What Kind of Walls Have You Built?

The Great Wall of China

My neighbors have built a wall in their front yard.

One of the reasons involves the moisture we’ve had in California. With record amounts of the wet stuff, there have been problems everywhere. From flooding to raging rivers, it’s been dangerous and destructive. More trivial, suburban landscapes have been impacted. In our yard, we removed a tree, worried because a major limb had become hollow, weakening with each rainy day. Sturdy in appearance, it was one storm away from a damaging fall.

Our neighbor’s yard sloped toward the base of their house. Decisions made by prior homeowners had been “sunny day” choices. When rain fell (lots of rain), it accumulated around the foundation rather than flowing outward toward the lawn, street, and city drainage systems.

Not good!

It was time for new ideas. Along with being realistic about California’s drought and deluge cycles, they also added a unique touch to their efforts: a wall.

I suspect my smart neighbors know they won’t get much “bang for the buck” from their wall. Unlike a kitchen or bathroom remodel, money spent on outdoor improvements rarely translate into a higher re-sale values. But, hey, some decisions are about what feels right. An addition may not be a good investment, but what if it adds pleasure, security, or whimsy?

But is a wall whimsical?

A wall is a barrier. Continue reading →

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The Chair on the Curved Driveway

How many times have we passed the house with the chair on the curved driveway?

At least weekly since we started walking this route over a year ago.

The chair is always there. However, whether six months ago or when this picture was recently taken, it moves more often than Easter’s date on a calendar.

Kynzi, beside me, ignores the chair. In her dogly world, cats, birds, squirrels, or treats matter; sneaky chairs, not so much. I think it’s outdoor furniture, with a thick, comfortable-appearing maroon cushion. But even if designed for all-weather use, I wonder how much moisture it soaks up during the rain. (Yes, the silly dog and I take to the streets in the rain.) Though unable to recall its position when we last hurried by, I’m confident today’s location is different.

It has never been occupied, though someone must be repositioning it along the curve of the driveway. Maybe a tornado could shove it around, but California twisters are rare (and no, we wouldn’t walk in a storm that nasty). The chair has been angled toward the house, or a neighbor’s house, in a multitude of ways. However, the seat is invariably positioned so that if—if—anyone settles onto its cushion, he or she will have a nice view of the street. Continue reading →

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