The Hundred Acre Weed and Rock Sanctuary

My husband and I both grew up in the city, so our move to our own hundred acre paradise was a lot like the old TV series, Green Acres. Dreamer that I am, I had a vision of a bountiful garden, horses, chickens, maybe a cow or two.
My husband did not share this vision.
The kids bought into the animals, but not the garden part. But, by using the art of friendly persuasion, bribes, I got them all to pitch in and with the help of neighbors with a tractor and plow, we put in a half acre garden that first spring living in the wilds.
It turned out that all those delightful forest animals the children enjoyed finding and watching, are not a gardener’s friends. We began to learn the fine art of warring with nature. Reading magazines on being earth friendly, I fought the potato slugs with jar lids filled with beer. Humans are not the only creatures led to their downfall by alcohol. Evil though it may seem, since the beer actually dissolves the slugs, I convinced myself that they died happy.
Unfortunately, since we had an early drought and our garden was not near a water source, the only vegetables to survive were the potatoes. Go figure, my maiden name was O’Leary. We had mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, baked potatoes, boiled potatoes, hash-brown potatoes, and eventually smelly rotten potatoes. So the next spring we put in a garden about half that size , closer to a water source.
We did not plant potatoes.
This time we lost most of the lettuce and carrots to rabbits, but when the drought came, my visiting apartment bred brother got into the back to nature spirit and hauled buckets of water to save the tomatoes. The deer greatly appreciated his efforts.
The third year, I planted a tiny garden right outside our master bedroom’s sliding glass doors next to a hose bib. I added shiny tin pie plates and wind chimes to discourage nature’s predators lurking in the surrounding woods. I figured that I could stand in my bedroom door in my robe holding a hose to water the cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots. Still reading my nature friendly magazines, I used their recipe for a free safe fertilizer called manure tea, which I made by steeping fresh horse manure in buckets of water.
Unfortunately, I didn’t think about our house having huge attic fans and walls of sliding glass doors instead of air conditioning. Fermented manure tea spread all around outside our bedroom quickly made rotting potatoes seem like perfume.
Though our tiny garden produced gigantic cucumbers and tomatoes and enough of everything for us, our neighbors, city friends, and all the deer and rabbits within miles, a week of sleeping in midsummer heat with all the windows and doors closed, also fermented a rebellion among my family. My husband and five children took a vote. Their unaminous decision was that it wasn’t going to be our hundred acre farm. It was going to be our hundred acre weed and rock sanctuary.
I gave in graciously, since I had finally figured out that when all our farmer neighbors got tired of canning and freezing, they were exceptionally generous with their surplus.

About Eileen

Mother of five, grandmother of nine, great-grandmother of four. 1955 -1959 Rice University in Houston, TX. Taught primary grades; Was Associate Post Director of Religious Education at Ft. Campbell, KY; Consultant on the Myers/Briggs Type Indicator, Was married for 60 years to an Architect in Middle Tennessee.

Posted on March 26, 2020, in A rock and weed sanctuary, Green Acres, Humor, Nature and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Farming is much harder than it seems! We live in Green Acres, but a manageable, for us, 8 acres, still the hundreds of pomegranate trees basically feed the birds, and anyone who wants to pick them. I think they are being put to good use.
    Stay safe my friend.

    • Other than the reserve near your land, I think our neighborhoods were similar. It was down a dirt road through a creek and beautiful hills and fields, but trailers and a few small houses. We were the only outsiders since the Civil War to move into the “holler.” I’m going to try to make a collection of stories from our experiences into a book. But some of the “Old” neighbors’ progeny still live around there, so I might have to censor some of the more incredible ones for the safety of my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren that still live in Dickson. I loved the land and I was heart broken when it became necessary to move into town. Connecting with you has been one of the best things about blogging. You take care also. We used to come to Santa Monica every year when one of our sons lived there. He moved to Cambodia with his partner, Patrick, and they have taught at an orphanage for children born HIV positive for about eight years now.

  2. How refreshing to read of dreams being brought down to Earth in stages. I like you dream of a farm, animals, homegrown produce. My husband is the one who ends up realising my dreams with his hard work. The tales and photos of snakes from friends who have taken the plunge are sobering, even to my air borne heart.

    • Air borne heart!!!!!!!! Lovely…and I can so relate. What is your husband’s name, so I can ask about him? My husband, Julian, had a snake phobia and I had a gun phobia, so when one of the children yelled snake, my husband ran to get
      a gun and I grabbed a hoe and beat him to the snake!

      • My husband is called Mark.

        • Thanks. You two have been together for quite a while. My brother, Semmes, and his husband, Rick, have been together thirty + years. Last year they were flying to Australia and going on a cruise to New Zealand where my father died. But my brother developed blood clots in his lungs and was in a hospital in Sidney for over a month. They formed friendships with others in the hospital and their families and still keep in touch.
          My son Mike and his husband Patrick have been together close to 20 years. They live in Cambodia in Phnom Penn, but most of the week live and teach at an Orphanage for children born HIV positive in a village about twenty miles away. They have been living there seven or eight years and used to go as volunteers for two weeks to a month for several years before they moved there. They face time with me every weekend. It is a small world now. Australia has been through horrible times lately. The virus on top of the fires is just too much. Nashville had tornados just before the virus hit Tennessee. They danced all around our families living in that area, but our son and his children escaped without serious damage. You and Mark are in my prayers for safety and blessings. At 82 I am so grateful I lived long enough to experience connecting with people all over the world. When we moved to the small town of Dickson 49 years ago I had to go through an operator to get connected to Nashville. We had been living in town while our house was being built and I was calling Nashville and the Operator said, ” Eileen, is that you?” She recognized my voice from a meeting at the Elementary School. And when we finally got moved out to our new house in the country they only had party lines where 4 families would share the same phone line and you’d go to make a call and someone was talking, so you’d say, “Sorry” and hang up and wait a while to try again. I am really sounding old!! But old as I am, there are many many things about this era that thrill me. You can tell I’ve been isolated for a while can’t you. 🙂

          • It’s great hearing from you, and that you are okay. A shame your Semmes and Rick didn’t get to New Zealand. Nothing but admiration for the work Mike and Patrick are doing.

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