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My family and I moved to our new home in September 2012; we moved from a home where we had lived for 17 years. During those years we had created quite the “nest”, complete with a beautiful gourmet kitchen, a barn built from recycled wood, vegetables, chickens, a landscaped backyard with grown trees; it was the ultimate entertaining space and the home into which we welcomed our son to 11 years ago! So you can imagine … this was a major move!

Granted, there are many wonderful things about our new home: I was able to remodel the kitchen and do all the things I wish I had done in my other home; the new lot is more than double the size of our other home; our son can now walk or ride his bike to school and we have these breathtaking views of the Sonoma Mountains. However, the “yard” was 20+ years of overgrown land and because it all required so much hardscape, I had no immediate ability to experience the “outside” of my home.

Over this past year, the outside (at least a small portion of it) has been our focus: we created pathways, a landing for a (hopefully soon-to-be installed) hot tub, an outdoor al fresco dining area, built six beautiful raised beds and landscaped. A few months ago I planted my first veggies and a few weeks later, we built a new chicken coop and welcomed 4 lovely little hens to our home! Recently, we harvested kale and chard from our garden, radishes and lettuce (so much lettuce!). harvestBroccoli, onions and (my favorite) heirloom tomatoes are up next as are the beets and sugar snap peas! When thinking of enjoying the bounty of our harvest, I had this aha! moment where I realized that being able to get my hands into the earth of my home and connect to it on that level had been a key component of my past residence and not being able to do that in my new home left me feeling much like a prisoner in the house itself.

Plans for our new barn are being finalized by our architect this week and construction will begin this summer and we enjoyed a beautiful Easter brunch at our outdoor dining space! We have been feasting on freshly harvested veggies from our garden every day and when I work in the garden, I don’t even wear gloves … I love that my hands are finally dirty with the earth of my home.

Harvest is the culmination or the result of an act and while I most definitely enjoy the tangible harvest of our vegetable garden, I am grateful for the harvest of my home and feeling the connection to the inside and outside of the place where my heart resides.

About Dena Grunt

"We need women who are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so fierce they can be compassionate, so passionate they can be rational, and so disciplined they can be free." - Kavita Ramdas Dena is the author or Table with a View: the History and Recipes of Nick's Cove" and founder of Destination HR Consulting. She lives in Petaluma.

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