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  • Writer's picturemyzenacres

Spring Break!

Today is the last day of my spring break. It has certainly been fun, but not sure if my days off would qualify as a break. I, with the dedicated help of my husband and occasional help from my sweet daughter, prepared an area for a vegetable garden and planted six rows of what I hope will be a plentiful first crop for our family. It was at most times idyllic and serene…that is until the side door opens and one of the kids hollers that something has happened. Please note: thus far my children’s tolerance for the outdoors is not fulfilling my expectations. Inevitably they get hot or don’t want to wear shoes/ pants/ underwear/ sunscreen or just need a snack and drink break, so they end up inside while I continue to toil in the field. Also note: we’re a couple weeks into potty training with little man so both indoor and outdoor accidents have punctuated work on my planting and to do list this week. Back to the idyllic and serene part. The weather during this process has been picture perfect. Not only have I enjoyed sunny skies and cool breezes, but the couple times there were light passing sprinkles it was downright refreshing. It has been hard work, but it has been the most exhilarating and gratifying work I have done in a long time (okay, maybe minus parenting). That dirt holds the secrets to my future.

Rows ready for planting.

The process started with Paul on the tractor. Full confession- I have not taken the time or initiative to gain more experience on the tractor. It will happen; give me time. Anyway, he scraped the ground and we cleared the land for the vegetable garden. Then we dug the six trenches for the rows, added some 70/30, and mixed thoroughly. It’s great, rich soil after having so many crops grow here over the years. I have realized that sweet potatoes turn into rocks if left in the ground unharvested- great collection of those now! Other than a few neat rocks, nothing else exciting was unearthed. Using four packs that I purchased at the NC State Farmer’s Market, I planted four kinds of tomatoes, three kinds of peppers, pickling cukes, lettuce, watermelon, cantaloupe, yellow squash, and zucchini. Lesson learned after the fact- I should have planned better in regards to the water sources. Not ideal, but I can make it work with my spiffy tri-pod sprinkler. I feel like I have accomplished something great. Gone are the little city girl raised beds of the past. I am farmer, hear me ROAR! (Like a little cub still learning to roar, but you get it.)

All planted! Can’t wait to see how big this all gets!

Of course you know my love for all things culinary, so I would be remiss if I neglected an herb garden, right? Never fear, my front porch steps are the perfect spot for my herbs planted in terracotta pots. I needed them to be close at hand for when I am hit with inspiration in the kitchen. Having to put shoes on and traipse out to the field would be a deterrent for using those delectable fresh herbs. This year I have planted basil, cilantro, dill, rosemary, lemon thyme, parsley, onion chives, and – an all time fave- Cuban oregano. Soft leaves with the smoky aroma of spicy oregano, it is one to look for people, I am tellin’ ya! I have already used the chives and basil, so delicious.

That’s the Cuban oregano second from the bottom. I wish you could rub the leaves and smell this stuff- for real.

Next up is some grass and a garage, darn it! It’s been a process, which I won’t get into right now because this is a happy space. Other than the berry plants that are supposed to ship tomorrow and will soon be planted, I need some flowers! We saw so many butterflies and other flying friends that would love some juicy juice. Hopefully I can surround my veggies and berries with some colorful flowers to attract the buzzers and flutterbyes, a win win scenario for all. Though with spring break coming to an end, the next big bunch of work will have to wait until school is out. We’ll see what we can get done on the busy weekends, but I am so looking forward to being a full time farmer and mama. 10 days of teaching, 20 days left of work. Inhale. Exhale. I can do this. I can do all of this.

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