Ugly Stuff in My Yard (a valentine for Jen)

Recently my friend Jen and I were talking about our love/hate relationship with certain design and lifestyle blogs–I won’t name any names, but you know the kind of blog I’m talking about. Perfect, stylish apartments and houses, beautifully photographed. Eames chairs that are not rusty, sofas that have not been shredded by cats, renovations that are up to code. Chalkboard-painted backsplashes, bookshelves arranged by color (so dumb!), children who look French. Sometimes I visit them just to make myself feel bad. I would hate for my blog to make anyone feel bad (especially Jen), so here is some stuff that is in my yard. This is not a before-and-after, as I am unlikely to do anything about this stuff:

This is my propane tank. Propane tanks are always ugly (and sort of depressing), but you can’t really do anything about them. We use propane to cook and heat our water. And when the power goes out (please don’t, power), to heat the house. (Bonnie Jo Campbell has a good story featuring propane tanks called “World of Gas.”)

This is one of our wells, with the stuffing coming out. We have two wells, which is also sort of depressing when you think about it, because it means one of them isn’t good enough (our house is situated very high up a hill, in the woods). We switch back and forth, every week or so. I think it helps us save water, thinking about the wells. Anyway, this one is ugly. I guess we could get one of those fake rocks to cover it up, but that would probably be worse.

Before we bought our house, different kinds of animals used to live in different incarnations of this cage. Some vultures? And then some dogs? That’s what I’ve heard.

We have to be on the alert for trees that might fall on our house. This one was a suspect. We don’t heat our house with wood (thank God), so we don’t have anything to do with the logs. Sometimes I think about becoming a firewood lady.

Here is the coup de grace, though:

We have an outhouse. (Though it might surprise my in-laws, we do have an indoor bathroom. The outhouse is full of car parts and hasn’t been used in 20 years, FYI.)

Happy Valentine’s Day, Jen! xo



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5 responses to “Ugly Stuff in My Yard (a valentine for Jen)

  1. Melissa Delbridge

    Nice, Belle! I have a decrepit chicken coop, a sink hole, and a truck cap in mine.

  2. jen

    Best. Valentine. Ever. xo J

  3. Ken Abbott

    I have a pile of used concrete pieces (aka: urbanite) about 40 feet long and twenty feet wide. I’m (slowly, painfully) using it to build retaining walls for gardens, for almost a year now. So far the neighbors and my long-suffering wife have been very patient…

  4. Ken Abbott

    btw, Happy Valentines Day Belle!

  5. Patricia A. Hoppe

    Hey…enjoyed the story and the scenes of the woods and outdoor structures near your home; i grew up on a farm (with real animals that ate our refuse (corn shucking always brought the pigs running!) and had a well. We lived near a quarry about two miles down the hilly road, so we could not depend on our water supply either …. Daddy said that the crevices underneath the earth would shift depending on what they were bombing for at the quarry; we heard the dynamite all the time). Anyway, as a result, we had a sistern …oooopppps…. misspelled that….let’s try cistern….yep….that worked. And because the cistern had a finite amount of water in it (dependent as it was on rainfall),. we took baths in one inch of water …. annd….get this….one after another (yuck!) with daddy going in last. Poor daddy….. He used to tell us that he was fine, though. In WWII he took a bath in water held in his helmet, so bathing after us…was not so bad. Just sayin’ ….. it is great to remember all the ways we conserved water…and food….and paper….and cloth….We tended the earth well back in the day….Mom is 93 and still saves her plastic bags for reuse (bless her heart). Well, I just want to say I love you, whether your house is perfect or not. Kisses!

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