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  • Christine Shuck

Eight Years in the Northeast

Most of the time, we are so wrapped up in looking forward, that we forget to look back. And while G581: Earth is on hold until our big project is done, I found myself trying to remember how it had looked when we first came here, to this gigantic (more than 3x the size of our old house) house and even larger yard.


I sat down and pulled up my photo files of the 10th Street Garden and yard from my photo files, and yowza, what...a...difference!


Now, while some of these photos were taken in February and March, before everything had greened up, you can still see the massive difference in vegetation.


Take a walk with me, these are some before and afters you won't want to miss! Wherever possible, I tried to recreate the exact position I would have taken the original photos...


This was taken from our back porch looking out at the yard. At the time, we didn't own the last lot next to the white house, nor that house. It was abandoned, and had been for at least ten years prior.


Oh my, is that a money shot or what? Night and day difference, really! I swear, I keep scrolling back and forth between these two because the difference truly is astounding.


A shot from our front porch looking into the side lot we purchased soon after we bought the house.


Soooo many more plants! And it isn't just us, our neighbors who sold us the house, had their stone wall rebuilt, and the neighbors directly across from us had the old creosote timbers taken out and a concrete wall put in. Both of had their lawns re-done. If I ever decide I have enough flowers, I might actually put in sod in areas in the larger yard.

In the back of the property, long before we had a back fence (that went in, what, two years ago?) I had a load of dirt delivered. The wheelbarrow in the picture below is sitting on the remains of that pile. And this is the alley paved behind us.

Fences make good neighbors. So do ample amounts of blackberries and raspberries and thorny rosebushes. Just saying, NO ONE wants to jump this fence!

This lilac bush is still with us, but it is now surrounded by what will become our future pond. Fingers crossed, I'm hoping for next year.

Meanwhile, the yard has grown up around it!

Our sweet Bella was just a pup when we moved here. She has always been good at coming when called, so here she was playing with a neighbor dog we used to see, but haven't for at least five years. Here you can see the "old lady house" as we used to call her. The tree in the foreground is gone. It was a cottonwood. We cut a total of three cottonwoods down and my husband and daughter's allergies were very thankful! They now adorn our yard in the form of sitting stumps around the firepit and elsewhere.

Yep, I laid most of the paths you see here. And we just added a driveway to Cottage West, our Airbnb property. That was a huge selling point - safe and fenced!

The first year we were here, we put in a massive garden. You can see Dave working on it here. Two years later we were a stop on the urban farm tour with KC Cultivate. The day before the tour, our power went out in a storm. And stayed that way for THREE DAYS.

We will dig this out into a pond soon. And you can see plenty of other trees have been planted as well. I hope to move the trampoline to the backyard this fall and then the main part of the yard will be return to crop planting again.

We learned in the years since moving here, just how poor the soil is. It's a dream to dig in, once you get past the broken bricks. Keep in mind that this open land once contained three more homes that were torn down in the 70s and 80s.

This open space is perfect for crop planting, but it will have to be raised beds and with composted soil. The soil here is still too poor to sustain much of anything.

The view from the sidewalk leading up to our house looking east towards our side lot. When I say there was little or nothing planted here, I wasn't kidding.

The bricks were laid directly over the concrete sidewalk. It remains the most level patch of walkway we have. LOL! I love how it looks now. Beyond it, around the tree, is one herb garden. Right now, it mainly has walking onions, chives and lamb's ear. Eventually, this maple tree must be taken down and we will put a driveway there. Our own driveway! That will be very nice!

We certainly didn't start small, did we?

I laid this path two or three years ago. In person, it looks like a drunkard laid it. That's okay. It blends in with the age of the building!

My offspring, all of 6 1/2 years old. I couldn't help it, I asked her to re-enact the photo!

As you can see. She's grown a bit.

And one more? Just for the hell of it.

She's such a good sport!

That first year we needed to build a fence for our dog yard. Here we were, just getting started.

And now? The house in the background is actually one that was BEHIND the one in the first picture. That house caught fire and was torn down a few months after we moved in. The green house in the foreground is Cottage East. We still have plenty of work to do on the interior to get it in order.

The view from our front porch...

And now.


Thanks for looking. I got a real kick out of seeing these photos and comparing the old ones to now. I hope you did as well!


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