The garden box began as a germ of an idea planted in my husband’s head by me.
“You know,” I said one day, conversationally, as I was chopping tomatoes and lettuce and little green onions and throwing them into a salad bowl at my kitchen counter, “I sure would like one of those little garden boxes like Jill has.” (Jill is child number three). Last year she and her dad hammered, nailed and sawed two garden boxes together. Her little vegetable garden, planted by herself and her three small boys, was truly a wonder to behold and the vegetables they grew rivaled Jack in the Beanstock, so well did they flourish.
My husband commented the same way he usually does when I toss an idea out along with the salad.
He said nothing.
But a few days later, over a glass of wine after supper, he showed me a rough version of a garden box scribbled on the back of an envelope with a ball point pen that actually worked that I found in the junk drawer.
“What do you think?” he asked.
“Cool,” I said. “I think it would be very cool.”
He explained to me how the box would work. He said, pointing to the hastily drawn diagram, how it would have two little boxes running down the length of it, joined by a box across the front, leaving a little walkway between the two boxes.
I looked at the picture and still didn’t get it.
“Cool,” I said, anyway. “I like that idea.”
And so it came to be that the lumber for the little garden box got ordered and cut to the proper dimensions inside my husband’s giant toolbox that is really supposed to be a two-car garage.
That was where I came in.
I hauled all the pieces of wood out to the south side of the house, dropping them in a somewhat random heap because they were heavy. I then looked at them somewhat dubiously like I had no idea how they were all going to come together.
I looked at them in this way because it was true.
I had no idea.
But, my husband, the visionary, apparently knew. He handed me this electric screw thing and some screws and said to put board A (the short board) together with the this frame thing which was later to be screwed to board B and then pile them on top of each other and it would all be good.
I said okay.
And so it began.
It was quite horrible, actually.
I’m here to tell you there are some things I can do and do well.
Using an electric screw gun is not one of them.
“Hold it straight,” my husband said. “I am,” I moaned. “It’s not working, I whined.
“I think you are actually unscrewing the screw,” he said, patiently.
I resisted the urge to scream and yell and throw the harmless looking screw gun very far away and tried again. And again.
Despite the fact it has taken me twice as long as it would take most people, the little box is almost finished now and soon we will fill it up with some nice black dirt from somewhere and plant little seeds and then one day I won’t have to go to Sobeys to buy the stuff to make a salad.
I will just go to the south side of my house where my little garden grows in neat little rows. And I will pick the lettuce, radishes and little green onions and make a salad, right then, right there. And the neighbours will see me and say stuff like, “been gardening long?”
And I will wipe my dirty hands on my blue jeans and look up from my labours, all properly humble and say “no, not really.”
But inside I will be all happy and proud and will forget all about how inept I am with a screw gun.
At least that’s my plan. Time will tell if it works!
Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review and writes a regular column for The Pipestone Flyer.