Spending time in a rocking chair on the porch used to be code for “put out to pasture.”

In our case, it was getting rid of the pasture that was our old yard, and turning some of it into a garden, that has made us want to sit in a rocking chair on the porch while we’re still young enough to have children at home.

The process took years.  Scrubby grass used to come right up to the porch.  The steps were flanked by two enormous, scraggly yew bushes.  I never understood the use of yews, until I read in a book, perhaps The Other Bolyn Girl, that the English prized the wood  for making arrows.  With new respect for the shrub, I nevertheless concluded it was irrelevant since we were unlikely to be crafting our own arrow shafts any time soon – or ever.

As I’ve mentioned before in this space, everything changed the day Chris and I took a walk around our yard with a landscape designer, a conference we had won in a silent auction.  She spent an hour with us, and immediately suggested that if the yews were removed, their spot would provide the perfect place for a sunny garden – the only sunny spot in our yard.  Chris was sold. 

Removing the yews was a huge adventure involving SUVs and chains and much cursing, but finally they were vanquished.  

Replaced by hydrangeas, beebalm, and hollyhocks, the garden draws hummingbirds, butterflies and bees every day.  Interestingly, it is not the bees but the hummingbirds who love the beebalm – and they move in counter-clockwise fashion around the blooms.  Every time.  This is the kind of observation we are now making, in our front-row seats at the Nature Show.

The porch is where we head first thing each morning, with our reading glasses, newspapers, and mugs of tea.  Clearly the floor needs to be repainted, but that can wait until fall.

Once a lonely, desolate place that nobody cared to go, the porch is now a destination.  And we owe it all to the library silent auction.

That dirt patch at lower left?  Future home of tomotoes, peppers and basil.  In my opinion, a huge improvement over what the house looked like way back in 1995 when we bought it.

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