For most of the 32 years we have resided at our house in East Oreland, our back yard has served most reliably as a punchline in my stories. My confession that I have the black thumb of doom. The former owners somehow sensing when another of their exotic plantings has expired on our watch. The tale of the dead tree that almost crashed through our family room window.
Then there are the incidents that have not made it into print (until now), like the sink hole that appeared on the lawn, gradually (then not so gradually) sinking deeper until I had nightmares of Aiden or Peter disappearing into it. Steve finally did something about it, purchasing several times as much fill dirt as was needed. The look (and safety) of the back yard instantly improved, but the eyesore of the extra pile of dirt remained for months in our driveway, available (free!) but unclaimed.
We planted tulip and iris bulbs once or twice, quite haphazardly, over the decades. Each spring we were either disappointed when nothing at all bloomed, or amazed when random daffodils and peonies blossomed instead (relics of the Master Gardeners who'd previously resided at 122). Surprise!
Eventually, the excuse that “we are at the shore all summer” wore thin. For one thing, we were no longer away from mid-June until Labor Day; it was more like 6-7 weeks tops. Also, Sheridan, Ya-Jhu and the boys are at the beach for some, but not all, of that time. Finally, Steve travels back and forth a lot, overseeing our busy Family Stages performance schedule in the Philly area. But still our property languished, until…
Until the pandemic, and its enforced idleness, inspired my hubby to make something of our little plot of land. Last summer he redid our back deck, an achievement that has brought us endless joy, as we have been able to see family and a few friends for safely distanced gatherings outdoors. This winter he planned our VERY first vegetable and herb garden, and planted it in early spring. Things are coming up: radishes mostly so far, but also parsley, chives, basil, mint, tarragon. It is a real luxury as a cook to just step outside and snip the herbs I need for a recipe (rather than shell out $$$ at the market for miniscule amounts).
I love watching my grandsons watering the plants and oohing and aahing over the sprouting seedlings, an experience I had never had in my entire life. Evan, who was home recently for a visit, has become quite the plant and tree aficionado, and pointed out a variety of spruce that I had heretofore identified as “that big one over there”.
I am humbly grateful that there are now Farming Seyfrieds, and can’t wait for the zucchini and peppers. As we finally emerge from the pandemic, hope for the future springs up, just like the feathery carrot tops.
And as I survey our small Eden, I see that it is good.