Tuesday, September 13, 2011


No...it's not time for the turkey to appear yet but rather this post is about the two words that make up the holiday we celebrate in November: Thanks and Giving.

There is a pile of rocks in my backyard today. It is not this pile of rocks you see here but you get the idea. Today, around 9 AM my daughter and her husband surprised us with the delivery of a pile of gravel. We were told to be at home at this time of the day; at least one of us. I had to take the two dogs to the groomer so B stayed at home for "the delivery". It was a surprise what was being delivered so we had no idea what to expect, although we had an idea that it just might be gravel. You see...I had been complaining.

I know...hard for those of you who know me to see me complaining (ha-ha!) but with the new house came a lot of unexpected effort. The first day we arrived at this place I walked out into the back yard and muttered: "What did I get myself into"? Having lived in our previous home for over 37 years gave me lots of time to play in the yard; lots of time to change things and rearrange things that didn't work. And it was fun. I picked out fruit trees (the peaches we picked last year for the first time ever were fantastic!), ground covers, vegetables, etc. I moved rocks, planted grass, planted memorial trees and bushes for beloved animals that had passed. I planted a weeping cherry when our Standard Poodle, Misty, died suddenly on Easter Sunday right in our living room. Those things are hard to leave. I could walk around and look at every plant and associate it with someone or something.

Not here. There was no connection to this place or this land. None whatsoever. But, after hauling five truck loads of plants from our former home to the backyard of this new place, I finally felt that I had a connection with this place. I planted each and every one of the old plants in their new environment. And now when I walk around and water I literally think of each plant that I brought with me. And I do this each and every day. Every plant that I water has a thought that goes along with it in my mind. Each plant reminds me of someone or something.

There is the lilac tree that my Grandmother gave me. There is the baby's breath that Arlene gave me seeds for when her daughter had a baby shower. Iris' have been cut back and planted in a new bed dedicated to just Iris. Most of these were given to me by my Grandmother but some of them were given to me by my friend Gay who now lives in Santa Cruz and has actually Fed Ex'd me Iris plants when she is dividing. Obviously the Iris thrive on the coast where they are bathed in moisture most days. Here, they really struggle and need constant watering in order to look good in the Spring. I can see my Peonies planted all in a row; gifts from my husband and daughters on different birthdays. The Bergenia with it's pink blossoms is doing really well in it's new location close to the fountain in the back. They originally were given to my by my Grandmother as well. The Meyer lemon given to my by my friend Lynne, the rose bush from my sister, the wisteria from my daughter, the azalea given to my by my cousin, and on and on.

My Grandmother had quite the green thumb. I guess it skips a generation because my Mother does not have this capability and barely knows one plant from another. Not her fault though. I assign no judgment there. Some people just "have" it. I think that I was born with it. I have always been interested in plants.

When I was in high school we lived on the top of a hillside where the backyard was just a very steep sloping section of land that was always filled with grasses and weeds. For punishment we would get assigned to pulling the weeds on the hillside. The joke was actually on them because I never felt it was punishment. I loved pulling weeds and still do to this day.

So, arriving at this new place and seeing the backyard in such a mess (and filled with weeds no less) sent me on a mission. I got out my asparagus tool, sat down on my behind, and began to dig weeds. And dig, and dig...! Finally, there were no remaining weeds but there was something else that was more worrisome to me and that was RED DIRT! It is everywhere now, thanks to my diligence in digging weeds. And have you ever seen two white dogs after they have been chasing each other out in RED DIRT? Not a pretty sight. They look more like pink dogs most of the time.

So, this gift of gravel...this very kind gesture from my daughter and her husband...is something so special to me that I can barely express the depth of the thanks that I feel. They are such giving young people who out of the kindness of their hearts (and being as perceptive to their surroundings and other's) decided to order a dump truck load of gravel to be delivered to our house this morning at 9 AM. What a treat! What a joy to behold.

B and I spent most of the day shoveling load after load of gravel into a wheel barrow and moving it from the "hill" of gravel to it's final resting place. And we haven't even finished. Maybe tomorrow I will be able to photograph the new gravel walks, looking all pristine and clean next to all my favorite plants. Now, when I walk through my yard, hand-watering my plants as I always do, I will think of my daughter and her husband. And their kindness and generosity. And I will give thanks. For them and for the gift that they bestowed upon me.


  1. oyi hope you are not too sore from shoveling gravel...that can be a strenuous job for sure...i can relate to the memories with plants....

  2. Ern and I can never pay you back for all the help you have (and continue to) provided to the both of us. This was just one tiny gesture to show our thanks to the both of you. We love you both very much!

  3. How nice of your children to listen to your needs and help you out. It must be difficult missing your old back yard.

  4. Gravel, when needed, is the best gift :)

    Your backyard will be a labor of love.


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