Woohoo! Garden tours are back! It is SO much fun to involve YOU, our readers and let you all show us what’s growing in your yards! This is the space where ALL gardens are welcome. Big, small, veggies, flowers, herbs, experienced and beginner. Today we are honored and grateful to have Rebecca from Ballard sharing with us. Rebecca is a lifestyle and parenting writer and photographer who enjoys writing about all the wonders of the Pacific Northwest from the best places to see to where to find the hottest fitness classes. She writes for Seattle Refined, ParentMap and Seattle’s Child. So grab yourself an extra cup of coffee and enjoy. Remember…. At NW Healthy Mama, we let our words of encouragement flow freely so, be sure to leave her some sweet words in the comment section below.
I grew up with DIY parents. My Dad was a true handyman and gardener at heart. My Mom spent hours in the yard, making it her own. They almost always had a huge garden and I remember our fridge produce drawers overflowing with tomatoes and our pantry filled with pickles. They eventually stopped gardening when life got busy with full time jobs and children after a move from Texas to Seattle. After college, I moved back in with my parents and begged my Dad to give me some space for a garden. He dared me to clear an area in the back of their large yard for a garden and I got to work. I impressed him with my work and he eventually helped me finish the space. I fell in love with gardening and spending time outside.
After meeting my husband and moving into his Fremont condo, I longed for a garden. When we began house hunting in Ballard, I kept telling our realtor that I wanted a yard. Both my husband and our realtor warned me that I had big dreams for a big yard in Ballard. It turns out that if you can dream it, it can happen.On a rainy day in September, 2010, we closed on a house in Ballard on a corner lot with a large yard. I spent the winter settling into the house and dreaming of my future gardening plans. Spring came and so did pregnancy which really sidelined my gardening plans. A few years passed and after having two babies, I decided to get to work on a garden. I started small with some garden boxes from Home Depot – the ones that you snap together. I hauled dirt with a baby on my back and my toddler trailing behind the wheelbarrow for what felt like weeks.
Eventually the boxes were filled and I headed to the garden store. I loaded my cart with all kinds of plants but I honestly did not have a plan. I just wanted to fill my boxes with beautiful vegetables. I spent way too much money and my garden was lush that summer. The garden helped me through a hard time that summer. My Father passed when my youngest was just 9 months old and I felt lost. I was able to work the ground and reconnect with all the lessons my Dad gave me over the years about plants. Shortly before his death, he brought me cuttings from my Mom’s herb garden and some of those plants still grow in my yard today.It’s been two years since then and this will be my third year with a garden. I’ve learned a lot over the past few years and now have a year-round garden and a plant rotation system. In March, I planted peas and carrots. Last week I planted lettuce and spinach. I also had new garden boxes built. I now have a much larger space for vegetables which means this year we’ll have more to harvest.Last summer, I watched a friend’s chickens for her. I took my children along to care for her flock and my youngest daughter became enamored with them. I took a short video of the birds which she intently watched on repeat for hours. Then a few weeks later another friend said that one of her friends was giving away four birds and a coop. I said I was interested before I even mentioned it to my husband. I tentatively brought up the subject to my husband who told me I was crazy. He also said it was my decision and that he was not going to be involved.
I decided to go for it and had my brother pick up the coop with his truck. We stuffed the chickens into a cat carrier and brought the flock to my house. My daughters were beside themselves with joy. I let the girls name the chickens and so we had Mermaid, Bock, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy.
As I drove off with the chickens, the old owner casually said, “Sometimes chickens just randomly die.” A few weeks later, I came out to feed the birds and came up short one bird. I searched the coop with dread and found her under the roost, dead. Remembering my husband’s words about not being involved, I gathered two plastic bags and placed her body in them before putting her in the trash. I then called my husband to let him know that I was capable of taking care of any issues with my birds. I thought the worst part would be breaking the news to my girls. They were unfazed and now tell strangers that we used to have four chickens but one died so now we have three.We’ve had the chickens for about 8 months now and they bring us much excitement. The neighbors are always talking about the birds and have even helped round them up when they try to go for a walkabout. I’m currently working on a sturdier run for them which will also have a proper roof. They have taken to flying out of their area and so I added a net to keep them in.Over the winter, I added a pear tree to the yard. Seattle has a program where they will give you free trees if you meet their qualifications. I signed up and before I knew it, a pear tree was delivered to my house with detailed instructions for planting. I dug the hole and positioned the pear tree near my blueberry plants. I don’t expect any fruit to bear this year but I do look forward to watching it grow.
My garden isn’t huge but it provides lessons of the cycle of life to my kids. Keeping the chickens teaches them about responsibility and the awesomeness of fresh eggs. The garden is a constantly evolving project and I can’t to see where this year’s garden takes me and my family.
Rebecca is a lifestyle and parenting writer and photographer who enjoys writing about all the wonders of the Pacific Northwest from the best places to see to where to find the hottest fitness classes. She writes for Seattle Refined, ParentMap and Seattle’s Child.
She likes finding the unique, unheard of restaurants or food shops that sell the best tidbits of food. She loves photographing uncommon landmarks and other fantastic subjects. She spends her days with her two children and finds all sorts of new adventures along the way.
When not juggling her two kids, Rebecca can be found taking barre3 classes, hiking in Carkeek Park, knitting, tackling the occasional DIY project and exploring all the Pacific North West has to offer while taking photographs of it all.
Rebecca is working to keep it all together through crafty endeavors, weekend getaways and bouts of organizational inspiration which are all detailed on her blog, ReeBeckiSupergirl.