I am finally here!!! I am living my dream! I have come full circle & I'm now in the process of building my "mini farm" in my grandparents' backyard! If you would have told me...honestly if the Lord himself had come down and told me this would be happening right now I wouldn't have believed it. I know it sounds crazy, but I am living my dream in the last place on earth I thought I would ever be. I think back over my life and can remember so many times, conversations, affirmations that led up to this moment.
I remember moving into my first apartment in Georgia over 20 years ago telling my best friend I would plant a garden one day when I owned my own home. I've had so many little herb gardens over the years. I also knew my uncle would assist me in building my farm. I just thought it was going to be somewhere else in the world. Even looking as far back as a child helping my great grandmother feed animals and dig holes to plant on her farm in Gee's Bend, Alabama. The fact that there is a garden back there in the first place is serendipitous to me.
I come from a family of sharecroppers and midwives and my family has always been self sufficient. My life feels so ordered and destined right now. I have been talking about a farm and looking for property to buy for my farm. I have always said if need be I would go live in my grandparents' house. At first it felt like a sacrifice, but I quickly realized my life had been leading up to this the whole time. I remember a dream I had about my grandmother's illness a decade ago and she told me in the dream that my cousin and I would be in charge of keeping the legacy alive.
I moved into my grandparents' house at the end of 2019, about September. I was devastated when I first saw the state of my grandparents' home. My grandfather passed away in 2018 and my grandmother in 2014. The home I had halfway been raised in, that my grandmother had worked so hard to leave us had been essentially trashed. I had to spend over a thousand dollars, a lot of which was borrowed to get the utilities situated. I lived in the house with no lights using a backup generator for almost 3 weeks while we sorted through that mess. I got a job about a month in & started preparing the yard for planting season on my days off.
Right now I am actually going into my third week out of work due to covid-19. I have spent that time in the yard. I actually treat it as a job and I work from 9 in the morning until 4 or 5 in the evening. It took me a couple of months to clean the actual house to get it comfortable to live in. It also took a few months to get the yard to a place that I can actually plant in the garden my grandfather previously had. Now just so we are clear I don't remember a garden so it was at least 40 years ago that he had a garden back there. My uncle who is basically a jack of all trades and who was living in the house had a bunch of old tires, cars, a truck and a boat just lounging around in the backyard so I decided to re-purpose the tires, truck and the boat to create an unconventional, modern mini farm.
I am growing medicinal herbs in the tires, I have already started planting and harvesting herbs and they have been beneficial to my business. I have sunflowers, my grandmother's flower planted in the truck. My grandmother only wore White Diamonds perfume. For years I would go to her house and find bottles of it everywhere. I never saw any other perfume in her home until after she passed. We were cleaning her house and dividing her things up and I found (and took) a bottle of sunflower perfume. I started seeing sunflowers in the most random, strange places. I quickly realized that was her way of communicating with me. So now I am in love with sunflowers and I have planted a truck bed full of different types of sunflowers.
Roses, hibiscus, dandelion will be planted in the boat. I have already planted African daisies in the boat. Vegetables are being planted in the garden. I have this crazy vision in my head of what it will look like when its done. I am really hopeful that I can pull it off. I really feel like my grandmother has been pushing me towards taking care of her house for a few years now, but we know I am always stubborn. When dealing with authority, God, ancestor spirits, it doesn't matter. I bucks the system...faithfully! My grandmother built a legacy and I was out in the world trying to create one. As much as I speak about my legacy I was going to let the one my grandmother worked her whole life to build fall off.
All because of what I believed I would be giving up if I moved here. I just knew I would hate living in Alabama. I never thought I would be able to build my farm here. I never considered that this was a blessing. Even though I love traveling to Gee's Bend for a week to slow down and chill. I considered living here or in the bend a lot more than I like to admit. Surprisingly, I like living here a lot more than I ever thought I would. I honestly wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world right now. I would love for my family to join me, but despite everything that is going on I am still living my best life!
I probably should be a lot more worried than I am judging from the state of the country right now, but I am not. I am happily living in my little corner of the world. Exactly where I said I would be when your president took office. I said I was going all the way back to Gee's Bend, but my folks knew better than me. I am ready to do what I set out to do when I started speaking about growing my own food and going off the grid. It wasn't until I honestly let go of my idea of how to obtain that goal that I actually obtained the goal. The first time I said out loud that I wanted a farm I shocked myself. I am born and raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut its right on top of New York so extremely northern.
I am a city girl! Okay, I will admit I had a little, baby taste of farm life and country living growing up, but not enough to actually consider building and running a farm. I thought it was crazy! My family and friends thought I was crazy! I knew nothing about running a farm. I know nothing about running a farm, but there is something about watching that seed that you planted become something else. Day by day watching your vision manifest is the best thing you can ever experience. This is so much more than my little back porch/yard herb gardens, so much bigger than me. I wanted at least a very big garden. Hence why I keep calling it a mini farm. I honestly don't even know if I can pull it off, but I am excited about trying. I can't hurt anything. Even though I wish I had done this sooner I have met so many interesting, helpful, loving people along the way.
Everyone I have met has contributed to this moment, this journey in some way. Whether it has been advice, tips on farming, money, or just encouragement I am grateful! I do not regret any of the decisions I've made or delays getting here. I can feel my ancestors either pushing me to keep going or chastising me for not believing I am built for this. They are definitely cheering me on! I probably was born for this. I definitely feel like I was groomed for it. My great grandmother made sure we were all equipped to do this thing without any outside help. Even though I cant tell you how to plant or grow something I do it and they grow. I am not by any means telling you everything I have planted grew, but I figured out what to do to make it grow when it didn't. I honestly believe farming is in my blood. I have been wanting to go back to my roots for so long.
There's nothing like burying your hands in that dirt, loving on those plant babies and watching them grow up! There's nothing like using those plants you grew in that yard in a product that will assist someone with a situation they thought they would never get relief from. If I never sell anything out of my little mini farm it will be worth every second. The reward is in the journey. I have accomplished my goal just by being here with my little tire herbs. I already know that the picture of my completed mini farm is nothing like what it will actually look like. However, I know that the reality will be so much more rewarding than the fantasy. Every single crop, big or small are a result of generations of love, self sufficiency, determination, legacy and black girl magic. We are almost 6 years into life after Anndoria and she is still making it so that I can do whatever the hell I want and I am beyond grateful for that kind of everlasting love.