The week between Christmas and New Years my husband has the week off of work. It is a lovely time of rest that we look forward to each year. Unfortunately this year was hit by a snowball of unfortunate events. One of the most challenging ones was when we received a letter from the county informing us that our picket fence was not up to code.
Our fence has been up for over two years now with no problems until now. Based on the many other fences, shrubs, or any other lawn decorations, we are not the only ones in our neighborhood with this issue. The man we talked to at the county office even admitted it was a code that was not often enforced but only dealt with when someone complains.
Living on a corner across the street from a school has set us up in not the most ideal location when dealing with after school pick up and school activities. That was the reason we put up the fence in the first place -- with hopes to keep people from walking across our lawn, leaving garbage, and breaking things (because yes, they broke things). Since then we have gotten nothing but compliments on how nice the fence looks to people in our neighborhood as well as a handful of parents who park on our street for after school pickup.
We believe to have a good relationship with our neighbors and so we think that the person who complained was a parent from the school who has been inconvenienced by the limited parking space on our street. I could go on and on about how frustrated and hurt we were. You can read my Instagram post if you want the sad details. But months later, we are choosing to be content in our circumstances. Because, honestly, we are actually really happy with how it looks now.
So on New Year's Eve we did the majority of the grunt work, pulling out our old fence and moving it back five feet.
A few plants had to be moved in the dead of winter to compensate for the fence.
I know I am not trying to be sad anymore, but watching that fence come down put a pit in my stomach. It was hard to watch. Though upset about the whole circumstance, I was more saddened that my poor husband who was supposed to be enjoying some time off or work ended up spending the entire time working.
I tried to make the most of it and set up a little tea station and some snacks for our chilly December 31st fence moving day.
Our coffee urn was perfect for keeping water hot all day long.
And here is a peak at my little tea obsession. I love the spicy ones.
It ended up being a beautiful day. We played music, I checked out the roses that continued to bloom through winter and we had family and neighbors stop by to chat.
For every hater there seems to be twenty other people who go out of their way to show a genuine care and concern. People we knew and people we didn't know stopped by to share in our frustration. People hollered at us from their car as they drove by about how much they love our house. Living on a busy corner that gets a lot of drive by traffic has it's cons but it fills my heart to know people drive by our home in admiration. That how we care for our home can bring joy and inspiration to the lives of others. Sometimes it feels surfacey to make statements like this about a home, but truly our home is a reflection of our care for life. It is encouraging to be reminded that it means something to others as well.
So we rebuild because we still care about our home. We still love our neighborhood, our community, and the idea that one day when we have kids, that living across the street from the school will not only be convenient but a joy.
There is something to be said about being told what you can and cannot do with your home. It feels like an invasion of privacy. It felt like a part of me was being taken away. But we carried on.
And after a days worth of work and a couple bags of cement, we had the fence back up.
While the front garden placement was not my first choice, due to the winter weather, I kept it as is until Spring when things would get transplanted better and I had a plan of action.
After a few months of living with the new placement of the fence, we started to really like it. Since we have no sidewalk the extra few feet gives our whole front yard a more layered look. You can actually see the details of the fence better and the eye is drawn up to the house even when cars are parked in front of it.
I decided upon spring bloom trees for each side of the sidewalk and I knew I wanted to enjoy the blooms this year to cope with having to move the fence. So about a month or so ago, when trees started showing up at the hardware store, I took a risk and committed without knowing exactly how the tree would look.
While standing at the hardware store, I stared at the tag, googled the heck out of the tree names, and made my mom come by to help me decide. These things are not cheap so I knew I wanted to be sure but I also knew I could not wait if I wanted to enjoy the flowers this season. And to my luck, the blooms were perfect.
The purplish tree to the left is also a pink spring blossom but I wanted a tree with green leaves for variety as well as a more blush pink than purple. It was exactly what I was hoping for.
We have decided that, for now, we are going to leave the front of the fence with grass. The dirt where our old flower bed was will take some time to fill in, but I am quite happy with the simplicity of the trees.
And the blooms went fast as I predicted. Just a few weeks of enjoyment before those buds changed over to leaves. I am glad I took the risk in getting trees that I could enjoy this year. I look forward to seeing it grow even bigger next spring.
After all that, we actually love our front yard even more. Funny how things happen that way. But what a great life reminder that sometimes frustrating circumstances (and the irritation of others) can actually turn into much more beautiful and lovely things. I am grateful for a silver lining...and for beautiful spring blooms that bring so much life and joy to a sometimes dark and hard winter.