May 23, 2009

Spring Treasures

Every year we are overcome with the excitement that comes with planting and preparing our garden. We have lived in this house for almost four years and this will be our third garden and our third spring. Our yard has changed significantly over the years. Our boring backyard of grass, 4 trees, and a lilac bush in the corner, has grown into a large garden, swings, small flower gardens, side beds, kids corners, a chicken coop, and more. The entrance to our house lies on a sidewalk that passes between the house and our garage. What I call the front door is flanked on either side by what I call the 'side garden'. In previous years we ripped out massive vines that covered the entire section and have replaced it with many different flowers, vegetables, and herbs. Last year we went to town planting and it has been a delight watching what we tended bloom and grow. Everyday something has changed or developed like little thank you gifts. Our own rewards for the effort. New to the side bed this year is some chocolate mint, some peppermint, and of course a few tomato plants. I am hoping that this area will bloom with a variety of sights and smells (and will help make some great tea too)!

(This is the West side of our property with our garden and small aspen trees.)

While the building of the chicken coop has taken over the yard I know that the random screws, blocks of wood, and mess will soon be cleared out and we can resume the remainder of our projects. Yet to build is a tepee (from logs and then surrounded with sunflowers), a deep pitted sandbox, more garden beds, the rest of our bohemian garden fence with arbors, a small pond, arbors over our patio, a small back porch, oh I can keep going. In fact I do believe that I am thinking of a few other things to do! :)

Recently a friend visited our backyard for the first time and commented on the little surprises hidden throughout our space. She said something to the tune of how she would love to be a child in our backyard, all the areas of discovery. I have consciously worked hard to make this a space that our kiddos would thrive in. Little hiding areas, natural toys (sticks, rocks, shells, etc..), tools and kitchen ware for the sandbox, small faerie houses and gardens, these are similar to things that I enjoyed in my youth and continue to adore. I wanted my children to gain the same pleasure. I have tried to create these with their growth and learning in mind. I can not move them out into the country/mountains, but I can create our own little homestead in the city.

Our work year round pays off every spring and summer. We planted a crocus spiral (a large one) in the grass in our backyard last fall. We only received a few blooms but are anticipating next year to have a flowering masterpiece. Someday there may be a smiley face, or heart of crocus in the front yard as well. :) Last fall we found a few caterpillars and watched them cocoon and then transform into moths. This is one of our pet moths enjoying its first breath of the outdoors.
With our hectic schedule and lives we are fortunate to have such peace in our outdoors. We also have been generously gifted so much of what makes our backyard beautiful. The wood for the chicken coop, the absolutely stunning garden fence (Thanks Delta), the logs for the tepee, herbs and plants, and so much more. It is no easy task to achieve all the work we accomplish with young children at home. Although I love the exhaustion that comes with these outdoor tasks (mowing, shoveling manure, etc..), it is difficult to pair that with the exhaustion of child rearing. We are not always able to do everything we would wish to do in a single day or week. We are careful in our creation and are remaining conscious of the environment, our children's development, and our own enjoyment.

I am overjoyed with what we have created and excited to see the shape of things yet to come.


Eats Shoots and Leaves said...

Way cool, Andi! Keep going! (I'll be back in Cheyenne in a couple weeks if you want to get together.)

kinetic said...

When Richard Louv named his book "Last Child in the Woods", I think he was talking about your child..s. I remember how glad I was that my parents did what they could to make our tiny yard into a climate-conscious haven and do away with as much lawn as possible. We so enjoyed making clay pots and playing pioneers under the trees. Your backyard looks like a wonderland and is just the sort of experimentable nature spot that Louv is advocating. Can't wait to see the sunflowers & tipi/teepee.

*Kara* said...

So fun and beautiful! Thanks for sharing the pics!

My new umberella!