I woke up on a recent Saturday morning, and Danny was gone. It didn’t take long to find him. He was in the backyard: working, building, husband-ing. Since we moved in to our house this summer, he’s been mowing, sawing, fixing lights, adding lights, painting. We’d talked a bit about adding a garden now that we had the space, but hadn’t really set a date for starting this project. Well, I hadn’t. By the time I rolled out of bed around 8:30, he’d already been to Home Depot, his car riding low under the tremendous weight of dirt, compost and wood piled high in the trunk.

With a Sunset magazine how-to as his guide, he built me a raised garden bed. He even stained the wood a pretty red. So I changed out of my pjs and helped him fill it with dirt. Ahem, soil.

danny car

garden bed

To start: radishes, beets, and burgundy beans (purple green beans). We heard radishes were great for first-time gardeners, and I’m here to tell you that is truly excellent advice. I planted those little seeds on Saturday morning, an endeavor that began a little dramatically with a garden snake sighting and a downpour as soon as I finished planting. After I’d already watered the seeds. Maybe all that rain gave them a jump-start because by Monday morning, the radishes made themselves known. By Monday evening, I saw tiny green sprouts. And this morning? Oh man, the radishes were full little bunches, a pretty exciting result to see within a week. The beets sprouted this morning—a spectacular flash of fuschia in the dark soil. I think we officially have a garden! A beginner’s garden.

Since we’re talking about our backyard, I should mention the little mango plant. When my parents visited in August they brought a couple plants for us, including a mango plant grafted from their tree. The mango plant is looking a little like he misses Miami…but I hope I ultimately chose a good spot to plant him. (Near the hammock.)

Beet seeds


Inside the house, it’s beginning to look and feel like home. We got a real coffee table. A new rug. An entryway table. We’ve had friends over for dinner (and Mindy Tuesdays). I framed a few photos, and we even hung a couple things on a wall in the office. It’s getting so cozy up in here—especially as it finally cools off outside.

Today it’s been eight months since our wedding day. We’re more than halfway through our first year of marriage! It’s been exciting, fun, and wonderful. I can’t help but think of a line from Mindy’s new book (or maybe it was her first book, which I also read recently) about her parents talking happily for hours about gardening. She goes on to say this in an essay about weddings (in her first book), “In real life, shouldn’t a wedding be an awesome party you throw with your great pal, in the presence of a bunch of your other friends? A great day, for sure, but not the beginning and certainly not the end of your friendship with a person you can’t wait to talk about gardening with for the next forty years.” Danny, I’m looking forward to a million more Saturday mornings together, possibly in the dirt.

Baby mango

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