House Tour: A Walk Around the Property

Today’s post is a continuation of the 2017 House Tour. We are celebrating our three-year home and blogiversary by giving our readers an updated tour of BHH. If you search House Tour on the sidebar, additional 2017 posts and tour posts from previous years will pop up.

Presently, there is a torrential downpour happening out my window. I refuse to go in the basement today because I know what I will find there. I am counting down the minutes until this storm passes. However, In this post, I will take you on a little walk around the property; No umbrella required.

Blake Hill House sits on slightly over one acre of property. Prior to the ’50s or so, BHH owned many many acres. Eventually, the property was sub-divided, and now the house is on a residential street with about twenty additional homes.

During the summer, the giant Buckeye tree obscures the view of BHH from the street side of the house.

I know that as a blogger, I am supposed to show you perfection. But, If that were what I was shooting for, this blog would be a big ol’ blank page every single week. Instead, I’m going to give you the “warts and all” tour of the property.

We have done precious little to the area on the back side of the house. This side features a combination of old landscaping and new weeds.

I love the grass. We have a huge yard perfect for running around and tossing the ball to Millie. All six of us take turns mowing the lawn almost every week. When we lived in California, we did not have grass at all. We used xeriscaping because it was such a dry climate. Living where it is lush and green in the summer is still such a novelty for the whole family.

A portion of the property is undeveloped. About 1/3 of an acre or more is just woods. I have dreams of creating a fire pit back here.

We purposely leave this area as-is because we think it is important for kids to be able to tromp around in natural spaces and observe what happens to things like a fallen log or a swampy depression in the ground.

My kids take this idea very seriously which is why there is a deflated mylar balloon on the ground that has been there for three weeks.

The balloon initially blew over from the neighbor’s house. S. discovered that there was a spider with an egg sac attached to it. He invoked a “Do Not Disturb” order until the babies hatch. For my readers that do not like spiders, I am sorry that we are allowing possibly hundreds of new baby arachnids loose on the planet.

Our property line parallels a drainage ditch. On occasion, we hear that we have neighbors beyond the woods and the ditch, but we cannot see them. The trees make a nice privacy barrier.

All through the woods, there is evidence that Dorothy’s husband was an avid gardener. My neighbors told me that he used to be fastidious about the lawn and grounds. There are a few unkempt blueberry bushes back there, and large sections of Lily of the Valley. He preceded Dorothy in death by several years. Gardening was not her passion, but she did hire people to keep the lawn cut and healthy.

Once we pop out of the woods and to the other side of the house, we are almost back to where we started. Last weekend, at my request, Andy used the weed trimmer to obliterate the grown cover. This is where the new drainage trench will go. In the meantime, I could not stand to look at all the weeds within the ground cover.

We thought we would make that area half landscaping/half lawn. Now, we are strongly considering putting a flagstone patio there instead. I will keep you posted.

Remember when I said that our children take nature observation very seriously? I offer another prime example of our kids’ weirdness charming curiosity. For the past couple of summers, a large weed started to grow in the pachysandra. At the beginning of its growth cycle, the leaves were two feet long and at least a foot wide. We nicknamed it the prehistoric plant because it looked like something a dinosaur would eat. When the plant reached about two feet tall, we always chopped it down. This year, the kids begged us to let the plant continue to grow just to see how big it would get. Well, now we know. It gets this big:

Using the Plantsnap App, which I highly recommend, they identified it as a Burdock plant. Our Burdock is over six feet tall. Since we let the experiment go this far, we are going to see the life cycle all the way through. Right now, it is blooming. S. wants to collect some seeds and see if he can get another one to grow in the woods next summer. Whatever keeps them busy, I say.

Someday, when we get everything neat and tidy, we can probably elevate the word “property” to “grounds.” Right now, it’s just a hot mess, but we are making progress.

Do any of you live on a similar type of parcel? Even though we are in a residential neighborhood, it feels very private and rural.

PS: The rain has stopped. Hallelujah!





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