I went out to the Weeks Bay Plantation today, and it was stunning. The owner used to be a landscape architect, but he’s turned his hand to organic gardening. While his current specialty is blueberries, he’s slowly expanding, and has high hopes for a farm-to-table atmosphere and event location. The plantation is on several acres, all of which used to be a conventional tree farm. After letting it lie fallow for several years (with the idea of letting any chemicals leach out of the soil), he began to turn it over to a blueberry farm. I don’t pretend to be any sort of expert when it comes to organic farming, but I have to say that I was pretty impressed with his operation. The blueberries are entirely fertilized with poultry feather fertilizer, he uses garlic oil as his insecticide, and any weed killing that they do is almost entirely done by burning, rather than using herbicide.
As I wandered through the property, I was overcome by the care and dedication they’ve put into the land, and the way the land has prospered. I saw multiple butterflies, including several different species; I saw birds, bees, and other critters wandering through the zinnia beds and alighting on the blueberries and the other crops around the property. They keep honeybees as well as more conventional bumblebees, and it was fun to wander pas their hives. Down near the lake, the landscape changes from open farmland to a sheltered cove of old deciduous trees. I have almost zero intention of getting married in Alabama, but as I wandered under the trees and looked out across the lake, I could easily picture getting married under the boughs of the trees, walking through the three consecutive arches on my way to the alter. I’ve never been the type to envision weddings, particularly, although I certainly have a fondness for wedding photography, but I couldn’t get over the sense of enchantment that swept through me as I wandered around.
There are times here when I can imagine dealing with the snakes, the humidity, and the insects, and finding a quiet place to settle down here. There’s something very romantic about the South, the old houses, the screened-in porches, and the whirring of fans int he afternoon. It’s a particularly idyllic setting, at least on the outset, and it’s certainly initially very marvelous and charming. This is certainly the feeling I’ve had throughout this month (interspersed with the usual snake encounters and bug bites, which are only part of the reason that the South is not quite as idyllic as it might seem on first glance).
Things continue to go well here. As I said last week, I’m still anxious to go home. It has been a wonderful, enriching, and educational summer, but I have to tell you: I’m exhausted! I’m ready to sleep in my own bed, near my dog, in a singular location for a little while. As astounding as it is (and truly, no one is more surprised than I am), I’m actually excited to go back to Arizona. I had some very mixed feelings about staying in my apartment for a second year. It’s very small, there’s no fenced yard for Helper Dog, and it’s in a slightly unusual neighborhood (although if you’ve been to Tempe, you probably realize that there is no other kind). I’m increasingly excited, however. I have some things I’d like to do to make my apartment more exciting, some projects I’m interested in trying, and I don’t know if I’ll actually follow through, but the ideas seem to have been sufficient to galvanize my interest. I also think that, in spite of the fact that my apartment often feels small, it’s my space. I have my own space in my parents’ house, but my apartment, with all its flaws, and its tiny kitchen, is all my mess and my nonsense, which is both exasperating and delightful, all in one fell swoop. It will certainly be interesting to see how I feel once I’m there, that’s for sure.
So – one more week in Alabama, and then back to Colorado for a short visit. I feel like this entire summer has been a whirlwind, but I’m certainly lucky that it hasn’t been dull.