A Box To Build A Dream On


A box arrived in the mail the other day — and this is the story of that box and all that it holds.

On Monday nights, I participate in a Twitter conversation called Garden Chat — a very large, hour-long cyber get-together with gardeners from all over. Usually someone hosts the chat, which means that person organizes a theme and related gardening questions. Those questions are tweeted and answered, and those answers are read and retweeted and favorited by all of the participants.

At the same time, there are smaller side conversations — sharing new flower and harvest photos, tweeting tips and words of encouragement, and, of course, laughing.

It’s not unusual for there to be a giveaway during these chats — simply leave a comment attached to the giveaway tweet and you’re entered.  At the end of the chat, a winner is randomly selected and announced.

One recent Monday night, I arrived thirty minutes late to the chat. The news feed was quite extensive and I spent a huge amount of time trying to catch up on the theme, the questions, the answers — and the giveaway.


Now would be a good time to tell you a bit about Handy Helen.

Since starting this blog, I have been touched and overwhelmed by the connections that can be made through social media. There used to be a time when neighbors spoke with one another across the fence. As the world has gotten smaller, though, it seem we are reaching further away to establish those connections.

The box was decorated with bird cutouts and references to past tweets.

The box was decorated with bird cutouts and references to past tweets.

Although Handy Helen and I have never met face to face, we tweet daily via Twitter. As her handle implies, she’s handy with a capital H. She’s also quite funny, very inquisitive, has an extraordinary ability to multitask (participating in about five tweeted conversations at the same time), and has an ability to communicate in 140 characters (or less) her thoughts and her emotions through embedded emojis and letters strung together to make sounds. “Woot” is one of her favorites.

Resting on top, a handwritten note and handmade garden tags.  Thoughtful.

Resting on top, a handwritten note and handmade garden tags. Thoughtful.

The Twitter format was made for her — and Handy Helen was the woman behind this particular chat’s giveaway. But I was late and couldn’t find a description of the giveaway — and I was impulsive, leaving a comment and hoping that I would win the handcrafted unknown.

At the end of the Garden Chat hour, a tweet appeared that I had won the giveaway. More tweets appeared congratulating me on the win, wishing me happiness and success with the prize — whatever it was.

I figured I should find out so I could send a proper thank you — and I scrolled back in tweeted time to find the first mention of the giveaway. When I found it, I cheered with excitement.

A birdhouse!


As I’ve lately lamented, at present I’m a gardener without a garden — but I am a gardener with time to research and plan and dream. As a result of your comments here and my visiting other blogs and the Garden Chat chats over the fence, I have considered so many more aspects of gardening: attracting bees, avoiding GMO plants and seeds, using native plants, and perhaps having my garden-to-be certified as a wildlife habitat.

In the list of requirements to achieve that designation, I need a birdhouse — and now I have one. I may not know where it will be mounted, but each time I look at it, I will remember the bloggers and bloomers, chatters and commenters, teachers and tweeters I have met across the garden gate — people who have all had a hand in my future garden.

And I will always think of the crafty woman who built the birdhouse, a birdhouse that will certainly come in handy. Woot-woot!

I am hoping that this Spot-breasted Oriole will be my new resident.

I’m hoping this this Spot-breasted Oriole will be my new resident.

38 thoughts on “A Box To Build A Dream On

  1. what a brilliant gift; even the cardboard box it came in is a joy, and I love the tags; I hope your Oriole comes to nest there 😀

  2. Woot!

    I used to be a MMORPG (gamer) and WOOT stands for “We Own Other Team” but in this case WOOT is Congrats on winning the bird house!!!! I am so envious!!!

    I need to email you offline with photos because certain tomato plants in my garden are not doing well — same with some basil and pepper plants. I have given my plants chicken poop “tea” twice in the last month and yet certain plants are not thriving. 😦

    I could definitely use your consult.

    As for Handy Helen — I hope to one day be referred to has “Handy”. Currently I am in the market for a skillsaw, table saw, jigsaw, straight edge and Dremel. I plan on building a *shop* in my garage because I plan on demolitioning my kitchen soon and I want to do most if not all the work myself.


    • SUSAN!! I’m not a vegetable grower — yet — but I wonder if too much tea is a good thing or perhaps it’s the weather. I’ll look for your email. As for the kitchen project — Wow! That is a huge undertaking and should make for some interesting posts and photos. Good luck with it!

      • Oh! I thought you were. Ooops!

        I didn’t get a chance to take any photos of my plants this weekend. Hopefully next weekend.

        The weather here in Mass has been crazy — cooler than I like, especially at night. Plus we had all that consecutive days of rain. I don’t know… maybe it is because I didn’t rotate my garden this year?

        The kitchen — ARGH! The thorn in my side. Ha-ha! If may or may not blog about it. Depends on my mood which tends to turn foul when I’m working on projects that overwhelm me. Ha-Ha!

        Be well!


      • I love hearing from you, Susan. I’m not sure if crop rotation is the issue — it might have a lot to do with the weather at this point. Too much dampness can spread bacteria. As for your kitchen, maybe you should do the demolition part. . . 🙂

      • I wound up moving some of the plants to other parts of the yard. Right after I planted everything (in May) we were hit with heavy rain that lasted a week… and then we continued to have lots of rain all through June so perhaps you’re right. This could very well be the problem.

        Dude! I am so going to demo my kitchen. I was married to a contractor and I was paying attention. I’ve already been shopping around for a table saw, skillsaw, and wet saw. By the time I’m done, I’ll have a kick as shop in my garage (He! He!).

        Yesterday I was up on the garage roof cutting down trees. Twice the wind nearly blew me off and a few times the wind nearly took my ladder. At one point I said to myself, “Susan you didn’t think this through. Your iPhone is in the house and none of your neighbors are around.”


      • Hey Susan. Like hiking and diving, never go on the roof alone — especially with power tools! Hopefully the plants will do better in their new location — and I can’t wait to see the demo! 🙂

  3. Awww!! I am so hoping you get your spot breasted orioles! Could you imagine for a moment that I still have my orioles here?!! It’s unheard of! Loving it. And loving this article. THANKS! And Enjoy! MUAH!

  4. Pingback: A Box To Build A Dream On | Handy Helen

  5. she’s handy with a capital H. She’s also quite funny, very inquisitive, has an extraordinary ability to multitask (participating in about five tweeted conversations at the same time),

    WOW–Tell HH that I am impressed with this…I can’t even carry a regular conversation with one of sons without getting overwhelmed. lol

    In regards to your win!!! Congrats. I hope that sweet bird comes very fast and takes residence in his/er new home…I know you have made it comfy! : )

  6. Congrats, boxes at the doorstep are always fun, and such a nice one really comes as surprise. Cool birdhouse, how about something really South Florida like a parakeet or parrot?

    • Hi Bittster. It is exciting! There are so few moments when adults can feel like a kid — and a box at the doorstep is one of those moments. I’ll let the birds decide on who will move in. I’m okay with any of them — but the parrots are quite noisy!

    • Hi Donna. The bird is beautiful, but I’ve only seen it that one time. In all honesty, I’ll be happy with any fine-feathered friend. 🙂

  7. Congratulations on your win! I LOVE the garden tags! I wish I was a crafty person, but alas! Good luck with having a feathered friend take up residence in that lovely little home! Love the oriole! Enjoy your gifts!

  8. Aw, what a great win! I love the gift tags it came with. That would be so great if the orioles came to nest. I put a couple birdhouses out this spring, but I think I put them out too late. Still no takers. The top of our propane tank, however, was a much more suitable place, apparently, for one adventurous pair of wrens.

    • Hi Indie. Everyone seems to love the tin tags — I’ll let Handy Helen know. As for birds, I am always impressed at how crafty they are — especially their ability to create a nest in the most unlikely of places. I was recently eating in the outdoor portion of a restaurant. Along the perimeter, attached to the awning, were vinyl shaded that could be let down when it rained. Birds had made a nest inside the roll — and I can only imagine what will happen when it must be unrolled for the next heavy rain.

  9. Your garden chat and all that comes with Tweeting and keeping up with an on-line conversation tells me you’re pretty handy, too, Kevin. I think a birdhouse gift is the perfect token for your new garden efforts. Visiting birds are such a visual reminder of a healthy garden, I think. I can see that Handy Helen is a hoot, just by her artfully wrapped package. 🙂

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