I love our sunporch. When we bought our little house on the river, it didn’t even exist. After we moved in, we started a renovation project that enlarged the master bedroom and added a bathroom and screened-in porch. At the time of purchase, I had to go outside to the shed to wash clothes. That got kinda old when winter rolled around, so when the porch was added, we walled in enough area to bring the washer and dryer “inside”. It still meant going out into the cold screened-in area, but at least I didn’t have to get wet if it was raining.
Years later we glassed in the porch, and it became my “haven”. No TV – just a little radio/DVD player so I could listen to music while Ted watched ballgames in the den. We decorated it like a second den – a recliner for Ted, a couch with pull-out footrests on both ends, and – my favorite thing – a wood burning stove. We shopped a long time, trying to find one small enough for that little porch, and finally discovered what we were looking for at Vermont Castings. The best day of the year for the porch is when it gets cold enough for the first fire in that stove. I usually declare it “spend the day reading on the porch day” and snuggle up with the dogs, getting up only to add another log to the fire. Ted has to have the logs specially cut to fit the stove because it is so small, but it is worth the extra effort. We have two portable heaters out there for the days when it is not cold enough for a fire, but is too chilly for no heat. We didn’t put a vent on the porch, so it is not a heated or cooled area. In the summer, it is usually too hot to be out there except in the early morning or after sundown, even with the ceiling fan. Such is life in the deep South.
Now that we are gone from mid-May till the end of October, we are here during the perfect time of year to enjoy the porch the most, and I try to spend at least an hour out there every morning with Ted, drinking coffee, chatting, reading, and watching the birds at their feeders. If I’m up early enough, I might catch a spectacular sunrise. A little after sunrise this weekend, the largest flock of ducks we have ever seen on our lake passed right by the house.
The first Christmas we had the glassed-in porch, I asked for a birdfeeder that attaches to the glass, so I could watch the birds close-up. Ted gave me one, and when he put it up Christmas afternoon and filled it with feed, it sat empty for several days. We already had a big “restaurant” birdfeeder out in the yard that had been keeping the birds fat during the winter, and they didn’t seem inclined to want to venture to the smaller “cafe” on the glass. Then one morning, I glanced up when I saw something move out of the corner of my eye, and there was a little finch perched on the edge of the porch feeder, looking like she had just discovered gold at the end of the rainbow. The little birds have to really fight for access at the big feeder because the cardinals, blue jays, and black birds crowd them out. Now here was a feeder just right for the little guys. In the next few hours, the word went out, and from that day on, the feeder on the porch became THE place to be for the small fry.
Ocasionally, a cardinal will bully his way in, frightening off the little birds. But before long, a small army of sparrows and finches will have banned together, flown en masse at the feeder, and taken back their domain.
One of my favorite pictures of my daddy sits on the radio beside me on the couch, where I have my coffee every morning. It was taken on a Father’s Day, sitting on this same porch when it was screened in. In those days, I thought I looked really great as a blonde – but in my older, wiser years have decided my “natural” color is better. Of course, “natural” is relative. Lady Clairol still helps me out with all the gray!
Maddie holds court from my lap every morning – at least part of the time. She switches back and forth between Ted and I, depending on who grabbed a throw first for her to lounge on – or more importantly, who might have brought out something to munch on. The higher she can get, the better she likes it. From my lap, she can look out over her kingdom and make sure nothing is stirring that might need her attention.
The birds in the big feeder outside line up each morning along the branches of our crabapple tree, waiting their turn on the feeder’s perches. They are constantly flying off and on.
It’s so hard to leave my little haven every morning and start on a day’s chores. Sometimes I will return at night for a little while, especially if Ted has started a fire late in the afternoon. A porch, a fire, a good book, the dogs, and Ted – my best friend – in the next chair over. What could get any better than that!
NOTE: For new snow pictures from Mackinac Island, you can go to http://bree1972.wordpress.com.