Yesterday was Jeff and I’s six year wedding anniversary. We usually don’t do too much to celebrate, we keep things pretty simple. Jeff is a great cook and usually makes a special meal for us. One year we bought a blueberry plant for the garden. We often stick with a plant or something for the garden because it makes us both very happy. Last year we decided that for our anniversary we wanted to get a concrete statue to put in our garden. We had been wanting to get some for years. Jeff had always wanted a St. Francis statue for the garden and a Buddha statue, but every time we looked at them they were so expensive and way out of our budget. Last year we saved up and I told him that maybe we could save up each year and get a garden statue each year for our anniversary. We both loved that idea and felt like a new anniversary tradition was born. Last year I called around to many different garden stores and places to compare prices for their garden statues. Jeff remembered this place he had seen before and I called them up. They had the best prices anywhere. We took a trip there, feeling pretty giddy to be getting a statue at last! When we arrived an elderly man took us on a tour around the place and told us stories. We thought he was great. There were so many statues that we loved and the prices were so incredible, much much lower than we had ever seen before, that we ended up coming home with more than just one statue. We came home with four! We hadn’t expected that and spent a little more than we had intended, but we were super happy about it. When we got home, we placed a Buddha statue by the front pond that Jeff built. We put a St. Francis statue over by the grape arbor. We put a gnome statue over by some blueberry bushes (and an antique wagon wheel our friend gave us.) And then we put a chicken statue over by the chicken yard. Yeah, I know, I’m cracking up about that one too. I never thought we would have a concrete chicken in our yard, but Bracken fell in love with it and it was so inexpensive. We all decided that it needed to come home with us. I took all of these pictures a year ago. I intended to write about the garden statues and never did. Yesterday I searched through my pictures from last July and had so much fun looking through these. Bracken was so happy with the statues, he would go and hug them regularly. When we arrive home the pond is one of the first things we see when we pull up the driveway and many times Bracken says “Hi Buddha!” I love seeing how each area has changed since a year has passed. Jeff and I both have wanted to create a garden over the years that feels like a retreat, a sacred space. The garden statues really added to that for us and helped us set the intention in each space. The spot where Buddha is, by the pond, feels peaceful and meditative. There’s a bench to sit on where you can watch the water. The spot by the gnome feels jolly and cozy somehow. A little garden nook that always makes me smile when I pass it. The chicken statue welcomes you at the entrance to the chicken yard. The chickens are an important part of our place here and it seems fitting they have their own special statue. The spot that has changed the most over the past year is the spot where St. Francis is. He stands by the grape arbor that leads to the back garden and right by the chicken coop. The cold frame along the front of the coop has been changed since then, so the area feels a bit more open around there. The grapes now reach the top of the arbor and the roof of the chicken coop, creating a grape jungle behind St. Francis. We placed our bee water right next to him, which we fill with fresh water most days. Then we started what we call a “nature altar” right in front of him. We sometimes place feathers, snail shells, and any other cool nature things that we find there. Bracken likes to pick flowers and put them there too. We put fresh lavender in his arms once in awhile. And then this year some flowers popped up right next to him and it felt so fitting. This week I planted some more flowers around him. Of all the spots in the garden, that one is one of my favorites. It’s a part of the yard that I particularly like, even more so now.
This year Jeff and I decided to go back to the statuary place and pick out another statue for the garden to celebrate our anniversary. We had one in mind and planned on keeping ourselves more in check this year, to come home with only one. When we got there, the place was closed. Darn! If I remember correctly, the man who ran it was in his nineties and I didn’t know how much longer he would be running the store. I felt even more grateful that we had gone last year while it was still open. We changed our plan of celebration this year. Jeff bought us some special steaks that we normally would not ever buy. And then we stopped by a nursery and bought a canadice grape (a red seedless variety.) We have a few grape plants that don’t produce and have been pulling them up, wanting to replace them. At the nursery, we mentioned the statuary and he said that he was able to go to the close out sale. I guess the man who ran the statuary was finally ready to retire. Apparently the close out sale was packed and the deals were unreal. Too bad we missed it. But the man at the nursery said he finds many of his garden statues on Craigslist. Perhaps I’ll look there next year. But this year we celebrated with some incredibly delicious steaks and a grape to plant in our garden. We were mighty happy with that.