I fenced in the new garden area today, the once-wooded space I looked at two years ago and said, “You know, we could cut down some of those trees and put in some more garden beds!” It was supposed to take six months, but the cutting down of scrubby pines and the hacking away of undergrowth took more effort than I expected, and so here we are two years, an electric chain saw, and a shockingly large brush pile later. But now finally there are five raised beds with seedlings in them, a dozen dwarf cherry trees, and space for a plastic table and chairs and, soon, a fire pit. And the fence, which makes the whole thing look deliberate, instead of a clearing in the woods in which some logs happen to be laid out geometrically. The fence says that I’ve mixed my labor with the land and the land is therefore mine, in a way that John Locke and the whitetail deer are bound to respect.
Of course we don’t want to be ugly about it, so Sweet Babboo planted morning glories all along the fence for the neighbors. We’ll put up some bird feeders for the birds whose cover I tore down, though the several biggest trees are still there, too big for my puny chain saw and too expensive to pay someone else to fell. It is still a pretty rustic space, equal parts English garden and backwoods homestead. We just need to “funk it up,” as Sweet Babboo says, with some handcrafted lawn ornaments, and get something to ward off mosquitoes, and then we’ll be able to sit out there in the evenings and toast s’mores in the fire pit and watch the tomatoes grow. And our neighbors with nice lawns will wonder about the weird people with the ducks and the concrete gargoyles who insist on hanging out in this space with no grass, but it’s the South so they’ll be polite and tell us how nice the morning glories look. But if they don’t sound like they mean it they won’t get any s’mores.