Often I hear people say, “Life was so much easier back then.” The particular time period referred to varies, depending on who is making the statement. Often, it’s before computers and the internet, other times it’s before television. This spring, as I bring my yard back up to par, I am reminded of a more simple time I’ve heard mentioned and remember just slightly. Back when I was in preschool, and my great grandparents, Busia and Jaja were still alive. They had a beautiful, well kept yard in a neighborhood outside the city.
Their driveway ran along the side of the house, to the unattached garage in the back. Even if we parked on the street, we always entered through the backyard. I can vividly recall stepping stones made of white marble leading to the back door. Snap dragons of various colors and roses lined the driveway and along the house. An apple, cherry and peach trees shaded the yard, and tall blueberry bushes engulfed the far side of the house. Along the side of the garage they planted a prosperous garden (from seeds) every year. Directly behind it, bordering their yard, grew a thick, long row of raspberry bushes.
Busia (Veronica, my great-grandmother), not only picked the fruit and vegetables, but also canned everything. They say she would pick an apple off the ground, bite out the worm hole and continue eating (or save it for a pie). Her flowerbeds were always spectacular and welcoming to birds and butterflies. And all this she did while wearing a house dress and apron.
As I venture into my own backyard, carrying store bought tomato and pepper plants, I can only hope Busia looks down on me and at least notices the effort. While she planted 20 or more tomato plants, I will have 5, with about 4 pepper plants. Perhaps I will add some lettuce, however, nothing will compare to her rows of carrots, lettuce and other vegetables. Last year, with valiant effort, I planted dwarf blueberry bushes. Unfortunately, this spring it seems a groundhog is enjoying snacking on them.
Perhaps I follow more in her footsteps with my flowerbeds. Various perennials begin blooming in early spring and the beds maintain a splash of color well into fall. Many years ago, I even planted a rosebush in her honor. To my surprise, year after year, it grows back with more blooms than ever. Wildlife is also abundant. All day I can hear the birds beautiful songs as they eat from the many feeders and build nests in the bird houses. Once again, the hummingbirds made their usual appearance on Mother’s Day. Likewise, the finch and woodpeckers returned to the feeder and the house wrens are busily adding sticks to the nest they are building.
Was life simpler back then? It doesn’t seem so to me. How did Busia have time to care for such and beautiful yard, maintain a garden and can her harvest? Did she ever sit in her yard and enjoy life? I honestly don’t know. One of my goals this year is to still have my beautiful flower beds and simple garden, but allow time to enjoy them. Hopefully Busia smiles down on me and is proud, even if I am wearing jeans.