Wandering into Urban Homesteads

God willing, today was the last day I will have to live out of my car. The floors took two weeks instead of one. In the meantime I have forgotten how to keep house–having a thick layer of fine wood dust on everything each night has beaten me down–and haven’t learned how to be a gypsy. I’ve been leaving the house at 9:00 and wandering around the county doing little errands or some shopping. I can take all the time I want to try on clothes or look for that special title at the library’s used book store…

But today, Memorial Day, the library was closed, and there was no place to be. My bed, my computer, and some vegetables were what I longed for. I have lost all my sociability and courage and just want to be a housewife hermit for a few months.

But before today’s last straw, some outings I enjoyed were gardening at church, and having a long-overdue chat with my priest; sitting in Starbucks on a day of pouring rain and drinking the largest Café Mocha I’ve ever indulged in; and visits with crafty gardening friends.

K. and S. got more chickens, and a hive of bees! They are growing everything from parsley and onions to raspberries and blueberries. K. has been knitting sweaters and socks. It was lovely to catch up on their homesteading developments.

One night we visited with our longtime friends who I will call Art and Di. Di is one my best-ever book friends; we never have enough time to sit by a fire in winter, or on the patio in summer, to talk about our reading and how it is all connected. She and my husband never tire of sharing music from their old and new favorite musicians.

Art creates beauty, whether it’s in his sketchbook or the garden. Among the santolina, lavender, germander and California poppies he had this yellow-flowered giant I wasn’t familiar with. He said it was sage, and wanting to know just what sort, I went home and researched it online.It didn’t seem to be in the salvia group, so I set several of my botanical sleuths on the chase and found out that it is Jerusalem Sage, not a salvia but Phlomis fruticosa. I also learned that Salvia and Phlomis are both members of the Lamiacea family, also known as the mint family.

In addition to propagating unthirsty plants such as the ones that populate the textured garden in their front yard, he has created a clever drip/wicking irrigation system that gets the needed amount of water right to the roots of his back yard vegetables. In the photos here, if you look closely you can see that the wick goes into a piece of hose carrying the moisture deep to the root zone. The paper bag that normally hides the water pot from the sun has been lifted briefly for me to see it.

Writing about these inspiring gardens and people I love is helping bring my most stressful day and fortnight to a better close than I thought possible when I sat down here an hour ago. Just remembering gardens and books and good friends is soothing and healing.

14 thoughts on “Wandering into Urban Homesteads

  1. Wishing you joy in your new old home, and a peaceful remainder of the summer in which you have sufficient time to play the hermit yourself :^)


  2. I'm glad your ordeal will soon be over! Yesterday was your last day in the car? I hope that means that today, you can begin to set everything back in order 🙂 Let us know if you feel it was all worth it! I enjoyed all your pics today. I love all those wonderful herbs.


  3. We have friends who own a little farmette a bit out from our home – so technically they are not Urban Farmers.. but they are always an inspiration to me. I loved the gardening pictures. It gets so terribly hot and humid here that I lose any inclination to garden quite early in the season. But, I do love a beautiful garden.

    Our kitchen remodeling has commenced. We had 3 days without water (during working hours). Now we've moved on to more pounding today.


  4. That wicking system looks interesting, esp for our climate. I suppose they have spent a lot of time building up fantastic soil.

    I've been tickled that my daughters have put some veg in the ground as soon as they lived in a place where they could do so. Son wants to as well. He is stuck in an apartment with a busy schedule for now, but dreams of having time and space for a dog and a tiny garden.



  5. What a lovely post! I'm glad it left you feeling better too! Thank you for finding out about the Jerusalem sage. I was wondering what it was. Aren't herb gardens wonderful!!



  6. Sometimes God gives us these gifts of time. When we have the time, we hardly know what to do with it. When we don't have the gift of time, we long for it.

    I would not do so well having to be away from my home for such a long time.

    It was fun seeing the gardens you visited.



  7. I agree. The garden is so soothing and I love looking at pictures of fairy gardens and overgrown secret gardens. I am making my little work room into a library and I can't wait to finish school so I can arrange things. Happy! I can't wait to see photos of your finished house stuff.


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