My grandfather had a garden which he loved more than anything except for my grandmother. It was down a hill from our house, a hill where we sledded in the winter. In the spring it was purple with violets.
His beans, corn, tomatoes, peas, swiss chard, rhubarb, asparagus were in military straight rows while his strawberries grew at one end of the garden in nothing resembling order. A row of grape vines flanked the tool shed. (the photo above is as close as I can find to what it looked like.)
When my grandfather died, there was no one to put out each plant with love or without love.
The strawberries grew each year without our help and were converted into jams and ice cream. The rest of the vegetables we bought at the supermarket or from local farm stands.
His tool shed was emptied. I have no idea what was done with the shovels, rakes and hoes.
I took over the tool shed as a playhouse. I imagined glass in the two windows, curtains, a rug, a comfortable chair, my toy stove and sink set, dishes, a bed with pretty blankets -- a complete home.
My father started to put white ceiling tiles up for me. My decorating plans flourished, although I never shared them. I imagined I could live in it when my parents fought and maybe when they didn't.
My parents separated before my father even finished the ceiling.
Left alone, I was too young to make the tool shed look like the home I wanted it to be.
Perhaps a psychiatrist might say that explains my nesting desires today, the importance of a pretty place to live. Maybe it explains my love of small living quarters.
Or maybe not.