Today it really begins. The carpenters arrived at The Speckled Hen Inn around 9:00AM, just as the lumber delivery truck was departing. Their mission is to build the garden shed of my dreams, Pat’s Playhouse, another Fischbeck Folly.
The plan has been developing all winter long. We spent hours pouring through folders of saved magazine clippings. We consulted our library of garden design books. We clicked our way from one end of the internet’s photos files to the other and finally came up with a design simply sketched on a pad of graph paper. There is an air of finality about a design finally drawn using a straight edge.
Then there were endless debates about where to put the little building. It should be near the garden, of course. But, it can’t block the view of the pasture from the cottage or, more importantly, the Inn. And it shouldn’t be where it would shade the garden. Heaven knows we already have enough shade on the property. It had to be somewhere that a 16 x 12 building wouldn’t look lost on the 50-acre property. After exploring several possibilities, we decided on a spot. Jerome, our builder, drove a few stakes in the ground and we all decided that the spot that we had selected had problems with elevation and proximity to our parking area. So, we moved it. Decisions are much easier to make when your builder is standing there snapping his measuring tape out and back. The new garden shed will be just outside the gate of the cutting garden and will snuggle against the pasture fence. A couple of guys came and dug the holes for the posts that will support the building and it has been a mad scramble to pick out windows, a door, and flooring. But, I think that most of the major design decisions are behind us and we are thrilled to see the construction begin so early in the season.
I have great plans for my little building. It is inspired by the shed/smokehouse that was in my grandparent’s back yard. That was a rather rustic building with a tidy row of well cared for tools on one wall and a long workbench under a dusky window opposite it. There was always a galvanized steel bucket filled with sand saturated with used motor oil for cleaning and protecting the blades of shovels and hoes. Two smooth wooden stakes with heavy cotton twine leaned in the corner when they were not being used to mark out straight garden rows. There were rolls of wire pea fence amd an old nail keg full of stakes for tomato vines. A bale of spagnum moss usually rested in the wheelbarrow and it was the winter home for a family of plastic ducks that spent their summers in the rock garden.
I envision my garden shed as having all those features plus being a place where I can hang a few herbs to dry. It should be a place where I can hang my gardening hat and change from my Innkeeper shoes to my garden clogs. Imagine, if you will, a portal from my role as Innkeeper to my role as gardner. I can arrange the flowers I will gather from my garden or pot up a little slip of a plant for a friend. Veggies from the kitchen garden can shed their excess soil and compostable parts there. And when I’m tired for weeding there will be a spot to sit and smell the roses or a shady place for Happy to watch what is happening in the garden. The garden shed will also be the backdrop for a nice stand of Hollyhocks. I’ve started them from seed, again.
Another dream moves toward reality. I’m smiling as I write and feeling guilty because I should be outside helping paint the siding for my little gem.