Monday, July 11

My Backyard

Today's column over at RTB got me thinking about my backyard.

I live in The Hudson Valley of New York. Actually it's the "Mid" Hudson Valley and the foothills of The Catskill Mountains. The "Lower" Hudson Valley is part of the NYC suburbs--very crowded and has been growing steadily since 9/11. The "Mid" is an area in flux--changing from "bedroom" communities to suburbs.

The little town I live in has 4000 people, it includes

  • 2 stop lights
  • 3 gas stations
  • 4 churches and 1 synagogue
  • 1 ice cream stand
  • 3 pizza places
  • 1 Mexican and 3 Chinese food restaurants
  • a family owned grocery store
  • 1 Chevy dealer
  • NOT ONE fast food restaurant and NO movie theaters
  • The nearest Krispy Kreme donut is 25 minutes away and the closest B&N/Starbucks is 25 minutes in the other direction.
  • But, we've got a great USED BOOK STORE

Small town America at it's best--LOL.

Not very exciting, but I can look out my bedroom window and see a river slowly meandering north (yes, it flows north and not south). Deer and wild turkey wander our backyard and come up to our back door. We can see bald eagles flying over the river searching for fish. Majestic blue herons stand perfectly still on the river's banks. If I look north I can see the "Trapps" (cliffs) outside of New Paltz. If I listen I can hear birds, bull frogs and woodpeckers.

In the fall, I'll see leaf colors so beautiful, they're breathtaking. And, if I take it for granted, the steady stream of "Leaf Peepers" from NYC, with their picnic lunches of wine, cheese and baggettes (rather cliche isn't it--but true), are a constant reminder. Locals laugh, but I understand the draw.

It may not be as exciting as NYC, but I wouldn't live anywhere else.

So, it sounds bucolic and grand doesn't it? Gee, it seems like I forgot to mention

  • The skunks we had to evict from under our front porch.
  • Woodchucks that eat my flowers and my husbands vegetable garden.
  • Raccoons breaking into the garbage pails.
  • Deer that eat the bushes down to nubs and bring ticks carrying Lyme Disease right to our back door (my husband's had Lyme Disease--worse than any flu you can imagine.)
  • Squirrels picking the black walnut tree clean and throwing the shells into the pool.
  • The bull frogs I hear live in the mosquito ridden swamp that used to be a swimming pool two doors down.
  • The lady next door who rakes leaves into our yard because the tree is ours, therefore the leaves are ours too.
  • Black bears and coyotes that occasionally wander out of the mountains and get lost.
  • How about the snakes that range from harmless to poisonous?
  • And what about the winters that start with a just few flakes in October and November and end with snow banks that don't melt until April.

I'm amazed by the amount of people who, when they move out of the "City" or more established 'burbs, think it's the towns responsiblilty to take care of all these little nuisances instead of just living with them like the rest of us. They forget that the little nuisances come with the perks.

Hey, it's not glamorous, but it's my backyard.

So, what's in your backyard??


Bookwormom said...

Our backyard is a large, open space edged by different types of large, mature hardwood trees- which in itself is remarkable since I live in an older established suburb. Grassy. Nearly constant noise of traffic & kids' chatter. A pair of owls nests in the neighborhood, adding to the ambience. Bats, a large group of house sparrows, frogs. Feral cats. Woodpeckers. Messy community dumpsters, which luckily for me are down the street. I love it here & wouldn't willingly leave.

Anne E. said...

The sales advert for my house said "park-like grounds," which means trees, trees, and more trees. I love it! Between my back and side yards I have 12 trees, including two magnolia trees (one huge and one small) and the rest are pines. The front yard has three mature trees (can't think of the name at this moment), a pink dogwood, and a Japanese maple.

Also in the back yard I have a planter around the largest pine tree, with four mature azaleas in the ground, and two more azaleas at the door that leads outside from the dining room. There is bird bath, with a feeding area for the squirrels (but at least they share!). A small storage shed at the back of the lot is empty, as previous owners told me that someone kept breaking into it (I haven't had any problems at all, so I wonder if they pissed someone off?!). Along the back fenceline I have hostas, a camillea (spelling is off!), a volunteer wild rose, lamb's ears, and some other plants. I love my yard. I have professional landscape service do the mowing and the big jobs, while I keep up with the weeds. My next project is the planter on one of the side yards.