The last few days I’ve been considering my summer plans. Mostly, whether I wanted to hare off to Europe this summer and be less fiscally responsible than I’ve been trying to be. (The other option is to go on a long-distance bicycle ride with my sister. I don’t think this summer is the most realistic one to try to get me to cycle through the Rockies.)
I decided that, while going to Europe for even just a few weeks would be awesome, it would also put me back in other areas. I’m really looking forward to having a summer to work on my story in some leisure, to tend my container garden, to explore Halifax on foot and by bike; I also have some academic projects to work on. And while I could certainly work on my creative writing in Europe, and, being a medievalist, I have been known to make the argument that a trip to Europe totally counts as research, nevertheless I decided against it for a simple reason.
I want a farm.
I want to live in the country more than I want to go to Europe right now. I want to live by writing and gardening and maybe the odd sessional course or paying guest. (I think hosting a writing/artistic retreat would be delightful all round.) I want to grow most of my own food and have plenty to share, I want to have time, I want to live seasonally and with my fingers in the soil.
This is all quite manageable, eventually. I reckon most of what I want to do will start being self-sustaining after about five years. Before then I need to come up with a down payment and enough continuing income to pay for a mortgage and other necessities, and a car. If I work on my gardening skills, I might be able to put together what’s called a CSA — a community supported agriculture — programme. Basically people buy shares in the crop from the farmer, who has the benefit of a set income, and in return the shareholders get good, local, seasonal produce in a weekly box.
This being the case, I thought it behooved me to participate in a CSA from the shareholder side of things. This was the other part of the decision about summer plans: whether I could buy a year’s worth of weekly food deliveries without them going to waste. A week here or there isn’t too much of a problem, as I can probably find a friend willing to get them that week for me, and, if not, it goes to the food bank. Six weeks . . . not so brilliant.
So I’ve decided, I’m staying here, eating locally, seasonally, and as healthily as possible. I bought three shares in the TapRoot Farms CSA: one of vegetables, one of fruit, and a biweekly one of meat. These start on 2nd April; I’m sure I will let you know what I get and how it goes. I’m very excited.