Until last weekend I had never met the woman who lives across the street from me. That is embarrassing to say as I’ve lived in my home for more than four years now. I know many of the families who live on my short street but I had never met Jean until last Sunday. She is an elderly lady with bright eyes who is not afraid of silence.
We didn’t talk about peak oil or the tragic loss of top soil in our country. But she did say she’d seen my chickens one day when they ventured into my front yard. She told me about how living in our small, southern town used to include keeping backyard poultry and sometimes even larger livestock. She lamented the fact that folks no longer garden; that people aren’t as neighborly and don’t get together to share as often. We both apologized for not having met sooner. I brought up the idea of me gardening in her backyard. She is no longer able to do the physical work of growing food and was happy to hear the idea of me using her former garden to do so. We both agreed that sharing the food, not only between our two households but also with some of our other neighbors, would be a good idea. One such neighbor has since offered to help and has begun to deposit fallen leaves in a pile we’ll use for compost and for mulch.
The full version of this story about a holiday expansion of my neighborhood gardening efforts appears HERE as part of Groovy Green's 13 Days of Joy series.