(No, the house isn't leaning backwards, the garden actually sloped downhill but the crazy woman holding the camera leveled the garden and tilted the house)
Plowing the gardens reminded me of this photo, taken in late spring 1976. We moved to our land in August 1976, after almost a year of building on weekends. The house was nowhere near finished but we moved in anyway and pretty much camped in it for the next year.
We had few of the tools we needed to live in the country. My first husband bought the old truck you can see in the photo. It ran long enough to get to the farm and died. He also bought a 1952 Ford tractor with pretty close to the same result. We had some hand tools and a beasty rototiller that was a workhorse.
Our land was grown up in small trees, with a woodlot of about 30-35 acres. We cut back enough brush the first year to clear a place for our house and garden. The first garden was rough--lots of roots, rocks and briers. But we planted anyway, and had fair results considering we added nothing to the soil, which you can see was mostly clay, and highly acidic.
The boys loved living out in the country. We'd been two years in a townhouse in town and it was not for them after our little house in the country in Virginia. When we moved, they were happy as they could be. Our neighbor's boys, a mile away, meant they could take long runs across the hills to go play. No neighbors anywhere close meant no one watching over them or getting them in trouble, a problem for them in Ravenswood where there were so many eyes!
Looking at this photo, I realize how young they were when we put them to work. Jon is six, going on seven here, and Derek, in the background, would have just turned five. But look at them! I don't recall a lot of complaining, either. Of course, I was right there with them, and what boy doesn't like messing in dirt? It looks like they're both barefoot which was pretty normal. Now I look at it and think, snakes! copperheads! Oddly, we lived here for about 6 years before we saw a copperhead and it was dead in the driveway. God must protect fools because the possibility of poisonous snakes never occurred to me, even when we spent hours picking berries. So innocent.
This was over 30 years ago and looking at this picture, I see so many things that have changed. The house is as finished as it's likely to be, we have grass and a deck and porch, the briers are no more, the gardens are fertile, the brush is beaten back, the boys are grown and gone.
If I could change any of it, it would be to have my four mopheaded boys back again, running barefoot across the ridge, calling out to each other and laughing with the sun in their faces and the wind at their backs. Yes, I would like that.