The photo above explains better than my words ever could a couple of situations that Raymond and I are facing with the front yard of the Manse. People, I won’t hide the fact that we could use your suggestions for resolving those situations. In other words: Help!
First situation: the driveway. (Where Raymond’s red truck is parked in the photo.) I am fairly sure that for some years prior to our purchase of the Manse two and a half years ago, residents and visitors here had just parked their cars on the side of the road. (That would be Bosley Road, one of precisely four streets in “downtown” Queensborough that are now proudly marked with beautiful new street signs made here in the community.)
But of course because I tend to look so happily and longingly back at the days when I was growing up in this house, I started to park – whenever I had the chance; Raymond generally likes to be the one doing the driving – on the section of the lawn that was, back in my childhood, the driveway. That long-ago driveway really was a driveway, and not a piece of lawn taken over for the purpose; thanks to my hard-working minister/woodlot manager/farmer father‘s constant use of several vehicles – the family’s elderly used car, an even older half-ton truck, a tractor and a front-end loader, plus various wagons and trailers often attached to the latter two – the driveway was clearly delineated apart from the lawn, and that was that.
But sometime in the decades that followed our family’s tenure in the Manse (that would be 1964 to 1975), the grassy lawn was allowed to return across the driveway, very possibly because no subsequent minister had need of a half-ton truck, a tractor or a front-end loader. Or any trailers attached to same. So my parking of our vehicles there was a bit of a disturbance to the lawn.
Then this past winter came, and as we all know, it was a brute. And the driveway required tons of plowing and tons of anti-slip material – we tried to avoid salt, opting for something marketed as more environmentally friendly – and the result was, come this spring, a large earthy yellow-brown patch where once there had been green grass. That’s what you see under and around Raymond’s truck in the photo.
The other situation is the yellow-brown diagonal patch where, during that blasted winter, we shovelled and plowed and snowblowed and salted (using the supposedly environmentally friendly stuff, of course) so that we could get between our parked vehicles and the house. This makeshift walkway does not, you will notice, coincide with the square concrete pads that were put down some years ago; and why would it? The yellow-brown walkway is where any sensible person actually would walk; the concrete slabs are where someone with too much time on his or her hands would take the long way, walking straight out from the house, turning a sharp right at a 90-degree angle, and then to his or her vehicle.
So while I coax and water and encourage some green grass to come up from the large yellow-brown patches in the Manse’s lawn that resulted from this past winter’s vehicular and foot traffic, I ponder these things:
One: What should we do about the driveway? This makeshift thing that we have going now probably isn’t a great idea. Is laying down gravel the only option? Is there such a thing as an environmentally friendly driveway? Does anybody out there know?
Two: Wouldn’t it be lovely to pull up those square concrete 90-degree-angle slabs and replace them with some big flat flagstones on the diagonal path that people actually walk? With thyme planted among the flagstones, since whenever you brush a thyme plant with your hand or foot it smells so lovely?
And finally: Are my dreams of an environmentally friendly driveway (whatever that might be) and a beautiful thyme-scented flagstone walkway going to cost a fortune to make into reality?
I think I already know the answer to that.