Thursday, February 23, 2017

10 Years Over the Backyard Fence

This month marks the 10th anniversary of Over the Backyard Fence.

That's just mind boggling!  So much for thinking that I don't have a lot to say.

To mark OTBF's anniversary, I'm going to re-post my first entry. My reasons for blogging have remained much the same through the years. Back then, I was a stay-at-home-mom, hoping to find other like-minded women who were home with their kids and enjoying the homemaking experience. Now, I enjoy connecting with bloggers who are empty-nesters and share in this new stage of life.  In a way, blogging is like having pen pals.  I like writing newsy notes, and look forward to reading what other bloggers have to tell about their days and their lives.

Many thanks to all of you -- bloggers, friends, and family -- who take time from your day to stop in and 'chat' with me, over my backyard fence.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Welcome to my blog. Years ago, I grew up in the same town where I'm now raising my own family. I remember summer afternoons, or warm weather days after school, when my mother and our next door neighbor would chat over the white picket fence that separated our back yards. They often happened to meet up when they were out hanging laundry or taking it down from the clothesline. They would chat, their little ones hanging onto their legs, us older kids knowing better than to stand and listen, so we would play elsewhere in the yard where we could hear their every word. My mother was so blessed to have a neighbor who soon became her best friend. Both my mother and the new neighbor had moved to our town from out of state. Both women were stay-at-home-moms (as many were in the 60s). Both women had left behind their parents, and hardest of all, their sisters. So they found one another and grew a friendship that lasted for 35 years.

Times have changed and although the neighborhoods in my not-so-small town still look the same, they've changed, too. I work from my home so that I, too, can be a stay-at-home mom, even though my children are all school age now. From my office window, I look out on the street where we live and watch my neighbors drive off to work each day. A few years ago, there was another woman like me who lived across the street, and we once admitted to each other that just the sight of our cars in the driveway gave the other a sense of comfort, to know that "someone else" was at home, too.

My back yard is edged with a "privacy fence" like the rest of the neighborhood. I'm not sure that either of my next-door neighbors even has a clothesline. (I do not). I don't feel isolated. Well yes I do, and that's why I love reading blogs written by other stay-at-home-moms. But if I need some human contact I can jump in the car, meet a friend for coffee or volunteer at my kids' school where the staff is always looking for warm bodies to help out. For the most part, I like working from my home. Yes, I always have to make the coffee, but since that was sometimes an issue when I worked in a "real office" at least I don't have to deal with that. My office mates are cooperative and cheerful, even if one does sleep and shed on my daytimer, and the other snores occasionally while asleep under my desk. I can take a break and blog when I want to, and no one looks over my shoulder asking what I'm doing. And when there's a warm, sunny day, I can sit on my screened-in back porch and listen to the birds chirping, put my feet up and take my coffee break out there. Sometimes, though, I look longingly at those high fences and think how nice it would be to find a friend on the other side.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Daybook

FOR TODAY, Monday, February 20, 2017

 Outside my window . . . blue, cloudless skies. It's a school holiday, so the street is quiet and there aren't the usual groups of students walking and chattering, heading to the school a block away.

 I am listening to . . .the soundtrack for The Cider House Rules.

 I am thinking . . . that I'm going to attempt to rise above some worry that has been plaguing my mind this past week.  I'll hold the person in prayer in the morning and then try to let go.

 I am thankful . . .for my husband's handiwork.  This weekend, he made a knife block for a drawer in the kitchen -- much tidier and safer to be sure.  And a shelf for the laundry room.  He's a keeper.

One of my favorite things. . . my new sneakers. They're sooo comfortable. Great arch support.

I am creating. . . a sanctuary within my home.

I am watching . . . the Father Brown mystery series on PBS.

I am reading. . . The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

I am hoping. . . to finish up some desk work today, and still make time to get outside for a while and enjoy the beautiful weather. 

 In the kitchen . . . I am cooking up recipes for a family cookbook that my friend Pamela and I are putting together. Well, we're supplying the recipes and pictures. Her daughter Lori is our publisher!  Yesterday, I made Turkey Spinach Meatloaf.  And a batch of chocolate chip cookies, just because.  Tonight, I'm making Pecan Salmon and a spinach salad.

I am learning . . . to slow my pace a bit. That life isn't a race to the finish line. That I can be satisfied working on a project a little at a time. This is big for me!

 A moment from my day . . . snail mail! All the way from the UK, a sweet note from an Etsy shop regarding an order I put in.  I love postage stamps, so this was such a treat.

Post Script . . . I'm really struggling with Facebook these days. I turned off my account before the election, because I just couldn't handle all the political statements. Even from people I agreed with! it was so much sparring and trying to have the last word.  I'm back on, but now I find myself wanting to comment all the time about the state of our country and what's going on. I feel an obligation to speak out, however, I don't feel that FB is the forum for it.  I have a small circle of FB friends and I very much respect their opinions and don't feel that I need to educate any of them.  So, I'm trying to control my 'trigger finger' when I want to Like a post, just for the satisfaction of saying, "Yeah! Take that!"  I miss the old days when FB was just a social place to catch up with friends and family. And I feel that I've become one of the people who have steered away from that.


 The Simple Woman's Daybook is hosted by Peggy. Click here for the link to join in.


Friday, February 10, 2017

A beautiful view

This was the view today from what my family lovingly calls, "Mom's Bench."  It is a park bench that bears her name, located at the top of a trail in an Open Space area in our town.  Today the wind was blowing like crazy, but it was warm and sunny, upwards of 75 degrees F.  These clouds looked so soft and plump, I wished I could lay my head down on them.

Days like this in February aren't unusual here, but I appreciate them so much.  There's still a lot of winter left to come.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Housekeeping seems to be a topic of conversation around Blogland these days. I think the new year has a way of prompting us to straighten up, not just ourselves, but our surroundings, too!

Rachel Anne's post yesterday, in keeping with the theme of our homes as sanctuaries, was about cleaning and the empty nest. Coincidentally, I spent part of the weekend cleaning my house and came up with -- yet another -- system.  

My cleaning methods have changed over the years. When my family was younger, I tended to be more of a neat freak about things, which was my survival method for trying to maintain control of all the stuff that a family of five accumulates.  I've never been a fan of cleaning, but I do like things to be organized.  My weekly cleaning method in those days was a day for laundry, a day for shopping and then clean like crazy on another day.  There was some sort of satisfaction in having the whole house clean at one time.  Looking back, I can see I was crazy.  And probably hard to live with.

I imagined that once all the kids moved out and it was just me and Dan, then everything would fall into place.  The house would just stay orderly, because we are such orderly people.  Except, I'm not.  I'm one of those out-of-sight, out-of-mind kinds, so I tend to leave things out where I can see them.  It is taking some real effort on my part to try to change my ways.  Decluttering is a big help in this regard.

I'm also finding that I just don't have the energy or desire to clean the entire house in one day like I used to.  And because it's just the two of us -- and I am slowly converting to enjoying empty spaces -- I can clean one area at a time, and now that I'm on a rhythm, the house feels fairly put together all the time.

Here's my new schedule:

Monday -- Change sheets; dust and vacuum bedroom
Tuesday -- Dust and vacuum living room
Wednesday -- Kitchen: clean out fridge; wipe countertops and appliances; tidy pantry as needed; mop floor
Thursday -- Dust and vacuum dining room
Friday -- Vacuum and wash car; clean storm doors windows in entryway; Dust and vacuum living room (with a dog, I need to do this a couple times a week)
Saturday -- Laundry; Clean bathrooms; wash towels; extra cleaning as needed

I keep Tuesdays and Thursdays light, because they are my longer work days. I do laundry once a week, because with just two of us, we just don't accumulate enough to do a full load of darks, whites, etc. more frequently than that.

I'm like my new plan! How about you? Do you have a routine that works well? 

Thursday, February 2, 2017


Today is Candlemas Day, marking the halfway point between Christmas and Easter. For Christians, it commemorates the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, and the Purification of the Virgin.  I have a vague recollection as a child, of candles being taken to church to be 'blessed' for use in the house the rest of the year.

In present day, this ancient holiday has been overshadowed by the silly tradition of Groundhog Day,  which I've always felt is much ado about nothing.  How much more meaningful is one of the pagan traditions for Candlemas, of marking the midpoint of winter by having someone dress up as a bear coming out of hibernation and terrorizing young girls in the community?

Today, I'm thankful to have Candlemas to remind me of light in the darkest of hours. On this icy and foggy day, a candle glows on the desk next to my computer.  In February and March, when the days are long and can be pretty dreary, I'm reminded that light comes in many forms.  A good book, a walk with my friend Joan, who makes me laugh like no one else, and spending time in the kitchen, cooking up delicious body warming meals.

Before long, I'll be planning the garden and looking for the first buds of spring.  But, for now, I'll seek the pleasures of this season, reminding myself that there's no time like the present.