Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Garden Goddess--My Tiny Trailer Transformed

Early morning, the Garden Goddess awaits in the driveway

Finally, after two weeks of quarantining for my wife and me and our grandchildren's family, we will begin to interact again, and our tiny trailer will become--at least until circumstances change--not only our garden cottage but also a playhouse.

Hardly anything is up in the garden, although as I write that, we are eating some asparagus, chives, arugula, radishes, and turnip greens from the garden and our mini-greenhouse. This morning there is a north wind, and rain is expected. We seem to be past the frosts, though, and in our main garden, peas and spinach are just peeking out.

The wrens get a tiny house, too!

We've put out two beautiful wren houses that a local friend paints and sells. The one in our blossoming peach tree can be seen from our living room windows while the other birdhouse is in the pear tree, visible from our bedroom window. We hope to soon see busy wrens flitting from the houses to the garden, adding their spirited presence to our home.

We're already planning how to make our house a second safe haven for our children and grandchildren, having cut ourselves off from the world, except for an early-morning trip to the grocery store once every week or two (and we might have our groceries delivered). Some form of distancing in society is going to continue into the indefinite future, it seems to me. With the garden producing now and some food stocked up, we can go a long time with just interaction with our children, leaving the rest of the world to its own hunkering. (Is "hunkering down" redundant? Does anyone hunker up or sideways?)

The garden has been a real bright spot for me. It's a safe place for me to go and interact with nature. The earth is waking up, plants are peeking through the soil, and getting my hands in the soil while feeling the warming of the world is calming and reassuring. I've replaced the forest for my growing bed . . . and I still get to see plenty of rabbits! They've been sniffing around the garden, asking, "Hey, Tom, when are you going to open the store?" I left the door open to my greenhouse, and one rabbit momma started digging a nest in the turnip greens. I shooed her out, but she didn't want to go. It was, after all, a great place for a nest--except that I locked it up every night. Maybe she was counting on that, though. What safer way to spend the night, not having to keep an eye out for our local bobcat.

From snow to spring

Two and a half weeks brings a big change for spring here in SE Iowa. We had snow on the ground then. Although I haven't slept overnight in our camper recently, I plan to, and this morning when I chopped wood for our house's woodstove, I saved some back in the garage for a fire in our metal firepit out in front of the trailer. Next week should be warmer spring weather! With the big field across the way and my quiet little neighborhood, I plan to enjoy my world with a magnifying glass this season, rather than with a telephoto lens. Sometimes the small joys are the most rewarding. Sometimes the small joys are not so small after all.

Subscribe--Follow by Email

* indicates required


  1. Well, Michigan's DNR just cancelled all my campsite reservations that I made last January. I think this year I'll be camping in the backyard. Sad, but better than nothing! Love your wren houses.

  2. Yeah, Iowa has closed its campgrounds. However, even though the state's virus infections are still rocketing, the governor is opening the state--for its low-infection counties, so some state parks may re-open. Here's where I sarcastically say, "To give us a chance to catch up."

    I'm enjoying my time at home though--and just had an idea for another essay about our "stay at home" experience. It's a bit odd but also a bit wonderful at how central our tiny camper is to our happiness. To use a term from my old college days, the trailer is "emblematic" of certain experiences, desires, and potentialities.

    . . . And, yes! The wren houses are little works of art.