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On Gardening and Simplicity


As a little kid, I loved playing in the garden. For example, there are old Polaroid’s at my parent’s house featuring five-year old Tammy sitting naked in a strawberry patch. In another photo, I’m in a red wagon, with dirt on my face, and a can of Miller in my hand. Apparently, my parents thought it would be an amusing photo opportunity after a long day of yard work. And, they were right. When I saw both photographs, as a teenager, I snorted with laughter.

As a teenager, I didn’t want to garden. When my parents asked for help, I wrinkled my nose and rolled my eyes. At that time, I was interested in television, boys, and not getting my hands dirty.

Fast forward twenty years . . .

I no longer wrinkle my nose when it comes to gardening. Recently, I’ve become obsessed with the activity and I fret over my plants. I’ve even started squealing when sprouts appear in my pots or when I notice a new blossom on my Harmony. And, at night I bring my plants inside so they don’t get cold. According to Logan, “we are living in a tiny greenhouse.”

In some ways, it feels like we are literally planting roots in Siskiyou County. Logan and I don’t want to move anytime soon. Although, writing that sentence makes me nervous. The last time I uttered those words, we had to tow our tiny house away from the City of Chico. Nothing is certain and I’m grateful for my family, my little house, and Logan’s new job. So yes, we are planting metaphorical roots and it feels good. I’m looking forward to spending time outside and gardening!

Enter Old Rocks, Pinterest and a Backhoe . . .

mason jars Our tiny house is parked in a sweet spot with great views. Previously, a mobile home was parked in this location too. The home was taken away by the local fire department and used as a house fire training tool for volunteer firefighters. However, remains from the prior dwelling were left behind. We’ve found lots of stuff the soil; everything from concrete blocks to old nails. Plus, we found a huge pile of old rocks under a Sycamore tree. I’ve wanted to do something creative with the rocks since we moved back to the area.

When I was browsing Pinterest for gardening ideas and tools, I stumbled across images featuring rock gardens. To Logan’s chagrin, I declared that we had to do something awesome with the old rocks. The rocks were covered in dirt and we had to unearth them. In the process, we created a raised bed garden using the rocks as walls.

Pinterest also propelled me to the local gardening store. I needed some gardening supplies, like seeds, flowers, soil, and a couple of pots. I didn’t buy many pots because I used old mason jars to start my seeds — another awesome idea I found on Pinterest — and I found a very cute pot at a thrift store.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my in-laws. We wouldn’t be living in Little Shasta Valley if it weren’t for their generosity. I probably wouldn’t be starting a garden either. My in-laws have loaned us shovels, rakes, loppers, and their Rototiller too. Last weekend, my father in-law dropped off a pile of soil for our little garden with his backhoe. Buying soil is expensive and it’s amazing to get free dirt dropped off at our doorstep! I’m grateful for my in-laws and their support.

Moving forward . . .

I’m a novice gardener and I’m looking forward to learning as I go. I just hope I don’t kill too many plants in the process. Once our garden is ready, I will transplant my peas, lettuce, and flowers into the new space.

In the meantime, I will continue to bring my plants and flowers inside until the nights get warmer. I will squeal at the sight of new sprouts, and I will have fun getting my hands dirty this spring. However, you won’t find me sitting naked in a strawberry patch or a red wagon because I might scare the neighbors.

Be well,

Before you go, I have a few announcements to share:

  • Have you bought My Morning View? If yes, please leave a review on amazon. Reviews help spread the word about my book. Thank you!
  • If you want to delve deeper into your photography practice, register for my photography e-course. The class revolves around completing small assignments and collaborating with peers to get feedback on your work. Registration closes at the end of April.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sandra Pawula April 28, 2014, 4:55 pm

    I love that you squeal when a sprout appears! It’s so magical, isn’t it. I wouldn’t say I have a green thumb, but I’ve been trying my hand at gardening off and on for the last four years and love it too. I love being able to put fresh vegetables on the table. Now, we’ve planted a small orchard of tress that will bear mostly tropical fruit. Our first Surinam cherry has appeared as well as papayas. Yep, I squeal too.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes.

  • Margie April 28, 2014, 5:59 pm


    Just finished your book. I adored every minute of it.


  • Amber Marie April 28, 2014, 6:37 pm

    I’ve been having a grand time creating a tiny oasis on our little apartment balcony! It’s such a wonderful journey to help plants grow! I’ve been enjoying all your photos of your gardening lately.

  • Pat April 28, 2014, 8:02 pm

    Your little home looks so happy, especially with its flowers, pots, and rocks. Seeing sprouts is VERY exciting! Oh, have I missed a post, or would you share? What is Logan’s new job? Best wishes to you both.
    Pat in Eastern NC

    • Logan April 29, 2014, 10:57 am

      Hi Pat, My new job is in rural economic development. 🙂 Cheers, Logan.

      • Pat April 29, 2014, 12:59 pm

        Congratulations, Logan. Best wishes to you in the new job. Hope you find it fulfilling. Glad it allows you and Tammy to remain on the ranch for now. All my best, Pat.

    • Tammy Strobel April 29, 2014, 1:41 pm

      Hi Pat – You didn’t miss a post. I haven’t said anything about Logan’s new job, until now. We wanted to be sure he liked it and that he passed his 90 day review. Logan is doing great and is happy with the new gig. 🙂

  • Robyn @ Living the Simple Life Now April 29, 2014, 4:33 am

    I love gardening, too. Even though it can be a lot of work, there is a simplicity about it that is beautiful. Now that I live in Michigan where it is too cold to garden except during the summer months, I love it all the more. It truly becomes something to cherish. 🙂

  • Rebecca April 29, 2014, 10:16 am

    Awesome! I too squealed with delight when I first saw my seeds sprout. Good to know I am not the only one thrilled with new life.
    As for scaring the neighbors too funny. I personally have been tempted to take off my shirt and just hang out in my bra when I got too hot working and also decided not to scare the neighbors as well.
    Have fun with your gardening adventure.
    I recently transplanted my bean plant and need to transplant a few other plants.

  • Anne-Marie April 29, 2014, 3:21 pm

    It is great to garden. I have not been able to do that for many years (due to renting and not much space to grow anything) but I grew up in a house that had a big yard and also a garden where we grew lettuce, carrots, different herbs, strawberries, flowers etc.
    It is such a tremendous difference when you can pick something and eat it directly. You can feel all the nutrients.
    It is still cold here at night so I am sure your little plants appreciate being inside. 🙂

  • Teri Clifton April 30, 2014, 8:41 am

    I’ve also loved gardening and found a little “pick me up” last winter when feeling blue. I bought 2 African Violets from Trader Joes for under $5 total, pulled together a few freebie succulents, lined them up on a window sill and replaced a regular lightbulb w/ a grow light bulb and voila! Total expense, including liquid African Violet plant food, under $20!! Best infusion of happy ever especially when combined with a “My Morning View” post 😉 so, thank you, Tammy!! Rock on (pun absolutely intended). 🙂

  • Justt Joe May 10, 2014, 6:56 am

    Bought it, devoured it, and sat in warm glow afterwards. 🙂

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