Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My Green Home - The Wisdom in Waiting

While standing in line at the county tree sale, people were talking about gardening. One conversation caught my attention. A woman, who recently bought a home, spent her first week's clearing the property. She cut the trees and bushes, burned everything, and was now repopulating her land.

I suppose that it's human nature to want to put our own "stamp" on things ... to make them our own. And frankly, it's often easier to wipe the slate clean and begin anew. But when it comes to property, rash decisions can hurt both the earth and one's pocketbook.

We made the decision to go slowly with our land, to discover the treasures it holds. It has revealed them bit by bit, almost as though it needs to get to know us before giving up it's bounty.

In April of last year, we discovered mushrooms growing along our creek ... delicious edible mushrooms.

When the trees lost their leaves in autumn and the underbrush began to die away, a small pear tree could be seen in a far corner of our lot. It still had the label on it and seems to simply need a little TLC to be productive.

This spring we were thrilled to find creasy greens, the earliest of the wild, edible greens which are found throughout the Appalachian mountains. We also discovered a lovely Camellia bush and several flowering trees.

Had we cleared the land, we would have missed out on these wonderful items. And here's another bonus ... finding thriving plants and learning about their growing habits has helped us decide on the right areas for other things like fruit trees and a vegetable garden.

Plants and edibles aren't the only treasures here.

Along the paths which wind through the property, previous owners displayed small statues, planters, and bird houses. They also stacked up building materials (bricks, lumber, windows, etc.). At first glance, because all of these things had been ignored for so long, they looked like piles of trash. But looking a little deeper revealed an abundance of usable items.

Here are a few of the projects which we have completed using recovered materials:

Work bench made from recovered wood
This work bench was made from recovered wood.

Mini greenhouse made from recovered materials
Recovered wood and windows were used to
make this mini greenhouse.

Deck partially made from recovered materials
All materials used to build this deck,
except for the top decking pieces,
were recovered from the back of our property.

Bluebird Nesting Box made from recovered lumber
Beautiful wood became Bluebird nesting boxes.

Most of these projects cost us nothing but our time and effort. And there's something very special about using what's available rather than heading to the local hardware store for materials.

All properties hold gifts. It might be wild edibles or fertile soil ... it might be items left by previous owners. But if we take the time to get to know the land, it will reveal it's special characteristics and treasures.

That is the wisdom in waiting!