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Ever since I was a tiny person I have had a close personal relationship with the ground. At every opportunity, I was getting dirty. traipsing through the woods, digging foxholes, tunneling to China, my life as a little kid was all about two or three changes of clothing a day.
I moved to Asheville NC as a young adult, determined to find some isolated little cove where I could eke out a living as a dirt farmer. My version of forty acres and a mule, but without the mule. Fortunately my life took some unexpected turns and I ended up gardening a half acre of red clay for twenty years, and that cured me of any notion I might have had about making a living as a farmer.
I moved ten times in the eight years after selling that house. I gardened everywhere I went, no matter how short a time I lived there, carrying my precious Elephant Ear Caladiums from place to place. Even when I was living in single room in a ramshackle old house on the grounds of the Francine Delaney New School for Children. I gardened around the school buildings. Lots of tiny hands were helping.
In 2003 I settled down in a small house on a tiny city plot overrun with box elder, locust, wisteria, Japanese honeysuckle, and huge boxwood hedges and clumps of forsythia. Once I go it all cleared out, I was rewarded with the most fantastic, fertile, healthy soil I have ever dug. I plan to continue gardening this space until the day I die.