The Backyard

The other day our Landlord came over. He does that from time to time since he only lives across the road. He’s a nice man and he’s very good to us. I was inside with Ella on the day of his visit but I overheard him talking in our driveway to Joel about our backyard. In a very kind, tactful way, he asked if we could “see to it”.


And I could have kissed that sweet man’s feet because, friends, we have a Backyard Situation. 

Actually, Joel has a backyard situation and I can never talk about it because we try very hard not to fight.


This, my sweet friends, is our ‘vegetable garden’.



If your’ eyes are squinting and you’re a bit confused as to why you are looking at a few bits of sticks poking out from some grass, that makes two of us.



In addition, the ‘herb garden’ consists of these pots.




I can’t say with confidence that those herbs look good. I’m no Don Burke but to me, they look dead.


When we first moved in, Joel and I were both very excited to play House. I got very busy inside and made things pretty and homely. Joel started the Vegetable Garden and to his credit, he was a very dedicated gardener. He fertilized and tended and watered and pruned and every morning he would go out and check if anything new had sprouted and excitedly call me out if it had. I liked the idea of us having a herb garden. As I proudly showed it off to visitors, I thought Gosh how country of us, and I happily took the credit for its success while discreetly omitting the fact that I could never actually be bothered having one if it were left up to me. All that effort for a couple of lettuce leaves and a tomato here and there? No thanks.


By the way, I wish it were different. I really do wish I had Gardener Dedication but I just don’t. Best not to focus on our flaws and keep moving along.


The veggie garden flourished and I loved plucking fresh herbs from it and putting it straight into our dinner. I loved seeing new life sprouting and feeling all hippy-ish and earthy and connected to the land. (Yes, that’s how I felt.)


And then something happened.

Or rather, something didn’t happen.


And that something, just between you and me, is Joel’s follow-through.


Joel is an enthusiastic, optimistic, let’s-make-the-world-a-better-place kind of person. He’s full of gusto and full of inspiration, but as soon as another shiny thing flitters before him, he’s onto another project leaving behind him a string of saddened, forgotten-about creations. Alas, after one season rose and fell on our lovely little veggie garden, so did Joel’s attentiveness, and instead, there grew grass.


When I brought up this sensitive topic to Joel one day, he told me that he was deliberately letting it go. A tad too defensively, in my opinion, but anyway. I’m letting it grow out for the winter, he said. Besides, the cucumbers have taken over everything.

“The what?” I asked.

“The cucumbers”, he replied.

I look at him suspiciously and said, “I’m sorry Joel, but in all my days I have not seen one cucumber in that sweet little garden bed of yours.”

“But they’re everywhere”, he tells me. “How can you miss them?”


It’s at this point that I decide he’s outright lying to me and quite directly to my face. I realize that I can’t be bothered with the conversation anymore so I just turn and walk away. A couple of moments later, Joel runs after me and orders me outside to the ‘veggie garden’. I sigh, bored, and reluctantly follow him out to see these magic cucumbers.


And friends, this is what I see.




You guys, that cucumber is the meanest, crankiest cucumber I have ever seen. That cucumber is so angry it has thorns.

I am no gardener but I know for sure that CUCUMBERS ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO HAVE THORNS.


Well of course the cucumbers have taken over the garden if that’s what they LOOK LIKE, I tell Joel. I would want to die too if I were basil and saw that coming for me. And, like always, he stared at me blankly and took in a slow, deep breath.


After this vegetable garden incident, it wasn’t spoken of again. I would peer at it from afar and wish with spite that Joel would just bloody well fix it all up and that those awful cucumbers would go away and we could go back to being all country-ish and living off the land.


But he never did. As much as he insisted that he was deliberately keeping it like that, you and I both know that he just got side-tracked. And you and I both suspect that he was probably just as scared about going near those cucumbers as I was.


Anyway, he has to face them now. The Landlord said.

Even the Landlord from the SAFETY OF HIS OWN HOUSE all the way across the street is scared of the cucumbers.



Carry on with your day, friends. I just thought you’d all be dying to know about the events of my backyard.

Come back soon, y’all.



6 Responses to “The Backyard”

  1. Clare

    Hi Racel! I was just reading your blog (very funny and well written I might add). Andy, my husband, saw the photo of your ‘cucumber’. He is quite into veggie gardening and was intrigued. We googled it and this is wha we found …. So there you go, not quite so bad!
    Clare xx
    P.s. Ella is very very cute!

    • rachwiley

      Clare that’s hilarious. They’re not even cucumbers!!! Joel went very quiet when I told him. African melons. Who would have thought. 🙂 xx

      • Clare

        I had a quiet chuckle to myself when I found what they were! Also, sorry about all the typos in my post (including your name). I was typing on the ipad (not like the old fashioned keyboard!) and tired, and clearly didn’t check for errors!

      • rachwiley

        That’s ok, didn’t even notice the typos. Joel just told me then that he didn’t even mean to plant them – he accidentally dropped a packet of them into the veggie garden and now they’ve taken over everything. I hate the african melons.

  2. Clare

    Oh and p.p.s, this is the Clare that yo and Joel studied with at ACNM


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