Gardening and Life Plans.
No – this is not a blog that develops the ‘garden as life’ metaphor (although I am learning a lot about patience and how you can’t force something [or someone] to grow outside it’s season and rhythm.)
It’s just that for the first time in my life I’m growing things. My cottage in Ballinamore has a tiny courtyard of concrete and brick. Since June I’ve created a little oasis of bamboo, hanging fuschia, lobelias, ivy, silver green grasses, strawberries and about 7 herbs – all in containers.
The weird/fascinating thing is actually seeing things grow – very restful and quite delightful.
I was ruminating on why I’ve never done this before. I recently lived in an apartment with a lovely balcony and I wanted to grow things but there wasn’t a garden centre nearby.
So, part of the reason for not growing things was proximity. How easy (or not) it was to get what I wanted.
Here in Ballinamore I have a garden centre right across the street – and another one about 30 seconds down the street. When the urge takes me I just pop out and buy plants and ceramic pots and organic compost. Proximity.
Last week I was chatting with my next door neighbour (who is a wonderful woman in her 70’s) and I commented that her plant pots were empty. She said she’d wanted to have them done but people were too busy to do it for her.
Off I went and bought a pile of flowering plants (after asking her what she enjoyed) and with the help of my 3 year old neighbour we planted out about 6 pots of flowers. As we shoveled in compost and repotted the plants Eoin and I made up songs about plants. His new song goes like this ‘ grow grow grow please please please’ . It’ll never hit the charts but we enjoyed ourselves. As we planted away other people walked past and stopped and we all chatted and laughed. Life is just damn full of very very pleasant moments – simple and neighbourly.
Since moving to Ballinamore I’ve met a lot of people who are keenly interested in sustainable living and self building. Once again – proximity.
I’ve also met people who know the area and sell land – more proximity. One friend commented that I seem to attract all the things that make me happy (including a recently opened wine bar down the street!) because I am very clear about what connects to my values and passion.
So, my plan to build a natural & sustainable home (with permaculture, biodynamic and companion planted garden) is being influenced and supported by the proximity of:
- like minded people
- people with knowledge and skills
- really beautiful land and lakescape
- materials and information
It’s also reinforced by a sense that I want to create a home for my older age.
And, I want to create a home that’s inspired by my values and not by age and mortgage panic.
I know about panic. I moved from Sligo last November because I couldn’t afford to buy there. My bank also told me that because of my age I could only have a 20 year mortgage. So, I moved to Ballinamore because I thought land and homes would be more affordable. They are. Ballinamore has become more than a place to buy a home. It’s a community of really lovely people of all ages … surrounded by the quiet beauty of mountains, lakes, the canal, a waterfall and quiet country roads.
It’s the place that has found me. The place where I’ll create and build my own home without a huge mortgage.
I fully expect good humoured slagging (an irish and australian form of laughing at and with you) from friends and family along the lines of:
‘Great, your getting a home of your own at last’ (subtext – I don’t have to worry now that Liz will be homeless and sleeping on my floor)
‘You don’t know anything about building – buy a kit home’ (subtext – you’ll mess it up and end up sleeping on my floor)
‘Buy something that’s already built. Building is a complicated and painful process’ (subtext – building is a complicated and painful process.)
My patience will be in respecting and listening to people’s comments (which often reflect more about their dreams and fears than anything to do with me) – and then doing what I want to do.
I ‘saw’ myself in a self built house in a number of dreams over 20 years ago. And, in an exercise I did for myself about 5 or 6 years ago – I clearly saw myself in a lovely home I had built (the exercise is to write a letter to yourself from the future – a week before your 80th birthday. The older self writes to you now and tells you what you’ve done and been in your life. An amazing exercise in seeing what dreams really are important – and also that some dreams can take decades to come true.).
So, slowly and surely I will move towards realising this dream.
I have a heap to learn and in the process I know I’m going to attract many people who will help me on the way. And yeh – it’ll have moments and days and weeks probably of struggle and sheer teeth grinding frustration. One of the great things about being 48 is that I’ve had my struggles and frustrations and sheer tragedy … and I’ve survived and thrived … I’m flexible, creative and resilient. And when all else fails – there’s always the duvet day.
So – what dreams do you have that you think may be too … hard, impossible,expensive? A dream that tugs at you? Take it out and if it really really tugs at you then research, learn, plead … whatever needs doing …just make one more step towards it.