Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Raised Beds From Reclaimed Wood

   A blogging friend and I are thinking alike quite a bit these days. Heather posted this weekend about making the most of your kitchen's leftover contents and coming up with fun, new recipes following a decadent, costly, and probably calorie-heavy holiday season. First of all, her recipe for yogurt banana bread looks as delicious as it seems to be healthy! 
   Secondly, I like her approach. So much. She suggests that we make the most of what we have. Take honest inventory of your resources and make the most of that stuff, right now.

"Do what you can,
with what you have,
where you are."
~Theodore Roosevelt

  These words convey to me such a sense of calm and resourcefulness, such encouraging satisfaction! Do they to you too? In a culture where consumption is key and having is often more important than doing, it's easy to get caught up in the various races we all know about. Today, let me echo Heather's mantra and offer you some additional encouragement to make the most of what you have.

   But not in the kitchen, in the garden. My favorite room in the house.

   Handsome and I spent a good part of the long weekend building garden structures. We built three raised vegetable beds and one fantastic arbor over the center aisle, all from reclaimed materials! I'm not even kidding. Seriously, with the exception of going to Home Depot (where spending temptation knows no bounds) to buy one replacement blade for his reciprocating saw and a box of long screws, we made zero purchases for these major farm improvements. 

   This kind of thing gives me happy chills, you guys. We used old stockade fencing peeled from the rubble of the kids' playhouse "fort" in the back field. It had been thrashed by the violent May 10 tornado almost two years ago, but I have not had the heart to let go of any of it. This doesn't count as letting go; this is re-purposing and keeping near all over again.

   We used limbs and trunks from already-fallen trees in the nearby Pine forest. We even plucked rusty nails out of old planks of porch wood and used those again, both the planks and the rusty nails. After an hour or two of collecting raw materials for free, I stood back and was fairly stunned by how much we had at our disposal.

    The sight was definitely motivating! We built and built and schemed and sort of measured and worked together like a well oiled machine, not stopping for lunch until the whole thing was done.

   What's fun about accomplishments like this, beyond the monetary savings, even beyond the intrinsic pleasure of having been resourceful citizens of the planet (she says as she snaps her suspenders), is that our new projects have been braided together with happy old memories.

   For the next several years, hopefully, I will be gardening within these lovingly constructed boxes. These boxes built from rough, painted wood that instantly brings to mind the sound of my children laughing and the smell of sunshine in their hair.

 I will be coaxing flowering vines up heavily barked tree trunks that remind me of the first walks my husband and I took together on this property, four and a half short but historic years ago.

My adorable, deeply loved nephew and my two precious, beautiful daughters.
This was taken in the spring of 2008, almost four years ago. 
I see the mud on their clothes and those easy smiles
and remember how much fun we all had, how much love flowed freely.
I hope they remember too.

   Okay, off we all go to the next great thing in life. Have a wonderful rest of the day or night, friends! Take a good look around and challenge yourself to make something new and beautiful out of what you already have, right now. Because you are blessed!

And please say a prayer for my girls and their cousin.


  1. A prayer for them and for YOU, my friend. Thanks for the shout-out. Although using leftover bananas and yogurt pales in comparison to this project. Can't wait to see it when you've got it all planted.

    Man, I'm becoming jealous of your weather - although it was 40F today here and the snow is all gone. But there is no working outside in January in Canada to build raised garden beds.

    Take care.

  2. What a wonderful thing you did, reviewing happy old memories while at the same time creating new ones! Well done!

  3. What a happy project. I'm so glad not to be the only one who gets positively giddy with excitement over reclaimed materials. This is such a beautiful, heartfelt post. It brings up so much. Thanks.

  4. Beautiful, as always. And I totally want my own raised beds, for sure.


  5. This is just such a wonderful post! And I love what you you guys were able (willing) to do. And I know what you mean about it all being "braided together with happy old memories". That is the best thing about projects like these, irrespective of size, monetary value or skill development. That wonderful warm and fuzzy feeling you get (call it love, even though it is not directed at a specific thing/person, but rather a feeling about a feeling), will rise up every time you spend time in your garden... " Favourite room in the house" - loved that too.


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