I dream of seeds . . . bees. . . and chickens too . . .

Monday, February 7, 2011
Although the thyme and oregano in the little windowsill herb garden (who are both just getting over an aphid infestation) might care to differ, the houseplants are looking pretty good lately. The Christmas cactus and African violet have been blooming continously for months. Yesterday I was bold enough to take a cutting from the philodendron, which just recently reached the floor, to see if I could coax the cutting to take root in a glass of water.

The success of the houseplants is a heart-warming contrast to frozen world outside the front door and it prompts me to test the limits of this slowly developing green thumb of mine. Lately Andy and I have been flipping through seed catalogs in the evenings, outlining the preliminary plans for this summer's gardens.
I spend my nights dreaming of grow lights, cold frames, and organic mesclun salad green mixes.  

And that's not all that haunts my dreams lately.

On my friend Betsy's recommendation last summer, I finally got around to reading Jenna Woginrich's Made by Scratch last month. Made from Scratch is perhaps the most practical guide to leading homemade/self sufficient lifestyle currently in print. (Woginrich has a new book out, Chick Days, which I plan to get my little hands on as soon as I have enough money for another book buying binge.) As I read about Woginrich's  adventures (and her very honestly recalled misadventures) with bees, chickens, and angora bunnies, suddenly this thought stamped itself on my brain: 


If you've been reading the blog for a while, you might know that I dream of some day being the proud owner of chickens. And I've been interested in the concept of beekeeping ever since reading The Secret Life of Bees. Angora bunnies are obvious: I could knit right off of them!

Now every once in a while when we're sitting quietly on the couch, I'll turn to Andy and ask "Can we get some ______?"  (Insert one of the following in the blank: bees, bunnies, chickens, kittens . . . )

Then I remembered that both Andy and I work full-time, out of the house during the summer months. I have vague memories of barely having time to get the tomatoes all the water they needed last summer. The resident fox might not be such a  "Fantastic Mr." after he got into the chicken coop. And the last thing I need is a black bear going all Winnie the Pooh on me and getting into the beehive.

Still, I can't shake this notion of being the center of a lush, buzzing, busy backyard bursting with plants and creatures. It's becoming the great, golden dream, a recess in my imagination I escape to when the skies threaten snow or the wind howls. 

What are you dreaming of these winter days?


  1. "And the last thing I need is a black bear going all Winnie the Pooh on me"

    LOL Best line ever! Angora bunnies would be so great to have around here! Good luck with your chicken/bee/bunny dream, I hope it comes true for you one day soon!

    Right now I'm dreaming of learning how to spin my own yarn. Art yarn here I come! :D

  2. Your buzzing back yard is a lovely dream! I hope you find a way to create it :)

    Right now I am dreaming much the same dream! I want to see lush green things! While it is not cold here and we do have a beautiful ocean it is a dry brown place(save for palm tree and fake lawns)here in SoCal.

    I am grateful to be on the slightly greener coast but I miss a white wintery snow day or some think green grass to wiggle my toes in :)

    Your window garden looks so happy!


  3. Made by Scratch sounds really interesting!
    My problem is- I want animals, but am afraid I wouldn't 'be able to take good care of them since I can't even seem to care enough about plants (indoor or outdoor) to maintain them...

  4. My fiancee and I want the same thing! We've been discussing having a hydroponic garden for now, but he really wants a bee cage, and I think some chickens and/or a goat or two would be awesome.

  5. I have a confession. The book I meant to recommend was Made From Scratch by Jean Zimmerman. Who knew there were two books about self-sufficiency/domesticity with such similar titles and authors? Many apologies for the mixup - I can send you the other book - also a good read - and I'm going to get my hands on the other Made From Scratch so we can discuss.

    That being said, when you start your little commune farm, I want in on it. Katie knows something about apiaries, and we could have alpacas. I think we can make this happen.

  6. You remind me of my sister. She has dogs, cats, a turtle, parakeets, horses and chickens, and she dreams of having goats and cows.


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