Monday, April 30, 2012

In Which We Settle In for a Long Time

The last few months have been crazy. I've been hither and yon, visiting schools, going to quilt shows and writers' conferences, entertaining friends and family and being entertained by them.

And now it's done. I have nothing on the calendar that takes me out of town (or brings anyone into town) until our beach trip in late June. No professional travels until November. I'm home.

I can't tell you how happy this makes me. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to be sitting here very quietly on the couch, my silly dog snoozing beside me, a quilt top that's ready to be quilted on my sewing table, and me with time to quilt it.

Home. Tomorrow we will have lived in this house for five years. In May 2013, when we reach the six year milestone, I will have lived here for longer than I've ever lived anywhere. The Man and I discussed it the other day, and we've decided we're going to stick it out in this house for the long run. For one thing, we've invested too much time and effort in the garden to move--the dirt's just starting to get good!

For another thing, I love my neighborhood. I remember when we were house-hunting, I drove around it and thought I wouldn't want to live here. It felt like a hundred-year's wood, deeply quiet and still. And it is very quiet, in spite of the traffic noise you hear. Here's the description I found on a realtor's website:

The Duke Forest neighborhood was originally developed just south of the Duke campus by the University for faculty and staff. It is heavily treed and is surrounded by the forest known as Duke Forest. The forest itself has over 7000 acres stretching primarily west and north of the campus. There are several interesting aspects of the neighborhood.

Most of the homes in Duke Forest were built to be interesting and comfortable rather than grand which should be no surprise in an academic community. Many of the homes that come on the market have had little done in the way of upgrades for decades and consequently may require substantial additional investments for modern kitchens and baths. It is always a treat to show homes in Duke Forest because they are so unpredictable. 

It is my neighborhood's unpredictability that I find so appealing, especially the neighborhood gardens. Most of the yards are wooded, so people tend to plant their gardens are right by the side of the road, where they have some hope of getting sun. Of course, some yards have no gardens at all. Some yards are overgrown with brush and ivy; others are beautifully landscaped but don't boast a single flower or nary a tomato.

But the yards that do have gardens? Talk about no two alike. My neighbor Katherine has a hodgepodge of tomatoes and peppers, lantana, columbine, azaleas and pansies. She's one of our catch-as-catch-can gardeners, of which there are many. Amy and Anthony have a beautiful vegetable garden on their corner lot, with something new growing every season.

There's a garden the next street over that's professionally done by very famous professional gardeners, and it's always a treat, but my favorite garden over that way is one that takes up the entire front yard, a good quarter-acre's worth of every kind of flower. You can tell that the gardener (who seems shy to me; she'll wave if you say hi when you walk past, but then she'll scurry away) just buys or grows whatever plants appeal to her, regardless of how they fit in. That's how I garden, too.

I haven't spent much time in my garden this year. The Man has been hard at work on the vegetable garden, and we've been enjoying carrots and collards, and for the last month fresh lettuce, spinach and kale. But I have a long flower bed that needs to be planted, and this is the week I'm going to get 'er done. I'm envisioning coneflowers and salvia and daisies. I already have a corner of it planted with lavender and chamomille, which makes me happy.

So I'm home and thinking about gardens and making bread, and admiring my neighbors' yards. Yesterday, before church, I spent an hour weeding, and it was very, very good.


Tracy said...

I thought you must have been scurrying about the countryside like a mad woman. It's the only time you seem to be post-absent for a length of time. It's nice to have you back! I was thinking of you the other day when I was cleaning up Mr Busy's room with him. Again. And thinking about his Mess Twin, Will. Then I wondered what it would be like if they shared a room and how piled up their combined mess would be. Scary!

I'm looking forward to tales of kitchen adventures and gardening from your side of the world. Welcome home friend - it's good to see you again.

Pom Pom said...

You've shown us pictures of your pretty house and it is very wonderful!
I'm glad you are there to stay! Does the man work at Duke?
I'm glad you're home for a while, Frances!

GretchenJoanna said...

How homey and happy it all is! Thanks be to God.

Gumbo Lily said...

I think your neighborhood sounds like a wonderful place to live. It does take a while for the garden soil to get just right. It would be a shame for you to move when everything's just getting productive. Those carrots look yummy! Hooray for being home in spring!

wayside wanderer said...

That is a LOT of moving around and you seem like the sort of person who would want to stay put. Glad you have some quantity time at home to putter about and enjoy. I like the sound of your neighborhood, too. I wish we had more going on around here in the way of gardens, even if it is just more flowers. I have plans....