I pulled all of my gardening/sustainability/self-sufficiency books off of my bookshelves and have them sitting in a stack next to my recliner in the living room. I've been reacquainting myself with these books over the past few weeks. Last year, most of my attention was on getting our house ready to go on the market. I did such a fabulous job, the house sold before the sign was up in the yard. My mad skills as a researcher paid off when I staged that house. Time to refocus those skills onto the new house's yard.
Moving into the city from the suburbs was a tough decision. A few years ago, we assumed we'd end up in the country on some acreage. Once I honestly looked at my priorities, I realized that living in the country was a romantic dream and I wouldn't like it full-time. We've been in our city of 250,000 for about 8 months now. I love how walkable it is and how easy it is to hop on the bus (the stop is around the corner) and get downtown without dealing with traffic or parking.
Our neighborhood has A LOT of mature trees. Our last home had no trees in it when we moved into it 11 years ago. I've gone from a sunny south-facing backyard to a shady east-facing one. My vegetable garden was small and in the front yard last summer and it will remain a vegetable garden this next year. We had the large silver maple in our backyard trimmed this fall because of some cavities. Eventually the entire tree will need to be removed, but for now, the trimming should give us a bit more sunlight to grow some more food.
Most of last year's growing season was spent renovating the 1950s bungalow/cape cod that we bought. It had been a rental and showed it. After ripping out the bathroom and reconfiguring the kitchen, along with ripping out all of the carpet and painting every surface, I had very little energy left for my typical gardening and green living lifestyle. I bought paper towels and laundry soap for the first time in years. I used my clothes dryer, A LOT.
Thankfully, the inside of the house is now finished and my energy for all things green has returned. I have big plans for my yard this year that will hopefully pay off in large fruit and vegetable yields in the next year. I actually want to make my own household cleaners again. And I'm happily ignoring the clothes dryer, once again.