Thursday, May 9, 2013

Two Kinds of Suburbia

Here is an inventory of our back yard vs. an inventory of our next door neighbor's back yard. I'm not counting the shrubs and trees on the edges, but I am counting the ones that interrupt the lawn.
Their Back Yard:
Two Adirondack chairs
Small table
Sun umbrella
Trash can
Huge two-story playhouse/swingset (bigger than some houses in developing countries)
Our Back Yard:
Three compost piles (finished, maturing, and in process) in connected wire enclosures
Giant pile of branches and trimmings
Two rain barrels, one attractive and one ugly and not hooked up yet (it was free)
Chicken coop under construction (much, much, more on this later)
Big tough clothesline between T-poles
Raised bed, to be planted this weekend
Hugelkultur bed, or for the lay person, "pile of branches, compost, leaf mulch, and topsoil" soon to be planted
Two of each: elderberries, American Beautyberries, pawpaws, and persimmons; a butterfly bush, a dogwood tree
The boys' "clubhouse" or secret meeting place inside a giant shrub, furnished with old bricks
A hole that a five-year-old Will dug as part of a "leprechaun trap" that has never quite been filled in
Large dog
Inaccurate concrete sundial with a jaunty but enigmatic saying on it (see photo)
Fire pit
Half whiskey barrel turned upside down (It houses fish and water plants in summer. And water.)
Big metal table and six chairs
Two chaise lounges
Random pots with nothing growing in them, yet
Huge ginkgo tree
Maybe there's something quirky in the neighbor's yard that I can't see, perhaps the gravestone of the previous owner's pet? Or a rusted out hose reel cart? Please? I guess we just have different visions of suburbia. They like everything cleaned up and mowed and empty like a big green carpet. And? I wonder if they think we're white trash.
Well, enough idle speculation. Time to go make some hooch.


  1. Hope the ginkgo tree is a male...from a pool yard in Harrisonburg to what you have described in your yard in Swathmore... as a lay person...I would say you may have moved into the white trash catagolry...:-) ...(did I spell that right)...?

  2. There has to be three kinds. In our neighborhood we have lawns full of bushes and flower beds and grills tucked away out of sight. There are chicken coops, too. In the back. But our corner lot only has a couple of lonely raised beds for vegetables in the very back, hidden from sight. No grill. Too hot. I'll have to pay attention to the yards of people with children. I suspect they would be more motivated to have things in it and less motivated (or less able) to keep it clear of working projects.

  3. Jennifer, I sure don't miss that pool. And Lamar, John's family had their veggie garden really far in back, too. I don't get that.