The Simple Life

I have to admit that adjusting to American suburbia has been a bit of  a challenge. Part of me really enjoyed life in London: the more laid back attitude, the attainable countryside, the family oriented Sundays - to name but a few.

I've never really wanted to live in a big city or the outlying suburbs, sure I had my brush with it post college (who didn't?), but ultimately I always imagined myself living somewhere more rural. That being said, I am completely aware that I have a very romanticized version of that type of lifestyle (think Jimmy's farm in the UK and The Fabulous Beekman Boys here in the US).

Beekman Mansion

I'm not sure what it is about this lifestyle that intrigues me: the farmhouse, keeping animals, food from my own garden, land in general, or the lack of the competitive big city hustle and bustle; but whatever it may be, I sum it up as 'The Simple Life'.

In my quest to start a Simpler Life in the here and now, I am taking the advice from a friend who actually grew up on a working farm and now lives here in the suburbs of Chicago and loves it. She said to me, "Maybe you should start with a really nice garden". Now that is attainable; what good advice! I'm thinking edible items - fruits, veggies, herbs, etc, as well as flowers - this is me we are talking about after all - it does have to be pretty!

Vegetable Garden from the film, "It's Complicated". Based on a French Potager Garden.

Realizing that, sadly, Winter in Chicago will be here before I know it - now is not the best time to plant a garden. So I am thinking about starting from the very beginning with compost. Does anyone have any suggestions that are low maintenance? I don't want to have to be stirring the stuff in the dead of Winter every time I add some new coffee grinds!

This is the one I have been looking at online:

Thoughts? I would love to know if you are a composter and if so, how is it going? Any advice? Hopefully, if I get this going now I'll have some lovely homemade compost for my new 'Simple Life' garden come Spring time.