Sunday, May 17, 2015

new garden

The Tate House Museum, a historic home museum in our neighborhood, had its annual heritage plant sale yesterday. 

We almost missed it, what with all the other Saturday hootenanny going on.  But my two sweet boys headed over with me late in the afternoon to see what was left.  One of them, in particular, was humoring me, but having a somewhat willing and good natured 13 year old, long board tucked under his arm wearing a helmet at a heirloom plant sale helping me calculate prices as compared to the $19 in cash in my pocket, was actually very sweet and one of my favorite moments from the weekend.  We came home with our hands full carrying four carefully chosen plants from the gardens there at the museum, our brains full of advice from the friendly women who answered all our questions.

Corey Templeton, 2013
As we crossed the busy intersection between our house and the museum, headed back home, Nicholas and I each had a plant in both hands.  And Elliott was cradling his own treasure.  A goose egg, the last goose egg of the day, we were told, being given out for free to customers for crafting.   There is a flock of geese that lives nearby and is cared for by a family in our neighborhood.  The flock can be spotted crossing the busy streets, swimming up the river, basking in the sunlight next to the busy intersection.  They are trying to limit the flock size, we we were told.  
I asked, would you eat these?  The woman leaned in and whispered, I wouldn't.  I think you will find they are a bit gamey. 

Busy street carefully crossed, we cut through the Olde Burying Ground to get back to our backyard.  We bid a quick springtime hello to Jesse, the builder of our home buried there.  Enjoyed the tiny flowers carpeting the grass between the very old headstones. 

And headed home.  Surprisingly, everything made it safely.

And despite other plans and an entire vegetable garden that needs to be planted, Elliott was insistent that he wanted his own garden this summer.  That he wanted it to be separate from the larger garden so he could have more space, and for it to be for him to put whatever he wanted in it.  And he wanted it to be fenced.  Because late the night before?  A cat had nibbled on his bean sprouts, grown carefully and lovingly at school and now no longer perfect.  He was not going to take his chances with the creatures of this place again.

I thought about everything I needed to do.  About how silly it was for him not to use a corner of our garden, already turned and fenced.  Breathed.  And then remembered he had been asking for this for several years.  And I got to work.  I fashioned a fence pieced together with bits of fencing scraps in the shed, adjacent to the garden, with a gate made from a piece of old wood fencing.  I turned half the ground and Elliott and Nicholas and I ran around the yard gathering chickens to plop in there to eat the insects exposed by my turning and to give the earth a bit more of a work over.

Clearly, it's still in process.  I am headed out there with him again today.  He has already plopped a few of the slower moving hens in there.  When it is ready, I have decided, first in will be the Tate House plants.  The plants that started it all.  

The ones that made me realize just how quickly Elliott, too, will be kindly humoring me rather than being out there with me. The joy of cradling a goose egg may be replaced with the joy of cradling a lacrosse ball.  These plants - divides from heritage plants at the house down the street, carried past the flock of geese and through the Olde Burying Ground - it wasn't where I planned to put them.  But it is the place that makes the most sense in our now.

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