Saturday, August 06, 2011

Backyard Makeover

Well, at least the beginning of one . . .

I've always enjoyed "before and after" shots of renovations and makeovers – and now I have some of my own to share!

These particular photos were taken over the past two days and show the transformation taking place in the backyard of my home in St. Paul. As you can see, there are some major changes going on. And needed changes, at that. The yard was starting to resemble a jungle.

I don't actually own the house I call home, as I'm the live-in caretaker of the house of a friend who's also named Michael, the partner of the late David McCaffrey. Michael has generously allowed me to live in his house for the past eight years, which has been wonderful. I mean, I simply could not have worked as I have with CPCSM (which David co-founded) if I also had to have a "regular" job so as to pay rent. In many ways I've lived "off the grid" these past 15 years or so, and I've been supported in doing so by many generous folks who appreciate what I do.

Things, of course, are starting to change. CPCSM's days are numbered and I recently started a part-time job – the first step in "mainstreaming" myself in the work field. Basically, I can sense I'm preparing myself for some major changes. The makeover of my backyard thus feels in some ways like an appropriate metaphor for my life at this time!

Above: My little shrine to the Compassionate Christ, which I built in April 2010.

I've often shared images of this quiet place of prayer and reflection in past "Prayer of the Week" posts. See, for example, here, here, here, and here.

Above: I'll be needing to find a new space for my shrine! Indeed, if you look carefully at the second picture of this post, you'll see where I've temporarily relocated my shrine to the Compassionate Christ.

The creative mastermind behind the makeover is Al, pictured with me at right. Al is a great guy – and an accomplished landscape gardener. I met him about six years ago through David and Michael. In the 1980s Al had played in the local Gay Softball League with David.

Above: Al, putting a stain on the concrete planter he brought for the center of the garden

Also lending a helping hand is Greg, pictured above at right. Like Al, Greg was a longtime and good friend of David's.

Oh, and it's not lawn Al and Greg are digging up in this picture. It's actually Creeping Charlie, which had completely taken over!

Above: Al puts the finishing touches to the garden centerpiece, which, I must say, is probably the gayest thing at my address – and believe me, that's saying a lot!

Left: Getting a good workout – and a couple of blisters. No, there's nothing like good manly work in the yard! I think the last time I did such work was earlier this year, when I was "flooded-in but loving life" in Australia!

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Rainy October Afternoon (2008)
A Morning in the Garden (2009)
September Garden (2009)
A Springtime Visitor
A Perfect Day

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