Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Spring in Texas--and a new deck

Elizabeth's garden
It's beginning to get a tad warm in North Texas these days--92 today. But we have had some absolutely perfect days, with temperatures in the eighties and just enough breeze, flowers blooming, the kind of weather that draws you outdoors. Spring and fall here are wonderful.
I have long said my big front porch is the reason I bought this house twenty years ago, and I've entertained out there a lot....or just sat by myself with a glass of wine and a book. But lately we've been spending more time in the back yard. Having Elizabeth in the guest house has many benefits but an unexpected one is the way she has perked up the yard. When I moved here, I had three large male dogs--my sons moved away and left their dogs, and I had a collie. Once the city tore up the back of the yard and replaced the photinas with small plants they assured me would grow. The dogs peed on the baby photinas and killed them. I pretty much gave up the space as a dog yard, kept it mowed, trees trimmed, cleaned, and that was it.
But Elizabeth has hung bird feeders in several of the trees and a petunia on one tree limb, plus she's put flowering plants and small statues all around the corner of her apartment and recently we hung a needle fern from the corner of her house.
Jordan contributed an old glass-topped table, and I found four of those ubiquitous plastic chairs in the garage, so now we often have happy hour in the yard. The table is in the back of the yard, under the trees, which makes it nice and shaded. But because of the bird feeders and trees, the table and chairs get nasty quickly. If company is coming, somebody has to clean. If it's just us, we kind of brush off the chairs and sit anyway. It's a pain to think of carrying dinner down the stairs and across the lawn, so we don't do it. I did serve appetizers out there one day, and Sophie ate a large piece of goat cheese with wasabi--fortunately no stomach issues followed.
Today I gave the contractor the go-ahead to build a 10x12 deck right outside the back door--it's a thought that long lingered in my mind, at first even a possibility for another owner. But the more we used the back yard, the better I liked the idea It will be out of that permanently finished wood which does not weather to gray and will have large rails so I can put pots on them. I know it will be sunny much of the day and not pleasant in summer, but in early mornings and late evenings it should be wonderful. And in spring and fall I can easily serve four people out there. I'm really excited about it.
A big bonus to being in the backyard. Sophie-dog can be with us and enjoy our company. We can watch while Jacob throws the ball for her. If we dine on the front porch, someone would have to hold her leash all the time--I'm paranoid about how excited she gets in the outside world, poor sheltered baby.
All in all I think this will be a positive addition to my property. Now I want it built tomorrow, but that isn't going to happen. They can't begin work until school is out, because they have such a hard time getting trucks in and out of the driveway with all the school parking. I'm impatient.

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