Wednesday, April 07, 2010

My Favorite Random Things

All too often when looking around our house, I focus on the negative.  The peeling wallpaper, the uneven floors, the skunk that crawls under the house, the squirrel living in the attic...the list goes on and on.  But for every little thing that I am desperate to get fixed or get rid of in this rambling old antiquity, there is also something old or misshapen that I treasure.  This collection of cell-phone snapshots (that's my implied apology for the picture quality) was taken this afternoon in a leisurely stroll around the homeplace.

The stone steps that lead from the lane to the front porch.  In the "old days," I imagine that these steps were the primary entrance to the yard, unlike the driveway we use now.  These steps are crooked,, they slant inward toward the riser, weeds grow in the cracks, and the lightpost on the corner no longer works.  They are, by far, my absolute favorite thing in the whole yard, and this picture does not do them justice.  At the top of the steps, two huge old bushes (something like boxwood) stand guard over the rest of the yard.
These bushes are dense and ancient, and I don't know the last time they were trimmed.  I'm afraid to trim them because I adore the poofy clusters of branches that remind me of broccoli, and the way the little leaves are so soft and cool on my hand when I pat them.  Okay, that sounds weird--I don't "pet" my hedges, but it feels really neat.  Yes, I'm a dork.
The ravages of the snow and ice this winter.  The weight of the snow snapped a branch or two deep down inside the bush.  The scar it left is hideous, but I'm encouraged by the new growth in the center of the plant.  Okay, maybe it needs a good, healthy trimming. 
The yard this time of year is full of random little flowers, such as this violet I almost trampled in my stroll.
I am not a great gardener.  I have high aspirations, but my attempts are usually half-assed, not well thought-out or well-financed, and using salvaged materials.  The bricks around this bed of tulips came from a pile of repurposed bricks I found behind our house several years ago.  The intention was to bury them halfway in with them standing on their long side, but that never happened.  I especially love these tulips because they are the first thing Andrew and I ever planted together, when he was barely two years old.
On to the "front yard", which is actually at the side of the house-another salvaged item--an old washtub found in the pantry after Granny died.  Those are Stella D'Oro daylilies coming up in their cozy little container.
The view from under "the tick tree"--a tired old cedar tree that looms over the front yard.  It was a guilty pleasure growing up--Granny swore it was full of ticks, so she shoo-ed us out of there every time we ventured under for some shade.  Andrew's baby swing used to be hung from one of the lowest branches, and underneath is carpeted with its shed needles and some weird little cilantro-looking weed that forms a nice, soft cushion.
Just past the tick tree--the lowest part of the retaining wall that encircles the front yard.  This portion of the wall is barely even a step, and it's covered with soft green moss.  Does anyone else love moss as much as I do? 
The bizarre breed of daffodil that blooms in our front yard.  They must be some hybrid breed, for they're not shaped like any daffodil I've ever seen.  The petals are irregularly-shaped, and for some reason, they remind me of lions.  Is it possible the name has something to do with lions?  I like them not because they're the prettiest type of daffodil--I prefer the pale yellow variety with the darker yellow or even orange center--but because Granny planted them.  I'm big on legacies, if you haven't figured that out already.  It's usually something that gets me into trouble.
One last thing before venturing into the house--Grandpop's bench and his ashtray.  Every seasonable day would find Grandpop seated on this end of the bench in his work pants and undershirt while he smoked his Pall Malls and enjoyed the porch.  My dad and his brothers enjoy telling the story about one summer when they were kids in Atlantic City when they stole this ashtray from a bench in front of a hotel.  Yep, that's the kind of heirloom I treasure. 
Next time, maybe I'll wander through the interior with my camera trying to find my favorite things.  It's actually kind of therapeutic.  Today, I love our house.


Debbie said...

Excellent post, and I love the front steps. I am always fascinated by old entrances to houses.

Tobye said...

Thanks for the tour! Looking forward to the interior.

Tam said...

I do love this post! I love the ASHTRAY! LOL