Lately I feel like I’m on my own perpetual garden tour. So many of my friends have such lovely spaces, and now that I’m hyper-aware of outdoor spaces, I really appreciate how each person presents their personality in that space. Those who care to, anyway. Because for a long time I really didn’t care about my yard at all… I didn’t lack personality, I just lacked time to express it in that way.

I feel so fortunate that I have that time now. I felt like I was really missing out when my friends were all doing amazing things with gardens and chickens and all of the urban homesteadiness. I would occasionally attempt to put a garden together, and would inevitably run out of time to maintain it. Or not prioritize the time. And the kids would pull up the things I planted right after I planted them and it became one of those things that was just another thing to be stressed out about.

So, I let everything grow over. Over and over. The yard was frequently full of chest-high weeds. I tell the story quite often about one Sunday in May, near the end of my relationship with my ex, I came out to the backyard to find him angrily attempting to ward off the weeds with a push mower. He turned to me with a snarl and said, “Happy Fucking Mother’s Day.”

And then there were the years where, not being able to afford a lawnmower, I instead attempted to tame the weeds by weed whacking the yard in parts – alternating weekends, and cursing the rain. (For the record – I still weed whack, rather than mowing. Mowing makes things too uniform. I prefer to selectively edit.

Last year, when T&S were here helping with the garden, they unearthed and tended to two of my 3 gardening accidental successes. There was the sage plant I grew from seedling that time a bunch of mom friends and I rented a tiller and took turns tilling up a patch of soon-to-be-neglected vegetables that never yielded fruit. But damnit did I ever look badass tilling the soil with the Tao of Bird in the Kelty strapped to my back. The rosemary developed from one of those tiny novelty Christmas Trees that I somehow managed to not kill before I shoved it into the ground and continued to abstain from planticide until the plant was too big for me to harm. However, whatever magic S&T applied to those two plants caused them to flourish and create a great anchor/focal point for the middle of the yard.

The toilet was just a throwaway that I couldn’t bear to trash because it’s a giant porcelain planter, basically. Seems a waste to send it to the dump when it is so easy to repurpose and such an essential component of a garden.

This season, after season upon season of seeding and reseeding with a number of random flowers, it looks like some things are springing up, and a couple of things have returned. The butterfly weed, for instance, that never bloomed last year, is somehow magically growing again this year. Perhaps just a seed from a mix that coincidentally landed in almost the exact spot I carefully planted a seedling last year that seemed to wither away? Who knows. But it’s there, and I’m pretty sure it’s butterfly weed. And I am seriously ridiculously excited to see everything change and bloom.

Over the weekend this weekend, I planted some tomato plants and companions in various places. I forced the boys to build me another bed outside of the fence for Mother’s Day, and made a pumpkin/melon patch out of it, with a wire fence around it to keep out the cat, who loves to lay in new beds and skritch scratch the seeds everywhere so what was planted in the northeast corner of the bed somehow ends up growing somewhere on the ground by the front porch. My plan is to keep the fence up until things are reasonably established, then prepare one of the other two remaining beds and fence it to start – and just rotate through those beds as things grow and more space is needed. I’m not averse to building another bed out there, either. I think there’s enough sunshine through that oak tree to allow something to grow and enough shade to offer protection from the afternoon sun.

The grass started coming up in the moon garden, and lots of other shoots.

Beans plants are climbing so fast I can practically watch them grow.

And the squash and cucumbers are flowering like crazy.

Some refugees from Lulu’s mass destruction have sprung up in various places.

I had a great Mother’s Day. Pretty understated. I just basically bossed the kids around all day and they had to do what I told them to do for once, and then I took us all out for dinner. Also, I took each of them clothes shopping, which was super fun.

I’m feeling twinges of nostalgia with every “last time” with Buddha the Grouch. He’s done with classes at ACC, so I no longer have to pick him up at night. Of course, the fact that he’s done with all of his classes means he’s home all of the time, so there’s that. I’ve been enjoying his peculiar personality as much as I can. When he’s being particularly buddha the grouch-ish, I just kind of laugh and soak it in. I’m gonna miss that fart.

The baby chickens I just got today won’t even be laying eggs by the time he leaves.

It seems appropriate that I should come to engage in these gardening/chicken-raising activities at this time in my life – In a way that makes me weirdly appreciate the fact that my life couldn’t accommodate it earlier, no matter how much I wanted it to. I feel keenly aware of the cycles of life & am blessed to have the opportunity to nurture those cycles in so many forms.

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