Humble Garden

ReSkilling for future food independence

Gardening as refuge

Posted by Nika On July - 12 - 2008

Humble Garden: KD and the popcorn

(KD next to our popcorn)

Sometimes, the price of oil and the collapse of the housing market and the fall of the freddies and maes and indimacs of the world, that can all weigh on you a bit. On the other side, the feeling that there are things that need to get done at home and at work can become overwhelming as well.

There is this cognitive dissonance between working on self-sufficiency at home and then having to commute 80 miles a day that can cause a low-temperature sort of boil or ferment that can add to the stress.

I am also rather frustrated with the way a recent meeting I set up for re-localizing the food production in our region went. One person came (she was awesome! Hope to get to know her better and I am sure she will be doing neat things) and then we were rather negatively harassed by a very drunk and increasingly belligerent homeless woman.

Really threw us both off kilter.

Made me think a lot about how complex community building and crafting has to be. I came to overt terms with something that has been with me all my life (due to growing up with an alcoholic grandfather): I do not suffer drunks at all. I throw up an instant zero-tolerance mindset. I know I should be tolerant on some compassionate level but it is hard for me. Part of it stems from this expectation that I have that adults are expected to be functional on a substantial basis otherwise they are wasting the time of the community. This made my thoughts go toward how I would cope with dealing with this sort of problem if society went into a collapse mode and we all had to fend for ourselves much more.

Needless to say, this is all heavy stuff!

I am extremely grateful to be able to walk out my back door and into our garden and tend it, pick a few weeds, nip the suckers on the tomatoes, look for incipient disease or infestations. I get to go look at the chickens in the chicken tractor or in the chicken run. I can go and watch the sweetheart goats, romping and nibbling bushes, head butting each other. I can watch the llama, the shy thing she is. I can wander to the edge of the garden and pick wild blueberries.

I am going to share some of the scenes around the garden in the past week. Hope you enjoy and perhaps relax a bit yourself.

Peas, such beautiful peas.

Humble Garden: Peas in the sun

(Peas in the sun)

We had our first batch of fresh shelled peas yesterday, super sweet!

Cabbages grow with such rigor, I am LOVING them just as plants right now. I planted loads of them along with some hot peppers.. am going to make some sauerkraut and also kimchi with lactofermentation (using whey from raw goats milk). This will be a fantastic source of vitamin C and other things for the rest of the year.

Humble Garden: KD and the cabbages

(KD modeling the cabbage)

Humble Garden: cabbages

(Voluptuous cabbages!)

Broccoli is a luxury but I love growing this vigorous enormous plants! Its my conceit :-)

Humble Garden: Broccoli and peas

(Some of the broccoli plants, have two beds of them)

Humble Garden: Broccoli before the heads

(Not heading out yet)

Humble Garden: Broccoli head starting to grow

(This one is developing a head)

Cherry Peppers will be used in the kimchi and perhaps other sorts of pickles.

Humble Garden: Cherry Peppers

(Still green)

Humble Garden: Cherry Peppers

(Mixed up with cilantro)

Chickens in the tractor, hanging out.

Pastured Chickens: Barred Rock young pullets

(Barred rock layers, youngins)

Pastured Chickens: Barred Rock young pullets

(Barred rock layers, youngins, closer up)

Tomatoes growing like gang busters.

Humble Garden: tomatoes, cabbages, etc

(Two beds, many tomatoes (more than 20 plants), various cabbages)

Humble Garden: Q's hand and growing tomatoes

(Lots of fruits)

Bad baby goats that are trying to and having success getting into the chicken pen. Why? I have no idea other than – its there, lets go there.

Humble Garden: Bad goatlet in the chicken pen

(Some of the babies -getting big now- got into the chicken run)

Misty who has one black eye and one blue eye.

Humble Garden 2008: Misty the guard llama



Humble Garden 2008: wild blueberries

(Blueberries, almost ripe)

Humble Garden 2008: wild blueberries

(Intense purple)

Acorn squash

Humble Garden 2008: squash blossoms


Thanks for visiting!

6 Responses to “Gardening as refuge”

  1. Heidi says:

    Wow, Nika,

    I’m so sorry to hear about the drunken woman harassing you at the event. Alcohol can do such horrible things to the mind and body.

    BUT, what a beautiful, alive refuge you have to go to! Your gardens look fantastic and so, so healthy and productive. Congratulations on that and forget the ignorance of people who don’t know better. You’re doing such good things in your life and for your children in teaching them such wonderful things.

    Keep on growing and living

  2. Nika says:

    Heidi: Thanks for your note! Writing about it helped a bit and your support is very appreciated!

    I envy your lavender! I never get organized on the lavender front, would love to be swimming in the stuff!

  3. Stephanie says:

    This is the first time I’ve commented here, though I’ve been following this blog for a while now.

    Wonderful, wonderful garden. I wish I had the drive to do all of that. Of course, the huge backyard would help as well. This world would be a better place if everyone were doing more to be as self-sufficient as you and your family are trying to be.

    And if you need to get rid of anything because of a bumper crop, I’ll be happy to take it off your hands.

  4. Nika says:


    Gosh, so glad you were able to leave a comment today :-) Nice to meet you. I fear a bumper crop of volunteer cherry tomatoes (that nearly ate the whole garden last year), think they would ship ok? :-)

    Trust me that even just in the second year, it all doesnt seem like that much work anymore. You sort of get used to it. I am the gardener, my oldest daughter is the animal tender and milk maid and my husband is the builder (of animal abodes) and he and the oldest daughter do the heavy mucking. I certainly could NOT do all that alone! Oh, I am also the animal killer and butcherer, the husband gets the carcass and has to roast it up.

    The younger daughter likes to wander amongst the raised beds and dig in the dirt. The toddler boy doesnt get to go out much, our mosquitoes are really bad right now (west nile was detected a few miles to our east in the last few weeks).

  5. Erika says:

    Your garden looks beautiful! I struggle with the brassica vegetables due to those pesky cabbage moths, but yours look so big and healthy! Maybe the key there is quantity.

    Is Misty a llama? What do you do with a llama?

  6. Nika says:

    Erika: Sorry its taken so long to reply! Yep, misty is a llama – she was kindly given to us by a neighbor – Llamas, when single, will protect a herd of goats or sheep like their own family.

    We get those darn cabbage worms like crazy .. for a while there they were really working on the cabbage but I think they have turned a corner .. some of the leaves are eaten but the cabbage heart is growing like there are no issues, go figure.

    I have tried killing them by hand and blasting with water.. they are prolific things.I might try BT next if they become even worse. Or perhaps next year.

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About Me

We are a family of 5, including Nika, Ed, Q (14), KD (7), and Baby Oh (4). We garden 1024 square feet of raised beds plus assorted permacultural plantings. We also have 13 LaMancha dairy goats, 40 chickens, and one guard llama.



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