Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Thirty Years and Counting

I'm repeating this post I wrote two years ago - right after I began blogging. I am making a few revisions and adding some pictures - I didn't do pictures at that time.

Today is the 30th anniversary of our move into this house of ours. It's nothing special; in fact, it's getting pretty used up! But it's ours - all ours. No bank involved any more.

I had driven over here almost every day to watch the progress and record it for posterity - and I think I hoped they'd do a better job if I checked up on them every day. I don't think that worked!



On that hot summer day, we were the first ones to invade this cul de sac. The next morning the first thing we noticed was the total lack of bird songs, having moved from an old neighborhood. The second thing we noticed was the very loud sound of an airplane buzzing overhead, very close to the roof of our house. Turns out that we were very close to a farm which was being sprayed by a crop duster. Believe me, there are no farms left anywhere near us now - just hundreds of houses and thousands of people! Kinda sad.

Eventually, all 13 houses were built and inhabited - the kids that moved in a couple at a time had a great time playing on the piles of dirt - and I remember watching every minute to be sure they didn't have too much fun and fall into a newly dug basement!

As the neighborhood grew up, we at one time had 32 children on the street - what a great time the kids had in the evenings, playing with the various daddies. There was one time period for a couple of years or more that every time one baby was born, another pregnancy was announced. It was great fun. We had block parties and everyone watched out for each other. I remember taking a hot loaf of home made bread every time someone moved in.

Alas, the fun didn't last and people began to seek out larger or fancier houses. Some of the houses turned into rentals and the yards didn't look so great any more. We are one of two original owners on the street.

Interestingly, two of the houses now have 3rd generation children of the originals. Kristen lives 3 doors down with our grandchildren. Two doors the other way, a couple has moved back in with the parents and have a child (the man of the house died suddenly at 50 of a heart attack since I originally wrote this - she still lives there with her son and his family). Who would have ever thought?

One of the good things about this longevity is that my very mobile family has always had a place to use as a "permanent address." One of my nieces who has lived in many overseas spots says that it is good to have a place that feels like "home" no matter where she has lived.

I have told DC many times I didn't want to ever move, because I wanted my grandkids to climb those trees that I worked so hard planting. And here that time has arrived. Legacy or Rut? What do you call it?

The next spring, when we first began to put in our yard, I became the landscape "expert," planting the trees and bushes. DC dug a six foot diameter hole. which was filled with water the next morning, as we had one of our frequent rain storms during that night, I had to get this tree in that day or it was going to die. There I was out there early in the morning, while the kids still slept, wearing fishing waders, trying to get this tree to stand up straight (at least 10 feet tall) while I tried to shovel the mud back into the hole. Keep in mind that we had just added a huge supply of "natural fertilizer", if you get my drift, the day before! I found out later that a neighbor was watching this whole fiasco from her window and getting a real bang out of it. Much of the time I was close to falling into that muck, because the waders got stuck and I couldn't move very easily. Oh, what a picture!

And now - as it looks today -- at least as much as I could catch - it is huge.
We had contracted with a nursery in town to create a plan for our yard, and we in turn would buy a percentage of the trees and bushes from them. We ended up buying almost everything from them, if I remember correctly. DC was very busy that spring with his job, so it fell upon me (a totally indoors kind of person), to plant the trees and bushes. I had two small children, but I would faithfully get out there every morning, dig 5-6 holes, and run to the nursery to pick up that many bare root bushes. It was an extremely wet spring that year and every time we'd prepare for a big project, the rain would come and make muck out of our dirt, also filling up any holes we had dug or trenches that had been prepared for the sprinkling system. I remember the day that we finally put in grass seed, trying to beat the coming rainstorm, thinking it would be great to have God give the pre-lawn its first good watering. Well, He sent a gully-washer, and every newly purchased seed ended up against the patio or around the newly-planted trees. We had a great crop of grass in totally inappropriate places! We tried again.

A few years later, DC's parents went back to Wisconsin to the old home place, in the woods up north. Unbelievably, they brought us home two trees for our growing yard. How those trees made the long trip without dying is a miracle in itself. One was a Blue Spruce, about 2 feet tall. It now stands at least 30 feet. What a great memory for my husband of his childhood at his grandma's place. The other one they brought was a maple of some variety.


Amazingly, the next spring, wild flowers and wild raspberries began to sprout around that maple tree - they had come out here from Wisconsin in the ball of dirt that surrounded the roots. They made it through that 1200 mile trip, through replanting, through winter, and came back to life in the spring. God puts amazing spunk into his plants! DC transplanted some, and especially the raspberries thrived. Some of them are in this large raspberry patch.

The little tree in front of the patch is an apple tree - Anakin planted a seed from his apple one day when he was about 4. It began to grow immediately, and two years later, DC transplanted it out of the flower garden. It is at least 8 feet tall now.
Just a few more shots taken today -- 30 years later. I just realized I've lived half my life in this house! Amazing, considering I lived in 23 apartments/houses during my first 30 years. This Austrian Pine was shorter than the fence when we planted it.


Michelle-ozark crafter said...

Those are precious memories1 Oh how I would have loved to grow up and live in just one house throughout my childhood! But being an air force brat, it was not meant to be! Saw a lot of interesting places. I loved seeing the pictures of how your home and land have changed. Amazing!

Karen said...

I remember when you planted the boxwoods in the front that are now a hedge. I don't know why I remember it so well, strange I guess.

It's such a beautiful backyard now. I have so many wonderful memories that took place in your home.

Mimi said...

love the progression pictures of your home...what a peaceful comfortable place that back yard looks like...
a wonderful place to retire to!!!!
have a great summer

Mary said...


What wonderful memories you have and your place looks awesome. You put a lot of hard work into it back then and now you are reaping the rewards. I love the flag you have in front of your place. I wish more people here flew flags. I fly a small one. The big one I had came down when we had to change the back upper deck. It was in poor condition so I didn't put it back up. I really need to get a new one.

Take care and have a Happy Independence Day.


Mike Golch said...

Dawn,we have 10 more years to go before we can say we ouw ours out right.I look forward to that day.

Nadine said...

What wonderful memories and pictures to remember the beginning.

BTW - I live on the other side of the state of WA from Olympia.

Midlife Mom said...

What a lovely post about your home and the progression of all the trees and shrubs that you planted along the way. The waders are just too funny! You're lucky you didn't fall in that hole!! Your yard is beautiful, I love all the mature trees. When we moved here about 13 years ago there was hardly a tree near the house, it was all woods in the back but nothing close to the house. Like you we have added things over the years and it is fun to watch them grow. Great memories for you, nice to put it down in words!!

Pam said...

What a great post! You have made an amazing home in 30 years - not a house, but a home:)

Kathleen Marie said...

Wow, isn't it amazing how time changes things. You do have a lovely home and the fact that is is all yours is FABULOUS!

Love the photos!!! I can just imagine all the wonderful memories floating in the home.

GOd Bless!

Nancy said...

What a great pictorial of then and now... especially after all of the work, sweat and tears that went into your home over the years. This is a very appropriate reflection for your retirement. A chance to see how far you have come, along with what it took to get to this point. Just sit back now and enjoy... this is a blessing indeed!

"Well done my good and faithful servant!"

PEA said...

Hello dear Dawn:-)

Finally catching up on your news! I so enjoyed reading this post and seeing all the changes since you first had your house built. I've been in my house for 30 years this month also so we have the same house anniversary! lol When I look at older pictures of when we first moved in here, like you I notice how much the trees have grown. I love the way your house and yard look like now...a lot of work went into that. Also love the fact that some of the trees have so many memories attached to them.

Congratulations on your retirement, Dawn...the cake your coworkers had for you is just gorgeous and such lovely presents you received as well. I'm sure it will take a while for it to really sink in that you're now retired:-) Remember, if you ever travel to my little corner of the world, my door is open!!

Goodness, I don't know how anyone can enjoy white water rafting...my youngest son Corey loves it...too adventurous for me! lol Kristen was very lucky to have survived being dumped out of the raft...my gosh!! Speaking of Kristen, I noticed she made her blog private. I do hope that all is ok with her!! xoxo

SentimentsbyDenise said...

Dawn -
I absolutely love this post! What incredible memories you have of this house in the thirty years you've lived there!
I grew up in a home with my parents and three brothers - my parents had it built when I was 3. About twelve years ago they sold it for four times what they originally paid for it and built a newer, somewhat smaller home on some amazing property (3-acre pond, garden spots, wooded area, lush lawn, etc) - because they no longer have a house full of kids!
I miss the house I grew up in, but I know another family is making some great memories there now.
Your photos of the changes over the past 30 years are great! Especially the trees and foliage.
Thanks for sharing this!

Tammy said...

I think I remember some of this post, or at least seeing the way your trees had grown since you planted them, and it's SO amazing.
My mom is still living in the house she and my dad had built 30 years ago, when they were in their early 50's at the time (my dad's been gone 20 yrs)...and there is a little tree my dad nearly rescued from the dump that now shades the entire front yard.

I loved reading about your cul-de-sac...it made me wished I would have grown up there, or lived there right now with my kids!

Wonderful memories you have of these 30 years in your home!

Simply Heart And Home said...

How wonderful to be in your home 30 years. We've only been in our home about 15 years and the time has flown by.

Have a wonderful 4th of July!


Susie said...

Hi Dawn,
Your neighborhood sounds much the same as ours and we've been in our home for 31 yrs now. So many memories!
Hope you're enjoying your first wk of retirement!
Happy 4th!

Needled Mom said...

Isn't it amazing how wonderful and inviting the neighborhood looks with full sized trees?

I loved the story about the raspberries surviving the transplant like that. Incredible!

Glad that you have so many fond memories and that you are able to continue making them with the grandkids.

Happy 4th.

Linda said...

What a lovely, warm, welcoming home you've created Dawn. I think it is wonderful that you have been there so long. The house we're in now is the one I've lived in the longest - 25 years. I thought we would never move, but the neighbors (huge box store, etc.) have changed dramatically from the cows who used to gaze at us wistfully over the fence, and it is time to move on.
How would you like to come and do the landscaping for me - whenever we finally do sell and build a new house. You've done a magnificent job!
Have a wonderful holiday weekend.

Maine Mom said...

Definitely a legacy! I loved hearing about your planting experiences. :-)

Happy 4th of July!

Sharon Lynne said...

What a cool shady yard! It's so amazing how things grow.

It was fun to see your house! It looks like a cozy home!

Maybe when we plant small seeds of love...or giving...or a smile...maybe God makes it grow big. We may never know the outcome of a small gesture.
(Obviously I'm in "devotional" mode.)

Barb said...

I thoroughly enjoyed all of this, Dawn. I love seeing the photos from the very beginning and comparing them to how it all looks now.

I think the most moving thing of all is the little apple seed. Imagine a little boy sticking one tiny apple seed into the ground and ending up with a tree like that.

Your whole yard is an amazing story. And it's really, really pretty.

groovyoldlady said...

Definitely a Legacy! I never had a "home" growing up. We moved all the time.

Now that we're settled, Mulletman is restless. He'd love to move or do some "travel nursing" where you work as a fill-in nurse at a facility for 2-3 months and then move on. The pay is fabulous and we could live in a motor home as professional gypsies.

It's a nice idea, but right now God has called us to stay put and care for our folks. So...we're planting trees too! Ours are still little and seem dwarfed by our huge yard. Thanks for showing me what they might be like (God willing) in 30 years!