5.19.2013

What is the Point?

Ok, a little caveat before I begin.... I am going to yell, I am going to scream, and I am probably going to swear. You've been warned.

So this weekend is Cleveland's official last frost date and I am preparing to put my plants in the ground (the ones I lovingly grew from seed in organic seed starting mix on a seed shelf with lights that I built.) I go out side to begin tilling. My tiller is battery powered (Stupid) and I can only till ONE HALF of a bed at a time until the battery dies. I get my one half tilled and amended with soil that I purchased because my compost isn't ready.

I plug the battery back in and head to Home Depot to purchase more fencing materials to keep out the Bastard Groundhogs. I am looking around at prices, and I think to myself damn, 30 of these poles is going to cost me $100. Plus the compost and poo-in-a-bag that I need to purchase to amend the rest of the beds. Add in another $15.

Did I mention that we are fighting ants this year? All of a sudden, out of nowhere, we have these tiny little black ants. I don't get it. I have a clean house. Like, a really clean house. People who don't know we have 3 cats always say, but your house is so clean! Im like, yeah, I know, I'm weird. So why the hell do we have ants?!?! I purchase a bottle of bug pray for the house, $11.

I am idiot because this year I am keeping track of all my expenses for the garden and chickens, and would you like to know the grand total?!?!  $673.93

I know I cannot be the only out there who is going, seriously?! Nearly 3/4 of 1000 dollars? Are you kidding me? Before the tomatoes have even gone in the ground?! You've got to be fricking joking.

Would you like to know the cost to join a seriously awesome CSA for the entire season??? $550. That's it. Less than I have spent on my garden before my plants have even seen a whole week of real sunlight.

So obviously, I am having one of those "What the hell am I doing?!" days. What is the point of spending all this money on groundhog defense, chicken prisons, bug sprays, grass seed, chicken feed, vegetable seeds, soil amendments, etc??? Am I seriously pretending I am actually making a difference by growing only a fraction of our food while still supporting the Big Man by making all of those supporting purchases at big box stores? Doesn't it all seem rather stupid?

For all of the money I have spent on making a garden, I could have a super awesome privacy fence so I don't have to see my neighbor's nasty weeds, and I could have a place for the chickens to roam and eat grass and not be in a prison. And I could still get locally grown produce and dairy from people who know what they are doing.

So, what is the point of all of this? Seriously....

AND  I must have had all of this written on my face as I was pacing the store thinking "am I nuts?!" because every single store employee asked me if I was ok... Uh, I guess I am ok... Just having a reality check...

So other than the ants and the Bastard Groundhog, we also have bees and mice in our garage... Both of which I am NOT excited about...

And look, if you are going to leave nasty comments and kick me while I'm down, I just won't publish them. I am only looking for words of encouragement here folks....

13 comments:

  1. Technically, the fencing, posts other items purchased for your garden infrastructure (i.e. keeping the bastard groundhog out) should be amortized for five or six years, so you "could" lower that almost-seven-hundred-bucks total down a bit. Not that it makes you feel any better.
    And you do know that some of the advantages of gardening come not from what we put in our maws, but what we put in our souls. Gardening is good therapy (as is killing a groundhog with a spear gun. at least that's what i've heard).

    But, I do have to admit that it is frustrating, especially when you have a super cool CSA nearby. But how fun would it be if you just sat in your privacy fenced back yard, sipping a margarita, sun tanning?! BORING! :)

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    1. Oh... Margarita... That is my happy place right now :)

      And I could still do peppers and a few tomatoes, and herbs, and kales...

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    2. Oh, *le sigh* when our 'happy place' gives us the aggravations. :)

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  2. I look at as- why do we spend $ on anything that we could consider optional? What brings you joy/satisfaction? And what if the CSA had a really bad year? I think anything we do that gives us satisfaction, like biting into a home-grown tomato you picked one minute ago, is worth it. I agree too- fencing, hardscaping, canning supplies, coop re-build (we did), etc. should be looked at as a multi year investment. It's still cash out of pocket, but it hurts just once. I buy from a local feed store chain as much as possible and stay out of the big box stores, if I can. I'd rather support them...

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    1. We get our chicken supplies from a couple of local guys, so really, I am happy to support them. Even if we did stop the gardening thing, I would keep the chickens.

      I keep trying to remember, its just a bad day...

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  3. I have had these same thoughts and feelings myself! It is an INVESTMENT in the future if you're planning on sticking around. It does pay back as long as you're around long enough and keep on plugging!

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  4. Oh yeah...Little black ants here too...Man are they FAST. Squish, squish.

    BTW, neighbor just spent $700 with Orkin to spray around his house for ants and spiders. 7 treatment in 1 year. Can anyone say big waste of money? I heard that bait traps work best. Good Luck Sister!

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    1. I think for sure we will be here for awhile. We love our neighborhood and don't plan on leaving unless I get a super awesome job somewhere other than here when I graduate, which is for sure 2 years away.

      And as for the ants... It wasn't a ton, but still freaked me out. I treated the outside of the house and the inside and cleaned yet again. I think it will be fine, just annoying!

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  5. I often wonder why I grow anything to can. I can buy canned tomatoes cheaper than I can grow and can them (lids alone cost a fortune these days). Why do I grow a ton of zucchini, then have to give it away or compost it. Why do I have a compost pile, then go to the nursery to buy compost? Why is my freezer still full of green beans and Mr. Granny's favorite phrase is "What? Green beans again?". Why do I even bother to garden?

    Oh....because the highs are more frequent than the lows, and garden gives me such a sense of accomplishment, and because....because I LOVE it!

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  6. I am sorry you are having a bad day. I had these thoughts on Friday:

    1. Why the hell did I buy a farm? No matter how bad I want to be a farmer, owning one does not make it so.

    2. Maybe all those big box buying yuppies are on to something...there's no roosters attacking them and they don't put on fresh, warm socks only to return from morning animal chores with frozen toes and wet socks.

    3. Send my kid to school. I am not a teacher either, and she is going to have to learn to learn in big groups someday.

    4. Damn the dandelions and all plants at this former nursery that have become as invasive as them.

    And it went on and on and on....to the point where I was sitting on the couch, consoling myself with alternating episodes of Gunsmoke and Good Eats.

    Saturday, I awoke, and after having thought about it a bit, I realized if I didn't do all these things, I'd be so bored. Then we ate out. There is nothing that brings me more satisfaction than trying to produce more of our food after eating mediocre slop at a decent restaurant.

    You have more on your plate it sounds like, with school and balancing an income while doing that. But there is truly something rewarding about growing our own, that we would leave a whole in our hearts if we didn't, because all this trouble we go through ultimately boils down to a personality trait that enjoys nurturing things and is fulfilled by that.

    Good luck with your endeavours! May your harvests be abundant this year.

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  7. I'm with Granny, I garden because I love it. I looked at my initial purchases, posts, fencing, live traps for the groundhogs, jars etc. as an investment. I don't have to purchase them every year, and they should last for a long time. I've learned to swap/save seed, please join our seed swap this fall, to save money there. I also spread the word to get materials that I can use, wood posts, bamboo etc. to save money. It's a great stress reliever for me, and I do get satisfaction from growing my own. Tomorrow will be a better day.

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  8. Try planting some mint or scattering some mint leaves around. Ants don't like that (or orange peels, I've heard)

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  9. You have my complete sympathy! I decided NOT to plant a garden this year and, instead, barter with my girlfriend who has an AWESOME garden and buy from/barter with the other vendors at the Farmer's Market. Not only has it become frustrating fighting the elements here but it also became a question of time and where to best spend it.
    I do wish you luck whichever way you decide to go! :)

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