I have decided to start a blog about my journeys from now until the day I open my own shop. “Thyme in My Garden,” an herb and garden store. I want to write down thoughts, ideas, and dreams, battles, struggles, and blocked paths – all that I know will happen between now and then.
I have always dreamed of owning my own farm, becoming self-sufficient, and copying the women of old who did everything for the homestead. It wasn’t my husband’s idea, so I plodded along, content to be a stay-at-home mom, homeschooling the girls, canning fruits and vegetables, making the girls’ and my clothes…even a part-time job to give us some extra cash. When things got tight, I got a full-time job driving a school bus, but I hated it (then).
Until my husband – my best friend – died of cancer. Suddenly my life didn’t seem to have any purpose…at least from my point of view! Of course, the girls were 22 and 17, but they still needed me. My Dad was still there to help me build stuff and guide me in my gardening quests. My Mom has always been there – my Mom, my mentor, my best friend! It was rough, but we managed.
Then ten months later my Dad died. That was my “Daddy”! I couldn’t imagine life without him; he was my foundation. My Mom and I grew closer, my sister mourned and grew depressed. Mom and I battened down the hatches and worked trying to understand how to deal with life without the two most important men in our lives. We didn’t realize how much they did until they were gone! I buried my head in the sand and tried to live life as much as normal.
A year after Rick died, I allowed myself to be talked into going back to school. My job wasn’t cutting it with the bills and the money from insurance and church was running out. I had to do something or we would lose the house! I buried my head further in the sand and started school – trying very hard to ignore that I was the head of the household now and I had people depending on me! Things went downhill from there! I stopped eating right, exercising, doing household chores, anything that would make me think or feel. I stuck my nose in my computer and plodded along going to school online. I loved it, though. I was getting straight A’s and I really enjoyed what I was learning. It was pretty easy so things just kept going on… until I got a notice that they were going to foreclose on the house! I finally had to get my head out of the sand and start being a grown-up for a change. I am getting help with the mortgage company and trying to work things out on my own. I am almost finished my first degree – Associates in Foundations of Business. I found a company that I would love to work for when – or if – they will hire me! But I’m not happy!
The house has gone to hell in a hand-basket, wheelbarrow, and moving truck! I have to start from scratch and tear up the carpet, paint the walls, and get rid of everything that I refused to get rid of after Rick died. I need to have more than just a path through the basement to get from the front to the back!
I am 52 and don’t really want to go back into the business world working for someone else, though! But what else could I do? I need to pay the bills and keep the house! So what else is there to do….?
I have always had two things that I have clung to through all of this… my fascination with herbology and my sudden newfound love of gardening! Gardening got me through that first year. I found that I love to be outside, working in the dirt, getting sweaty, but knowing that I was doing something that was good and healthy! I dreamed of getting my Master Gardener’s certification. Gardening fell by the wayside when college started, though. My correspondence courses in herbology were stopped because I just couldn’t afford them now. My garden grew wild and weedy. My herbs ran amok and the mint took over half the greenroom and compost (the green room is my outdoor “greenhouse”!) Things started growing out of my compost that I had no idea what they were until they got large enough to bear fruit! I got some really beautiful gourds that year… funny though… I never had them in the garden in the first place! No idea where they came from!
Okay… so now I have nine weeks left until I graduate with my first degree… I have been getting small raises at work for the credits I’ve been getting through school. But it still isn’t enough. Now remember, I am 52. I really don’t want to work in the business world, but realize that I am going to have to …. but maybe only for a few years instead of the rest of my life!
I used to dream with my oldest daughter, Jennifer, about having a garden shop that I could sell plants, vegetables, and herbs. We would have one section for my dried and fresh herbs, herbal medications, and beauty aids. One area of the store would be for sitting down, relaxing, and reading, while sipping herbal teas. Another area would be a small cafe where my youngest daughter, Danielle, would do the cooking – creating delicious healthy snacks and desserts make from organic produce, and the herbs grown in my garden! We would have a small shop, maybe with a patio off to the side where customers could sit and enjoy my garden while they chatted and sipped herb teas and munched on herbal scones and cookies when the weather was nice! The shop would be surrounded by herb and flower gardens, paths that wove in and out of the different gardens, with little benches in quiet nooks. There would be herb gardens for cooking, herb gardens for medicinal purposes, long rows of lavender and rosemary, sage and lemon balm, clusters of every mint I could find on the market, stepping stones resting in thyme that scented the walks when stepped upon. Maybe a small pond with calico goldfish and a turtle or two! My own little secret garden behind a long white “picket” privacy fence that when a customer stepped through the arbor gate would chance upon a garden of peace and delight for both the senses and the body!…. yeah, right!
Time to wake up and smell the compost!