season and give me the tree back. I took his offer, for how could I refuse? What else should I have done- thrown out the tree? Surely no caring farmer would do such a thing as that!

Skip almost one year into the future, and you will find me looking forward to a second Christmas with my young family, and wondering if I will be receiving our tree back for the season!  I wonder how big the tree is now, if he was able to revive it, though I have little doubt as to his skills- I have heard good things about him as a farmer, he’s an older gentleman who has been doing such tending for a long time (and he did assure me, at one point during the past year, that the tree had grown hundreds of feet tall (he has quite the bubbly sense of humor and is a real pleasurable person to talk with)).

So we will see; I wait for any news.  If he does in fact return it, I hope I can take care of it into the future as it is meant to be taken care of.

Anyways, happy holidays!

A Huge Advancement

So yesterday I acquired an actual, physical plot of land to work… and it only cost me $25!

I discovered through a friend here in town an awesome Parks and Recreation program- a community garden with close to 100 small, maintained plots for yearly leased tending. I went yesterday to check them out and the grounds are beautiful, the plots are $25 a year, and they provide groundskeeping services, replenishing soil, tools, water, and the rest is up to the lessees… and so, as I found this super awesome (and so did my wife and my mom), we leased 2 plots! They even enforce (as best as can be done) organic practices, which is huge to me as I really dislike the idea of eating synthetic chemical pesticides (to each their own but I do my best to avoid it). Each plot is about 400 sq ft!!

I took my wife there early this morning to show off our new place of Earthly worship aka gardening/farming, and we could hardly contain our excitement as we went home to draw up plans. We created a loose plan for a layout and we chose seeds from a seed catalog.

Next comes pulling up the pretty weeds with purple flowers that we have covering the plot, waiting on seeds, buying structural materials to build our planned set-up, building said set-up, and getting down to some growing!

We plan on growing veggies, fruits, herbs, and flowers, and spreading that all across the two plots based on sunlight levels across each, so we have to draw a sun diagram to figure out exactly what shall go where, as we are in North Carolina and so have a sun trajectory that will be moving with the seasons and dodging some huge trees.

I am so excited for all this! Stay tuned!

P.S. There is a porta-potty next to our plot, which could be good or bad depending how often they clean it. If it turns out to be stinky, they said they could move it for us either way if we want, so no worries!

Of Complexity Where There Should be Simplicity

What I have learned so far on my FarmQuest:

Farming is not easy. It is not ‘plant a seed and eat of its crop.’ Farming is a craft, and it takes serious dedication to the crop before it ever turns into food or any other product. This seems obvious, but until caring for my own plant, it was only information; now it is an understanding and a real facet of my life. All day- day in and day out since being gifted my first tree about a week ago- I have it on my mind that I have something fragile at my expense. I know that if I slack, even for a moment, even though this tree doesn’t tell me in words what it wants and needs, I could damage its future- and knowing a bit about plants, I know that such a future can come quite soon in the case of neglect. Just one day of ‘not feeling up to the gig,’ or ‘going on a quick vacation,’ or it ‘slipping my mind,’ or whatever excuse, reasonable or not, could mean permanent damage. Maybe my tree is not this fragile to warrant such catering, but I don’t know what the case is yet, and I am nervous.. I want this tree to thrive!

Such is life, to an extent. We imagine that we can always start over, that we can always fix our wrongs, but we know that we actually can not do so always. In reality, if it happens, it has happened, and, in the case of plants, as per my epiphany, there is a point which comes in which it is too late to rescue said plant. Like death as I see it in the case of living beings, neglect can take a plant away, but, unlike our own deaths, where the soul goes on to find another plane upon which to live, or realm in which to live, or dimension in which to exist, or time to be born again, a plant goes away forever, a part of maya passed. We can grow another plant from the original, but the original will never exist again.

I feel as if this FarmQuest of mine and my adamancy to progress as a farmer is going to really mature my sense of responsibility. And I am grateful for that.

A Gifted Beginning

In the beginning, there was naught but a dream, a plan, and the open road ahead. Not even a patch of land could I call my own.

Now, there is a young tree, gifted to me by a loved one, there is my mind with its whirling imagination- and so there is a farm!

This is not a plot of land upon the Earth that I am working with- in fact, this is not even a designated space. This is the empty, undesignated future that I look to as the harborer of my plans, and the always unfolding present as the nurturer of my dreams; this is my life as a loving and caring farmer- that which I shall always be. An amateur am I, and so this journey will transform me!

I was not raised Christian (nor am I Christian now), and as it has been, I have never had a tree of my own until this year! My family has welcomed a newcomer into the world this past year, and so we have decided to treat her with all of the holidays and festivals that we can muster up the energy to participate in. So, to cut to the chase, the ornaments and the sentimentality of this whole Christmas (and Christmas Tree) process is completely new to me!

We decorated the tree in a hurry and with only 2 hand-made, salt-dough-clay ornaments, which we created ourselves- a Jewish Star of David as the tree topper (to represent my childhood and upbringing surrounded by Judaism), and a Christmas Tree (because it is Christmas). I had to take extra care not to harm the tree by hanging lights and ornaments, as it is not only a baby tree, but also a fragile type of tree. We were gifted a Norfolk Island Pine, for its beauty as a Christmas Tree and dexterity as an indoor plant.

The plan is to keep this tree for its entire lifespan, or at least as long as we can be with it. I also plan on cloning. The idea is to have one tree indoors year-round and to decorate it each year for Christmas, and to also create offspring from this tree and have a Norfolk Island Pine Bonsai Garden.

I’ve been doing research into care for this specific tree, but also terminology and general care for all plants, as I am new to tending to plants.

A farmer in the making!

A farm in my vision!

Oh FarmQuest take me of where I have only been able to dream!

(FYI there are no gifts under the tree because we all got excited and gave our gifts early… haha)