By Raevyn Grovemother
I am a little late to the herbal party, I admit. I love growing things: trees, veggies, fruits (hey, strawberries count!), animals. So it really is surprising that I haven’t gotten into the herbalism business yet. Mostly it’s cause I love my little cottage so much. I think there are a lot of people out there who can sympathize on that front. But over the New Year’s holiday I got an opportunity to use a friend’s herb garden out in Kalavana, so I dropped my carrots and cucumbers off at home and headed out there to see if I couldn’t create the experience of living in a bog house without the hassle of moving there. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it–enough that I very seriously considered relocating.
The herbs themselves are fairly low maintenance. I mostly farmed purple but I also planted enough of the other herbs to make tinctures of them all to complete the quests. Purple matures in an hour, which is lightning speed compared to garden crops like potatoes and cabbages. The longest the herbs take to reach bloom is Yellow Crumb Flower’s nine hours. Most of the rest of them clock in under five. This is great if you have a few brief periods when you can check in on your garden during the day. With that in mind, the relatively small herb gardens in the bog houses (six, nine, and 12) make a lot more sense.
I never realized how useful the gardening vendors, with their supply of vegetable seeds, and the piggies, who hang around my back doorstep to “manufacture” new seeds for me, really are. I ended up running laps around the Ancestral Lands collecting the odd herb seed, rather than buy them at auction. This made the process slower but slightly more profitable.
I admit that I missed my trees during my herbing hiatus. You definitely lose out in that sense in a bog house, with only one patch for an egg plant at most. Fortunately most of the rest of the world is well populated by trees, so they’re easy to find. But that does mean you have to get out and find them. But in place of trees there are new and different resources in and around the bog houses.
Mortar Barnacles, Peat Bogs, Jellisacs, and Fireflies abound in all of the Mazza’la locations, offering new types of harvesting. The barnacles are pretty common and I’ve found they’re good fodder in place of all the meat from piggies I didn’t have in the bog house. If I relocated, having a big group of livestock would definitely be a priority, right behind harvesting all the barnacles I could get my hands on.
One of the most glaring problems with a bog home is, of course, the lack of anything edible inside besides the egg tree and any animal products you gather. One cannot survive on eggy scrambles alone! Well, one can if one is willing to live with many, many stacks of them in one’s bags and one’s skyrocketing cholesterol! Buying either the ingredients to make food or fully cooked meals gets expensive. The tinctures and potions made from the herbs can help offset these costs, definitely, but I still feel like having a source of my own veggies is invaluable.
These are all the very concrete, logical reasons for either moving to a bog house or staying put. But we’re playing a game where we’re gnomes with blue hair, moving cat ears, and sparkly shoes. The aesthetics of the place is a huge factor.
When I was first buying a house, I looked at all the potential homes (thanks to Glitch Strategy’s housing guide) and frankly I was not impressed by the bog houses. They didn’t have the cute customizations that the cottages all have, much less space, and I didn’t have any herbalism skill. It was really a no-brainer to pick my cottage, even though it was about twice as expensive as the most expensive bog house.
Since then, though, I admit that I’ve suffered from “the grass is always greener.” I see other people’s homes, how fun or interesting their layout is or how they’ve arranged their icons and gems and I’ve changed my house around so that it imitates theirs. And I’ve come around to finding the bog houses to be just as endearing. From the little peekaboo windows and tiny lizards to the hiding places inside the house behind roots, I’ve been charmed. Despite my initial “brown is boring” reaction, I find I now like the subdued color scheme and interesting room structure of the bog houses. I can’t say for certain, but it seems like most have about as much floor space as a good sized cottage house. In addition, some of the bog houses have tables that things can be placed on. So you can leave a few Mabbish Coffees for your guests in the front room or stack gems up off the floor where they won’t get tripped over.
My biggest concern, and the ultimate reason that I’m happy to come back to my garden home, is the lack of space. Not floor space, because there’s plenty of that, but cabinet space. Even the fanciest bog house has only an 18-slot cabinet, about half the number of slots I have in my cottage. I have too many things on the floor of my home as it is to make a move that would scatter even more stuff out and about.
It was a great experiment though and I really loved learning about how the other half garden! I have high hopes for the upcoming changes to housing and I have my fingers crossed that when we build our houses we can either include a basement for an herb garden or a sun lamp for a garden. Either one would be a compromise many Glitchen would appreciate!