Full of Dirt and Good Intentions

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Since I was already sitting there, on the back patio, I decided to catalog my back yard.

My criteria for “stuff” seems to be anything I could pack up and move with me. So not the trees or plants rooted in the earth, or even the stone patio we set, but the items I usually bring in when a hurricane threatens to blow through, are what made the list.

I have always wanted to landscape my tiny back yard so that I couldn’t really see the fence surrounding it. I’ve been here 16 years (it was supposed to be five) and this has not happened on purpose or through the beauty of managed overgrowth. But I still love my organically messy back yard. We planted native trees when we moved in alongside the existing orange tree and rubber tree, so it’s much more lush, but still not the garden of my imagination.

It is small. My porch, which is huge, probably eats up half my yard. If it weren’t for the mosquitoes, I’d probably do away with the screen that divides the two spaces. But, Florida.

Because of my greenish-brown thumb, I employ a lot of potted plants – 30 to be exact. This way, I can move plants that are floundering to a different spot. More shade, more sun, eastern exposure, southern. There are a few of these in the front yard as well, but I’m getting a head of myself.

I have a small scrolly table with 4 chairs I inherited from my great uncle. It’s aluminum I think and the paint is peeling, but maybe that’s part of its charm. On it is a collection of those pots I mentioned, full of nothing but dirt and good intentions. In addition there is a hand made decorative plate I got from somewhere, filled with water. We have a bird bath in the front yard and the doves love it. The doves also love our back yard so I thought I would treat them to a second option. Since “installing” the back yard bird bath I have hosted not only doves but blue jays, cardinals, titmouses (titmice?), finches, generic brown birdies and squirrels. If I sit very still on the patio I can watch them drink and bathe without being noticed.

Then there are the chairs. Not the ones that match the table, the other 4 randomly strewn throughout the tiny space like some modern art installation. An art critic may note the longing of the two empty chairs seated next to one another, waiting, waiting for two lovers to return. Or the solitary chair facing east as if it’s former occupant sat anticipating the sunrise each morning. I’m not sure what this critic would say about the aqua chair with peeling paint and no seat.

I have a favorite sculpture I bought many years ago that is made from soldered metal parts that once belonged to other things and now through the mind of a Frankenwelder it has become a beautiful rusty bird. I’m a little attached to it.

Like the patio, I could let all of this go – except my bird maybe – but I enjoy it while it’s here. The extra chairs? those could find another home. Between all the chairs outside and all the seating on the patio I could comfortably seat 22.

Aside from the pots of plants and dirt, there are a few stone statues – one of an angel, one a monkey – a plaster St. Francis, cause he loves all the critters of course, an unattached panel of fence hiding out of sight and a stack of slate tiles meant for something greater. Oh and there’s a tiny table between the two chairs for those lovers so they’ll have somewhere to put their tea. Because surely they would have tea. Or maybe wine.

Total number of items in the back yard: 65

 

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