At this point in my life I had a friend who I spent a lot of my spare time with. We were living with our families in a quiet neighbourhood in a small town. His father worked a great deal in his backyard garden, where he had what I would estimate to be around 500 m2 of vegetable and fruit garden. As I write this, I realize that most, if not all, of my childhood friends had parents, who grew vegetables in their backyards. How about that?… I would estimate that only a few percent of all the families in town did this, but apparently all of my friends parents did that. 😉
This particular friends dad had a greenhouse, a quite big one indeed. I remember that there were great tomatoes being grown in there when the season was right. My friend kept rabbits in the backyard, and his father was very strict about that it was his sons own animals and responsibility. As kids we didn’t always appreciate this as we would have to go to the countryside to pick grass for the rabbits with no regards of the weather. As I look back I think it was a good way to learn a bit of responsibility.
My mom and my step dad ran their own company at this time, so they didn’t really have the time to do anything significant in our own garden. Besides, it was not much bigger than a stamp anyway. I think at one point we had a greenhouse too, but I guess it was never really used for growing food. The fact that they had their own company also affected me in terms of thinking and creativity. As an entrepreneur there are much fever rules than working a job. If there’s no previous history of a way to do things you have to create something that works. No one will do it for you, you have to be creative. That’s one of the good things I learned at that time, to dare to think out of the box, and even like it. People sometimes shake their head at me, but sometimes they also admit, wow, that’s a really great idea.
My real dad lived with his new family two hours away, also heading his own company. I didn’t really visit him as much as I would have liked to, but when I finally did I really enjoined it. They also had cats as we did and we would all spent time preparing firewood outside and in the shed. It was quality time, together with my younger half-brothers.
At the time when we moved away from my real dad, the second business my mom was involved in was with a guy, that I still see today. Many things were created back then, and many things destroyed. It was turbulent times, but his company still exists today, and it is run by him alone. I started living a double life back then, since his property was located on the edge of town. On the one side was the town and industry and on the other side you had the farmers, their fields and the woods.
This was a heaven for kids. There was no one really checking what you were doing in the woods. And my step dad, being an entrepreneur, was pretty forgiving about our little projects, as long as they were creative. I’m sure he often must have gone “Wow, I didn’t see THAT one coming.” But I think he enjoined it too. Even if it meant he had to take cover when gravel would come raining down from the sky. Or if one of my explosives projects would get a little out of hand.
Us kids were so emerged in this world that sometimes they would have to search the woods and come and explain with big letters that, you guys have people waiting for you, you cannot just abandon civilization like that. But we sure tried. Normally we would just come back late at night covered with dirt and stinking from burned wood. Most of the tools would be spread all over the forest, but eventually I learned to take care of them. I don’t think my step dad was angry with me, just a little sad, because he knew the importance of having good tools that work when you need them.
He had this dog that was always with us. (Her nose is covered with dry dirt because she just dug down a bone 😉 ):
He got it for free, because it was a bit wild and ate a budgie. The previous owners didn’t like that, can’t blame them. She once got hold of my scarf when I was walking her and she almost strangled me, but it didn’t take us long to get a healthy dog out of her, with a lot of training and free space. She would roam many fields and woods and you would never really know where she was. But sometimes you would be very sure, where she had been, like for instance running behind a liquid manure spreader, having the time of her life.
At home with my mom we have kept several dogs too. One of them was a boxer:
I think it was pretty inbred since it suffered from epilepsy, which I guess was not unusual for this type of dog at this time. It would often fall and hurt itself when it had a seizure, poor dog. Later a big Rottweiler took over its place. It was very powerful and it would almost knock my mom over. It would often intimidate her to leave the couch, sitting right next to her on the couch, pushing more and more, so she would have to get up. 😉 It was a really huggable dog and it would dig holes in the backyard big enough to fit a small bike in there.