One good thing I will say about having to stay at home this year, is that we have rediscovered our back porch. During all of the craziness in 2020, it has been the place that has given me the most peace and joy.
We moved into our house in the winter of 1997. At that time we had an open patio consisting of a concrete slab with a roof over it. We have nearly 3 acres including a pond, woods and a stream. That means we get a lot of big thirsty mosquitoes!
We toughed it out for a few years before I finally said enough. In 2004 I drew up a plan, custom ordered 2 doors and 7 very large windows (so I didn’t lose my views), and had them delivered. That’s how I roll when I want something to get done.
We had a friend who helped us keep our plan on track. My husband is very handy and I knew he could handle the job. He got it all closed in that summer. Later we added floor and window sill trim made with walnut milled from his Dads farm. We also found some end of season mark down furniture to finish off the space. Because I wanted it to be an extension of the outdoors, I used earthy colors and opted not to add window treatments of any kind. For me it was all about the views of our big park like open space.
The problem was we were headed right into “the busy years”. Our kids were entering high school and it seemed like they were involved in every sport or extra curricular activity offered. After work we became taxi drivers shuttling them to practices and cheerleaders attending all of their events. We were literally never home between 2006-2013! So the room sat mostly unused.
For us summer is also our busy seasons for work. My husbands company begins weekly overtime and it was the high season for my part time job as well. That’s when we would just put our heads down, work hard and save money for our fall travels. But we would end up missing most of the prime porch weather.
Since this is an exterior porch, there are no heating and cooling ducts. The breeze from the windows and a ceiling fan keep it cool in the summer. but we live in Michigan and it gets mighty cold out there in the winter! Although we invested in a space heater, it helps a little in the spring and fall, but not so much in winter.
As the kids got older and moved away we found that when we weren’t working, we were traveling. That was when we started traveling to Europe, exploring new places within the US and taking lots of long weekend getaways. So the porch still didn’t get much attention.
With the Stay At Home orders this year, the porch became a haven for us to hang out in. We spend an hour out there almost every afternoon chatting about our day and enjoying the view. When the windows are open I can hear song birds, crickets chirping and bull frogs from the pond. I have enjoyed watching orioles, blue birds, cardinals and huge cranes fishing in the pond. There are always a myriad of critters to watch as they frolic about as well. We have had some sweet Stay at Home Happy Hours and wonderful dinners from the grill on the porch this year. The full glass door is also the perfect height for our Grand Corgi Thor to watch out of when he visits.
I’m glad that this year slowed us down a bit and helped us to realize the value of this wonderful space. After 16 years of patiently waiting, it is finally getting the attention it deserves. I am thankful that I got a hair-brained idea way back in 2004 to close in the patio and create this oasis that we are enjoying so much now.