I spend my day yesterday building a herb mint garden. I have wanted a space or two just for herbs for a while now but while I still had so much else going on in the garden it was a slow process to build one. About two weeks ago, while visiting family in Quedlinburg, I brought home a couple of mint plants. That gave me the motivation needed to sit down and start the garden. So far my few herbs (Thyme and mint) had been in between the flowerbeds that my mom had and the new mint was planted in a garden pot at that time.
There is a part in my garden that is still grass at the moment, but the plan was to slowly cultivate it and put a couple of raised bed in at the end of this summer. I started early and build my mint garden there.
First I took out all the grass, I then spread a black mulching fleece over the soil, to prevent the weeds to come through. I had stones that I used as borders. On the fleece I put cardboard just be extra sure about the weeds. On top of that I added hay and straw from the rabbits, followed by fresh cut wood chips. I then covered everything with soil and planted the mint first in one corner. I have two different kinds of mint and knowing their tendency to grow this bed will be solely dedicated to mint. At the moment I have the thyme at the other end of the bed and it will be fine there for this year but will be moved to my second bed that still needs to be build.
I have not done much in the garden this week. Temperatures have been way too high, so only the bare minimum has been done. I have harvested potatoes, blackberries, beans and apples, as well as the usual salad and kohlrabi. The tomatoes are growing and so are the cucumber plants, I am looking forward to harvesting both soon.
Today the litter of rabbits is two weeks old and the little ones are absolutely gorgeous. They are pretty active now but still sleep a lot. They try to nibble on the hay as well. Beauty is doing well and they are growing each day, have a look:
For a long time I figured that I would be able to do both, have career in a company that I love and be able to live a self sufficient life. Then I (and 400) others where made redundant, it was at that point that I realized that I actually wasn’t satisfied with the status quo anymore!
I knew that I enjoyed the simple things in life, and that I have been content living with very little money. I knew that I want children one day, and being able to spend as much time with them as possible but also for them to have a chance to grow up with family close by and not half-way across Europe. I wanted to spend more time at home, spend more time with family, being able to spend more time outside and just live life in a way that was meaningful to my beliefs and values.
I had been gardening in my rented flat for years already and am no afraid of hard work but finally I was at the point were I wanted more then just a tiny share of that life. I kept dreaming, and the idea of a simple life, producing my own food and running a small business was becoming more appealing each day.
The big questions was if I would stay in the North East of England or move back to my home country of Germany. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was time to move back to Germany. My dad passed away in 2003 and I wanted to spend more time with my mom, so the decision was made in January 2012 that I would move back to Germany. It wasn’t just the family that pulled me back to Germany. As much as I love the North East of England many other factors such as climate, house prices, community etc played into this too.
In August 2012 me and the dogs moved back to Germany. My mom owns a big house with a big garden that has 2 separate apartments, in the upstairs part she lived together with my brother. The down stairs part (my old apartment) was rented out over the last few years and me and the dogs moved in. It took me a while to find work that enables me to work on my homestead dream at the same time. I am now working as a tax consultant for a small company and while I could earn more money if I would work for a different company there are other peaks that I have, like working from home 2 days a week.
My big goal is to save enough money to buy some land and build or buy a home without a mortgage. I hope to eventually be able to live full-time on my little homestead with only income from a small business venture like working as a self employed tax consultant (rather than relying solely on farming). I now dream of a future where I spend my time taking care of my family, the land, and giving back to the community.
In the coming days and weeks I will write about what steps I am taking to make this dream a reality!
Tonight I went for a walk through my garden, like I do every evening. I am always amazed at how much produce I can get from this little piece of garden. Tonight I harvested nearly 5 kilos rhubarb, some of which I cooked, some went in the freezer and some I gave to my neighbor. I had received a bucket full of August apples from her on Monday which I turned into apple sauce. This week also saw me harvesting the first potatoes and to cleaning out the area between the strawberries and bush beans. Putting down compost, I am now prepared to plant more strawberry seedlings in that place for next year. Slowly but surely the freezer and the shelves are being filled, to keep me going through the winter. What is going on in your garden?
Tuesday June 8th saw Beauty's second litter being born. My first count came up with 11 (!) little babies, we will see in a few weeks if it's really that many. The babies are very cute and I am so pleased to see some red once in between all the black. They are very agile already. I am of course worried that not all will make it. 11 is a very high number of babies. Beauty is currently being fed 3 times a day, to ensure she has enough energy and is able to produce enough milk. To be honest I can spend hours sitting there and watching the little once.