Magic All Around

The crab apples are blossoming magenta, several shades bright-pinker than their garnet leaves. The apple tree, the one that was here before us, not the tiny saplings I planted last month, will soon bloom in a pale pink shade; we haven’t seen it flower since we moved in two years ago. After weeks of cold and rain, spring is really shouting from the roof-tops, or rather from every branch and stem. I am rediscovering the pockets of magic tucked all around.

Just over two years ago, when we first visited this little piece of earth, I saw glimpses of the beauty but I was hesitant to take on a house that needed so much fixing up. We do have plenty of fixing ahead of us but I’m glad I didn’t hesitate any further. It’s not perfect in every way, but spring reminds me of the treasures that surround us and how fortunate we are that we can take the time to discover and appreciate them.

It’s just a large suburban lot bordering a generous strip of woods, but there are wild strawberries in the grass. Blackberries and few tiny raspberries grow along the edge of the woods, oblivious to our presence and our care. Later in the summer jewel weed will sprout among these brambles. The quince bush pressed up against the kitchen blooms pink as punch, attracting hummingbirds to visit daily (the other night we watched three of them coming to sip nectar at the same time). There is a tree for each child to climb. I completely forgot, until I saw the little white bells, that lily of the valley grows next to our patio, near the peonies that get ignored except for the short time they bloom. Violets and dandelions have already popped up all over the yard and, as we are outside for hours every day, I feel like I am watching the buds on the apple trees and blossoms on the lilacs open right in front of me.

I’m slowly growing our vegetable garden, this year I planted beds of onions, tomatoes, peas, herbs and other summer favorites. The fruit trees I planted last month are all still alive, and hopefully settling in. We also have six peeping and rapidly growing chicks waiting in a box inside until their coop is finished and it is warm enough for them to be out. As I think about the work I’ve done this spring to continue transforming our property into the little homestead I’ve long imagined, I also think about all of the experiences and skills I’ve acquired on my way here. I often joke that I’m not qualified for a lot of jobs, but work on farms, in bakeries, and as a master food preserver; hours and days spent sewing and making; living a life filled with hands-on creativity may not make for a versatile resumé, but I’ve gained so many skills and interests that allow me to do the things I want to do. I know it is a huge privilege to be able to spend so much time doing what means the most to me, but I also deeply desire the opportunity and ability to share these skills and approaches to creative living with others.

As I cultivate our garden, tend our flock, and grow our little homestead, I hope to be able to expand my connections with others and share more of the knowledge and skills that I’ve gained over the years. I’m thrilled to open our home to small classes and the first class on June 22 will be pay-what-you-can so that hopefully there is one less obstacle for you to join us that day. It has taken years of practice and dreaming to have found and begun to make this little homestead and I am intent on continuing to find ways to share as much as I can.