It started with just the seed of an idea. The mere thought that maybe I would like to try my hand at vegetable gardening – this being inspired by just recently discovering the tastiness of fresh kale. And an inspirational article in Country Gardens about a young lady who began a garden basket program that provides fresh, heirloom produce for her community.
The wheels were turning, albeit slowly and unpersuasively. I just wasn’t sure. My “friends”, the deer, would no doubt appreciate my efforts, enjoying my newly sprouted delicacies in the dark of night. I’m crushed when I wake up to rose buds sheared off, imagine how I’d feel if I lost an entire row of ruffled lettuce, or worse . . . a just-ripening squash with a single deer bite taken right out of its perfect middle?
More than just these fears was the bigger question: Was I even CAPABLE of growing vegetables? Indoor houseplants have long been banned from within my house. I can hear your gasps now. Somehow, I fall victim to the over-watering trap, I preen on them too much, water too frequently and apparently drown them in my overzealousness. So the question remains there in the back of my mind, will I even be able to get these tiny seeds to grow and eventually produce things I can eat?
As these questions circled around my mind, and as I was still “researching” (and by researching, I mean: attempting to talk myself into just trying a vegetable garden) my father showed up at my house with six heavy planks of wood and a plan. Thank goodness for dads and plans. Before I even had another minute to talk myself OUT of it, we were measuring and cutting, the sawdust was flying.
What had started as simply an idea to buy a pre-fabricated raised bed cheaply online, had now turned into a full-fledged DIY, Pinterest-worthy project. There were ninety degree metal plates to measure, cut, and then grind. Then there were holes to drill in the metal pieces with a drill press. (And YES, I do know what a drill press is now and how to properly use one!)
There was even concrete to pour! Suddenly my little idea had become a little disconcertingly permanent! There were holes to be drilled in the wood, bolts to be tightened, and even a level was making frequent appearances. Heck, it’s probably a good thing my Dad DIDN’T know the very un-perfectionistic plan I had in my mind to begin with! Believe me, it probably wasn’t going to be level, I know that!
After my now-perfectly-constructed raised beds took shape, there was topsoil and compost to bring in. And then gravel to lay in next to them. And a fence to construct to keep my “friends”, the deer, out.
But I can’t blame all this on my Dad. I started adding things to the once-little, raised garden bed idea too. Suddenly, a few vintage, rusted culverts seemed like they would be the perfect spots for herbs. And the side of the old shed, seemed like the perfect canvas for a little artistic creativity.
Our lives sometimes lead from one project to another, without much time in between to relish in the blessings of the here and now. But isn’t life really about a series of do-it-yourself improvement projects both within and around ourselves? There’s not always a professional to call. Sometimes it just takes sweat, a little elbow grease and a small spark of an idea to prompt a change. Every day is a new chance to embark upon a DIY project in our lives. To do what we want to do, to give what we can give, to help how we can help and to change those things that need to be changed. There’s still time to transform your life, to create something new while having the powerful ability to remember the “before” pictures. As difficult as they may be to look at, they will be there always, telling us where we’ve been and reminding us just how far we’ve come.
In your life, too, one thing will probably lead to another and another. Each day will probably give you something new to work on. But with the hope of the “after” picture in our minds, these daily, internal DIY makeovers are possible.
Finally, a few days ago, I stood looking proudly over our hard work and feeling excited about the possibilities (and being finished.) That’s when my Dad showed up.
Next on the to-do list? Trenching a brand new water line to my garden area. My mind instantly began swirling with future calls for line locates, trenching machines, a dug up driveway, orange water pipe and the dream that I could have a water faucet right there IN my garden, no green, kinked hoses necessary!
And so, this is the story of how one thing led to another, and another, until I ended up with something that perfectly completed my backyard.
Now, for the hard part . . .getting these veggies to grow.