Bobbi is a licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been a practicing psychotherapist for the last twenty years in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
She is working on a novel, called Duty to Warn, which takes place in the fictional Rocky Mountain resort of Medicine Springs.
The following essay, published in the Steamboat Pilot and Today under Barbara Prettyheart Hoff, is part of a series called, How to Retire…When He’s Still In the House.
Retirement Garden: Not Reaping What You Sow
Barbara Prettyheart Hoff
I’ve just come from my husband’s garden to see if there is anything I can harvest. It’s pathetic. I found one blossoming zucchini and two puny, green tomatoes that might be ready to eat in November. Since he retired, my husband, Stewart, has been underfoot. We live in Steamboat Springs, Colorado where the winters are long and the summers short. Most days he pads around the house in his favorite sweats and Smartwool socks, moving from the computer in his study to his favorite living room chair where he piles his papers and stacks of unread books. Sometimes he leaves the comfort of the living room to follow me around the house asking: “What are you doing today?” “When will you be home?” “Would you like to take a walk?”
He was never a gardener and has few hobbies that don’t involve skiing in the wilderness or biking fifty miles; so when he returned from the local hardware store with fifty seed packets, I was excited. He had found a restful hobby. Then the four-foot high compost bin was delivered, assembly required. An ugly pail for organic compost appeared on the kitchen counter. At a garden fundraiser, my husband bought twenty heirloom tomato plants surrounded by their little plastic rain-wall protectors. He placed them on the deck. Stewart sprouted rosemary, basil, thyme and winter savory in pots on the walkway and we had to divert foot traffic to the back door.
Now I’m unable to open my car door in the garage. Every spare inch of floor space is covered with bags of fertilizer, pots, hoes and shovels. I think they are mating out there in the dark. I park my car outside now.
I must admit that gardening has brought us new contacts with our neighbors. Last night our resident bear woke us and we watched from our bedroom window in the moonlight, as the bear tore apart my husband’s plastic compost bin. I had to calm our dog, Ranger, who thought he should be herding the bear back to his den. Stew needed to gorilla-glue the bin first thing this morning because he has to be ready for the three neighborhood women who are bringing him their compost…at least I think that’s what they are doing when they meet in our yard each morning.
Stew just came in with a pamphlet for a beekeeping seminar and left it on the counter for me. He will attend the workshop with Alice, one of our neighbors, and is encouraging me to come. Togetherness is a good thing in marriage, but I’m passing on this weekend. I plan to spend the day de-cluttering the living room. I have big plans for that comfy living room chair, and that includes 48 hours of blessed silence.