Barnyard to Paradise


Stepping out of the moving van directly into three-inch holes in the back yard, felt like a barnyard scene Charlie had experienced most of his young life on the farm. He is sure this is unacceptable for city dwelling.

The following week, armed with a shovel and rake, he and his fiance, Jeanne begin digging in the backyard. Years of deep-rooted weeds, buried rocks, tree roots and trash, become intensive labor that almost destroys their ambition to continue the project.

Upon Charlie and Jeanne appearing in the backyard every morning, signals the neighbors curiosity. Each one inquires about the project. One elderly gentleman, barely able to stand or walk, is ready to volunteer digging up the backyard. While another is peeking out her windows to see what all the activity is about. Neighbors come and go, but in the end, Charlie and Jeanne are steadfast to completion,

Why so relentless in their pursuit of completion?  A beautiful garden and patio are envisioned in place of this desolate space. The pool contractor can sense the urgency of this project since a wedding and reception are planned to take place in four-months in this location.

Nothing seems to go smoothly, Setback upon setback haunt the project. The ground is raked smoothly only to decide its not where it should go. Piles of dirt are shoveled back and forth to the point of exhaustion. Charlie throws his arms in the air and claims it’s the last time he’s transporting dirt from multiple locations in the yard.

The deadline is soon approaching. Under pressure to complete the project, Jeanne volunteers to lay the patio blocks. Charlie prepares the surface and Jeanne adds more sand as she lays the blocks. Frustrated, Charlie  reminds her he has the ground raked perfectly. Comments  hurl back and forth about who’s right or wrong but, in the end, the patio looks well-done.

Beautiful plants are added to finish the landscaping project and sealing the relationship with wedding vows and dedication to gardening. Charlie and Jeannie continue to beautify their surroundings to this day.

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one of the bougainvillea plants in the garden
yellow hibiscuss
Numerous hibiscus grace the garden area

Author: JC Rowley

JC Rowley is a freelance travel writer, author and photographer based in Lehigh Acres, Florida. She is a member of ITWPA and shares many of her articles and stories, books and adventures on her website: and "Freelance Travel With Me!" Facebook site. Dedicated Teacher and Accomplished Creative Writer and Thinker

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