She Said: Pushing Tin – 10 Years Of Projects

Ten years ago, Nick was not the Homebrew Husband and my life was more drive-thru than Northwest Edible. Ten years ago I was thinking I really wanted to go to culinary school. Ten years ago Nick had just been laid off. Ten years ago I liked to take on projects for which I was supremely unqualified, and Nick kindly indulged my ideas. Ten years ago there were no children in our life.

Ten years ago today, we got married.

So it’s been a decade of many changes, and a few things have stayed constant. It’s been a decade of good fortune and of figuring out how to be a grown-up. It’s been roughly 9 great years together and some intermittent months that were mildly (but not spectacularly) crappy. It’s been a very good start.

Nick and I each have a lot of respect for what the other brings to the homestead table. I value his hard work and ability to provide for our family in an old fashioned daddy’s-at-work kind of way. He values the food I grow and cook and the savings I enable through my own efforts. I value his ease in knocking together a half-dozen raised beds; he values my knowledge of when and how to plant. I value his homebrew (some nights I value it a few times) and he values my ability to make about anything from freezer or soil taste great.

It is a good partnership, and is stronger for how much we do together. Some couples travel or hike or do crosswords. Some take motorcycle trips or rally for a political cause or skydive. In our current phase of life, the garden gets most of our project-togetherness.

My parents have been married 42 years and have never managed to live in a home without substantially remodeling it. As a teen I helped knock down chimneys and kitchen cabinets on summer break – demo was a family affair – and once I woke up to see my dad’s boot sticking through the ceiling above my bed. My folks were always working on something together, so from a very young age I saw grown-ups working side-by-side on a project as the archetype of marriage.

I think this is a pattern I’ve continued in my marriage to Nick. We engage with each other passively – through dinner dates and phone calls, but we also engage actively, through joint action to a common purpose. The dates are all well and good, but it is the mutual labor that I love, and that bonds me most closely to my husband.

We will celebrate our anniversary at one of my favorite restaurants, drinking a few cocktails and eating satay, and we will toast ten fine years. But after the self-congratulation and the clinking of glasses, conversation will turn to the new chicken coop, the spring plantings, the baby chicks, predictions for the orchard a decade hence, the plans for container growing tomatoes. With any luck, a “Next Ten Years” list will be started on the back of a moisture-ringed cocktail napkin. We will settle in where we are happiest: scheming, planning and dreaming up the big things we can do together.

Here’s to the next ten years. I can’t wait to see what we’ll grow.


  1. says

    Love this post and Nick's, too. My husband and I just had our 11th anniversary and I can relate to much of what you've both written, about the relationship's finest moments being found in the work you do together just as much or more than in the dates and leisure activities.

    Happy Anniversary to you both!

  2. says

    This is so bizarre – it's like reading about my own life. Even about renovating my parents' houses. And taking on the projects for which I am supremely unqualified. And my husband putting up with whatever scheme I come up with next… and dinner conversations reverting to chicken-coop planning sessions.

    Congratulations on your anniversary!

  3. sharon miro says

    Impressive–both posts. Please tell your husband that I comment here, because I read this one last. But both clearly show you value your love together. It is that love that grows the tallest in your garden.

  4. says

    Congratulations! 10 years is a great start. As a 'survivor' of 30 wonderful years, I can agree that working together is much more important than the work that gets done. Here's to the next 10!

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