Post-Crescent column: Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I've been a mom for about two years now, but my backyard is just catching up.
When we moved into our house a handful of years ago, my husband Josh and I had found such a good buy that we figured we'd deal later with our awkwardly positioned, L-shaped lack of green space.
As a couple without children, we'd toss down beach towels or set up folding chairs and spend summer afternoons engrossed in reading or talking about the future.
We toyed with gardening the small soil beds that lie flush with our house and in two back corners. A friend with a green thumb told us the clay content was high and growing potential was low. At best, our efforts yielded a lone loaf of zucchini bread and a panful of fried green tomatoes.
When we prepared to bring our now 2½-year-old daughter Mihret home from Ethiopia, however, we had to face facts. The backyard wasn't "cute" anymore. It was confining.
I thought back upon my earliest days in a rural cul-de-sac bordering farmland in upstate New York near the Canadian border. I roamed the lush woods that were our neighbors' property in fall, and in summer spent hours in an above-ground pool that felt like a secret hideaway. My best friend and I played "Star Wars" on my swingset, and I devoured books on a blanket under rows of crabapple trees.
At least, I consoled myself, we can search for a swingset that fits next to our yard's one gem, our apple tree.
Our January baby got her swingset as a belated birthday present from Josh's parents. Mihret's two grandpas and Josh installed it, along with a new hammock as an early gift for me, a September baby.
Hardly a day goes by when Mihret doesn't want to swing on her "blue swing" and go down her "green slide." She also piles into the hammock with me, or rocks me in it when I'm lounging there.
How our backyard has grown.
-By Kara Patterson, Post-Crescent staff writer