Eventually, I will be writing more about the process and how our family decided to modify a property in Raleigh, NC and as a family multigenerational live together in what we affectionately call, ‘Lakeshore Farms’. We also, jokingly call it ‘The Compound’. My mother-in-law hates the term, but for some reason, it has stuck with our family & friends. We are three generations of family living together on a 1 acre lakeside property. After about two years of discussion and thought, all three of our families decided that we no longer wished to maintain our independent homes any longer and combine our resources to reduce waste, consumption, save time & money (all three households will be mortgage free in 5 years!), build & strengthen our personal relationships and be proactive in how to best partner parents as they approach their twilight years. We even built a tiny house on the property as well!
We moved into our home less than a year ago – June 2015. One of my favorite things to experience when you move into a new home, is just observing, watching, discovering your yard the first time during a new season. The seasons, nature, so rhythmically can resonate or call to our deepest internal landscape. To observe what flowers, plants, trees bloom and grow throughout the year; to enjoy your own personal national geographic, and watch what animals reside in your habitat and how and when they visit. We have fox, deer, fish, dragonflies, snakes, rabbits, squirrels, so many birds, fish and more. To watch & pay attention how the sunlight & moonlight, in the different seasons, dance on the property and infuse your home…observing how the different weather patterns interact with your home. To become familiar with the sounds of your new neighborhood & yard.
The photos below are of the Lakeshore Orchard – peach, pear, apple & persimmon trees budding.
Spring, I have am discovering, is nothing short of magical at the Compound. Just as we cycle out of the quiet, internal, cold, reflective time of winter our yards and souls are awakening, budding and bursting with color for a new season. It is a time for action, reawaking, beauty, planting of seeds and new ways of being, getting outside, more light…Watching trees and flowers and insects/animals that have been dormant all winter ‘wake up’ or begin budding with their young healthy buds and leaves naturally lifts our spirits and, like the big trees, allow us to bloom and sprout new growth, too. I am sitting here visioning myself standing tall like a tree with small bright green buds emerging from my hands and arms and a beautiful array of flowers sprouting from my head!
The photos below are the Lakeshore Poolside blueberry, raspberry, strawberry & tomato plants for snacking.
In deep contrast to my previous chemically maintained manicured lawn (which I loved for different reasons) I have completely fallen in love and am smitten with our natural landscape and what we call an ‘edible landscape’. While we do have a few flower pots around the pool and decks & a wildflower hill, the majority of our yard is edible! Last night, we were outside at dusk and, oh my, we found a small family of baby bunnies living under part of our deck and they were sneaking out and enjoying some edible landscape, too! So precious. I never thought I would ever live like this, but it totally rocks! No matter where you live, an apartment with a small window or out in the country, an edible landscape can provide such a natural beauty and healthy edible produce year round.
Pictured below: horseradish, grapes and more images of poolside Berry Hill.
Any time we talk about adding anything to our property – we have created a Lakeshore HOA – where we meet and discuss any changes, issues or ideas as a group, we always try to only plant things that are not only attractive, but edible. There is nothing better than watching the girls swimming in the pool, jumping out, picking some blueberries, raspberries (I never knew there was a ‘p’ in raspberries, weird) or tomatoes and canon balling back in the water. Best snacks, ever! Maybe consider adding at least one edible item to your yard, deck, or balcony this year.
In one of the groups I am a member of, the Homeschool Alliance, we were challenged to go out in to our yard and try to identify every tree/shrub/plant. If you feel inspired, I would say grab your iPhone or electronic device, get outside and have fun discovering your yard…see what you can find! Post some pictures! I would love to see what you discover – photography of the Spring and clouds are some of my favorite images. Post your images at my Facebook page ‘rockonliving’ for us all to enjoy.
This is also a great time to visit your local botanical garden. Or, if you will be going on vacation, google and check out if your destination has any gardens at your holiday destination. Happy Spring! I hope this is an awesome time of personal growth and activity too! Cheers to you!