Saturday, July 9, 2011

Reclaiming My Yard, Reclaiming My Life

On Tuesday, I sat with my fingers poised above the keyboard for hours, but nothing came out. I was stuck. And that’s because something in my life was stuck. I looked out the window at the barren sad landscape that used to be my yard, a place Evan played and we had birthday parties and BBQs, but no more. You see, last Summer was the pinnacle of one of the worst years of our lives. 2010 - the year of the lawsuit, attacking pitbulls, restraining orders, heart-breaking betrayals, the Septic explosion (and the flies and maggots that accompanied that), our dog Brandy getting cancer (and dying), the financial catastrophes, and the horrible and shocking loss of our good friend Greg. It was Summergeddon.

Before 2010, our yard had a cute patio with decorative brickwork, and scalloped garden areas. After the septic disaster, they ripped out the entire yard to find the problem. $10,000 later we were able to flush our toilets. That’s it. And this is what we were left with.
The result of Summergeddon. We used to have jacuzzi parties here.

This used to be a garden, now hard barren earth.
We never were able to put our yard back together, as our life since dealt us one financial blow after the next, and our focus was on simply keeping our heads above water. But every time we looked at that yard, it was a sad reminder of all the pain and loss of last year.

We were sick of it, and sick of waiting until we had the money to do something about it. So I closed my laptop, and off I went with my hoe and shovel. Troy and I spent this entire week in 100 degree weather, digging trenches, dragging enormous rocks around, leveling dirt, reclaiming our yard. It’s amazing what you can do with some determination and a few bucks.

You can drag rocks off the mountain and create a zen garden with plants you already have and a $6 bag of pea gravel.

You can create a play area with two $5 bags of mulch and a couple 2x4 boards.

Play area surrounded by zen garden area and what will eventually be a flagstone pathway.

You can make your Jacuzzi look brand new with a $10 can of redwood stain and a lot of elbow grease.

Jacuzzi before
Jacuzzi after the $10 can of stain.
Reclaiming our yard meant reclaiming our life. I’m wiping 2010 off the soles of my shoes, and moving on. New life has been planted in my yard. And hopefully when I sit down to write next week, something new and fresh will take root.

Sometimes a project seems so daunting,  I think it's impossible. It's like looking at a mountain, thinking I have to tackle the whole thing at once. But I learned in therapy that you climb a mountain by putting one foot in front of the other,  one step at a time. Sometimes taking a baby step is the most powerful thing you can do, but if you keep moving you'll get there. So I just keep moving. 

Today I’m off to help a friend reclaim her life, taking my proverbial hoe and shovel with me. Together, we're going to tackle a mountain, one step at a time.


  1. Love this Hollye. You done good. Can't wait to get the Party started. It looks wonderful and I am sure everyone will enjoy it. Is the jacuzzi up and running? I am so there.

  2. Congrats, Hollye! A job well done. Looks great! Enjoy it. Next time I see you, I'll bring you some succulents from my garden. :)

  3. The people who are able to demonstrate making their stumbling blocks into stepping stones are our role models and teachers. I for one consider myself very fortunate indeed to have read this article and benefitted from the Light present. Thank you!
    Muriel Merchant


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