Well, there it is. Our lawn. A big lawn, full of grass. From looking at the pictures I post online and stories I share about our homestead, you probably would never guess I have one of these. But, its true. I own…a lawn.
What’s wrong with a lawn? The evils of the American lawn are the subject of many articles, books, periodicals, and websites. In short, the average lawn uses resources that could be used to grow healthy food rather than grass, and, in keeping the lawn picture perfect, more chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides are dumped into the environment than by all the farms in the U.S. combined. I am not going to try to reiterate here what many have explained better elsewhere, nor will I be telling you how I have risen above the culture of the lawn…I just showed you the proof that we fit right in with most other turf owning households. If you do want to read a bit more about lawns and their impact, I will list a few resources at the end of this post.
My reasons for posting are more personal and more about our particular situation. We chose to move to our homestead in large part to be able to align our ideas about healthy food systems with our lifestyle. We wanted to eat local, fresh, organic food, and be more connected with where our food came from. (Of course, there are many ways to do this, and this isn’t meant as an attack of anyone, or their lawn!). We were, and are, interested in playing around with a lot of the ideas we had been reading about; sustainable food production, creating systems that allow plants and animals to work together, and making all of this an integral part of our life. A big part of the whole idea was to use the resources we have to their best advantage. Mowing an acre or more of grass and trying to make it look like a suburban lawn doesn’t work with our overall goals, and so…the lawn must to go.
I didn’t plan the lawn, it came with the house when we moved in three years ago. Every winter I make sketches of what I will it become over the summer, and every spring I get busy planting the vegetable garden, taking care of the animals, or painting an outbuilding. Pretty soon it is the middle of summer and really not a good time to put in new beds or plant trees, so I decide to prepare the area in the fall so that it is ready next spring. Obviously, if you looked at the picture above, that hasn’t worked out too well for me either.
To be fair, this is actually a big project. We have what amounts to about two acres of lawn. Purchasing enough fruit trees, perennial vegetables, and other plantings is not possible for us all at once. Also, we have a lot of other things going on around here, so budgeting time for lengthy projects can sometimes be difficult. Then there is the issue of figuring out what I really want this lawn of mine to become. Each one of those winter sketches was different, depending on the current goals for our homestead or even what I was reading at the time.
So what is the plan? I can’t create the change I want in a day, or even a weekend. Instead, I am going to challenge myself to do at least one task per week moving toward my end goal. To keep myself accountable, I will be posting about my efforts here. (feel free to get on my case if I miss a week!) Maybe someday I will look out the window and see the lush food forest with fruit trees, vegetables, herbs, bee forage, and wildlife plantings that I have in my head!
(By the way, if you happen to see Chris…I’m not sure I have mentioned the extent of this project to him yet…)
ok…not yet, but maybe someday?
If you would like to learn more about changing up that same old grass in your yard or just look at some cool pictures, check out these resources: