Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Ill-Fated Garden Patch

The story of my garden is one that perhaps will illustrate some of the aspects of my life here in the Dominican Republic.  While still in the States, I dreamed with high hopes of my lush Dominican garden that I was told would be of such fruitful soil that if you throw a handful of beans over your shoulder and wait three days you'd have a vine.  

Somehow my arrangement and facilitation of the process of digging the garden, having a fence built around it to keep cows, dogs, chickens, and even people from walking through it, and "preparing" the soil took seven months.  I will say that serious heat was a deterrent until about October (when it was still seriously hot), but this whole experiment (which may have come to an end) has really been too comical.

Here's the timeline:
  • I started begging kind people we knew at Owen's workplace (with way more important things to do) for a fence for my hypothetical garden
  • suggestions that perhaps a square of prepared soil would be a good start to getting the fence led to many thoughts of, "Hmm, perhaps I will pay someone to turn the soil for me; this heat and humidity does not exactly call my name and get me outside into that little wilderness outside my window . . . once it's a little cooler perhaps."
  • in October, I paid someone to turn the soil
  • a few weeks later, someone took all of the topsoil I had so handily left turned over and exposed without a fence
  • several months later, a fence was built
  • a week or so later, I tried to work in the garden (with my lovely gardening assistant, Abigail) and discovered that the soil that was there was very similar in texture to modeling clay--it made formidable balls, repelled water, and had to be hacked at with a sharp object to "turn" it
  • a day or so later, I resumed begging, this time for some topsoil I knew about that I hoped kind people from Owen's workplace (with more important things to be doing) could be induced to deliver for me
  • a month or so after that, without my knowledge, topsoil was delivered for me by kind people from Owen's workplace (who still had much more important things to be doing) and placed right outside of the fence
  • a few days later, my much-improving but still imperfect student of the Spanish language husband informed me that the downstairs neighbor told him that someone had stolen the topsoil that had apparently been delivered without our knowledge
  • a few days after that, the neighbor's wife informed me that now the topsoil was actually stolen (Owen had misunderstood his interaction a few days prior to the theft: the neighbor was telling him that many people were trying to steal our topsoil but he had chased them off multiple times)
  • a few weeks after that, the owner of the land, who had given permission for the said garden, came and put up a nice new "For Sale by Owner" sign
  • a few days after that, I found out that the enormous garden a neighbor has right next to my tiny one is now going to be removed in respect to that "For Sale by Owner" sign and I may have to remove my fence
  • Current day:  I give up!  Good thing local produce is cheap here!


  1. Hi Valerie, I have retold this story a couple of times!! God is doing a work in you, I just know it!

    Gwen Doggett

  2. Thanks, Gwen! I know He is, too! I'm so glad he brought us here! He has placed us in such a wonderful church--"the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places" to be sure!