The House That Keeps On Giving

In a previous post (The Hunt For Home) I wrote about some of the wonderful things that led us to choose this particular house, in which to create a home for our family. Once we moved in, however, the house had a lot more in store for us than we originally thought. I didn't even know how to begin telling you about it, so I just made a "Ten List".

1) "My God, it's full of stars" (It's a movie quote, can you tell me which one?). Although it's thee number one fastest growing area in the state, our town is still pretty small, and as close as we are to shopping centers and major streets, our neighborhood is dark at night. Neighborhood porch lights only do so much when the houses are well spaced apart, and being out of the city limits we have no public street lights. It's gets a little creepy, yes sir it does. We have wild animals around here, and I can get a little freaked out just having a quick cigarette on my back porch past sunset. But you know what else?... We can see stars for miles, even the little baby ones that sometimes make you wonder if they're really there, or if your eyes are playing tricks on you. We can see comets (when they come), and we will see meteor showers (when they happen). We have a perfect view of the moon every night, and it's spectacular.

Doe feeding on the seed
she had spilled from the bird feeder
2) By the way, in case you skimmed past that, let me reiterate... "we have wild animals around here". How awesome is that? The deer walk a path right between my neighbor's house and ours. Sometimes on his side of the shrubbery, sometimes not. Sometimes they eat the seed right out of our bird feeder. There's also a fox that walks the perimeter of his territory in the wee hours, and apparently our side of the shrubbery is part of that perimeter. I've heard talk of coyote around these parts, and I wouldn't be too terribly surprised if there were ever a black bear in the area. On a smaller, less dangerous note, there are plenty of songbirds in the yard, and my son saw a groundhog up by the railroad tracks.

beautiful tracks
3) Let's talk about those railroad tracks, that run across the road about 300 feet from our back porch. There may be days when it doesn't run at all. And there may be days when it runs two or three trips in eighteen hours. And every time it's about to come up on an intersection, it blows the whistle. That's how we know that it's time to gather at the back door and watch it go by. I know that sounds silly, but I love that train. Man, there is nothing on this earth like a melancholy mood punctuated by the lone whistle of a distant train in the deepest darkness of the night. It makes one think of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, and Little House on the Prairie (or is that just me?).

4) You know what else reminds me of Little House on the Prairie? Kind and generous neighbors who stop to chat, and help you out with gardening supplies, and keep an eye on your place while your out, and bring you fresh eggs and home grown garden fare... and who don't yell at you when your dog gets out of your yard and into their chicken pen. Especially if all she wanted was to roll around in the poo and make a couple of feathered friends.

5) When we toured the house, Hubsy was concerned that it might be a little small, and we both wondered how we were going to get all of our belongings inside, without it looking like an episode of hoarders. However, being a house of the eighties, I'm convinced that there must have been some lycra-spandex woven into the drywall, because the house just seemed to get bigger and bigger, the more stuff we stuffed into it. It's bigger than you think. (Ha! That's what he said!)

6) There's history in my own backyard... well, the whole neighborhood, really. You see, my neighbor with the chickens lives in a most fabulous turn of the century historic house. Built in ... I think it was 1809(?). It sits there, cockeyed to the main road, looking all antebellum, and reminding me that once upon a time all of the surrounding property (including our house) was once just acreage upon acreage of farmland, tobacco probably, settled by simpler people in a simpler time. Well, it might not have been quite so simple, but theirs are the shoulders upon which we stand today.

7) Another great thing about this house in this neighborhood is that it's simply NOT our old house in our old neighborhood. That house was just as full of bad memories as it was good ones, and those walls were beginning to haunt some of us. But upon breaking out, our once "monster teen" blossomed into an almost unrecognizable actual human being. Her "new attitude" made it possible for us to bestow certain freedoms upon her, to which she stepped up again to prove her maturity. We've all taken a lot of pressure off of each other, thus allowing us all to be more relaxed and enjoy this family circus!

Rare white peacock feeding after a rain shower
8) Thinking back to that wild animal thing, I'd like to comment on a few domesticated animals that cross our path here... Peacocks, precisely. My neighbor has raised the prettiest peacocks, and we see them all the time, especially after a rainfall, when they wander out into the front to feed on insects in the freshly wet grass. He even has a rare white bird that has been featured in magazines. Even when we can't see them, we hear them throughout the day. It sounds like a game of Zoo Tycoon (if you've ever had a flourishing peacock exhibit).

9) Location Location Location. We seem to be sitting at a crossroads of nature's elements. The front of the house witnesses the rising sun every morning, and the back porch watches it set. We also watch the moon as it practically follows the same path. There is a nearly steady breeze that sweeps across the back yard from north to south, and back again! My indoor plants are thriving in the windows, for the first time in years, and those summer evenings in the backyard are ever so enjoyable!

10) The sound of silence? No. The Sound of Music. Okay, just sound. I've mentioned the train and the peacocks, and the songbirds, but there's also a tone of silence. In the wee hours, or on a cool summer morning, or even just past dusk, there is a perfect peaceful stillness all around us. The occasional car on the passing road just sounds like a rippling wave. But the house itself seems to have a sound barrier built in, for as loud as I cranked my tunes this afternoon, I couldn't even hear the stereo from the front garden... with the windows open! Likewise, from the inside you can't even tell there is a lawn mower hard at work. And I haven't even mentioned the vocal acoustics in the upstairs shower!

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