a peek inside the fishbowl

28 Sep, 2006

a place of quiet contemplation

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Memes/blog awards etc|Photography

It is, in fact, a small corner of our backyard.

I’m there every couple of days during non-snowy months, not exactly for quiet contemplation, but to take care of our compost: chopping, turning, digging etc.

But as soon as I cross under the lilac tree I am immediately embraced by the shade. Despite our proximity to two neighbors, it’s very quiet back there, save for the rustling of squirrels and birds.


By the end of the day the sunlight streams through the branches and it puddles underneath.

Whenever I enter this little backyard forest of ours I feel everything melt away. It is that serene. And it smells great.

Here’s my collection of “good sticks.” I have a special admiration for Y-shaped ones. (all images click to embiggen)


I like how they spontaneously form into a wigwam-like shape.


Grass can’t grow back here. So I just broke up a bunch of sticks and call it “ground cover.” They snap when you walk on them.


And here’s an old stump we hauled in here to use as a chopping block. And now it simply serves as an ecology lesson. It’s softer than feathers in there.


Here’s a close up in case you didn’t believe me.


Beyond the stump is a swath of green. It looks like there’s a woodland path worn down the middle. Cat path? Rabbit? Racoon? All three?


Broken clay pots. Our spidery compost bin. This is different than the two compost heaps we have for grass and leaf matter.


The bigger picture. Sorry, from this view it doesn’t look like much.


And here’s the view of the house from where I stand.


Within the next few years we’re planning to build an addition on the back of the house. At that time I am hoping to have the backyard professionally returned to a a more foresty state. I’d like to add a few more trees, take out the grass, and lay down a twisty path of flagstone that leads to a stone bench or two.

1 Response to "a place of quiet contemplation"

1 | Sharon

September 28th, 2006 at 3:55 pm


Looks calm. Sorta like my front yard.



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  • andrea tomkins: It was gorgeous and we had amazing weather. It went by too quickly... as it always does. :)
  • Peter G.: You know you are in a good place when even the dog is smiling. Looks like it was a lovely and likely deserved getaway.
  • Nora B.: So nice to see photos of J&D's beautiful cottage. A wonderful place to get away for a little while from our crazy world!
  • Luis: Never buy a Maytag appliance I have had mine for two years now and the washer and dry suck. Washer leaves soap on clothing and dry doesn’t dry.
  • a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Wedding anniversaries and pandemics - a peek inside the fishbowl: […] This is what we did for our anniversary last year, by the […]
  • andrea tomkins: Thank you Sally! It was so peaceful... very restorative. I look forward to our camping trips every year!

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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