five summers ago

I found these pictures of my garden that I made out of rock hard, dog-compacted, neglected soil inhabited by previous dope-dealing renters of my home. The entire yard (two city lots) was concrete-like dirt with dandelions. I dug the entire front and back yard (did I mention it was two city lots?) by hand. Just me and shovel and a whole lotta determination.

I got kinda sappy and even a bit teary when I found these photos. In 2003, Andy and I had decided to settle as much as we felt comfortable doing, which wasn’t much really. We bought a house on a lick and a promise. We had no money and talked a relative into co-signing a loan. With art degrees, two cats and furniture we found in alleys. We had been together for six years. I had just started my work at the museum.

No fence around the garden. Before dog. Before marriage. Before house remodels. Before purchasing our first grown-up things like a fridge and a couch that was sturdy and pretty and I could imagine having forever. Before my half-time receptionist job turned into a full-steam-ahead career. Before a kid.

Five years ago my garden was unfenced and limitless. The soil was dug and amended and seeds were sowed (the metaphors! I know!). It was an experiment that turned out pretty well.

9 Responses to five summers ago

  1. Joan says:

    My eyes bugged out of my head at the sight of that there garden. Gorgeous thing indeed. XOXO J

  2. TRB Holt says:

    This is a huge accomplishment! Your hard work and love of your home, yard and family is present in everything you do!

    xoxo, Mom

  3. lera says:


    Things sure change when you start a family, huh?

  4. Kate says:

    That is so effing awesome. Reminds me of taking a spade to the backyard and rolling back sod, then double-digging it the next spring. The work was so satisfying.

  5. Heather says:

    Awe-some! Heya, I am the girlie who asked you about what you were feeding your chickens, and I just wanted to pop in and say that I had a windfall amount of luck finding organic chicken feed by calling the folks around here who do organic chickens on a big scale; two of them bulk buy and were willing to sell me some feed at a tiny markup. I did a lot of research about making my own feed, and holy gosh, I don’t even have a tiny baby and it still sounded like a ton of work, but if you want any of that info give me a shout. Hopefully there are some folks at your farmer’s market that you could talk to about buying the premixed organic stuffs though…! We *just* put our girls out in the coop last night: what fun to finally see them outside!

  6. Are you kidding? Seriously? THAT was your first garden?!!

    Makes me want to go hide my shovel and sow grass instead. Wow.

  7. Bravo to you for digging it all by hand. I’m doing the same thing but I’m nowhere near as far along as you are or even as you were 5 years ago.

    Color me impressed.

  8. Leslie says:

    Wow…great pictures. I’m sure that did bring back lots of memories. It’s crazy how much life can change in just 5 years eh? Lovely, lovely garden.

  9. Yup, life does change post-kiddo. And, just to clarify, that wasn’t my first garden but my first garden in my first yard that I actually owned! I had gardened at rental properties on a smaller scale and I managed an organic tomato farm and vineyard for a few years.

    I even find myself opening up my own blog to look at these photos…brings hope to this soggy, cold Montana girl.