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This Side of the Fence

by | May 25, 2014

I walked the farm this morning. My sunrise Sunday morning strolls with Babs tagging along have been my time in the garden when I know no work will commence, it’s just looking and listening—stopping to smell the roses you might say. I have missed this ritual for the past months. As time passes and I get older and I suppose wiser, I am learning it’s not that time heals all things, it just makes it easier to swallow what you’ve been dealt and to see beyond.

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This past winter I stopped doing my early Sunday morning walks on the farm because I took a blow. It wasn’t that I didn’t know it was coming. It was the reality that it is going to happen and there is nothing I can do but watch and listen. The picturesque 39 acre horse boarding farm next to me in the midst of the city of Newport News is going to be developed. I will be in fact the last standing farm and farmer in the city.

It just about consumed me. I had to totally block it from my mind this winter as I wrote my new book, Cool Flower. I literally held up indoors with the blinds closed on that side of the house to keep from looking and wondering. Not that anything has happen yet—other than the surveyors walking around doing their jobs. The afternoon I saw them, I stood at the window for an hour watching and gripping a chair like I was experiencing what I would imagine is like an amputation. That’s when I closed all the blinds on the west side of my house and they stayed closed until Cool Flowers was done. I had to focus on writing and writing only. I didn’t even think about what was happening and what it meant to me, my way of life, and my little urban farm.

SONY DSCSo with Cool Flowers done, I am returning to my Sunday morning strolls. After allowing myself these months to digest or mourn the unknown future of all next to me, it dawned on me; the treasure is on this side of the fence. I have been so overwhelmed in what I will lose on the other side I lost sight of what I have on this side of the fence. So, today is the first day of the rest of my farming life.

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While I do not know when and how it is going to happen next door, time will tell. On this side of the fence we are going to work to create a native buffer for the creatures to flee to and for a visual block for my roaming eye. In fact, it is becoming kind of exciting to think of all the possibilities this is forcing me to face. I have spoken of planting a windbreak for years but haven’t because we didn’t want to block the view—now I have my chance. My garden will fare much better because of it.

Steve preparing soil to make our first beds of 2012!

So this explains my absence from blogging, newsletters and all the other things I love sharing with you. I just couldn’t face sharing this until now because I couldn’t bare the questions and sorrows that will rip through this community.

Coming to you from knee deep in flowers and photos of my treasures!


– Lisa Ziegler

Founder of The Gardener’s Workshop and Flower Farming School Online and the publisher of Farmer-Florist School Online and Florist School Online.  Award-winning Author of Vegetables Love Flowers and Cool Flowers. Watch Lisa’s Story and view her blog Field & Garden. Connect with Lisa on Facebook and Instagram!