Monday, July 20, 2009

Possibilities: Gardening and Life

Yesterday, C. and I went to visit my mom for the day.

Later on in the evening, our conversation turned toward what she was going to do as far as the house went (since my stepdad died last year and it's a LOT for her to take care of by herself now that she is older), and the fact that I really, really want to live much closer to her and be able to BE there for her at any time. Living almost an hour and a half away means that if I am lucky, I get to see her a few times a month.

All of us great garden enthusiasts, somehow gardening got all enmeshed in the conversation and we decided that trying to figure out a living situation where we could have our own house and she could have her own house on the same property and seeing how far we could take our gardening, i.e. selling transplants, having a roadside veggie stand, etc. and making a little business out of it if only to fund our own gardening expenses.

We talked quite at length about this and it became more and more exciting. We figured out that one possibility is for her to stay on the existing property, build a smaller, one story house behind the main house for her, and have us move into the main house. There is plenty of land to garden. The other possibility is to buy something new that already has a two-house set up, with a little bit of land that we could work. The latter would probably be the better choice since it would leave my mom with more liquid cash to have on hand for her living expenses; whichever way it went, Mom would no longer have a mortgage payment to make and wouldn't have to work anymore, which would be awesome. At the same, C.'s and my situation would be about the same whether we stayed where we are, or the two other options. It would just give us more land to play with.

Basically, pooling all our resources seems like it would give us all a better life overall. I could be with my mom all the time without us smothering each other living in the same house. I was thinking too that doing something like this now would prevent a likely inevitable situation where my mom got too old and/or infirm to take care of herself down the line, maybe even in an emergency, where figuring out the logistics of something like this would be very stressful and a lot more difficult. If we do it in the near future, there would really be so little to worry about, because we'd be all in place to help out easily.

As I said, we're all excited about our gardening venture, and among the three of us, we have complementary skills: I'd be the marketing person, Mom would handle bookkeeping, and C. would be the general manager/research and development. All three of us would work the gardens, with Mom and C. being there all the time and me contributing as necessary during the evenings and weekends, outside my day job. We could also bring my aunt and two cousins in on it if they wanted; they are all talented gardeners and former farmers. I'm sort of surprised no one in our family has thought of this before, actually!

C. and I started looking to see if there were any properties that would suit our needs, and it looks like there are some possibilities within or below what we'd like to spend. Nothing totally prefect, but definitely workable. Mom's also going to pick her boss's brain and see what he thinks (being a real estate mogul and all). At least we have an insider on the real estate side of things.

Probably the toughest part of making this happen would be selling the houses, if we ended up buying a different property. That could get tricky, but I feel confident that our house would sell fairly easily, and that Mom's would, too. I guess we'll see what happens!

It's funny how gardening starts to sort of dictate your life's direction... I do see this as something feasible, doable, smart, and fun! Who knows, in the next couple years we could find ourselves with a nice parcel of land and gardens galore to feed ourselves and maybe even fund our gardening habit. How exciting is that?


In other garden news at home, C. called to tell me that he thinks he spotted the very wee beginnings of a Sugar Baby watermelon! This is very exciting news indeed. Hopefully many will soon follow.

Also waiting to be put in the gardens from my mom's are a little variety of variegated hosta, some lily of the valley, some more pachysandra, yarrow, columbine, evening primrose, and some poppy seed heads which I will sprinkle all over the front garden. This evening will be my first big day back out in the gardens—there's a lot of weeding in my forecast.


The veggie garden

Asparagus poking its way through the squash leaves

SQUASH! (Click on photo to see ladybug)

Watermelon, amongst the weeds

Mystery wildflower—anyone?

The neighbors' new, very white fence, with tomatoes in the foreground

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