I wish that I were starting this blog in April. Or, better yet, February. Those are good months to launch a cheerful optimistic conversation about a garden, a farm, and all things verdant. Those are months where good intentions still count. Your sad luck is that you’ve stumbled upon me, and I’ve stumbled across wordpress, at the wrong time. It is mid-October and gardens are pulpy, slimy mounds dotted with wasted wrinkled peppers and tomatoes.
(Unless, of course, you are the type of gardener who cleaned out your garden prior to frost. If you are that type of gardener, I don’t think that we will have much to say to each other. Probably because you are outside working like a smug smarty pants. )
Erma’s Garden is a different kind of garden. We’ve taken a simple rarely tended garden and made it into a half-witted farm. In fact, this whole damn thing was accidental; we sat down once while cleaning out some random debris from this abandoned barn to have a beer. Maybe we had more than one and maybe the sun was blanching our brains because at some point we decided it would be grand if we started keeping chickens back there. Mind you, the abandoned barn was a monstrous 14,000 square foot former commercial veal venture on a property we owned but did not live on. It turned out that watching the chickens was such fun that we built a porch to sit on and enjoy it. Screens were added to keep out the flies. Fences were added to keep in the dogs. Veal stalls were demolished and the barn was slowly converted from a dusty torture pit for baby cows to a dusty but cheerful country get-away for us. (Until it burned down to 14,000 feet of embers last July. But more about that later.)
And that is how Erma’s Garden was born… from a beer too many. Now, aside from the garden, we are host to gorgeous Miss Hibbitz the pig, Shirley and Squiggy the Emus, ten turkeys and an ever decreasing supply of chickens – thanks to their proximity to both hawk-infested woods and a varmint-infested creek. Our farm, and our future house, is a slow, achingly slow, battle against limitations of time, energy and motivation. And, the elements of course.
I have the day off and the forecast is appallingly non-forgiving: 65 and sunny. Unfortunately, this leaves no room for excuses. It’s off to Erma’s Garden I go, to feed my friends, brew ten gallons of IPA and tear out the evidence of a garden gone bad.