This evening the air is summer heavy with scent. Rich and reminiscent of lilac grandmothers.
My paternal grandmother was the hub of our extended family. Every holiday the Lagardes gathered at her home and feasted. Cousins, aunts, uncles, all together. Often the evening would end with spirited board games or tv movies. Laughter, more food, and love abounded. My grandmother was almost always in the kitchen cooking, or cleaning up – although it was usually the men’s job to wash the dishes. Eventually it was realized that my uncles, one a chef and one a cook, being in the kitchen almost as much as grandma, and the aunts, it should fall to us cousins to do the dishes. I loved my grandmother, and in retrospect I wish I had spent more time with her, learning. I hope to be a little like her someday.
When my grandmother died, we all did a little posturing to see who would be the new hub. My mother tried. I tried. An aunt tried. Ultimately the Lagardes went their separate ways into individual families. Although a funeral gathering still draws us all together for hours of food, and laughter, and discussion. Now, my older sister tends to be the main hub of the Bill Lagarde clan (I’m a little envious). We also migrated more of the Norton events, mostly hosted by one of my Aunts – the hub of the Nortons. She holds a great party, very relaxed, and I also hope to be a little like her someday.
I adore hosting parties. I adore fancy glassware. I adore beautiful food. I adore having all the best things for people to enjoy. I love cooking, and arranging, and baking, and discovering beautiful things. There were several years where I hosted annual parties with live bands, catered food, and art. Once I was married with children, I held combined Thanksgiving/boy-child birthday bashes with attendance in the 60 range. However, those years of success, faded away as people became unsingle and as we all got busy with our own lives.
Then we moved out of south Minneapolis. We had started gardening and raising chickens in our tiny Minneapolis back yard (funny story about how we got into chickens – to be told later). At that time boy-child was nearing kindergarten age and I started to feel nervous. I always felt perfectly safe in our neighborhood, but I worried about my kids in large public schools. Plus, I really wanted them to experience a simple country life like where I grew up. We moved far enough away to be inconvenient for people to visit, but not far enough to be a weekend destination. I lost many of my friends and party attendees.
I have a certain amount of regret for not finding a better property. We should have bought something with more trees, more land, a barn, and maybe even established gardens and pastures. Instead we moved into a major fixer-upper, inside and out, and have fought tooth and nail to get to where we are. Where it is starting to look how we planned, but there is still so much to do. It usually feels like an uphill, I will never get it all done, battle to dead tired life.
We are here attempting to build a self-sufficient + 1 life (provide for ourselves and at least one other family). We hold a monthly open house on the first Saturday of the month. My dream is that we will become a local hub for homesteading information and learning. My goal is to create art, bake, and grow good food. I want people around me who are also wanting to do these things. People who can teach me, and who I can teach. A family by choice. A homesteading dream farm.
This is why I do what I do. This is what I dream.