Little house on the Prairie


Perhaps my obsession for a farm didn’t start with my dads death. As I think back I remember my deep affection for Little House on the Prairie and how I wanted more than anything to live in a loft with the fireplace crackling and journal about my life. I could wake up and run out into the sweet fragrance of summer and meander through the wheat fields, carefree. I wanted it all, minus Nellie Olson. I picture it as if it was me and not Laura. Alas I am here in my office, listening to The Notebook soundtrack, feeling the wind blow through my windows, and typing rather than using a pencil and paper. The conveniences of today are pretty amazing.

Since I live in 2014 I decided to garden in a little more practical way. I’m pretty grateful that I don’t have to go fetch water from the well for my plants.

“But still, some things are as unpredictable as they were in Laura’s day as I am about to find out.”

I started to prepare for my garden while it was still cold. I took great care in picking the best brand of certified organic non GMO seeds and organic soil months ago. I planted my seeds in an indoor compostable bin. I watched and watered them daily since the end of March. The cold lingered in Indiana well into May, but by this time we were totally ready. We’d built our garden beds, purchased 7 fruit trees, and mapped out corners of the yard for the berry bushes and strawberries. We had a plan!

This past Saturday I spent hours working in the dirt preparing my garden beds. I mixed the soil with my hands until my fingers were cramped and sore and I could not stand upright. I dug worms from other areas to make sure those friendly garden helpers were in my beds. I finished just as dusk was settling, covered in dirt and sweat. Daniel and I sat on our patio exhausted but excited to see all of our hard work coming together.

“I looked at the beds Sunday afternoon knowing that all of that preparation is finally paying off.”

I’m ready to put my tiny plants into the soil. It was a perfect afternoon, sunny but not too hot. I put on my garden pants, covered myself in a layer of sunscreen and began digging and planting. It wasn’t long before the first garden bed was full. The following day I worked another 6 hours in my yard planting, weeding, removing sod, and lovingly walking through the grove of trees my husband, kids, and I had planted. I looked over the land that is our beginning of a homestead farm and smiled. I’ve finally got the farm and it won’t be long until I am reaping a bountiful harvest of fruits and veggies. At least that is what I thought.

Monday the weather forecasters were predicting severe weather in central Indiana for Wednesday. I was prepared to stand and get pelted with ice chunks of hail if that’s what it took to save what has just been planted. But opening the door on Wednesday afternoon proved to be a huge problem. I felt like Laura Ingalls Wilder standing on her porch seeing all of her work being destroyed by nature and there was nothing that she could do about it except watch in horror. That was me yesterday without the bonnet and very thankful for indoor plumbing.

After the assault from mother nature I walked out in my yard and surveyed the damage. My tomatoes, crushed. My zucchinis, squashed. My berries, squeezed. And all of the small sprouts that were to be planted this coming weekend were scattered all throughout my yard.

“I had the beginnings of a salad but it’s all been tossed.”

Isn’t that life though? You plan, wait, work, and then something unexpected happens. The most important thing that I’ve learned over last few years is that you have to roll with the punches and not get bent out of shape. How would I benefit by crying and shouting? I can’t go back in time. Sure my garden needs to be replanted which means another trip to Lowes which means more money, which means more finacial planning, which means more time working, which leads to more time working in the yard. I may need to spend more money but I am so grateful for the time I get to spend with my family. I have my little house on the prairie with plumbing minus Nellie Olson and I’m happy.

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