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Loving the Land

The time at our new home has passed quickly, and at the same time felt like it has been slow going. It’s been a mixture of discovering a new and different place, and trying to make it feel like home at the same time. There are so many things that I didn’t expect to discover that are so different from where we were living before. The fact that we are still in California, but in a different climate…well it didn’t occur to me that this might be something that would bring new and challenging prospects.

Having lived in the Bay Area for a generous part of my life, and then close again to the ocean in North Carolina, we’ve experienced pretty good weather! (Minus the crazy storm season in NC!) Plants flourished, there was a lot of moisture, not too much wind, and fairly mild weather. Where we are now is in a valley, straight through the middle of far Northern California. Here we have a great deal of wind the majority of the time. The heat is something to be reckoned with. And, though we did get some good rain late this year (I’m told), it is very very dry. Drought dry. With some of the farmers/ranchers wells running dry.

So what is it that I want to do here? So many times throughout the week, I walk outside and stand looking in what ever direction, considering the circumstances and waiting for inspiration to come to me. I want to love the land. There is the “love” of, “yes, I want to really like where I live so much that I love it”. And then there is the “love” as in , “I want to encourage the land to be natural, beautiful, as it should be and wants to be”. We are surrounded by orchards, and heavily farmed land. I’m not sure the dirt is the same as it was 50 or 60 years ago. A positive (and perhaps negative at the same time) is that our particular land has been neglected much of the last 10-20 years as the owners aged and passed away. Nature had started to take over where the previous owner had stopped. A lack of water encouraged a great deal of the orchard to die, and though we saw remnants of rose bushes and other plants around the house everything is in need of a lot of TLC.

With a hopeful and clueless amount of enthusiasm, I started seeds early, and brought them outside to grow more. But the sad truth is that just about everything that I started has died. I either underestimated the amount of water things would need, and/or the wind literally blew things away. But I’m not going to let the discouragement take over. My enthusiasm for having a garden and growth on the land is still at a pretty high level. The challenge is to figure out what the heck the answers are to the questions that loom over the dry and neglected land. How do I foster growth? How can I make it fruitful for my family? These questions, I know, will develop answers if I am just patient and give it time.

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