Recently a friend and I chatted away on the phone and she dropped the sweetest compliment on me. She said if she could move anywhere she would choose Grass Valley and be my neighbor. It served a double compliment, as in days gone by we had been up-the-road true-life neighbors and seen some dark days swirl all around both of our families. Despite those hard times in our life, the friendship and interwoven habit of our days (she served as a nurse for my son before she advanced to friend) created a sweet bond that we relied upon in walking that rocky path.
Years have flown and our addresses lay states apart, but our hearts remain bonded and pining for that neighborly thing we enjoyed once upon a time. Blogging keeps us in touch (if you haven’t already guessed, my friend is Karen Deborah over at Fresh Fixins), but emails and phone chats remind me that blogs only share a portion of life, true though that glimpse be.
What else would you find out about me if you lived next door?
First off, you’d never “see” me if you didn’t come on by and enter our gated acres of gardens and farm projects and wooded wilderness, for we live off a highway, down a winding way, and off the landscape of the casual observer. But, once you stopped in you’d find me pretty much as you’d expect . . . which is to say, here at home: in the gardens, at the stove, poking around in the pantry, or snug in my favorite chair with a book. You can pretty much count on a welcoming face to open the door as we live, work, school, play, and even shop from home.
As you walk up the path to the front door you’ll see why we call Fall our
The humming and buzzing and flutter of life may catch you unaware. Take care with those hummingbirds, they buzz by pretty closely this time of year (maybe flying a bit under the influence of too much bloomin’ nectar?) and may cause a start. Yes, I speak from experience . . . regularly.
My times in the garden expand with each day of cooler temps, but I forget to take a camera when I scoop up hat, gloves, and secateurs – thus I have no pictures of dallying swallowtails and ruby-throated, emerald-bodied birds of flight. If you happened by to visit me you’d surely see it with your own eyes alleviating my need of a camera.
A neighbor of mine would know that we only swim in the late hours of a day and evening, as we do not enjoy sunburns on our delicate skin. You would also know that we have enjoyed many a pool party with our steady stream of guests. You may complain of the noise, but I have never heard a cross word from any neighbor. Not even our crowing roosters have gained any notice by our nearby folk. (Whew!)
My husband’s love of power tools rivals my love of primitive tools, so you’d hear the hum of his riding mower, the whine of his blower, and the savage whacking of his weed-stick-brush munching contraption. He keeps us fire-safe and defensible in this parched land. When the work ceases, the rumble of the waverunners may signal some playtime afoot.
Sweet music of harp or piano gently wafts from the music room windows. I’ve had delivery folk pause and rest on our doorstep after dropping off a package, savoring just a bit more of the heavenly melody before they get back out on the highway. Other drivers sit with door wide-open and listen to the fountains at play in my gardens as they process paperwork.
Here and there water gushes in spirited games with birds, butterflies, squirrels, and even playful girls.
As my neighbor you’d certainly see every form of delivery service popping through my gate, as I live in a very small town with few shopping options, no mall, and a poorly-stocked library (at least for those of us seeking something other than the “latest” read), so the internet takes up the slack. Just today my shampoo and bath gels arrived from Hawaii (the local supplier ceased carrying the necessary product for one too sensitive for drugstore offerings).
What else would a casually observing neighbor find of interest around here? Hmmmmm . . .
* My washer and dryer go every day (raising a medically-fragile child deeply ingrains some habits)
* Our house has no satellite dish, cable hookup, or old-fashioned TV antenna. While our neighbors delight in their plethora of broadcast options, we select from our home library of DVDs and videos. Of late we nightly laugh our way through the 1970s BBC series, “Good Neighbors” focusing on a suburban couple who decides to live “off the land” with hilarious results. Roosters crowing and pigs wallowing make for some funny encounters with neighbors. (Life imitates art? I hope not!)
* I have a love affair with Austin English roses,
unlike other gardeners in my town, evidenced by my inability to buy them locally (though they grow lush and full in our warm dry climes). Even professional gardeners have inquired how I manage to make my roses smell so good.
* I have never met a vine or flowering shrub that I couldn’t make a place for. The stucco on my cottage hides behind verdant veils of beauty with half-timbers and stonework peeking out in a very Olde English fashion.
* I enjoy a good walk through the gardens and woods in nightgown and floral wellies. (T’is true . . . I confess.)
* Willows weep for me . . . here . . . there . . . everywhere – I can’t seem to get enough of their weepiness.
The list could go on and on, I’m certain, but will end with the late evening evidence to all neighbors that we have a naughty kitty, who often resists our every call to come in from playtime and get a good night’s sleep in SAFETY. We stroll the gardens by the light of fairy lanterns, hung hither and yon in this magical place as the evening becomes inky night, calling, “Here kitty, kitty! Mr. Bingley! Bingo Boy!” On good nights we follow this song of homecoming with lots of praise and pats and scratches in just the right places,
as we sigh with relief that the last kitty has returned to the fold of safety from the dangers of the night (bears, coyotes, foxes, etc.). On goes the evensong as our household rolls up another day and tucks in with sweet dreams of tomorrow.
Most of my neighbors live quietly and separately on their own piece of land in this gentle cleft in the Sierra Mountains of California. We tend to be noisy, unique, and altogether something different from the norm, which would explain why the Lord called us away from our seaside cottage nestled on a mere ¼ acre and planted us here on 7 acres of wooded seclusion up in the mountains. He knew . . . we needed to spread out, dance freely, sing loudly, and shout for joy without disturbing the neighbors.
I wonder if KD still wants to move in.