Gratitude Sunday: Alley, Alley, Outs In Free

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

floral[1]

Sunday Haiku
Summer flavors my
tongue, fresh, sweet, savory tastes
of sunshine and wealth.

Sunday Musings
I love older neighborhoods. Nearly every community has a few. You know them by the age of the houses, by the porches on the front of the houses, by the lack of prominent garages out front, by the established yardscaping, by the run down shoddiness of all of the above, or perhaps by the alleys behind the homes.

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When my little burg was platted back in 1850, the minimum lot size was one acre. One acre could take care of a whole family with enough room to have a milk cow, chickens, and a nice vegetable and fruit garden. Families could grow their own food and be relatively self-sufficient, trade specialties with their neighbors, and be close enough to care for each other’s lots and critters in times of illness or injury.

After the turn of the century as the town grew the lots changed to an average of eight per acre, eliminating some of the ability to produce your own food. The one acre lots were divided in half with an alley way down the middle of the acre and four lots on each side of the alley. Yards, sometimes fenced between alley and yard, were big enough for a small vegetable garden, and for children to play, often taking ball games into the alley. When my grandmother moved off the farm her little house in town had an alley which fascinated me as our semi-suburban home did not have one: a whole road behind the house, even if it wasn’t paved, giving access to slow moving vehicles, or walkers or bicyclists avoiding traffic or detection. There was no speeding down those unimproved alleys.

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Alleys are interesting to me. They originally served as access to new-fangled detached garages out back behind the house to store the new horse-less carriages in, replacing the stable, as there was no room at the front of the lot to build a garage. As time progressed the alley gave garbage collectors easy routes to collect garbage accumulated by residents without the residents having to drag their garbage out to the street in view of the world. Now they are often overgrown and unused.

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In the core business district alleys served rear access for delivery of goods for retail sales. Alleys are no longer large enough for the big rigs used to transport goods. Nowadays delivery trucks park in the middle of busy city streets creating traffic hazards as drivers attempt to go around them blindly, not knowing what is coming toward them. Here’s a city alley way still existing in my burg giving unused back door entry to a couple of local restaurants.

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A few of the original one acre lots still exist in my little town, with the original homes lovingly restored and maintained. My town is smart enough to have a Historic Landmarks Board who fights to preserve older homes and they provide much support for the home owners. Here is the back service entrance to one of the remaining lots. This entrance is now on the main Main Street, paved and named many years after the the lot was platted and the home was built. You can see the old house in the way back behind the travel trailer stored at the rear of the property (forefront of picture) as the house faces a different street.

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Many alleys run behind older homes now in need of repair. When did it become popular to pave farmland and build houses that disintegrate in ten years? Or to put the double and triple car garage out in front like ugly sore thumbs? Older in-town homes have already lasted 70 or 100 years, but need some repair to continue serving as family homes. I maintain any building contractor who wants to build a home on speculation on former farmland should be required to repair/restore one house in town for every house built on speculation. Many people are now wanting to live in town as it gives easier (walking, bicycling) access to public transport, shopping, schools, and town events, lowers the carbon footprint, and they often have larger yards than the new builds. Here are a couple of examples of in-town houses with good bones needing some repair.

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Do you have alleys hiding in your neighborhoods? My burg retains several alleys as reminders of days past. I love taking pictures of them. I desperately want to walk down them, but they feel like private property, and knowing how I feel about the sanctity of my space, I hesitate to intrude into these spaces. I want to see what is left of the old unattached garages or fences. I am so curious/nosy, it may come to a day I will not be able to resist. Perhaps I shall call it historical study or anthropology or find some similar excuse to explore these old rarely used avenues.

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Color Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week – yellow sunflower faces; DSCN0361 bee critter in purple tree mallow; DSCN5409 creamy blackberry blossoms still coming; DSCN4217 orange and yellow flame colored firecracker lilies; DSCN4355 soft brights and pastels in pinks and blues of the hydrangea. DSCN5545

Currently Reading – Gilead
(2004, fiction) by Marilynne Robinson; God Help the Child (2015, fiction) by Toni Morrison; Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Hugette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune (2013, history) by Bill Dedman. Yes, concurrently.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Having the best ideas for little essays when lying down for a nap or while in the shower, and forgetting them by the time I get to the word processor. Amazing how the brain works.
  • Air. Breezes. Wind.
  • Lovely staycation days and how they make me think I will relish retirement. So much to do.
  • Naps. Books. Videos. At my leisure.
  • Marking a few things off my to-do list.
  • Fresh ripe local fruits, veggies, and eggs.
  • The old horseshoe I keep that road workers dug up in front of my house when they put in sidewalks and street gutters a few years back. My grounding connection to the history residing in the earth I have the privilege of residing on.
  • Silly Facebook for a distraction when writing doesn’t go smoothly.
  • Evenings outdoors enjoying the air.
  • Stamps and good old snail mail. There’s still something fun about getting a hand addressed envelope in the mail.
  • Fans, air conditioning, and electricity. And if global warming is going to continue we should be supporting young people to come up with less costly ways to keep our earth cool. Like reversing the trend and forcing our governments and the Big Money players to cooperate and think about the resource it abuses.
  • Young people, whom I expect to save this planet.
  • Pain free moments.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

floral[1]

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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