There's a path behind my house that is often used by kids from a nearby elementary school when they are on their way to a nearby nature center or the creek for a field trip. I am always delighted to hear their chatter and giggles and watch them (they usually don't notice me) as they make their way.
Today, it's a field trip, at the suggestion of Becky (go see hers!), to my back yard from the comfort of your own computer desk!
On the left is the view with my back to the back door -- and it's actually on the east side of the house. Yes, we're livin' on the edge! On the very bottom left you see a corner of the house -- there's a window on that wall into the living room. Down two steps to the path which leads to the garage that DH and I built a few years ago and there's the "deck" we built even fewer years ago -- I'm going to a pergola over that thing this summer if it kills me! See the plates along the edge of the deck? You also see the roof of a playhouse that DH built for the girls when they were little -- it used to sit where the corner of the garage is now (when we had a yard and no garage) before it was displaced. Beyond that is "over the river and through the woods" to the great beyond. My location is one of the very best things about where I live and in the summer, when there are leaves on those trees, you can hardly see any of that -- it is very private.
To the right, you see down my back porch. It used to be a big, L-shaped enclosed porch, but we did some remodeling and reclaimed some of it for use in the house (kitchen table) and opened up the rest. I stripped at least 10 coats of paint off of each of those pillars with a putty knife and heat gun; they were reclaimed from a house that was being demolished. I had a really good right pec that summer! The birdfeeder used to be at the far corner of the deck, but it was also displaced. You also see the top of a set of handrails for the stairway that leads to my literal back yard, a.k.a. "the lower yard." There's a perennial garden down there.
Here's a view from the end of the porch back toward the playhouse/deck/garage. We have done a lot of work on that yard in the 19 years we've lived here -- including a rebuild of that retaining wall practically from scratch. There used to be an iron railing affixed to a concrete cap at the top of that wall -- I can barely remember it -- and the first spring we were here, DH, acting like a 12-year-old (it happens), went out and started pulling/pushing on it in a "I wonder what would happen..." kind of way. Well, guess what happened? The railing broke apart and the whole thing went tumbling down the ravine! He could do nothing but watch those big rocks tumble and roll at the bottom of the hill. He had to bring every single one of them back up again, too.
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I saw Michael only briefly yesterday, but he was off the ventilator at the time and the nurse was "jazzed" at how well he was doing. I don't know how long he was off, but they're working up to an hour on, an hour off at this point -- and they'd like him to be resting comfortably during that hour off. That's a goal. He's not really there yet. I think they'd also like to do surgery to fix that C7 as soon as they can, too. I made him a card, using that picture of us that I posted the other day, and read it to him before tacking it up on the small bulletin board in his room; it said, "I can be the boss of you! Get better -- fast!" He tries to open his eyes and his wife said that they maintained eye contact for a short while yesterday -- he's so drugged up, though, it's really hard to know whether things register. I hope so. I think he has a sense of all the people who get "jazzed" about him.
There is an enclosed mall in our area, one of the first enclosed malls in the country -- it recently closed and will likely be razed, likely replaced by condos or something. When we first moved to the area, that mall was thriving. There were restaurants, specialty shops, clothing stores, a grocery store at one end (Kroger's!), a drug store, barber and beauty shops, and our dentist (ick). Mom always had Mike's hair cut in an "English school boy" style and, with red hair and freckles on that round face, he was adorable. When he was about 8, Mom decided that he was old enough to go to the barber by himself while she did some other shopping, assuming the barber would take his cue from Michael's current style. What she didn't count on was Michael ordering up something completely different! She didn't even recognize him with his new "buzz" when they passed each other in the mall.