Professional Relaxer?

Years ago we bought a cozy little chair hammock for the garden.  It came with a decal that said “Professional Relaxer.”


I made sure the boys stuck the decal to my husband’s car because I’m incapable of ‘relaxing’ in my garden. My idea of gardening nirvana isn’t about relaxing, but about doing. So after pronouncing to a handful of friends that we had ‘nothing planned’ for most of the weekend, I proceeded to clean my side yard. I sorted, swept, washed, pruned, recycled, tossed and donated most of the afternoon.

We have two narrow side-yards, though only one has a gate.  We once used the closed side yard as a play area for the boys.

boys in sideyard

Once upon a time in the side yard with Fluffy, CC and the boys

In later years, we created a screened-in cat enclosure so our cats could have fresh air and exercise but remain safe. We have one unkind neighbor who set a trap for our cat, then took him to the animal impound.  Eventually we discovered the Cat Fence-in System and life in the feline world has been better ever since.

A few years ago we adopted Slinky, a semi-feral kitty who wanted no part of indoor living. I made a cozy enclosure for her, complete with a day-time lounging area, a climbing post and a sheltered bed. She lived out there for a year. After nabbing her for her annual trip to the vet, and keeping her briefly indoors, she had a complete change of heart and moved in!

slinky and mouse in the side yard

Slinky’s Private Quarters (Mouse liked to invite himself over)

Absent Slinky, the side-yard morphed again. This time it wasn’t pretty.  It became the home for wayward garden screening. Old cat litter boxes, past their prime but not recyclable joined the mix. Plastic pots saved from nursery bedding  plants multiplied like unmatched socks. The space no longer satisfied my tidy aesthetic.

side yard starting point

Side Yard Starting Point

cat enclosure

Far End of Cat Enclosure

We borrowed our neighbors small truck and combined his items with ours and made a trip to a local transfer station.  While a trip to the dump was a bit of an adventure, it also made me realize the back-end of human consumption.

Cat boxes without a recycle symbol eventually have to be tossed.  Cat furniture, made from particle board and carpet remnants, so too have nowhere to go.  Broken tool handles, fractured irrigation pipe, and other bits of detritus end up as landfill.  Our trip was an exercise in awareness as well.

Back  home, exhausted and sore from the day’s work, I eventually put my feet up.  That said, I’ll leave the serious relaxing to the professionals.  When you garden, there’s always work to do.