I’m an observer — I’m one of those people who would like nothing more than to sit in the mall and watch people. I would try and imagine those people’s lives and what they do, where they’re going, what they’re thinking.
I’m starting to do the same with houses. On my walks with Charlie, I’m starting to notice differences in houses. There’s one house on our route that’s painted in brilliant purple — Minnesota Vikings purple. I pointed that out to my husband when he asked why anyone would use that color for a house.
Another house on our walk has a flimsy chicken-wire-type fence around it, held up by ancient wooden poles. The house inside the fence is modest and small, painted white and otherwise unremarkable. I expect the homeowner to be a little old lady who winters in the south and doesn’t care much for yardwork. In fact, she probably pays someone else to mow the grass.
Her house is becoming too much for her to maintain; that’s why it needs to be painted. She won’t take down the fence, because she thinks it keeps her house safer while she’s gone. The fence has probably been there since the house was built. Maybe her late husband put it up. And the first thing a real estate agent will tell her when it’s time to sell is to remove the fence. It’s an eyesore.
Another house in the area is clearly owned by a single man. His pick-up is parked in the driveway of the small bungalow, as well as pieces of other machinery that line the graveled lane back to the garage. There’s a blanket with the Jack Daniels logo on it hanging in one window, and there are no decorations or anything that resembles landscaping done to the yard. The grass is whacked as short as possible without killing it.
Meanwhile down on the corner, there’s another house that looks like it was put together by a committee of people who couldn’t agree on anything. It’s been added onto a few times — there are various rooflines and additions that are somehow held together by a huge wrap-around porch. Every single eave on the house has gingerbread decoration on it.
This house is likely considered Victorian. It’s so overdecorated that it should have floodlights and music to accompany it. The woman of that house rules the roost. She thinks that more is better. The trees in the yard hang over the porch which has an ample supply of children’s play equipment. She must have a daycare or maybe just a few spoiled children.
One home on our route definitely has a daycare onsite. We’ve met one mom dropping off her little boy on a couple of mornings. They’re both happy to see us and want to pet Charlie, who greets them with a smile and a wagging tail. The front yard of this home has been torn up and the homeowner is trying to get grass to regrow, but it’s not a big priority.
They have a dog in their fenced backyard. I’ve heard it, but never seen it. That must be why the child we meet in the mornings isn’t afraid of Charlie — he’s around the babysitter’s dog all day already.
My choice for “Yard of the Month” is one on Fifth Avenue South. She has a rows of tulips on either side of the front sidewalk. They are so cheerful and bright — the tulip blossoms are red, orange, yellow, purple, pink and white. I keep saying I’m going to put a note on her door or send her a letter thanking her for the spring pick-me-up.
Another home along Fifth Avenue also has a gorgeous flower bed in the front. The tulips were the first thing there to bloom, as well as brilliant yellow daffodils. I’m keeping an eye on this home, because I’ll bet the flower bed is designed to have something blooming all the time.
Meanwhile at my house, the tulips have bloomed and died. My roses are making a strong comeback — I already have buds on several of the bushes. For my birthday, my husband and I picked out another Morden rose bush to replace a couple of tea roses that died. Eh, the hybrid roses are considered annuals to me. They give me great blossoms for a year and then I replace them.
We also picked out a lilac bush while we were at the nursery. My husband thinks that he can grow it in a huge planter outdoors. I don’t think that’s going to work. From everything I’ve read online, lilacs want their roots to go deep and be well drained. We don’t want it to take over the yard, so we may have to negotiate where we plant it.
And if the neighbors see us arm-wrestling in the yard, they’ll be doing some profiling, too. They’ll know that those folks across the street are loony.