24 March 2009

and i would like a lemon tree.

this morning while stirring milk into our matching sea blue coffee mugs, jeremy spoke up and said rather rhetorically, "you know, what i would really love to have in the backyard is a goat."

i laughed a forceful laugh, one of those bursts from between closed lips that sounds like air escaping a balloon as it zigzags around the room. fortunately, i had not yet taken a sip of coffee or it would have spewed everywhere.

i don't know why i laughed actually. this is not the first time i have heard about this dream of goat-owning. i think i just wasn't expecting him to announce it right at that moment, as one of his first phrases of the day. we had just been talking about corn and onions, afterall.

an hour later, my husband was gone with his guitar and eli and I stood at the kitchen window watching friendly nathan as he tilled a thirty foot rectangle at the edge of our backyard. we're preparing it for a vegetable garden, our first true plantings at this new house. well, aside from a few pots of pansies and a rosemary bush.

our garden is what we miss most about the home we left behind. we had just barely seen the fledgling cherry trees start to blossom, and i had legitimately begun falling in love with the blue atlas cedar dawn redwood tree i'd been so reluctant to plant after learning that in winter it would resemble a fish skeleton.

here, we have plans to convert our storage shed into a workshop for jeremy, with a small potting shelf for me. the little ramshackle tobacco barn adjacent to it will become a chicken coop, and sometime this spring we'll order a box of baby chicks from McMurray Hatchery (hmm, or possibly elsewhere since their minimum order seems to be twenty-five. i believe we'll start with six.) i can't wait to wander out in the mornings to collect fresh brown eggs with eli, or to pluck some tomatoes and peppers for an omelette.

eventually to the yard, we'd like to add some river birch trees, a japanese maple just beyond jeremy's office window, a dogwood or two, and some hydrangeas. i have plans for a fragrant potted herb garden overtaking our upstairs deck with lavender, chamomile, russian sage, thyme, and lemon verbena. and maybe eventually we will adopt a goat, but what i would really love to grow is a lemon tree. i am not sure if tennessee has the right climate for it, but i'm hoping so. lemon trees remind me both of italy and northern california, my two favorite places besides home.

once when i rented, my neighbors, the pearsons, had the most amazing wild flower garden that ben had given to his wife elayne as a gift. the bumble bees were almost as big as the enormous sunflowers, and there were long tangles of pink and yellow and purple and white leaning over the fence, dropping pollen on the sidewalk. it was as much my dream garden as i think it was hers.

springtime is nearing and i have never been so eager for it, though i'm confident i feel this exact way at the close of every winter. as a welcome to the season, i made a little bit of new botanically-inspired art for the house. also, we have gorgeous hot pink roses blooming in the kitchen. eli's vocabulary now features phrases like "go outside" and "mama, i want lawn. mow." my breakfast included the ripest, reddest of strawberries, grown by someone named joe who clearly has a knack. while i drank lukewarm coffee, eli marched around the porch in green striped pajamas and converse sneakers, scooping up dirt because that's what boys do.

today's list has and will include a loaf of banana bread, a walk to the coffee shop to say hello, a quick spring cleaning, and a leafy salad with sesame dressing for lunch. there will also be bubble blowing, and a short trip into the yard to scope out the tilled portion and make some plans for what we'll grow. eli has already requested a few of his favorite (most-obvious) crops: chocolate, rice, and salsa. i'm still thinking of lemon trees, and maybe a few rows of corn.

[photo journals to follow below...]


jenni said...

A chicken coop? I am seriously impressed! I'd love to do that, too, but I don't think our suburban neighbors would take to the idea. I vote for a Japanese maple in your yard as well - so pretty. And only if we could grow chocolate in a garden.

Melissa said...

Fantastic! This post and the following pictures brought me so much joy tonight. Thanks for sharing! I have been dreaming about my garden-to-be lately as well. Hope to see you again soon! :)

Lauren said...

that sounds like my *dream* yard....goat and all...LOL. we are working towards owning a home and property in a more rural PA community, and when i think and dream about it, i sometimes also think about you and your lovely farmhouse....thanks for the inspiration!

lisa said...

umm...i vote for the lemon tree over the goat...sorry jerry :) then i could come over and help you pick fresh lemons!

kierstin said...

but if we had a goat, you could come over and help me milk it. :)

Christine said...

I'm totally in for the goat and chickens too :) Let's ALL become farm people. I like it.

The Morginskys said...

i wish you would write more! can we come play in your back yard this summer? also, have heard of butterfly bushes? i've always wanted one outside of maggie's bedroom window...

Ali O said...

love these posts. makes me want to buy a plot of land down the street from y'all :)

Anonymous said...

The goat would be GREAT for about 1 week. Seriously...Jeremy did not come to our place when we raised goats. Milking them is OK too, but gets as tiring and UN-fun as doing laundry and cleaning your bathroom.

But the rest is cool--and chickens are much easier than goats (and don't smell nearly as bad). Twenty-five isn't a bad number of chicks to start with (they really don't ALL make it). And traditionally they send you all roosters somehow so be careful not to count on eggs too soon.

Are you guys heading out to Montana this summer after all?

Alison Rae said...

My husband and I raised a small flock of chickens while living with my grandparents on their hobby farm. We ordered from Murray McMurray... a few weeks later a box with holes arrived at my door, chirping.
They became my most beloved companions. Cochins are my favorite breed...feathered feet and all. And, I loved having auracanas... they lay the most beautiful blue/green eggs.

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