• Cheryl

Country Time Tuesday: Back(yard) At Last!

July was a whirlwind - not making excuses, just explanations - and I'll get into more detail about everything that was July on Friday for the Happy Hour post. ONE of those things, at least, was the completion of the farmhouse backyard overhaul!

There's more we'd like to do, but we've gotten done so far has made such a difference! To give some context: The farmhouse is easily over 100 years old and started out as a duplex, then was converted into a single-family home when Casey's grandfather purchased it - along with the rest of the farm - in the 1950s. He updated it for that time period then, and then, in terms of upgrades, that's where it pretty much stayed. His grandfather passed away in the 1990s, and Casey's grandmother lived in it until she passed away in 2012. The house sat empty until Casey moved in in 2014, I believe, but he lived in it essentially as it was when his grandparents were living - their furniture, their decor, even their kitchen utensils. His only additions were, in fact, to the backyard, and included a gas grill and a patch of ground dug out and encircled with rocks to create a fire pit.

There's a small concrete slab of back porch, but it had essentially served as a catchall for random items over the years - a big glass patio table, car parts from the auto body shop Casey and his dad have here, other odds and ends. There were a few chairs that moved around the yard for people to sit in where the sun was, or the shade, or if there was a fire in the fire pit. There was a small cement pad in the yard not far from the porch that used to be the base of the farm smokehouse and that was being used to pile up wood and branches and kindling. So it was a functional space, but not very aesthetically pleasing, and definitely not very inviting.

At the beginning of the summer, when we accepted that we wouldn't be going anywhere for some time thanks to COVID-19, we decided to clean up the yard and make it more of a welcoming, relaxing place - and when I say "we," I mean that I came up with ideas and Casey did the manual labor to make it happen, and he did an awesome job! He cut down a huge, overhanging branch from the nearest black walnut tree that had invaded our lilac bushes. He cleared off the back porch, pressure washed it, and installed a countertop that we use for eating outside or to hold plates and dishes when we host our families for cookouts. We put out bird feeders. He cleaned off the smokehouse slab, moved the woodpile, and positioned the patio table from the back porch out there, and then he fixed a broken canopy tent we had and installed it over the table. We strung up lights - along the back porch are vintage camping lights from the 1970s that I had from when my family had a camper when I was a kid, and under the canopy are white Christmas lights. We found my hammock and my zero-gravity chair, which came with me when I moved in and had been in storage out in the barn, and set them up around the fire pit, which Casey enlarged and built up with more and bigger rocks.

The end result:

That's Casey.

We LOVE being out there now, and oftentimes will just sit on the back porch steps for a few minutes under the lights before going to bed. It's so quiet and peaceful, and has such a relaxing vibe.

Like I said, there are other things we talk about doing, like getting outdoor furniture, or stringing up lights that crisscross the yard itself to brighten it up more. But this space serves us well as our at-home getaway.

I have to say, with coronavirus restrictions and people keeping their distance, this has been a much slower-paced summer than I can remember having for years, and I've actually been enjoying it. I'm not sure I'm in that much of a hurry to get back to normal next year.