You never know what doing something is really like until you’ve plunged in. I started taking horseback riding lessons at age 43, because I have been a horse-crazy girl since age 5 when our neighbors acquired what I now know to be two very naughty shetland ponies. At the time, my sister, then four years old, and I would happily walk the mile of dirt road from our house to theirs just for the thrill of watching the ponies eat grass. I didn’t have the money or time to do anything about my horse bug until my 40s. I had nothing but romantic and mostly wrong ideas about what horses are, what riding and later owning horses would mean.
My husband tried to tell me it would be expensive (he knew–his first wife had horses, too) but I couldn’t imagine how much there is to buy for a horse. More significantly I did not realize how time-consuming it would be and how my new barn life would edge out time for other dear and valued friends–an on-going and painful issue for me. My heart was full of what I thought horses were, from the Black Stallion (Farley) series, the Billy and Blaze (Anderson) series , and of course the wonderful books by Marguerite Henry. Horses, for me, are both less and more magical than these books implied. But that is another blog!
Gardening has been like this for me as well, only it is, I admit, less expensive. I did not begin gardening until I was 39 and met my current husband who lived an old farmhouse on 100 beautiful acres of mixed hay fields, overgrown but productive apple orchards, woods, brush, and pasture, with a band of wetland/string of beaver ponds going through the middle of it. As an adult I had never lived anywhere with land–I lived in college dorms, apartments in the city or in town. The October before I moved into the house, (before he had even invited me to move in with him!) I had already planted a straight row of tulip bulbs in the lawn. I have since then learned not to plant in rows and not to plant tulips! (yep, too many varmints that adore tulips). My gardening passion was immediate and unwavering since then, 11 years ago or so. I didn’t know what I was doing and I made every mistake possible, but the land has been forgiving and the plants amazingly resilient (most of them, anyway).
Starting this blog is another adventure and, as with my horse keeping and gardening, I am definitely an amateur. (I am a college professor by trade, teaching Asian history at a small private liberal arts college) Luckily, my husband is a web-designer and computer programmer, so I have in-house help. But I’m the one who has to figure out what to say, to remember to start carrying a camera around when I’m gardening without getting it dirty or leaving it out in the rain. But I have some very good advisers and some great examples. So, here goes!