While I was sorting loose pictures recently, discarding the duplicates, blurry and dark ones, I was struck by how my garden has grown up with my children. When my husband and I bought our house, I wanted a good-sized yard. He wasn’t on board, as he saw hours of yard work for himself. I however, had a vision for our future. I promised I would love it and feed it and pat it on the head and he wouldn’t have to do anything.
The year my oldest was born, I dug up and prepared to do something wonderful with my front yard. In one section my kids discovered that dirt and water make mud (their first science lesson), so I left it for several years before I made it into a flower garden. Now it’s overgrown and lush.
My daughters’ backyard paradise evolved over the years. Sand boxes, swing sets and trampolines made way for a fire pit, tether ball pole, and air hockey table. I fenced the furry animals out of the main yard so they could invite friends without worrying about stepping in animal bombs. The line from “A Field of Dreams”, “build it and they will come,” works on kids and teens, too. Now that they are more or less adults, it was finally mom’s turn to play and I began creating a mini arboretum.
Throughout the evolution of our yards, my husband participated when it came to our little kids; helping build play equipment and such. But as far as yard work, I’ve left him alone. Major excavations only required he use his truck to haul things: rototillers, loads of manure, dirt or to remove play equipment. However, he didn’t always leave me alone. He protested every new ground breaking, every fresh flower bed. He complained I was getting rid of the lawn and created too much weeding. It wasn’t like he wanted to mow nor have I ever asked him to weed. I think it was the idea of a yard full of grass, the kind of yard he grew up with. I was removing his frolicking place.
Though he hasn’t frolicked since our kids were small, I haven’t involved him in the decision making when it comes to our yard either. However, there are a few things I was unable to accomplish on my own. I pruned some bushes and trees in neighbors’ yards that were hanging over my new flower beds one day last spring. I piled them in a section of grass in front of my husband’s shop.
There they stayed, waiting for someone to deal with them. One day last month I went out and cut all the branches down to burnable sizes, trimmed what I could with my pruners, leaving the trunks for later. There they sat in the grass, once again waiting for their day of reckoning. I don’t have access to a power saw, nor do I know how to use one. I had labored enough and there was no way I was going to hand saw them.
After the rains returned and one sunny day slipped in unnoticed, I needed to mow. So I piled the trunks in front of my husband’s shop door, along with a wooden pallet from Home Depot that the steer manure blend was on, and a broken, plastic chair he said he was going to cut down to fit in the garbage. He came in a week later, after having reduced everything down and dispersing it and said, “It occurred to me that you piled that stuff in front of my shop so I would have to take care of it.”
Now would I do a thing like that? *wink*
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. You can read more of her writing and her blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com, follow her on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh”or on Twitter @livewithgleigh. Her column is also available at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Life section.