Let’s Build a Garden (Part 1)

I have missed growing vegetables. Our previous home was located within the domain of an HOA that forbade such “unattractive” landscaping so, aside from the pitiful potted tomato plant on my pack patio, I had to go to the local Farmers’ Market to find fresh veggies.

Now we have eight beautiful acres. I have thought and a re-thought about where to put a garden and finally decided to build it in the backyard proper, within the fence, where Bambi and Thumper, as cute as they are, are less likely to devour our harvest. Then I had to decide what materials to use. I have visited Lowes and Home Depot many times, perusing the stone piles and wood options. I found out you never, ever use landscape timbers or railroad ties because they can be laced with chemicals such as asbestos. Not good. I seriously considered stone but it would require a lot of ground prep and, well, I am impatient.

At last, my super-talented-in-all-things little brother came into town with his precious brood. The good thing is, he doesn’t like to sit around so asking him to help me build something was exactly what he wanted to hear. We researched online, priced different wood timber options, and ended up purchasing 18 huge pieces of pressure-treated wood…and a saw.

My baby brother with what will become our garden!

He helped me select the appropriate tool for the job, my first “big power tool” to purchase for my own use, a Metabo HPT Compound Miter Saw. I was so excited to learn how to use it, my mind spinning with all the possibilities of things I could build once I mastered the saw. He patiently helped me lay out the beds, measuring carefully to ensure they lay perfectly parallel to the side fence. We staggered the beds a bit to make up for the fact that the back fence was not exactly square with the side fence. Then, the fun part. Cutting the thick, heavy wood.

I let him handle cutting the metal brackets because, well, sparks.

We stacked the ten-foot logs, then team-lifted the eight-foot logs to the garage where the new saw awaited. I donned my safety glasses and work gloves and my brother chuckled. I’m sure I looked like I knew what I was doing until we lined up the log and turned it on. It was LOUD! I took a deep breath and lowered the saw to make contact with the log and, BAM, I had cut the first third! Two more cuts later the pieces fell apart, nearly perfectly smooth. He successfully ensured I didn’t lose a finger and I grinned like a five-year-old who just hit their first baseball off a tee every time we cut another piece of wood.

It took hours. I was so grateful he was there because I could have never done it myself and would have ended up purchasing a much lower quality kit off the internet if he hadn’t been able to help me. And when it was done? What a feeling! He shrugged it off. He does this stuff all the time. But I insisted on pictures to document the occasion and he reluctantly obliged.

How grateful I am to have such an amazing brother! This was a day I will never forget and every time I tend those gardens I will remember how we laughed, sweated, and both fell to the ground in pain when he accidentally flipped a log out of my hand and it landed on my foot while wrenching his bad elbow. We nursed our wounds and I shouted, “We are OLD!” as we gingerly got up and picked up the dropped log again. Yes, we are certainly not the young kids who fought like cats and dogs but would always defend the other against anyone outside our family. We have both seen joy and pain unspeakable and are raising a diverse brood of amazing kids who challenge and stretch us and remind us of our mid-life status with glee. But one thing remains the same. Time spent with my brother is time well-spent.

My brother and I built so much more than a garden that day. He helped me construct our first permanent mark on this land along with a memory that will forever bring a smile to my face. What a gift. What a blessing.

And now to fill those great big beds with dirt.

But that is another story…

To be continued.

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