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I loved our old house but I missed having actual "land". Having spent my whole childhood on a working farm with a never ending backyard to explore, that backed into acres and acres of farmland on one side and trees on the other, I came to realize that I wanted that same outdoorsy childhood for my own kids and so Mr. Darcy and I moved in 2010 to Brighton Park.
Me sitting with my stepmother, Kay, in a side section of the backyard ,
our last trip to visit my family, Summer 2010. The kids spent all day exploring every nook and cranny of the yard, side yard, and house.
When we moved to Brighton Park, our one acre lot was mostly unlandscaped as the previous owners used almost the entire property in back for horses. We started last year with adding some grass in the nearest part of the backyard for the kids to play on, palm trees around the pool to go with the pine trees already on the property, and a truckful of flowering plants. This spring finds us planting fruit trees and working hard in the garden. It's easy to grow things where the weather is temperate...anyone can do that...but it takes a little more care to be a gardener in the Southwest. But Mr. Darcy and I have learned how to find a balance between heat tolerant/environmental friendly landscaping, and gardening that provides us with fruits and vegetables for a family of 7.
Here's a little tour of the sights and signs of spring around our homestead this week...
We are getting ready to plant more fruit trees; lemon, lime, orange and mandarin orange trees are all lined up and waiting in our backyard. We will start them in extra large container pots and then plan to transplant them in a year or so when they are ready. Arizona is perfect weather for growing citrus and spring and fall gardens. Our current garden is 12ft x 36 ft and is shaded by sunscreen (sold in rolls) that Mr. Darcy affixed to the side boundaries. It is also covered across the top over the back 1/3. We have irrigation to all the rows and our composter sits beside. It has been a labor of love, but a big step in our journey to do more homesteading as a family and be more self sufficient. I will post pictures after we are all done planting, but we utilize regular plants (carrots, beets, peppers, etc), container planting (lettuce of different varieties and herbs) and vine plants (berries, grapes). I plan to add some nasturtiums and a few more chicken friendly plants.
I hope you will try your hand at some planting this year, whether it be a basil in a pot on your kitchen counter, or a full blown out garden. Get your hands dirty, get the kids involved, and reconnect to Mother Earth a bit. This week, most schools are on spring break. As a homeschool family we still do school, but as a Waldorf inspired homeschool, we will be spending alot of our homeschooling time this week outside, continuing to plant our family garden, and enjoying the gorgeous spring weather of Arizona.
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