I began as a hobby.
My creator came from a place with four distinct seasons. She began working on me because she missed her old home. She moved here from a place where she could turn the garden in late February and have early peas growing by March.
I’ve seen snow powdering and melting and beading up in cold little orbs as late as, you won’t believe this, but I’ve seen it snow in early July. July is when regular people up here put in the garden and sleep all night with no worries.
The snow I saw in August took the cake, but that had been a cold and wet summer.
The woman put me up the second year she lived here and swore she’d be stark raving mad if she didn’t have me for a distraction.
She had table, pots, bags of soil, tools and what seemed to be a good hand with the plants. About two years in, she added some to me. More tables, she even began looking into plant shows. Not the shows on cable television. These were shows, exhibits, where participants pack up, leave town, stay overnight, spend tons of money and let strangers look at their garden life.
A man came to visit one sunny afternoon. She walked him through and I was rather cramped at that time. He talked to her about making a financial go of me. He said he’d help out.
For the next year the fellow dropped by on weekends and added space, pipes and other things at a steady pace.
The woman visited and worked here maybe more fiercely than she did before. But she seemed different. Not as pleasant. She’d stay mostly in the area we began our relationship and she’d avoid the new additions. Some days she would just come in and sit in her comfy chair with the tray table beside it. She’d sip at tea, hot in the winter, cold in the summer.
I never did figure out what was wrong or making my woman so deep in a funk.
The man finished his work and tore down the sheets of plastic. He had run water through me and I had huge fans to move the air through. There were some decent heaters in place to melt the new fallen snow into tiny beads of water.
There was some gadgetry in place to gather snow and rain water to disperse through the pipes to various plants. The lighting was better than nature.
The woman became more cheerful.
She left her comfy chair and brought in a sales counter, a book shelf filled with gardening books. She was setting things in order, getting down to business.
She worked all winter, at the edge of spring she had seedlings growing and began to receive packages, deliveries every day, more than once a day.
Small trees and bushes came in and she began reading up on root cellars to keep and sell roots. That would come later if this part of her adventure worked out.
The doors opened to cameras, interviews, this is a very small town and news is news.
The woman’s prize plants were shown off. They still lived in my original part.
Springtime brought a lot of people fast and furious for the month of May and a few weeks into June most the tables were empty.
The woman was worn out, but very happy. She had managed things well and the deliveries nearly stopped altogether.
We wintered. Some new businesses, construction people, came in during the winter months to put in orders for landscaping plants, rocks and even some water features.
The woman had only been open one year, one season, really, and she was expanding.
She sat in her comfy chair with a clip board, calculator, a few books, lots of receipts and sighed.
She strolled my oldest part, a small part compared to the new places added. She gently touched this and that as though considering something really big.
She had a few men come in, not a builder like the man who had taken so long. These fellow meant business.
For a few days, probably a week, she seemed to be mulling something over. Then a new fellow came in to do some work. She became very involved in this new project.
The walled off a section of green house, installed alarms there, she had not used security until now. She bought a dog and set him up in a pen just outside this walled off part. He was a nice dog, big and pointy at the ears.
During the evening hours the woman let the dog loose inside me.
I knew whatever she had plans for in the walled off area was really important and valuable, she didn’t protect the garden stock.
Extra lights came and she helped install them in the secret area.
Then more deliveries came, special soil, new books, legers, it was all very specialized.
She had pots of various sizes and some hydroponic vats back there.
The back part had been lined top and sides with dark material that didn’t let light from nature inside and didn’t let the light from within out.
She started a nursery back there, she was very very busy and throughout the winter she happily worked the room.
The number of people coming through to buy the springtime plants had not changed, well maybe a few new ones but I thought with all the back room work she would have had a lot more new customers.
She kept the room closed off, alarmed and the dog became a friendly fixture. So friendly he was really not very good at his intended alarm. But the woman seemed as attached to him as I had become.
People using the back room were few but when they came they were very well dressed. Very discreet. Sometimes they left with a few packages through one of my side doors. Sometimes they went out with no packages at all.
The woman sat in her comfy chair, writing things down and answering cell phone calls. She’d check the back room before going back to the house.
One day, just before the woman would have been preparing to sell spring time garden flowers, fountains, bird baths and other accessories, a few big white vans stealthily parked around me.
Suddenly very dressed men in dark clothes, heavy boots with guns came tromping, storming in.
The woman did not try to stop them. She made a single call and said ATF into the phone before the armed men cuffed her and walked her out.
Most of my new stuff has been stripped away. They didn’t close off my wounds properly and the plants the woman used to show are all dead now.
The cold frost of winter has breached my edges. Rain gets in and some pipes have frozen and burst.
Once in a while, someone comes and walks through. The house is for sale and I go with it. I hope the new woman has a good hobby. Someone said I could be rehabbed.
Rehabbed sounds to me like they think I have a problem. I don’t think I do. Patch my sides, seal my roof, put in some new pipes, skip the pipes altogether, I didn’t start out with pipes, just a few tables, some pots, soil, a little heat, I’ll be fine, you’ ll see. I’ll be just fine.