Monday, October 07, 2019

Jim raised the roof on the she-shed



Saturday, September 21, 2019

I am Empress of All Dirt, Queen of the Compost and Bearer of Weeds and Clippings. Holding Court outside since early this morning before I pack this show up for the winter. Sir James, my faithful consort, has transformed the outer reaches of the kingdom all week while I was gone.

Just being silly because I thought of Nine Inch Nails while I sat on the wicker throne. “You can have it all, my empire of dirt. Roses may let you down, they will make you hurt.”

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Pumpkin harvest #1




Sunday, September 01, 2019

He builds shesheds by the seashore...








Thursday, August 08, 2019








Monday, August 05, 2019

Summer 2019










Saturday, July 20, 2019

Years in a garden


I am twenty-seven, and my husband and I bought this little house, and moved in with our three small boys. The Frog catcher, the Dark-Eyed Toddler, and the Fat Baby with Red Hair. The land around the house suits us... It is empty and yet full at the same time. Patches of buttercup and hardy dandelion, yellow and green spilling in little puddles without shape or form. Underneath the soil is deep and rich, and I am very busy, and strong. Even with the fat baby on my back, I can do so many things. The very old woman comes from the next house over, and tells me how happy she is to see my family here, because her children played in this yard with the ones that lived here almost fifty years ago, and she sees my boys and remembers. The toddler interrupts us, naked, because he has buried his pants. I dig them up (they were the good pants, of course), and I see how lovely the soil is, dark and fine, and then I notice the broken chicken coop over the new property line. I know that this was once a chicken farm, and I am happy.
I am young and I have ideas, and I imagine colors. It is easy to start plants from seed, and the ginger baby on my back says his first word, in the nursery department by the racks. “Seeds” he says from behind my hair, in a way that sounds like the start of a prayer. The Seed Invoker. I am young, and very strong, and I plant the seeds and the colors come. I need an offering for the soil after the flowers. The pretty young girl at the coffee stand wrinkles her nose. “You want our garbage?” she says. I see that her nails are perfect and clean, while mine are worn and dirty. “Yes, I would like your spent grounds,” I say, and I realize that I am not like her. I take the treasure in the garbage bag home, and my husband shows me how to mix it to feed the soil.
I am getting older, and I need quiet and enclosure. I crave green silence, a place to be. The mobile home park nearby is to be bulldozed, and there are lovely old trees. I dig those with a fifty pound spike that I rent from incredulous clerks at the hardware store. “A spud? YOU want a spud?” they say. Yes, yes, I do, and I use it to extract the two hundred pound rhodies and snowball trees, and I drag them home from the tailgate of my station wagon, placing them at the back of the land, forming a circle of quiet, anchoring the corners, their shapes showing me where now to place the flowers. My husband no longer asks where plants come from, because he knows the answer is “a place by the side of the road.” I assure him it is not stealing, the plants were to be burned, it is plant liberation. He is skeptical, and impressed that I broke three good shovels that spring, and nods in resignation when the Frog Catcher observes that I am "different from ladies.".
Another baby comes. I have less time to work in the garden. I am not as strong as I was at twenty-seven. I am thirty-two. This year I let the forget-me-not take over the beds, spilling over the boundaries. I dress the new baby in a tiny suit and put him in the middle of this blue sea, and take his picture.
I need even more quiet. I am 35. Life is harder. I have to be in the world and I don’t know who I am anymore. I am scared. I build up the soil and plant more things at the edges. I move the larger plants around like furniture, testing each angle, finding the hiding places. It is a secret garden.
I am 39. The garden is deemed “fabulous” by my lovely friend who comes to visit, the poet who moved to New York to write because this place hurt him so badly and he can’t breath in this town. He can breath in my garden, though. It is perfect. He has loved me since I was ten. I was kind, I was safe. He dies a year later, and his mother gives me his ashes, because she says that I am his only home, and I place them deeply into the earth just forward of the first bend of the Secret Garden, with a purple rose bush to grow topside. I clean the hen house, dumping the chicken leavings over his grave, punishing him, because he had the temerity to die without my express permission. Or saying good-bye. I feel guilty, but better, ever more so when I call his mother to apologize, and she laughs, implying that he often behaved like the substance on the hen house floor, in diminutive form. I bring an offering of more purple flowers, to say sorry and I love you. They bloom every year, probably better so because of what I now call the Angry Chicken House Incident. The mother dies soon, too, and she sleeps under the peony next to him. “I’m next,” the step dad says, while I pat the dirt around her. “I am not collecting the whole set of y’all” is my answer, muttered under my breath as a kindness.
I can’t collect many more plants now, either. The older ones I have are casting shade and rooted deeply. They leave little room for babies, they are steady and immovable and block the sun. I am forty-nine. I am steady, rooted, even, but not yet immovable. I grab the pruning shears and bring back the light.


Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Our little label making girl.


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Cousin Britt It


Mr. and Mrs. Britt, the Next Generation!

How I look, Nana?


Saturday, September 09, 2017

When the garden roses are not co-operating...



...buy a bolt of ribbon.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Late August Magic, when there are lights in the pear tree and your Papa lifts you up to see them.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Views from our front door, June and July.