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Isn’t it funny how time gets away from you? There you are, minding your own business, just kind of getting through life and the next thing you know, six months have gone by.

Um, oops. What can I say? I’ve been busy.

So anyway, there’s been all sorts of brouhaha lately because it seems like some people got a little bit confused as to whether they invented a certain term. Now, I’m not going to name names. Far be it from me to call anyone out by name, or sling mud. I won’t even sling compost.

But I do need to say one thing: I am an urban homesteader. Got that? Urban homesteader. I may not be as effective or competent at it as others are, but the fact remains that as I do not live on acreage, and I do garden, can, keep chickens, etc and so forth, well, then I guess I’m an urban homesteader.

Trademark that.


So after the first couple of meetings with the City, they had suggested a possible location for the community garden. A location that pretty much had everything you would not want in a community garden. Or any kind of garden. I could list all that was wrong with it, but that would take too long. So I’ll tell you what was right with it: it was not on fire. Though perhaps I exaggerate just a little.

Long story short, another alternative was found, and here it is. It’s got a few problems — the fact that it’s a former industrial storage site being one of them — but it has a lot of things right. It has bathrooms. It has parking. It’s on a bus line. And of course, it also is not on fire. As for the possible soil contamination, that can be dealt with. Hopefully.

But can you see it? That concrete footer to the left could possibly be a small play area, or possibly a berry patch. I can see the plots laid out, the plants growing. I’d love for there to be some sort of seating area where people can take a break, and storage lockers so that no one has to lug their tools around town. One of the other gardeners suggested that we have a plot specifically for the food bank, to help provide them with fresh vegetables, and I can see that, too. I can see it so clearly, I have to keep reminding myself that it hasn’t actually happened yet.

As I’ve said before, gardeners are nothing but optimism wrapped in dirt. So maybe this project is just an overflowing of (misplaced) optimism. But I really, really hope not.

So I’m in a little bit of a holding pattern right now. Waiting for the chickens to figure out that it’s really better to lay eggs in their nest boxes, as opposed to…anywhere else. Waiting for the tomato plants to get into full swing so I can start putting up tomato sauce. Waiting for the apples to finish off so I can…well, eat them! And last but not least (and really, not even last if you think about it) waiting to hear about my latest and greatest what-have-I-gotten-myself-into project: the Community Garden.

Let me say this: I love community gardens. I think they’re just about the neatest idea ever. I love the idea of people not just growing food, but growing an actual community. And as much as I appreciate the ability to tell my husband to go take a long walk off a short pier (or other, less G-rated things) without having to fear being thrown out into the street with nothing, to pursue the career of my choosing, to have money and property in my own name, and all those other good things brought to me by the women’s movement, I feel a little sad that women’s role as community builders has been, if not lost, then definitely put on the back burner.

But this is not a post about feminism, post-feminism, or anything like that. This is a post about how I. Am. A. Freakin’. Lunatic.

Because for years and years, I said to myself, “You know, this town needs a community garden.” And then one day, for no good reason, really, other than my kids were keeping the noise level down to a low din, and I could almost hear myself think for a second there, I heard my voice saying something: I Am That Someone. Of course, in retrospect, I might actually have been thinking I Want Some Gum. I’ll never know for sure, because by the time I realized I may have misheard what I was thinking, it was too late. I’d placed ads in various places, looking for others who think that community gardens are good, and I was off.

And after two meetings with the city Parks & Recreation Department (at one of which I was required to stand up in a public forum and *gasp* speak on behalf of our group in front of an audience — albeit a very small one) here I sit, waiting for the final yay or nay from the city, and all the while, what my mother calls my contingency chromosome is about to go critical. If the city approves, then I have plans to go ahead with fundraising and more outreach. If the city says no, I have a mental list of vacant lots scattered throughout town, and the phone number of the county assessor’s office to start doing title searches.

Gentle reader, you may be asking yourself how all this makes me a lunatic? All this makes me a lunatic because before I started this project I had, on average, 43.78 free seconds a day. And now, I have none. But I may end this up with more dirt to play in, a new set of skills, and a new set of words to define myself: community organizer. I can live with that.

But still, next time I can hear myself think, I’m just going to get a piece of gum, and see if the voices go away.


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