I LOVE my potting shed, yes I do. It’s dusty and dark and full of quiet, leggy spiders and sharp implements. Rodents, skunks, possums and raccoons hang out in there, so does Peanut, our feline companion of 15 years. Some of my favorite objects live in there too; the lace curtains I bought in Paris hang in the tiny window, an old and cracked red apple cookie jar my mother-in-law was going to throw out (in which I keep my seeds!), cast iron cauldrons, pots and jars of mystery, favorite pitchfork, dirt, some other stuff I won’t mention for fear the evil Pope will have me burned at the stake. There are herbs strewn on the floor so it smells good when I step and a sign on the front door that says “Pam’s Potting Shed” – a housewarming gift from my sisters-in-law, Gina and Lori, which you cannot always see because of the passion fruit vine. When I go in there, I enter hag heaven.
The potting shed only gets cleaned once a year in the winter or when I can’t get in the front door anymore, find anything, or there’s a funny smell. This year I even took all the empty planting pots outside for a good washing, which doesn’t make a lot of sense since I’ll be filling them back up with dirt and seeds soon, but it makes me happy anyways. Discoveries I had forgotten about: a half bag of gypsum, seed starting mix, a fresh bag of worm poo, leftover seeds which need to be used while still viable, and a trash can full of fireplace ash. I’m ready for spring…and it’s only January!
There have been some incidents…the time I nearly killed myself burning incense in there (cough!) or the time I was standing there potting something, felt myself being watched, only to look up right into the shiny eyeball of a huge mouse: once we both recovered we went about our business in peace!, or when I used to ask my daughter “put this in the potting shed” and I would find whatever it was sitting just inside the doorway on the floor – apparently not everyone loves spiders as much as I do!
When I’m in there, I can’t help think of my grandfather, who always hung out in his potting shed and let me go out there with him when I was little. It was chock full of useless wires (he was an electrician), funny looking gadgets, oily things, and black widows. It was a special place. After he died, my mother brought me an old wooden tool box he had made – she found it in his potting shed. It sits in my potting shed now with garden tools in it. As far as family heirlooms go…well, it’s awesome – and so is my potting shed.