Starting a Garden

Updated: 6 days ago

This year has been a tough one for all of us. I finally decided to push aside the worry and frustrations of 2020, and move on. I said a little prayer (actually a big one) and I waited for the answer. "Get busy living, or get busy dying." That's what I felt on my heart, so I got busy living. Simple as that.

Our backyard has been waiting for attention since my children were grown. I don't spend much time back there. Art is my business, and it's my passion. All of my creative time is spent in my studio. Isn't this where all the creative stuff happens? Apparently I truly missed the point. I forgot that creativity is what you make with it, wherever you are, and with whatever you have.

I took some first steps and I added a few cheerful bird feeders to the yard. That went well, so I planted some pretty plants along our back wall. Brown-Eyed Girl, Lion's Tail, and I forget what else. The plants took root. This was very encouraging to me. I might have a green thumb afterall!

Typically, I reach high and go for projects that I know will challenge me. I remembered we had about 40 cinder blocks left over from a wall we had constructed last year. I checked out the pile and saw that black widow spiders had moved into that sorry pile of blocks, lots of baby black widows too. I'd have to get over my fear of them and power through it. A good garden hose washing did the trick. "Bye-bye spiders. You've been evicted."

After conducting some research, I decided to create a large raised bed in our side yard. I knew it was a big project involving a lot of labor, but I was up for it. One by one, I lugged the cinder blocks over to the side of our house, three at a time on our dolly. I had some tools, a couple of levels and a lot of determination. Sweat is good. Sunshine is good. Hard work is good. Check, check, check. "Let's go."

Originally, the blocks would run across the whole length of our walkway. I leveled the blocks all the way down the line. After I finished the row, it began to occur to me that this design might have a flaw; I would have no way of going around the beds to weed or plant. Our side yard wall leaves little room for this. I asked my husband Sean to take a look at my dilemma and see what he thought. He gave me the brilliant idea of splitting the area into two beds. Viola!

Isn't that much better? I removed two of the cinder blocks in the middle of the row and reworked the design. Now I can reach over the beds from a few different directions, and everything looks great.

Thus far the hardest part was leveling that first layer of blocks. I needed to dig out some big tree roots that were growing where the blocks needed to lay. With hindsight, I should have leveled the whole area out before laying the bricks, but it all worked out anyway. Once that first layer is level, the second layer goes on easy peasy.

My moment of pride is the level test. Every which way I laid my level, the bubble went right where it needed to! The hard work is worth it all. Now, my dear husband came in and hammered rebar in all the corners to keep things solid.

Hubby also surprised me by adding in the sand, pebbles and flagstone pavers. I have a sweet little walkway between the beds. Don't you love the warm color of these pavers?

We'll be filling the brick holes with a layer of rock and then a layer of soil so I can plant inside each of the holes. Next, I plan to lay out some plastic sheeting and rocks inside the beds. Soon we'll have soil in the beds and I'll be planting my garden.

Yard work is filled with life lessons. Living is hard. Life is a struggle. There is a lot of sweat and tears, a lot of pain, and a lot of toil. But the most beautiful things come of it if you keep pushing forward. I literally did this project on a wing a prayer and I'm so glad I pushed through.

After the swarm of these western wild fires end, we'll finish it up.



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