Filed under: Community Building, Uncategorized, Urban Living | Tags: front porches
June saw droughty conditions here in NE Tennessee, while July has brought much-needed rain, often combined with high winds, thunder and lightning. A hard wind blew my corn over one night a couple of weeks ago…
The ears had formed but weren’t quite filled out enough to harvest, so I just let ’em keep growing, since they were (mostly) still rooted. I’d had this problem once before when growing a drying corn and trying to straighten the plants seemed to do more harm than good. Sure enough, I was able to harvest about 50 ears from my little patch by practicing patience…(not a strong suit for me!)
I’m finding that the front porch on this 112-year-old house is suited to lots of different pursuits. In the three short weeks we’ve lived here, we’ve used it for curing garlic and now, shucking corn…
and this coming weekend it’ll be used for our yard sale. These are good days for those of us residing in old homes with wide front porches. Cooling myself with my ‘I’m a FAN of Settler’s Life” paddle fan whilst drinking sweet tea are two of my favorite front porch activities, but so is playing music, reading, rocking in my grandmother’s old wicker chair while I write, and as soon as I find an appropriate little table and chairs, I’ll add ‘eating supper on the porch’ to the growing list. The man directly across the street is starting to throw up his hand in response to my
persistent friendly “howdy neighbor!” and I’m already excited about giving away candy this Halloween. A phone call to the city to report two of my street’s lights not working has resulted in a pleasant glow of lamplight while I’m out there in the evenings now.
All this is to say that front porches evolved as a zone between the public and the private and their cultural significance (especially here in the South) shouldn’t be underestimated. I tend to think that behind-the-house-decks and drive-under-garages have contributed to the demise of neighborliness so I plan to use this old porch to try to change that in my new neighborhood. Do you have a porch or at least a public sitting area at your place? Do you use it daily? Consider using it to (re)establish a link between your home and your neighbors, or as a ‘safe’ meeting place for the neighborhood kids, or for whatever purpose you see fit. Don’t just set up some pretty ferns and rugs out there -USE it!
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