For the past many years, summers have meant waiting tables for cash or long breaks between lesson plans. They've meant stacks of books and episodes with friends. They've meant plane tickets and car rides, tents and hiking gear, bathing suits and salty waves. Summers have also meant moving trucks, packing tape, boxes. In 2005, I moved from State St. in Ithaca to 5 miles out of town. In 2006, I ventured from Ithaca, NY to Whiteriver, Arizona, home of the White Mountain Apache Tribe. I might as well have moved to the moon. In 2008, I moved to Rodney Street, NE Portland and then, after a few weeks of futon-surfing, to N. Wilbur, and a few months later when my roommate and I officially split ways, to NE Alberta. In 2009, again, boxes were packed, container garden relocated, and I landed on NoPo.

I've always grown things. In Ithaca, I rented small apartments and managed a few containers of basil or tomatoes when possible, but inside, I grew ivy and orchids and violets. When I moved to Arizona, though, I gave all my plants (and a lot of my other possessions) away. In Arizona, I attempted an outdoor container garden, despite being gone six weeks in the summer and having to water it twice a day. I also wandered around the desert, marveling at the night-blooming desert primrose and the rampant wild sunflowers and the cactus blossoms. But when I would leave for the summers, once again, this transient had to give away her garden.

Now, despite renting a dilapidated house in NoPo on a month-to-month lease, I feel settled. Ready to hang the proverbial hat. Yes, summer still means some sort of job and a few plane tickets and road trips, hiking and camping gear, and salty waves, but now it also means pruning shears and seeds and compost and earthworms, because I have a few things that I was lacking before:

First, I have a sense of home. In Ithaca, I was staring at the horizon,  plotting, dreaming of my next adventure. In Arizona, Portland beckoned, Ecuador beckoned, the East coast called me home to family. Now, I want to be home for longer periods of time. I don't have the need to run off to another state or even another side of town all the time.

And, I have a sense of community. I have friends and neighbors happy to water my garden and feed my animals while I'm away. I have a partner eager to help me with my projects and plans. I have a community of bloggers and writers and growers who are eager to share what they love and know about permaculture, beekeeping, organic gardening, raising chickens, homesteading, etc.

So now, I am venturing into new territory. I have seedlings growing on homemade shelves under florescent lights, I have poults chirping in a cardboard box, and I have honeybees on order. And I wonder, as I go from small-scale container gardening to large veggie garden with bees and chickens, am I ready for all of this? I feel that I am ready for the work. I love to work when it's something I love. I smile the whole time I'm in my garden. But am I ready for the potential failures? I know that there is only one answer for this, but I hope I can accept it: No, I'm not ready for the potential failures, but I have to know that they will happen. They happen to everyone. Novella Carpenter lost Maud, the turkey, to dogs, and bees to CCD. Jenna Sandgate overcame numerous failures, including the loss of her first hive due to improper care of her queen, her chicks getting killed by her dogs, and a rabbit dying from a wounded foot. My next door neighbor lost her black australorp to the neighbor's dog, while I was chicken-sitting, while her other hens didn't start laying until last month.

These narratives might be comforting someday, but honestly, now, they terrify me a bit. I'm good at botching stuff. Or so it feels. Maybe we all feel that way. I dream of my bees happily humming from flower to flower, pollinating my garden that the slugs ignore and the weeds stay far from. I imagine my chickens laying blue and brown eggs by July. I imagine large red and orange tomatoes and a crowded, delicious herb spiral and flowers, flowers everywhere. I dream the dream, but fear that I'm going to fuck it all up. The dream continues and grows, but I see, everyday, that it's going to be work. Real work. And learning. And experimentation. And problem solving. And failure. So here I go.

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