Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
Today we were in the garden. Until about 1:30 in the afternoon, we worked slowly and steadily.
And it is starting to show!
One of the planters by the front door is now blooming nicely.
Tom and Grant built a lovely bench for me out of the reclaimed cement blocks that used to prop up our old house. There are more of these blocks — look for future installations!
I pruned back the St. John’s Wort a little bit, after Tom spent some time yesterday clearing the weeds from around it so I could see what needed shaping. I got a little too close in a couple places and it touched my face and skin, so I will be uncomfortable. At least I know what causes the rash, and so I am not as worried as the first time I reacted to it. Still, it looks a lot nicer than before and since we are actually living here again it will be easier to keep it shaped and manageable.
I started to pull some of the weeds from between the pavers in the front patio. It’s a constant, thankless job, but necessary. I cleared about 30 assorted aster-relatives, dock, and forget-me-nots. And
noticed got distracted by the lovely pattern the table makes on the pavers when the sun shines…
Almost fourteen years ago now, the house was placed in the yard (September 1999). I planted trees in front and on the sides the following Spring. Flower beds in front the year after that, if I remember correctly. And gradually the yard and the home took shape. A few years into the process, I started recording the changes here, in the A Garden View page under the About tab.
Now, the house is being removed. Where there was a home, there is now only memory.
Memory, and hope. Monday morning, bright and sunny, the house still stood, but not for long.
And in the middle of the day… the roof gone, the interior exposed, the bulk of our lives in tatters.
And toward the end, the excavator in what was Matthew’s room. The remains of our lives together were piled high in dump trucks.
In a few weeks, with luck, we will have begun the process of rebuilding for real. We will have approval from the county, and from the bank, for a home that has more than enough space. We will have space to gather, to linger, to grow old.
I have a garden still, and that will have to do for now. Do the children understand how important it is that we have space for them? Do they understand how hard it has been, to work for so long, only to start again?
They are about to begin their own lives, and in the beginning when everything is incremental and one is responsible only for oneself, it feels much simpler. The idea that beginning now means we will be well past middle age when all this is resolved seems horrible to them.
It’s not easy, but it’s possible. We have lived through difficult times, and even now, thinking about a new thirty year mortgage it’s daunting. But we have made it this far.
The anchor of “home” will give us what we need to go a little farther.
Some years feel better than others.
This year was filled with better and brighter events and opportunities than the previous year, and although many things remain undone and wanting, there is a sense of grace and gratitude as I think about the upcoming year.
I didn’t have to write a master’s paper under conditions that tied my hands and resulted in a paper that I was not interested in and wasn’t free to write to the best of my ability.
I wasn’t worried about being able to get enough work as a substitute to pay the minimum of expenses (student loans, gasoline at almost 15% of earnings).
I didn’t have to pay for huge car repairs (the accident in February was covered by insurance), or upkeep — though there is some on the horizon with a scheduled timing belt replacement.
I DID make it to visit friends at a distance, and happily was able to see one of them that “one last time” that we often do not get in life.
I DID bring the garden back to a sense of order and productivity, with the help of Tom and the boys. We are still harvesting and eating good things from our summer garden!
I DID start getting a lot more calls to substitute and several people are calling me first!
I DID get around to starting a decent filing system in my office, and have a plan for getting the rest of it cleared out and usable.
I DID go to my first professional conference, had a great time and met wonderful people. I will do this again when I can afford it again.
And of course, there are dozens of tasks left undone, opportunities unexplored.
In the coming year I hope to…
One of my online friends had the idea to write down the nice things that happen in the coming year and keep them in a special container. I am going to do this, too. I have some pretty papers and a few extra small boxes. Then, at the end of the coming year I will be able to review more systematically what the successes have been.
I think that I will try to write down one good thing each day. Even if it’s small.
Years ago, I was struggling to recover from a back injury. I gave myself the goal of doing one thing each day, with the goal of doing something five days in each seven-day period. That way, I could have days “off” without feeling guilty.
So the goal of writing down one good thing that happened each day for five days out of a seven-day period will work for me, too.
I think I’ll try to limit time online, too — a goal of creating more physical art and less power-drain. I have plenty of materials right now to create and craft for months (maybe years). Anything left at the end of next year could be happily and easily let go.
Finally, I want to spend more time cooking with Tom. He is an excellent cook, and we enjoy making nourishing, satisfying food together. We also enjoy going to museums and such, so I hope that we’ll be able to escape a little more when the weather warms up to take a few day trips.
I hope the new year promises good things for you and yours as well.
In the fullness of autumn, we wandered around the yard, putting things more or less in order, getting ready for the long, cool winter. These are pictures from November, when the rains paused long enough to get a bit more done. Pruning the medlar and the biggest fig tree. Running around the yard with a toy in mouth. Looking at (and eating) the last, sun-deprived-sour blackberries. Admiring the shapes of trees being exposed by leaf fall. Waiting for a change in the weather (which, not coincidentally, occurred just this week; today, in fact).
The pics in the gallery can be expanded to full size by clicking on them, use your browser’s “back” button to return to this page.
The next post will be of some December moments…
There is a pattern developing in the weather!
Although the forecasters are predicting a drier than normal autumn and winter (which I would rather not have!), for the moment the weather seems mostly to have settled in to a comfortable rhythm. What puzzles me at the moment is that, most years, the bigleaf maples are glowing with bright yellow leaves (unless it has been raining a lot in which case they are rust-colored).
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After years of stagnation in house and yard, we made progress in the garden, and the flower beds are much neater and prolific. And now, we are making progress in the house, as evidenced by the (recycled/reclaimed) green carpet in the living room that should help us keep a little warmer this winter. The piano and other furniture, having been moved for the carpet laying are now dust-free, and decluttered. Continue Reading »
As Autumn begins in the Pacific Northwest there are certain things that we expect such as smoke from scattered wildfires and a gradual shift from the dark greens of the surrounding forest to a golden hue as willows and indian plum trees at the margins respond to the fading light. There are some things that, year after year, come as a pleasant surprise – the last few sunny, warm days when the sky feels close enough to touch and the occasional burst of bright color from the bigleaf maples that are native and the many sweetgum trees that are the tree of the decade for landscapers of commercial properties.
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