Back home tonight

I missed this place when I was on the way back home.

Sometimes when I was married and I had to go away, or even if I went away with the ex or with part of the family, I actually dreaded coming home. There wasn’t so much dread when I began working outside the home. That was obviously an outlet for my anxiety and the ever-mounting tensions.

There were times so terrible, I just wanted to grab my kids and live a life on the lam. There were times when my dad was alive that I did that. I would just take off with whatever kids and head to Ohio. He helped me sometimes.

I remember my former mother in law asking me once, “Isn’t it wonderful to return home after a vacation?”

I honestly had no idea what she was talking about. Even as a child, I never really had that feeling. I lived every summer with my aunt and looked forward to the trip out to her house more than the return home. There were reasons for that. But when nothing changed with any of that in my adult life, I had to wonder. I thought the mother in law and I must live in different worlds. Of course we did, but she seemed to be voicing some universal principle because I heard that so many times from so many people. My life just ran differently.

And this evening I thought of her, my former mother in law. I had the most wonderfully amazing time with the kids on our winter journey, but for the first time as we drove across the mountains of northern Arizona and that endless stretch of the Mojave on I-40, I found myself deeply anticipating my return home.

I’ve had other trips with my kids since I’ve been single; I wonder why I never thought about this. I just didn’t. Maybe there wasn’t space in my head for it until now.

While we were gone, I had Grand Canyon hiking dreams (down and down and press against the rock wall, breathe, and down some more — up is less phobic for me); I had sitting in red rock canyon sun dreams of Sedona.

A view across and down the Grand Canyon.

A view across and down the Grand Canyon.

The River.

The River.

Their view from the edge.

Their view from the edge.

Top of a trail in Sedona.

Top of a trail in Sedona.

Me 'n' a tree.

Me ‘n’ a tree.

Local manzanita.

Local manzanita.

I had to go geekish on the local plants. It was wonderful. A little girl ran over from her parents to talk to me. She wanted to know why I was taking pictures of the plant. She wanted to know what the plant was. She wanted to know if I liked the plants. She was awesome. Her mother smiled at me. Her father glared. Ah, life.

And a part of me wanted to stay, stay, and always move around the southwest.

But. Along with those dreams, I had spring planting dreams.

Of all things, I dreamt I was planting pansies.

Digging into the cold-damp desert soil, working the compost in and planting…pansies.

Notice the poultry wire cage. The rabbits will eat these unless a barn cat is around.

Notice the poultry wire cage. The rabbits will eat these unless a barn cat is around.

Pansies. Don’t ask me, I don’t know. They aren’t my favorite flower but they are pretty. I’m not growing them in my plastic greenhouse. I do sometimes plant them in the front.

In this dream, I was so very present with the soil and the high thin winter sun on my back and the pansies.

Every year I experiment with my favorite flowers, different varieties of woodland violets mostly. Let’s see what can be brought from the prairie into the high desert. Sometimes it works. Sometimes, not so well. And sometimes the ground squirrels eat all the rhizomes first.

Shelves for experimental violets.

Shelves for experimental violets.

Woodland violets have the ability to make me unaccountably happy.

I think it has to do with childhood memories.

So I woke up this morning puzzling over pansies.

And on the long ride home, while Jacob drove, I hatched the beginnings of the plan for Rainshadow 2014. Some new elements and some old, moved around. That’s the advantage of a micro-farm. You can shift things around without too much trouble.

A few 2014 projects:

Rearrangement of raised beds.
More strawberries in one south-side bed.
Peas in north-side bed.
Green curtain on the south side of the house with vining beans. Maybe include pumpkins.
Begin the beehives. Prepare for that steep learning curve.
More chickens.
Bonnie wants to help me put in a pond. She’s the innovator. She’s done this before and she’s doing it again this year. I trust her instincts. I may just try this.
I need to expand the lavender plants.
I would like to greatly expand the native plant nursery and have begun to do just that.

Daffodils, January 2014

Daffodils, January 2014


About rainshadowfarm

I teach anthropology, am an archaeologist, a drylands agroecologist, community educator, and a single mother of eight grown kids. I currently own and operate an educational and research farm in the southern Mojave Desert, Rainshadow Farm. I'm 100% West Virginia hillbilly. Not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in agroecology, ethnobotany, family, Life changes, Nature and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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