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A city girl goes country. Successes and detours on the path to self sufficiency.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I love reading the different perspectives and memories of sparkers as they describe their experiences growing up, especially when those experiences are so different from mine.

Once I lived here. Raising our own food wasn’t an option.


There was a small backyard, but as tenants in a 3 room 2nd floor apartment, we didn’t have access to it unless we climbed down the fire escape. The landlord wouldn’t have liked that.

We had lots of bakeries run by different ethnic groups and delicatessens and a meat market and a produce market where fruits and vegetables were available in season and a local grocery store. I remember when the first supermarket opened. You could browse and choose what you wanted. What a wonderful experience, but no one I knew raised anything edible. Even the landlord grew only flowers.

Now I live here. It’s beautiful and rural and we’re right on the lake.

The nearest supermarket is 7 miles away, but shopping isn’t the wondrous experience it once was. Now I read labels, long labels full of ingredients that didn’t exist when I was a child.

However, we have plenty of land for a garden and fruit trees and perhaps it’s time for me to emulate the experiences of my spark friends. Certainly the good people running SP are trying to provide me with the information to grow my own food.

We’ve made half hearted attempts since retirement without much success. The soil is hard and not fertile and when something did grow, the deer and other critters beat us to the produce.

This year we’re going to get serious about it and periodically I plan to report on how it’s going. When DH gets serious, he reads and reads and then spends money.


He bought a rototiller for $600. That’s a lot of tomatoes, but I don’t mind. He’s 68 and I don’t want him to get a pitchfork induced heart attack. Besides we’ve lent the machine out twice, so at least someone else can get the benefit of it.

I couldn’t get a good picture through the screen, but this morning a herd of deer were checking out his handiwork. I can just imagine them setting their “deer GPS” so they can return for a daily buffet.


Next on the list – a tall fence!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LSUMIS 4/27/2013 7:18PM

    I can "herdly" wait for the next installment....Dear vs. Deer. Wonder if deer like jalapeńos... emoticon

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WILSONWR 4/27/2013 7:29AM

    I grew up in an Army family, moving around everywhere. It was only when my dad got stationed in a remote area that my mom took us to live in the country. We raised our own vegetables and I have been doing it ever since. Nothing beats the taste of something you grow yourself. I wish you luck with your garden - it appears you may need it with those deer! They must know what a garden is since they are already waiting for it to come up! Yes, I think a fence is in order...

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BLUENOSE63 4/25/2013 6:48AM

  Wow what a great little look into your life....I too love to hear about the "backstory" of Sparkers. There is something very calming about living near water.....great pics

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COCK-ROBIN 4/24/2013 10:44PM

    You're doing great!

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CHANGINGHORSES 4/24/2013 5:52PM

    Nice property, I used to live on a lake in Northern NY and I do miss it. There is always so much going on around the water. Enjoy.
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SAGE86 4/24/2013 3:06PM

    I love your pictures, and as a country girl may I suggest a product called "dried blood", you should be able to find at the co-op, it will help keep the deer out of your garden.

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BUSYBEE37 4/24/2013 12:20PM

    We have our tomatoes growing in pots on the back deck. BF has not gotten around making a garden plot. It keeps the deer out :) I even got a topsy-turvy tomato thing where they grow upside down. I'm excited to see how well it works.

have fun with the garden, your back yard is gorgeous and very inviting.

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SUZYMOBILE 4/24/2013 10:17AM

    Loved seeing the place that I'm virtually walking past!

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DOVESEYES 4/24/2013 10:10AM

    What a lovely place you have.

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CELIAMINER 4/24/2013 10:01AM

    We live semi-rural and have the deer...and the squirrels...and the raccoons...and the birds that all think we are their providers. This year DH has expanded his herb garden and is trying his hand with tomatoes, albeit in pots to keep them up higher than the deer. We shall see how this progresses. Good luck with your garden. May it flourish and provide you with an abundance of good food (with the deer fence, of course).

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MYSTERYROSE74 4/24/2013 9:55AM

    Oh a house on a lake! That's my dream! What a difference in how you're living now. LOL, I love the comment "When DH gets serious, he reads and read and then spends money". Sound like my husband. Heh.

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DR1939 4/24/2013 9:55AM

    We have 16 deer in our yard every morning and evening. They treat us like intruders to their home rather than vice versa. And they eat everything they can find.

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GINIEMIE 4/24/2013 9:43AM

    Wow, DH doesn't do things half way! Okay for the deer, the only thing Steve tried at our other-more rural home was to put fishing line up at about their neck level. They didn't like that too much, we also put human hair from my friends beauty shop around, it's good mulch and when it's fresh the deer don't like the human scent. I've read that urine helps, but I don't think we tried that...at least Steve didn't say anything about that.
Deer a voracious, they eat so many plants and I'm sure there might be a few they don't like that you could plant around the perimeter.
Good luck.
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RACEWELLWON 4/24/2013 9:09AM

    Lovely picture of you ! Wow , your not kidding you have a heard of Deer , nice of then to show up for breakfast. Love the tiller. I do have a garden hear in the City. I also live by the forest and have many diners that get into my yard to dine. Last week we had coyote back there, yep. So I understand your situation. I will have to think about it , drink my Jo and get back to with suggestions. I know there is way , I just do not remember the natural deterrent for Deer. Karen emoticon

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LOLATURTLE 4/24/2013 8:49AM

    I'm giggling at the "deer GPS," hahaha! You or the husband should read "the $64 tomato" - a book about a guy who moved with his family out of NYC and his adventures with gardening. He has a lot of funny anecdotes about trying to keep the critters out of the garden.

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KANDOLAKER 4/24/2013 8:37AM

    Great blog and best wishes with your garden! I can see you have a fan club with the deer - and it appears they are licking their chops!!

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WUMPASTAR 4/24/2013 8:29AM

    OMG DEER!!! I miss seeing animals like that LOL ever since I moved to the city I haven't seen a wild animal. And squirrels are fat. I hope you can grow some stuff. It's one of my dreams, but living in an apartment makes it pretty much impossible so I'm just waiting until I get a house ;P

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JAHINTZY 4/24/2013 8:26AM

    pretty big change from that city block :)

I grew up in what I would call semi rural... we were the "edge of civilization," the last suburban style development for about 10 miles until you hit a small town south of us. However we had lots and lots of woodland behind our lot, and most of our lot was wooded too, so not enough sun to really grow food, my mom hardly bothered with flowers either. Both of my grandfathers had been engineers with DuPont, both of them had come from farm families, so I ended up a bit removed from it. Pop-pop always had a little tiny garden with tomatos and string beans, he also had bosc pear trees and sour cherries, a couple sour cherry tree saplings got transfered to the house I grew up in and there's a sappling set aside for my new yard. In recent years though my uncle has started raised beds in his yard and grown a nice garden, I'm considering doing the same on our little 0.1 acre lot in the suburbs.

good luck with the deer! there are many tricks to try.

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NUOVAELLE 4/24/2013 8:20AM

    What a beautiful blog! Thank you so much for sharing your different life experiences and those beautiful photos.
I wish you the very best of luck with growing your own food. My dad has been doing the same thing ever since he retired and he's really spoiled us so much with fresh organic vegetables that my kids turn their nose up to everything else!
I hope the deer GPS is out of order, too!
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KANOE10 4/24/2013 7:50AM

    I loved your pictures. I grew up in Honolulu in a house. We did not have a garden although the yard was filled with bananas, coconuts and papayas. I then moved to rural Northwest. My husband is a farmer. Wr have had wonderful gardens in the past years. I know you will love your own produce. Good luck with the deer! They also love rose bushes.

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MJREIMERS 4/24/2013 7:28AM

    emoticon trying to grow your own nutritious food! You are right about those critters and deer and you will need a TALL fence. It gets a little frustrating when you've worked so hard to grow healthy food only to have the deer take full advantage! Build it and they will stay OUT! emoticon Good luck on your new venture!

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