The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Playing in the dirt
Dan and I moved back to our house in the country. It was a decision based mainly on economics: it's a lot cheaper to pay just a mortgage, than it is to pay a mortgage and rent. So, we tortured ourselves (and one of Dan's workmates) by renting a container and trailer, and moving ourselves. Moving yourself is a better workout than any gym will give you. Parts of me ached after that, that I didn't even know I had.

We managed to get back to our house with few incidents, except that I lost my glasses. I think I accidentally threw away a $425 pair of glasses whilst cleaning out our rental house! A real disaster for someone like me, who has been nearsighted for as long as I can remember.

We finally got the boxes unpacked and I cleared away the plastic storage containers. This meant a trip to the antique mall so that I could buy an Edwardian wardrobe in which to put my extensive handbag, lingerie, and hat collection. Our house was built over 100 years ago. It has no built-in closets, so we have to buy old-fashioned wardrobes. I kind of like wardrobes - you can decide where they will work best in the room, and can rearrange them with the other furniture.

It's great to be back in our house, but not great to see the damage that our former tenants did. Besides the broken heritage reproduction light fixtures, what broke my heart the most was that they trashed my fragrance garden. Almost all of my lavender was ripped out. I was more angry about that than the fact that they superglued one of the light switches and ruined it.

Fortunately, I had three rose bushes in pots that my father-in-law gave me for my birthday one year, so we planted those in the planter in the back yard - the one that borders the patio. It was supposed to be an easy job - dig holes, take the roses out of their pots, and plant them in the dirt. The problem was - the dirt was full of building rubbish - huge chunks of concrete and rubble that the former owner thought no one would find.

I told Dan, "I need you to help me."

Dan's response, "I'm not in the mood for this." Within ten minutes, though, he was up to his elbows in dirt and was taking his aggression out on the huge chunks of concrete, using a coal chisel and hammer. Ah men - sometimes a woman just won't do, you know?

We gravitated from planting roses to digging weeds and moving the yew hedges to a better spot than in the planter box. There's something very fulfilling about playing in the dirt and making things grow. I just hope we haven't killed the roses, which have struggled to stay alive the past two years, in pots.

After an hour, my roses were transplanted into a spot where they can finally grow, and the hedges were moved to a place where they are actually wanted. Eventually, I will replace my glasses and get new lavender plants. I look up into the trees and see families of galahs foraging for seeds and hear cockatoos and kookaburras in the evening. Home - our little piece of paradise. Somehow, I always knew I'd wind up in Australia.

*all bird portraits by Neville Cayley
posted by Melanie O. at 9:37 PM -
  • At 10:51 PM, Blogger gardenbug said…

    Welcome home. I like wardrobes, too. My house needs three of them: one in the bedroom and one each at the front and back door for coats and vacuum cleaner. Your experience with construction rubbish in the garden is the same as mine when I moved into the Melba Street house. I will be digging up my garden this summer to waterproof the foundation walls. Digging in the dirt can be rewarding.

  • At 6:28 PM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    I look forward to many more years of playing in the dirt. I just hope I don't kill things.

  • At 11:05 AM, Blogger gardenbug said…

    Since Australia is desert, I would plant native plants..They are acclimatized to the sun and lack of rain. Forget plants that require special watering schedules.

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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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