Most recent update: July 1, 2017!

Entry Garden, Spring 2004

This picture of the front of the house shows the entry garden mid-spring 2004 with the medlar tree closest the door, the fig, and the butterfly bush at the corner soon after it was moved to that location. A little hard to see at this resolution are the lovely golden California poppies under the living room window and the purple irises between the fig and the corner of the house.

The wood chips were fairly new at the time, so didn’t have a lot of weeds growing in them yet!

Entry Garden, Summer 2005

This picture taken the following year from the opposite angle shows the exuberance of the weeds — from the lemon balm “melissa officinalis” to the kale that bolted and looked so pretty we left it — but doesn’t show the trees in the front of the house as well as the one from 2004. Notice the gardening tools next to, in front of and on the steps!

Entry Garden, April 2006

The above picture was taken in the Spring of 2006. You can see how much bigger and fuller everything seems. Can’t see the pretty bluebells under the medlar, or the pot of violets Grant put on the chair under the fig, but they are lovely. You can see a few more weeds in the bark, and how severely I cut back the butterfly bush this past winter…

The end of August 2006: the foliage of the fig tree almost obscures the house, the butterfly bush is back to size, the medlar has been trimmed back a bit from the driveway but still provides a nice screen and shade for the house.

Front of House August 2006

And yet another view of the front of the house, this time in the snow. The clutter at the corner of the house by the yellow garbage can is construction debris from the roof repairs that are as of the end of November 2006 not yet complete. Soon…

the house in the snow

And here we are again, March 2007: a few twigs and bits still to clean up, but already the daffodils are beginning to bloom, the irises have new green shoots, the rose has bright burgundy tips.

another view of the entry garden

May 2008, it is finally getting warm (we had another fairly heavy frost just last week).

The medlar is fully engulfed in leaves, the bluebells around its base are tall and healthy. There are even large green buds on the fig tree! And yes, the metal arch I bought for the garden a year ago is still to the left of the front door, waiting for its permanent home.

The whole-house shot, weeds everywhere

There are more pictures from today in this regular blog post.

Four years later, on the last full day of winter 2012, and the ailments of three years’ neglect are showing..

From an overgrown hedge in front of the overgrown fig to the leaning medlar, clearly there is work to be done. But it’s nice to be having mature garden issues, and I am confident that a summer at home will allow us to remedy the most immediate issues. Two shots from today, the front of the house, and the side, with the large windows still waiting for frames for a greenhouse! Notice the height of the mountain huckleberry at the corner of the house! We harvest at least three cups of the tiny, precious purple fruit each year now. Planting things that thrive in the native soils is key – we barely do anything, other than weed around it once a year and prune branches that are too spindly.

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On March 18, 2013, almost a year after the last image, our home burned. From the outside, at first it looked just as it did in the morning when I left. But as one looked longer, the broken glass in the living room window showed only blackness -bleakness- and there was soot on the wall underneath the window… coming up from the vent… here and there the firefighters had tossed something out the window as they put out the fire. I looked for a couple of pictures from that horrible day: there are none on my computer! But there are a few from later that year. You can see the soot and the board-ed up windows. And one pic of the living room, which was once sunny, cluttered, and comfortable.

Back of the house.

Under the living room window, all that remains of the mahogany side table and the music it contained.

The blackened living room. The water-stained box held a few items that didn’t burn completely in the fire.

Here is one of the new house before it was painted. I rather like that the unpainted color was similar to the old house… when we painted it almost seemed that instead of forgetting the year and forgetting the grief, we were repairing our lives.