I grew up in Central Oregon. In the middle of the high desert. In the dust, sage, and juniper of cattle country. If you lived and working in central Oregon, you got used to everything being tones of grey, brown, and variable dust tones.
While I'm certain that appeals to some, like my parents, who settled there nearly 35 years ago, I hated the dry monotony of it. Water is a precious resource that isn't as readily available. We had our water on the irrigation canal lines and had to use it well. We didn't have a yard, so much as a swath of native weeds, cheatgrass. Cheatgrass gets everywhere and into everything. It isn't very nice and created quite the veterinary bill collection.
In college, I moved (very temporarily) to the Portland area and then back home. I felt drawn to the vast green-ness of this region. The forests in the middle of the city, the rampant plant life, and thriving ecological symbiosis of the city and nature throughout the area.
In 2016, my husband and our kiddos moved back to the Portland area at the time 2 and 4. We lived in an apartment with carefully landscaped and, quite frankly... stagnant. It was beautiful on the surface but had more than a handful of major issues.
I dreamt of sinking my fingers in the soil of my own space. I had the drive to learn how to produce our own resources and be self-sustaining with my kids, but I lacked the space to move on such dreams. We moved out under less than ideal circumstances in 2019 and drifted to the opposite end of the Portland metro area.
I settled in with my 2nd partner (remember, polyam) and his family in their duplex with a small back yard and ample porch space. I grew my first AMAZING garden in the summer of 2020. I learned a lot in my first year. I spent hours upon hours reading, collecting information, watching videos, and planning for our future. This blog is part of that.
I could never move back to central Oregon. But I also struggle with seasonal depression because of the wet, cold months of winter in Portland. I love rain, and I love the green that it creates. However, it's hard to see the sunshine through the clouds, and it's miserable working in mud.
Yesterday, we had sunshine. It was still cold, it was still miserable, but it was dry. I used that time to pull the dead wildflowers from my fenceline bed and turn the soil in my porch pots, pulling the clover and leftover roots from the previous season. I tore down some broken shelving and moved a wire rack (yard sale find last summer) from the back to replace it.
Today, I'm sore in my entirety. Every muscle aches when I move, breathe, or cough. But I got my fingers dirty, I cleared planting space in preparation for next season, and I'm ready to keep working on the garden that can be. It's not finished, but it's better, and now I know that some gardening has been done. (It started getting windy and rainy about 10 min after these photos were taken)