Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Under my own vine & fig

A couple of years ago I decided to take a little break from blogging to devote more of my attention to family matters. In fact, I drastically cut back on all social media. I needed a breather. I did not intend to be gone so long, but I needed to reconnect with my inner introvert. However, while I was doing that, something else happened: I became an urban farmer.

It all began quite innocently enough. For awhile my husband and I had been trying to eat locally and seasonally, which led us to gardening in our back yard. We built beds and planted our first small crops. We went on garden tours and talked with a lot of experienced folks. Soon, our conversations were filled with words like “sustainability,” “permaculture,” and could talk compost with the best of them. Our garden grew. We planted more fruit trees. I learned to can, and I didn't blow a hole in the ceiling.
It didn't take long for us to realize that many of the master gardeners in our area also kept a flock of chickens. Curious (and with my husband ecstatic over with the thought of chicken manure for the compost bin), we went on our first Tour de Coops in the Phoenix area. We knew that very day that this was something we wanted to do. And so the adventure began.

For the next year we designed the back yard to accommodate a chicken coop, looked at coop plans online, talked with chicken people (including some of my family members) and read, read, read. I subscribed to Backyard Poultry magazine. Soon it was time to bring home our little flock, five beautiful pullets. The Coop de Grace was born, and I have not been the same since.

The urban farm community, both local and online, has been so giving and willing to share what they have learned along the way, that I in turn want to do the same for others who may be fledgling gardeners and coop keepers like us.  A couple of decades ago, someone who helped me immensely in my life's journey told me that his personal philosophy was that he was “just a beggar showing other beggars where to find food.” While he meant this in a spiritual sense, I think this also applies to just about any area of human endeavor. At The Garden Gate it is gardening and keeping chickens, cooking simply, living simply, re-purposing whenever possible, pursuing creative outlets, and sharing our bounty with family and friends.

So while I haven't given up the things that made up the former Garden Gate, I hope I have certainly “re-purposed” it into something of a richer brew. Thanks for stopping by! Don't be a stranger ~ the garden gate is open.


Nathalie said...

Hi my very dear Joy
It is so good to see your new blog.
Xo Xo - Nathalie

Penelope's Beehive said...

I am DELIGHTED to see you back to blogging Joy! I have missed you, and shall look forward to visiting with you often (hint, pressure, eh?)


Michelle said...

JOY!!! I've missed you so. I'm so excited to see you back to blogging. I'm loving all the pics of your little flock too. How exciting for you!