It’s full-out spring here in New England, and it’s taken us all by surprise. Our usual calendar is January, February, March, March, March, June, but this year April and May seem to be asserting themselves.
Knock wood. When we’re getting frosts in May, you’ll know it’s my fault for jinxing spring.
The hotly debated question: What’s a front yard?
The upshot of all this is that I’ve been spending days digging, hauling, cutting, planting, and getting very, very dirty. We’re rebuilding the wood-fired oven we tore down, assembling the last of our hive frames in preparation for our bees, and trying to find sunny spots for the asparagus and blueberries that came via UPS this week – two weeks earlier than we were expecting them. We’re getting the boat up and running for striper season, we’re getting the power washer working to de-schmutz the house, and we’re trying to figure out how to take down trees without taking down the chicken coop, the garage, or the beehives.
It’s been so busy around here that I haven’t been able to write regular updates. I’ll post more on our activities soon but, in the meantime, I need your help to settle an argument. The hotly debated question: What’s a front yard?
I talked to my mother the other day, just after she’d seen my last post on full frontal gardening. (If you can’t count on your mother to read your blog, you’re in real trouble.) She’d read the piece, she’d looked at the pictures. “But dear,” she said, “that’s not your front yard.”
“What do you mean, that’s not my front yard?” I asked, somewhat indignantly. “Of course that’s my front yard.”
“That’s your back yard,” she said. “The pond is your front yard.”
This flummoxed me. The front yard is the area outside the front door. That’s where the strawberry beds are. Outside our front door. That’s what I told my mother.
“The door doesn’t define what the front and back are. The front yard is whatever the living room looks out over. The kitchen is at the back of the house.”
To understand how mystified I was by this analysis, you have to know that my mother is one of the smartest people going. She’s way smarter than I am and, in my entire life, I’ve only met a few people in her league. It’s not often that I think she’s totally wrong.
If the smartest person you know tells you the front yard is whatever the living room looks out on, and you think that’s not true, the right thing to do is to re-examine everything you’ve ever believed about front yards, canvas everyone you know who might know something about front yards, and check with credentialed front-yard authorities before you tell the smartest person you know that she is mistaken.
That’s not what I did.
“That’s utter nonsense!” was what I said to the smartest person I know. “The front yard is where the front door is.”
The argument went on in this vein for several minutes, without resolution. So, dear readers, I’m turning to you to help adjudicate this disagreement. Here is a map, borrowed from my town’s excellent mapping system, of our property, outlined in blue:
The road is on the right (the east side). The pond is on the left (the west). The blue circle near the center is a small marsh.
You can see our driveway leading from the road to the structures near the pond. The smaller structure, on top, is the garage. The larger (although not by much), on the bottom, is the house. The driveway circles around, and you can even see two cars on it.
Here, in case you missed it in the last post, in the picture of side of the house in question, which is the east side, facing the driveway:
Our front door (our only door) is on the left side of the photo, blocked by the tree. The pond is behind the house.
I have always considered the driveway side to be the front yard and the pond side to be the backyard. My mother has always considered the opposite. Kevin is agnostic.
Can you help settle this, once and for all?