Grit Blogs > As My Garden Grows

Life Changes: Country Style

By Debbie Nowicki


Tags: garden, pond, Illinois, farm,

Slowing down in a fast paced world is not easy for those of us who have been programmed all their lives to achieve and become successful.  You become wrapped so tight, you forget how to loosen up and enjoy.  Nature’s beauty goes unnoticed and you can easily become a robot in a make believe world.

Country Home

But then … you reach milestones in your life and they scream for your attention.  Ours came when we prepared to send our first child to college and we realized that the status of becoming empty nesters was only a few years down the road.  Our second child leaves for college next year; we have taken notice.

As we prepare our children for independence, we are also preparing ourselves for the same.  How ironic that as the next generation heads into the high-pressure world, we are preparing to leave it all behind.

Our children face many challenges as they enter this new phase of their lives; so do we.  The children will have many trained teachers to show them the path. We will have one – a piece of land, in the country.

We purchased our country home last year and we are slowly learning to adjust.  Although Stan has already proven that the pond is full of healthy fish! The pond has also taught us a tough lesson: ponds don’t maintain themselves! This fact was recently proven over the course of a weekend when we pulled 3,000 lbs. of algae and weeds from the pond – Stan in the canoe with me on land, rake in hand.  We prevented our pond from becoming a swamp, and have since purchased an aerator to oxygenate and circulate the water (not yet installed).  Our country property consists of 18 acres, 8 of which a local farmer plants for us – this year soybeans. 

Stan And Catfish

As an Illinois native (47 years) I feel most comfortable here; however, traveling back and forth between our current home in St. Charles and our place in the country (a 5 hour trip one way) gives us plenty of time to reflect on the diverse beauty along the way.  Even though the two locations are in the same state, the differences (soil, weather, towns, people and lifestyle) are profound. Click here to see my farm-diversity slideshow.

I am focusing my passion for gardening on our new property.  As I learn, I will share my experiences and I hope others will join me with their knowledge and own experiences!

debbie_1
8/21/2008 8:35:32 PM

Thank you for the wonderful welcome Lori! I love fishing also - before the kids arrived we fished ALL the time, then they filled up our lives ... now we are getting back to it and my son is a Real Expert! Just sent him off to college today for his second year .. I will miss him, BUT I guess I can go fish! :-)))


lori
8/20/2008 6:57:20 AM

Hi Debbie! How exciting for you to have such a gorgeous place! I can just imagine the beautiful view looking out over that pond! I love to fish! Some of my fondest memories are fishing with my pap when I was little. He's the one that got me "hooked" on it! I haven't had time to go much in the past couple of years, but my husband and I were just discussing that we need to go fishing again. I look forward to hearing about all your great experiences with your new place! Welcome to the GRIT community, Lori


debbie_1
8/17/2008 5:34:38 PM

Thank you Cindy and Lacy ... nice to meet you both!! We just returned from another trip down south (that car ride wipes ya out!) or maybe it's all the hard work we try to accomplish while we are down there. This time we did install the pond aerator and WHAT a project - I will post this week with pictures. Guess what I caught a few hours after the aerator was actually running ... TWO of those scary looking catfish! Thanks for the very nice welcomes and I look forward to learning from you both! Debbie :-)


cindy murphy
8/14/2008 6:12:40 PM

Hi, Debbie. I'd like to echo Lacy's warm southern hospitality and say welcome to Grit's newest blogger. 'Course I'm not from the South, but the hospitality's still there in the welcome. Actually, we're practically neighbors...in a kind of stately sort of way - I'm one state over, here in West Michigan. I look forward to reading more of your adventures as you journey through this new phase of your life out in the country. Oh - and that is one scary looking catfish!


razor family farms
8/14/2008 11:01:12 AM

Hi Debbie! First, I wanted to welcome you to GRIT blogging. Of course, I'm very new to GRIT.com and probably not the one to welcome you but I'm from the South and very into hospitality. I really enjoyed your post and pictures. Your place actually reminds me of my husband's homeplace in southern Illinois. His parents had a stocked pond which was the setting for the great majority of my husband's fondest childhood memories. In the winter, my husband and his brother would play ice hockey on the pond with their school friends and cousins. Of course, fishing and swimming followed as the heat came in. Josh spent a lot of his time maintaining the pond and as we plan our own pond, I'm amazed at how much he knows. Blessings and welcome! Lacy Razor RazorFamilyFarms.com NEWS at Razor Family Farms (GRIT.com)


debbie_1
8/12/2008 8:27:24 PM

Yes, cleaning the pond was an adventure all by itself! We are off tomorrow to install the aerator so hopefully no more back-breaking work like that again! We do hope to move down south permanently once the kids are all set .. college expenses could probably buy a couple country homes these days! So as much as we can't wait to move - we must be patient!


hank will_2
8/12/2008 11:42:04 AM

Hey Deb -- It sounds like you are off on an excellent adventure. I can't imagine what it must have been like to clean the pond. But, I can imagine how fun it must be to catch such nice cats right off the back deck. I really enjoyed your slide show too. Is your ultimate goal to relocate to Southern Illinois permanently?