We bought our house in 1997 and were expecting our first child in mid-1999. This caused us to launch a pretty major Home Improvement project, which was painful but successful; herewith a small photo-essay.

The house needed work but was basically OK. The back yard was a problem; mostly occupied by a horrible tumbledown garage that you couldn’t park in because it had big metal spikes coming up out of the floor.

The first picture is looking in from the back alley, the second from the inside.

Tumbledown garage
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Tumbledown garage

These were taken with my first-ever 640x480 digicam.

The problem was, we were only a year or so way from having a toddler, and this was no place to toddle. So, we Solved The Problem.

Tumbledown garage being destroyed

Boy, that was quite an event; all the neighbors came out and hung around to watch the garage’s demise. It wasn’t subtle; the digger just bashed and clawed, and after it was down, went on bashing and clawing till the pieces were small enough to toss in the dumpster. Took an hour or so.

After that we had to build a fence and put in a lawn and a garden and repaint stuff and so on and so on and so on. We had a vision of a back yard with gates that closed, so a lightly-supervised toddler could toddle around.

Man, what a pain. Thousands and thousands of dollars, and strained relationships with contractors (to be expected) and neighbors, when one contractor fucked up and sandblasted old lead paint off some metal railings immediately over his garden.

Then one of us thought it would be nice to have something for the prospective toddler to munch on. So we put in blueberries and we’ve been so happy, they’re beautiful four seasons of the year—much photographed here, in fact. And so, so tasty.

Right now they’re loaded with fruit and on any given day you can grab a few mouthfuls even if you’re only two years old and three feet tall. I took our daughter out back a couple weeks ago and showed her how it worked, and it took her about 1½ seconds to get the idea. She grins from ear to ear, squeals with glee, and, well, there aren’t any remotely-ripe blueberries on the bottom halves of those bushes.

I suppose there are sights in this world more heart-warming than a chubby two-year-old in front of a heavily-laden bush cramming berries into her mouth with both hands. But not too many.

Delicate little fingers plucks a blueberry
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Two-year-old girl picking blueberries

Taken this afternoon, after a day of rain. Everything she was wearing was drenched, but she was full of berries and didn’t care.



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From: Tony Fisk (Jul 31 2008, at 19:23)

From personal experience, this diet makes for some fascinatingly coloured nappy art.

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