Freedom To Create


Retherford history5

Easter with dresses made by mom. Me on the left. My handsome father and two sisters.      I was a middle child.


I wanted to be an interior decorator since it wasn’t going to be possible to become a fine artist, as far as I could tell. It turned out that decorating would be mostly about selling things. I wasn’t really any good at selling, unless I was passionate about what I was selling. The passion was in the design end of it, but that far from satisfied employers.

“You know what your trouble is?”

“I just don’t understand. You have such a good command of the English language.”

“Are you still working on that one?”

“Just give them anything. Anything you put together is going to be better than anything they might do.”

“People don’t like you.”

The last comment came almost immediately after one of my clients had come in and sat right in front of me, with my fellow workers looking on, to rave about how happy they were with what I had done for them and just how much they really liked working with me.

The trouble was, I couldn’t stand for someone who thought they knew better than me about what motivated me telling me how to do things. And that particular boss had all of the other salespeople by the nose, but couldn’t quite catch me and it infuriated her.

Money was never the motivator. Freedom was. Freedom to create. It was the sheer act of creating that delivered me to a zone of utter euphoria. As a very young girl, I spent countless hours alone in the fields behind our house dragging things around to create virtual communities for my friends and family. It was all in my head, of course, because even then, “People didn’t like me”.

I didn’t care much though. I liked me. I didn’t think so for a very long time because society forces one to think that if one doesn’t have countless friends, they don’t really matter. What I discovered eventually was that I truly enjoyed being in my own mind, and, for the most part, being with others, crippled that some.

Turns out, I am an extreme introvert. I do love other people and enjoy them immensely; however, interaction exhausts me. I have to crawl back into isolation and recover. And creativity allows me to regain my life force before, during and after such interactions. Any kind of creativity.

One of the first JOBS, (four letter word), that I truly enjoyed was as the Customer Service Manager of a well respected furniture store. I found my life-long BFF at that job, which only put the frosting on the cake.

I took that job after I had a run in with the owner of the same store while I was trying my hand at selling. He didn’t like my performance with a customer he had been hawking me working with, (I knew he was watching and I am NOT a performer), and cornered me later to tell me how to do it better. I watched him pick up that same customer and send them out the door exasperated after having had him use every trick in the book to try to work them.

I wasn’t impressed. During his badgering me, he looked at me and said, “I don’t think you like what I am saying.”

My friend later said, “You don’t have to say a thing. It’s written all over your face.”

So, to preempt what I thought would lead to eventual firing, I saw an opening and asked to be transferred.

I really loved the customer service job. It was mostly paperwork, which I really didn’t like all that much, but it was also schmoozing vendors and customers, (selling just the same), but on a whole other level. And it was creating systems that allowed for the whole thing to run more smoothly and getting things in order, which I still love to do.

Creating. That’s the key to my happiness. Any kind of creating.

After years and years of running in the squirrel’s cage, I finally found a way to get off and out of the world that would rob your very soul. Now I am peacefully planting food and moving things around, creating things and putting things in order; just as I have always wanted to do. And it matters not one iota that I don’t have fancy schmancy things or the latest greatest. In fact, it is far more fulfilling to see what can be made of whatever is on hand. Every time an appliance fails, I try to figure out a way not to need it.

All I need is this, (the freedom and ability to create my own world):




Trash to treasure




…and after




…and on it’s way to after

The time and inclination to build a #SquashPit.


No cost, resources rescued from garden centers wherever they might be found.


#5HugelBed; nothing goes to waste.

Supportive ‘friends’ along the way..


The joys of nature and purple.

I hope you are doing what you love and having all the freedom you need to do your own creating, whatever that might be.



It’s been such a lousy growing season for me this year. Still unsure of why so many things failed. My suspicion is that the straw mulch must have had herbicide residue. That, and the fact that so many of the things that have been done to establish permaculture features haven’t had long enough to develop to be what they will become in time.

It started like this

It started like this

Though, I have to say that the first year of the #1HugelkulturBed, it was planted and had fairly good success; especially with beets and chard.

At any rate, the thought now is to devote much of ongoing efforts to developing soil to be healthier and able to retain more of the limited water that arrives in this hot, hot desert. Hopefully over-watering won’t be quite such an issue; it may have been part of the trouble too.

So, time for another Hugelkultur element in the #SouthFortyTriangleLot next to the Plum tree. A #SquashPit (see embedded video at the end for a how-to) was ‘planted’ there at the beginning of the growing season and when I dug up to it for the new trench, it was full of worms. The squash pit is just in front of where the yellow watering wand is stuck in the blocks to mark it.

Pyracantha trimmings from a recent culling in the #ParkwayProject

Pyracantha trimmings from a recent culling in the #ParkwayProject

First thing was to dig a trench. Second thing was to use the Pyracantha debris in the bottom of the trench as it is very prickery and not fun to deal with on the surface layers later on.

Pyracantha debris before being lopped down

Pyracantha debris before being lopped down

All of the pyracantha debris lopped down

All of the Pyracantha debris lopped down

Part of why a trench is dug is to give you the dirt you need for adding over the wood and other materials. A Hugelkultur structure can be built from the ground up if you have other dirt to use. More dirt would have been nice, but it will settle in time and there are all of those wire rounds with composting material that can be used to fill in some of the holes. This is all that the Pyracantha debris, that was sitting on the sticks, amounted to after it was lopped down. It was put in the trench first. It was still somewhat ‘green’ so will add some nitrogen for breaking down the other wood.

Next the sticks were added.

Putting the sticks in the trench

Putting the sticks in the trench

The littler ones are useful for filling in gaps.

All of the sticks are in

All of the sticks are in

Green things

Green things

Watermelon, pumpkin, and tomato vines that were pulled to make the trench were added atop the sticks. More nitrogen to activate things.

Stuff from out front that was waiting for this build

Stuff from out front that was waiting for this build

The stuff from the front yard that was just sitting in the #TriangleRaisedBed waiting for this build was brought over to add over the sticks before covering with the trench dirt.

More debris to build up the nitrogen elements

More debris added over the sticks

A little bit closer view

A little bit closer view

All available dirt added over the debris

All available dirt added over the debris

It’s taller than it looks in this image. This was after using all of the trench dirt. More dirt would have been better. I think the things decomposing in the wire rounds will make a nice topping in the not to distant future.

A little perspective for height

A little perspective for height

It got watered in to help the dirt settle some and to start activating things.

Little Red-Haired Girl sniffin for grubs

Little Red-Haired Girl sniffin for grubs

Both of the doggies love when dirt gets dug so they can hunt for grubs, which were many.

Brown Noser

Little Brown Noser

This big critter came to give its approval and see if there were any bugs to spare

This big critter came to give its approval and see if there were any bugs to spare

blue/black waspy flying thing

Blue/black waspy flying thing

And this critter was burying itself in the straw until I disturbed it to try to take an image. It flew off and came back to burrow into this mulch; looking for a place to lay some eggs I presume.

Voila! Another Hugelkultur element at First Do No Harm Front Yard Farmacy

Voila! Another Hugelkultur element at First Do No Harm Front Yard Farmacy

#4HugelBed is complete for now. Hopefully this will act as a water sink next to the Plum tree and be another place with lots of nutrition (eventually) for planting. Hugelkultur building is a great way to keep wonderful resources out of landfills and be better utilized (here) for an eventual, hopeful food forest.

Every day something.

The moral of this story is:

“Tis a lesson you should heed:
Try, try again.
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try again.”