May 9th, 2012
10:45 AM ET
Eight years ago, 52-year-old flight attendant Louise Tremblay thought she had finally found her dream home tucked into the woods in the Quebec countryside. But, as she attempted to draw a relaxing bath her first night in the house, she realized quickly that something was amiss. The tub filled a scant two inches and she realized to her horror that she had poured her entire life's savings into a home with no viable source of water. The house, as it turned out, had been built atop an old garbage dump.
The nearest neighbor was unwilling to work with her to fix the shared, faulty well and city officials would not allow her to dig a new one. Drained of financial resources, she looked around to take stock of her surroundings. "I had my garden to keep me alive," she said. "I had my vegetable garden to keep me healthy."
Tremblay planted tomatoes, lettuce, basil, coriander, chives, beets, cucumbers, blueberries and corn in her dry 21-foot swimming pool, figuring that it was the perfect way to protect her vegetables from predators like raccoons and deer. She hauled water from the nearby creek and her gutters and took note of what flourished under these conditions.
"I have been gardening for a while with flowers, indigenous flowers, medicinal flowers and felt the need to grow my own vegetable garden for my health and the taste. I realize that I have an upset stomach when I eat food with stuff they use to preserve the food," Tremblay told iReport. And the home-grown produce packs other benefits as well.
"If you start growing your own garden you will never go back in the summer to buy some veggies in the grocery store for sure," she says. "The joy of picking your own and tasting it will bring you an another dimension to appreciate your planet even more. Sit down for lunch on a sunny day, pick up a tomato, sprinkle some basil and enjoy gardening your own food."
Tremblay isn't sure she'll be able to keep up her efforts for another year; another neighbor blocked her access to the nearby creek when he did some work on his road. She's counting on nature's resilience to carry her through.
"My blueberry trees are growing back in good shape, the chives are coming back, the mint in the pot is growing wild, the oregano is back and the three roses trees I planted are alive and well," she says. "Will see."
Eatocracy, iReport and Fit Nation are teaming up to challenge our readers (and ourselves!) to grow just one thing they can eat. We'll be sharing these stories with you all throughout the gardening season - share your own at iReport assignment From garden to table.
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I like this site..Its nice and it gave us lots of ideas..Thanks for sharing.
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As a first time home buyer myself, not sure about the whole water thing. BUT I'm a gardener myself and there is something calming about a garden. Maybe that's what she needed after finding herself in such a bad situation. Hope she gets to resolve her problems.
How does she discover that she has no water until the first time she takes a bath? You would think that she would have it inspected or she would have at least tested the water pressure if it was turned on. And why are her neighbors so mean????? She doesn't have any water...would they just let her die of dehydration or something??? Dang it CNN! This story doesn't make sense to me!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (head exploded)
With neighbors like hers – who needs enemies!
All I did was to share my garden with all of you and give you a message of hope.
Was this comment really necessary.
Actualy, my neighbour is American and the house was build by a rich American from Washington D.C. who would spend all his christmas time in beautiful Quebec, Canada.
Thank you for sharing your garden with us. I feel you pain at the limited water situation. God Bless and keep you safe.
My goodness, CNN... are you SERIOUS?
yes what do you mean by that? You never saw a tomatoe before?
Oops ... it should read ... None of this makes sense .. etc.
haha, my thoughts exactly... my thoughts after reading this article: "WTF?!?"
"I haven't got any water in my home. Guess I'll go plant a garden in my pool."
Yes, I can see you haven't read the entire story. One has to eat vedgetables right in order to have a well balance diet. To buy the freakin vedggies or to grow them comes to the same thing. I prefer to eat them without pesticide on it. That's all. All I did was sharing my garden with you all but you seem to get great pleasure in destroying one's little happiness. It's quite pitiful to read all this. It's like weed in a garden!
yes of course it should read oups why did I say yes to the producer if it was to laugh at me like this
I don't quite understand this article, nor do I understand why anyone would buy a house w/o getting it inspected .. "all" of it .. from the foundation to the roof, & where the water is coming from to use in/out of the house. How stupid! But, wait ... maybe this bimbo is wanting people to feel sorry for her & send her funds to either move or a lawyer to volunteer services to fight city hall & get another well dug? One of this makes much sense .. it's giving me a headache.
Answer from a Bimbo, now Americans come up with funny words sometimes, like eatocracy, in which dictionary is it? I can not seem to find it. So the Bimbo will answer you. I did not need any of your disrespectful comments but perhaps I down graded myself by writing on CNN eatocracy. Anyway, all I did was to show you a funny garden and to tell you the true story that comes with it to give you some hope that anything is possible in life. Yes one more time I did have the house inspected by an American company call Ameri spec. What can I say? This is how American do business: taking advantage of first time buyer. Don't expect much from my city hall either, only justice to have the rights to get a permit to dig a wells. Anything else? Oh yes for your headache sweety, I would like to recommand to drink a couple of glasses of Pommerey it will give red of it instantly! Take care!
I've given up reading CNN. Watching a shopping channel. There is a cool vacuum on right now. Much more interesting than this story.
Why did you bother writing a comment than if gardening is not your cup of tea.
We start with a sob story article about her buying a house with no water supply. Then go into a happy-be-glad story about a garden in a pool. What the heck is the connection? What is the point? What a dumb*** article.
O.k. Lerb, all it met was to tell you that gardening can help you go thru tough times. All you have to do his to get down on your knees and dig yourself a hole and stick your head in it, smell the dirt, the freshness of the ground, the scent of a flower in bloom and than it will feel like you are in paradise.
Do you get it? If not gardening is totaly out of your league.
I thought Canadians were supposed to be all nice and everything ... her "neighbor" won't help her with the well? WTF???
There you go judging, judging, judging without getting all the facts. My neigbhour is from United States of America. I did not think this was important to mention the race, the colour, the provenance of my neighbour. Does it really matter? When it come to gardening, gardeners just fall in love with a particular flower, they buy it and they rush to plant it in their garden. That's how we do it. I am afraid you are not skilled enough to garden if you really need to find out where are your seeds coming from. You will be very disappointed indeed.
I did the same thing with a kiddie pool, except I cut the bottom out of it, and submerged it a bit into the soil. It made a sweet border, and planted kohlrabis, basil and tomato. I think I deserve a star for today... and a hug.
I will give you a double star because we are talking about gardening after all.tks.
Just as long as she is the only one eating her own food! Otherwise the big farmers will call the FDA to shut her down! (remember the corporate-farmer written senate bill S510? It is to make sure people don't grow their own food without going through a ton of expensive paperwork!)
This is a food blog. Please do not bring politics into it.
Agreed, not everything is political. Plus, read the article- she's in Quebec. Not so sure the FDA has anything to do with Canada......
Actualy, I wrote this article for irepeort for a gardening assignement to give hope for those who are thinking of starting their own garden but it suddenly turn into a cahotic debats on how Quebecors and Canadians are. I agree with you. Americans seem to find war even in a potatoes garden. How pathetic your society has become. Its even worst to see this on CNN especially on a well know site like CNN with an international flavor.
Call the Canadian embassy I need protection a.s.o.p!
For god sake can anyone on this site tell me my tomatoe picture looks good and delicious?
Sorry for that one. It is out of my league the American bureaucracy but I never heard that someone can not grow their own garden. Not yet.
Lisa should take a look at the website gardenpool.org. Those folks are in Arizona, so different climate, but they converted a pool to a closed-loop food production system including a garden. With water harvesting, she'd be in a better spot.
Yes I think I remember seing this. I am just doing it for pleasure to eat non pesticide food for a couple of months. It is so good, so fresh and it keep you healthy by doing a bit of exercise, that's all.
She did notice that she had NO WATER until BATH TIME???????????????
sentence failure or not...how does she not notice that she doesn't have any water until bath time? Why didn't the Realtor selling the property tell her????
Now when we did the inspection there was some water, there is water in the house i did write not enough to take a bath.
This article was so poorly written that I just don't get it. I do get that she has some pretty horrible neighbors but then again, from personal experience, Canadians are not the nicest people.
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING.........PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD HAVE BEEN SAYING THAT CANADIANS ARE VERY FRIENDLY PEOPLE.
yes, when u meet them first time, try to live with them :)))))
They're just like us, some are nice and some are pushy, perverted freaks. It's just how the world rolls.
Just to give more informations Mr.Orr is from Hawai, United States.
Oh! yes. I forgot to answer you. My neighbours are from United States if you really want to know. Hawaii. Does it make a difference now. Do you garden or not? Perhaps you should dig a little further down when you plant something or someone so you can reach into their soul (soil) Do you get it? Always garden with a smile and wish for a sunny day, this is my advice for you today.
Dear Ms. Tremblay,
If you truly want to stay there, please see if you can get some help installing some rain barrels for your water. I think you are creative. With light and a plastic cover you may be able to keep some things growing through most of the season in your pool. Good luck!
Check out this water retention system:
Hello. I will chekc it out after answering all those awful comments.tks to you
Hi, you are so sweet. Actualy in Québec, you can only garden from the 21st of May up to the end of september. I do recylce the water from the gutter. No need for light, my garden faces the south direction so I have sun in the garden mostly all day. I collect the water from the creek as well. It's something to do on my days off. Keep me outside, breathing fresh air instead of pressurized recyled air from the airplane.
Article doesn't explain WHY a house with almost no water would have a pool in the first place....
Quebec ran out.
We will never ran out we will surrender our ennemies!
I suggest, you built a little scarecrow in your garden so they don't eat your beautiful crap, I met crop or if you dare to do so, feed your crow some bread and seeds all summer long and you will see they leave your vedgetable garden alone. Have a great gardening season to you too.
The word, for your "zillionth time" is not met, it's
hello! to you Yes 1 fan. I bought the house like that. It was in January could not see if the pool had water in it or not; it was full of snow. In spring time, I realized when the snow had melted that it was half full. On my birthday, everyone pitch in to get it serviceable so my nephew could swim in it. It did not need a full swimming pool, he was only 7 at that time. The next year, we had bad ice storm and the pool collapse and the little water we had in it vannished to the creek down below and that was it. The insurance did not want to replace my pool either even tho it was insured. It was still under warranty also but not cover for that. You know how it is with insurance companies,right. Take care. Have a great gardneing season.
soooooo... She get's her water from the vegetables she's growing in her garden in the pool...?
woa! You must be French I don't quite get your question.
Oh yeah I'll just buy this house and like, not turn on the water until I've already purchased it...ya know...
Thank you! I mean if the water was turned on, you would at least test the water pressure.
I guess you skip a few lines when you should have skip the entire article. This was about gardening not extrapolating on things irrelevant to the subject. Try gardening it will give you a whole different perspective in the world itself and brings you tremendous joy while doing it.
Canadians had an awesome chance to inherit the French cuisine and the English manners.
Unfortunatly they ended up backwards.
Joe the farmers,
we can not say the same things with Americans for sure; either ways you don't get it and you will never will. We are talking about gardening here that's what I thought when I wrote the article. So, I suggest you put some mennurs on your potatoes and zucchini to lift them up a little so they can have the same size of your other vedgetable you seem to have on your farm and please make sure you stay in the vicinity of your farm as your culture can not grow behind the fence for sure with the way you think . Try to fry your zucchini flower !
How was a permit given to even build the home if there was no viable source of water???? Lot of strange things about this article that don't make any sense at all....Including the "f"ed up neighbors... But, my mother is French and went to Quebec for a short vacation and said that even to her, the local people were the rudest and snobbiest she had ever met in her entire life. So the neighbors crude behavior doesn't really surpise me...
Hello! to you to.
As I would like to precise for the zillions time: my neighbour is from America.
It's unfortunate that your mother did not enjoy your stay in Québec we can not say that to the rest of the people who goes down to LAs Veags to see Celine DIon every year and see all the tons of show the cirque du soleil puts on in this louzy city to keep it up on it's 2 feet. If it wasn't for us QUEBECOR, Las Vegas and Miami will be dead or it will look like the Detroit. Abandon! Think about it, it's because of us that Las Vegas had this phenomemal come back. Do you know how muchmoney we generate over there.
This being said, again this article was for a gardening assignment not politic, to give hope to the first time gardeners SO I suggest to smell the beautiful Canadians roses than the dirt you have been shoveling so far.
sounds like a crock
Hi Captain of the vessel, going to war again, No it is not crock. They are not plastic vedgetables they are real.
My sister did something similiar in that she pulled her swimming pool out, filled in the hole and planted a garden. Little different. But one neat thing this person could do to extend the growing season is turn into a hothouse. If the owner built a latice that would allow for plastic to cover she could grow things in the winter.
If you use a ground plastic covering, these hot houses can protect down to -20F. She might get more as her hothouse would be dug into the ground. Hothouses are so efficient you have to vent even on a sunny day when it is 35.
You are ambitious. I do not need to grow my garden in the winter but it is an excellent idea to have my season gain a few more weeks os my corn can reahc perfeciotn.Thanks for the info
OK, I'll just flush twice then.
It's a long way to Quebec.
Don't bother you can stay where you are. We only need gardeners around here.
a good way to capture water, more like a good way to capture west nile
Have you been there?
Check out my very first article when I wanted to help CNN journalist cut in the miidle of this huge manifestion in Egypt and give them all the informations possible to get them out of there safe and sound. One wonders after all these awful remarks on Canadians and Quebecors why I did it.
This is why we are different, this is why I garden I have a heart instead of a rock, I give hope to people who wants to garden. I don,t have dirt in my mouth to spit at people 's face. No wonder, Amercan keep going to church they have a lot to reedeem themselves for.
For god sake! Get a carrot and chew on it for a while.
lol @ medicinal flowers
Quebec?? Good lord – her growing season can't possibly be long enough to keep her in veggies all year 'round – not unless the garden is a hevkuva lot bigger than an old swimming pool.
Plus – I thought Canadians were nicer than average – what creeps she must have for neighbors.
Plus – I live in an area where many people don't have wells or city water. They buy a tank and have water trucked in. (I'm northern US so it gets freezing here too, they do it all winter)
And sheesh – this is one woman who should have stayed in town or an apartment – it took either a lot of deception on the sellers part or a lot of naiveté on the buyers to wind up with a house with no water – her life savings she put into this? Very careless.
Very sad – I feel bad for her.
But what a weird article. This story here is just NOT a woman's triumph with a garden – and it seems to me she has a lot more problems than access to fresh veggies.
I mean really – this seems a bit like someone being held hostage in some pestilential dungeon and telling everyone how great it is to be living in the shade – it's weird. There's some kind of disconnect with reality here. I get the uncomfortable feeling that there's something important being left out of this story.
Canadians are nice, Quebecers, especially the french ones (i am from Quebec) are a pain in the arse.
I'm American... the Canadians I've met from Montreal and eastward are awesome.
I can't get this story out of my head because it's so dumb. It occurs to me that maybe her neighbor cut off her access to the STREAM SHE WAS HAULING WATER FROM because he didn't want to look out his window and see some nut schlepping buckets across his land all the time. I don't think I'd like that either. It'd be like living in some terrible poor place in Africa – this is North America, there are other solutions to a long term water issue.
Also – she has NOT been going out in Canadian winters and hauling water by hand. No she has NOT.
And what the heck is the connection between having no water in your house and starting a swimming pool garden anyway?? It makes no sense.
Y'know – making the best of a bad situation is nice – but this story is just senseless. Enough already with the sugarcoated garden stories – do something real, like how normal people cope with pests, or how they preserve foods,or manage a garden in a busy life.
Something useful and interesting instead of some noodle-headedness that just makes everyones head hurt.
Battle field number 890 stop we have a white flag coming in
oh How nice!
Do you garden or not well you should at least you have the touch you can plant many beautiful things I am sure.
Good for you.
God bless your soul!
She was a flight attendant. That's all that needs to be said.
How low can you get ?
You need tet on your knees to dig deeper into the dirt, you need a brand new shovel also and you need to pray the Lord to forget you.
I don't recommand gardening this demands too much heart and you haven't got any I 'M afraid to say so.
May Day MAy Day
he is useless, to come so low when we were all talking about gardening!
I pity you may Lord have mercy
I have so many questions...good for this lady for planting a garden in her empty pool...but what does that have to do with her not having water? How did she pay for all the dirt? How does she shower or go to the bathroom? What does having her house built on top of a garbage dump have to do with anything? If the city officials won't let her dig a new well, why won't they connect her to city water? Why can't she fix the shared faulty well and cut off her neighbors from using it? How do her neighbors get water? Is it her plumbing that's bad? I'm just sooooooo confused...
Wow, you DO have a lot of questions.
1. She doesn't pay for dirt she just borrows it from Mother Earth.
2. Fairly certain she showers standing up, but goes to the bathroom sitting down....just a guess though.
3. I don't think they install well in garbage dumps so she doesn't have anything to tap into.
4. City Officials don't want to connect her to city water because she is a pain in the butt and camps out at city hall will a truckload of complaints for them to handle.
5. She is French and doesn't share well and therefore just surrenders to the situation as a whole, hence planting in a silly swimming pool with a 62 day growing season.
6. Her neighbors get water from the creek.
7. Her plumbing is doing too bad for a woman hitting 60. Nothing a bowl of stewed prunes can't fix in a jiffy.
my kind of woman
Yes the story is confusing, thanks to the producer who pick my story, she didn't do a good job about it . I'm afraid to say so.
Now let's start with the start.
I have some money but not enough to pay an international lawyer as this involve French ex owners, Americans neighbours, Americans companies and all...real estate agent...
First of all, the city can not connect me I am in the country and where i live it is not possible.
I try many years to fix the wells with the neighbours but like I said earlier He would always escape back to Hawaii when I would fix a date to come with a plumber to fix the wells. Therefore , we could never take the chance to empty the well to do the work require because we would have to go in the neighbours house to close is water vents. We send him letters but the letters would come back...
We went on and on like this and when I would go to the wells with another plumber the neighoubr will say what seem to be the problem today...until I was sick and tire of dealing with him.
I have no water to fill up the bath thub but enough for little chores and when I hear the pump pumping way too much I stop. Since I am not there most of the time because of my job I can manage. I am not in the desert dying of thirst just yet. They sell water tank in th esotre you know. It's all right now. I have seen worst.
I had legal right to the wells but to get red of my neighbour I decided to get a permit at the city hall, to built my own wells but they refuse to issue me a permit. I have a one acre land. So, I call many plumbers afterwards and they all told me different stories, change some pipes, change the pumps it went on and on again and no one till this day had come up with the same idea to fix the problem. So you tell me how can I trust someone to fix my problem if none of the plumbers in the area had come up with the same answer. I will just go on and spend $20,000 just like that for fun. No.I can not take that risk and I can not borrow the money either. The $10,000 advance from the bank stop me from bowrrowing a huge sum of money. Remember, I am a flight attendant not a banker. When I bought my house, I had a pay cut of $10,000 income this kind of change the budget right. Airline company are not stable, check it out in october again they will close the company.
I also had to pay for appliances I did not have.
Pay the notary
To top it up the French people had wax the floor around the furniture so when it was time to move in I couldn't. I had to spend another $4,000 to redo the floor...and when they did it they even forgot a corner in the living room where they had put their getto blaster...
Than I had some other issues with other neighbours. They were renting their huge house to hells angels and gangsters so I had to fight for that too as my house is in a residential area. Polices and all for many years....they were there 24 hurs on partying and all . Can not sale a house without water , can I ? The police couldn't do anything because it was a private road. Police cannot interfer in Quebec when it's a private road. You can call them to file a report, so the day you go to justice you had files in hand but they can not come and protect you. They could escort me to get out of my land so I could go to work and drive their cars around. I finally won a battle at the city hall and gain my beautiful garden back because they were all over my property....destroying everything I own even parking their moto,hummers and all on my land, flowers, throwing beer cans, cigarette butt and needles everywhere..Who cares right !...
All I wanted with my pictures and my little article on my swimming garden is to give hope to new gardeners perhaps the producer made a big mistake by posting this what can I say.
this will conclude for today the answers to your comments.
Why would you grow a garden on top of a landfil and then eat that crap? She's going to have horns growing out of her head soon enough. And why did the city officials allow construction of a house on top of the dump anyway?
Click on her name and read the entire article. She put clean dirt/compost in her pool in order to grow her food.
"The house, as it turned out, had been built atop an old garbage dump."
You might, you know, read the article yourself.
This article is a hot mess... but hey, thats what I get for clicking on an iReport article.
This lady is the master of her own misfortune.
You never buy a rural property without having a well pump test done and a water quality test done.
As for her trespassing across other peoples land to access a creek, did she try to ask first????
Got make sure she can perk before you park on it.
That's what she said.
Who buys a home without getting a third-party inspection? Seems like this would have been caught within the first 10 minutes!
An idiot, of course!
most likely she was too cheap to pay for an inspection. Being a real estate broker, I can't tell you how many clients I have had that don't wan't to pay $200-300 for an inspection and then later call me to complain about all the problems they discovered after they bought something.
So – I have to ask, what did she do to tick off her neighbors so much that they'd deny her access to a stream? The neighbors must not be using the 'communal' well if it's broken and she wanted to repair it.
Wait, I'm lost, what was the point of this article again? Don't move where you don't have access to water? That must be it.
This was the worst article I have ever read.
I'm not a hater, If any of my third grade class wrote an article that cdonvoluted and poorly structured they would fail.
OK you may not be a hater but for a teacher, you can't spell very well.
If you would fail a third grader for writing at that level instead of praising them then I only pray you aren't teaching on the schools my grandchildren attend. As a teacher you lack in several areas!
Could you please indicate where you teach just make sure my grandkids get a good education at another school.
Hey, its pretty obvious french is her first language. She is from Quebec, and being from Quebec, English classes in french schools are horrible. I applaud her for making an effort.
I teach 4th grade in a cdonvoluted way too.
On the last day of school, a student gave my mom a hug and said "I wish you were smart enough to teach us in second grade too."
I can spell, I am just a lousy proof reader.
Stupidest comment I have ever read.
A pool may keep out some racoons and deer, but it's not gonna stop rabbits, squirrels and birds. Good luck.
A chair is still a chair
Even when there's no one sittin' there
I'm confused. If she doesn't have a viable source of water, why are her plants the concern? How is she showering? Flushing a toilet? (Although an outhouse could fix that part.) Does she buy bottled water to drink, make ice, and boil pasta?
She has a glutten issue and can't eat pasta.
Gluten-free pasta. Potatoes. Cabbage. Whatever. The point is where is she getting pottable water for anything?
Pottable? Soes that mean she is able to put water in a pot?
Oh. You mean "potable." Get it from the grocery store like the rest of us.
This article has damaged my brain. What does a garden in a pool have to do with well water.
In other words, she has no water to fill the pool so she has converted it into a garden. A good way to capture rain water as well.
Your brother Fonzie is looking for you over on the Klatsch.
I think he meant that hey in a "what do gay horses eat" kind of way insetead of a Fonzie way.
Noooooo. Then he would have said, "Haaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!"
Hey now, cut that out !!
Welcome to our _ool. Notice there is no pee in it. Lets keep it that way.
I have three 21 x 21 veggie gardens
Good for you Louise. I'm sorry you've had so much trouble....you might think about capturing rainwater with barrels and cisterns. Seems to me you could cover the pool somehow and turn it into a greenhouse and grow food 10 months out of the year.
I HAD TO 20 X 20 VEGGIE GARDENS AT MY HOME,AND NEVER DID WE EVER GO TO THE STORE IN THE SUMMER OR FALL TO BUY PRODUCE
Stop yelling Sylvan!
Eh? Wass that sonny?
That’s fantastic – bravo for Louise. We have a few garden boxes in our back yard and love having fresh food. There’s not much better than a homegrown tomato.
Nothing beats the homegrown.
...except for homemade meth!! Like how grandma used to cook it!