Just a little background: I am a city girl, turn rural since moving up from Maryland to Pennsylvania in 2007. Truth be told, the biggest transition when moving here -- after coming off of apartment living -- was learning to maintain an OLD farm house and property while also dealing with the COLD winters. With a lot of help from one great guy, I have learned the ropes. Being close to so many of the things I love, I've embraced the changes fairly well. There really isn't any other place I'd rather be and this new lifestyle has afforded so many new and exciting opportunities.
Made even easier living where we do, eating fresh with a conscious eye on the things I put in my body is very important to me (although, I'll be the first to admit, I'm not perfect). Since moving to PA I was finally able try my first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share last year with great success. I love everything CSA's stand for: supporting the community, local food minimizes carbon-footprint, trying new organic veggies not usually on the shopping list, and consuming in-season local produce is great for the body and immune system, just to name a few.
Cilantro ready for the herb garden
I also planted my first garden; a modest 4' x 12' elevated frame on the south side of our barn with all the basics including herbs and tomatoes. Combined with sprucing up the grape arbor, planting blueberry bushes, and pruning the apple and pear trees in our orchard, I've learned a lot and am taking the volumes of future experience in stride. Needless to say, we had more than enough fruit and veggies to go around last year. Considering the expense of an annual CSA share (although not unreasonable spread across a season) along with an interest in getting my hands dirty, I decided to forgo the membership and expand the garden in 2009.
The site of the new garden with fresh compost (and dreary weather)
The calendar now says it's spring, the frosts are fewer, and everything is starting to show signs of life again; waking up to the daily convention of birds, crocuses popping their purple heads up, and tree buds swelling are just a few of the rapid reminders of the impending warmth. Everything is coming out of hibernation, including me! I've planted some early seeds indoors and we've spent the weekends clearing, cutting, pruning, and burning. These are the first of many steps to create a garden (and then some) that supplements all of our produce for a good part of the year. It's not going to happen overnight, or this year, but the process is the adventure. I hope you enjoy this journey with me.