From the Tehachapi Mountains into the valley I drove at a steady but cautious pace because I was both excited and tired from the long journey. I was determined to remain positive as I passed brown sun-baked grass and dried up orchards. Town after town flew by, few of them thriving or prospering, and it shook my confidence.
What did I have to look forward to? I remembered the words of my brother. “There will be no rent . Just take care of the place. Everything is in tip-top shape. You won’t need anything.” Those promises were comforting as I prepared to collapse and relax when I finally stopped in the drive-way of my new home.
I had already inspected the house and grounds so when the moving van arrived, workers I had hired were ready to unload. Everything I had was unloaded with care in the hopes nothing was broken there.
While furniture was set up in designated locations I mused over discrepancies in what I expected and what was reality. The house was not in good shape. The exterior had recently been painted blue and looked nice but the interior needed some repair. The bathrooms were my biggest concern because minerals in the water had corroded the copper lines and the shower heads were plugged. The toilets were so rusted out they needed to be replaced. Throughout the house major cleaning was necessary along with minor repairs.
Outside, the yard was enormous and green. Then I saw the fruit trees and stared openmouthed. “This is a Garden of Eden!” I stated emphatically. There were peaches, nectarines, pomegranates, persimmons, oranges, grapes, pears, figs, and more. I thought, “This is where I can begin a new life.”
With over three acres of orchard and lawn the house had to have a name. “Green Acres” was a fitting name because I was from the city learning country life over again. It would be like the TV series and it would be fun.
During the first week I celebrated each time I emptied a box and put its contents away. The pile of empty boxes grew taller until one day I flattened them out and took them to the recycling center. I was trying to do my part in the recycling effort.
I planted a garden in my spare time. Hot days, warm nights and water brought rapid growth. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, cantaloupe, pumpkin, and watermelon were soon thriving. I eventually got a bumper crop of tomatoes but the rest of the produce? The rabbits and ground squirrels had their way. But that’s another story or two.
- Dwarf Fruit Trees for Small-Space Gardens (untrainedhousewife.com)
- A Lyrical Portrait Of Life And Death In The Orchard (npr.org)
- Fruit orchard planted on Cheyenne River reservation (rapidcityjournal.com)
- Valley growers try to grow better-tasting fruit (fresnobee.com)