Extreme gardening

I think the Tae-Bo dude should take a page out of my gardening book. Gardening in the Yucatan is not for the faint of heart, nor the delicate of frame. Thankfully I am neither of those and I now have a garden and the biceps to prove it.

Whoever thought ‘gardening’ was an innocuous pastime, like reading a book or doing your nails, never tried it here in Merida. What looks like dirt is actually a mountain of rock masquerading as dirt. There is a reason why the houses here are built out of boulders. And there are Mayan temples. And topes the size of Mt. St. Helen. They had all that rock and nowhere to put it. But back to my garden.

My sister, who is a lightweight to my welterweight, warned me there was going to be some heavy lifting involved. “You’ll probably dig up a few rocks”, she said, “but I cleared my whole garden myself so this should be a cakewalk.” That girl’s got game, I tell you. After 4 days of shoveling and trying to dig my way to China with a 20 lb. iron snipe bar, I realized a) I was way too old for this shit b) my sister could kick my ass and c) I could pay someone to do this!! So why didn’t I?

Pride. Pure and simple. I was not going to be beaten by the elements or my 100 lb. hermana. So I tucked in, toughed it out, and one week, 75 bags of dirt, 50 bags of rock, 11,000 pesos worth of trees, shrubs, pots and plants, and a 12 pack of coronitas later, I had myself a garden. And a pretty nice one to boot.

Hard to believe this was a rubble pile in December

In October 2012, I drove 6,800 kms with my artist husband, Ric Kokotovich (, and my dog Iggy, to spend 6 months in our adopted city of Merida. Leaving the fast paced world of Calgary behind, I packed my books, art and entrepreneurial spirit, and set off to explore what lay beyond the borders that had become my life. In October 2013 we hit the road south again, hoping to find out what ‘living the dream’ really means. This is my adventure.

3 comments on “Extreme gardening

  1. Wow – now that’s a real piece of art!!!
    Looks like your fingernails are still in tact.

  2. Way to go! You rock! Heh.

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