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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Walk Around That Old House

Come with me as I saddle up Dion and take a stroll around That Old House.
Please forgive the slow pace; Dion needs to read his pee-mail along the way. . . .

It's Outdoor Wednesday, hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer; click here for more outdoors posts -- there are loads of gorgeous gardens to ogle! And it's also What's On Your Wall Wednesday, our hostess being Barb from Grits and Glamour. A click here will bring you there!

Ready for our walk? On goes Dion's macho Harley-Davidson leash, and we are off!


It is a perfect gift of a day -- sunny, warm and breezy. Let's walk clockwise as we leave the sunroom . . . and Mother Nature has come through handsomely for us, with the first iris blooms of the season:

Right next to the house, a gathering of iris plants!

Iris blossoms are so over-the-top, no elegant restraint in their makeup.
They are flowers, and darned proud of it.

Around the front of the house... do we have window boxes on the porch?

Nope, just flats of impatiens waiting to be planted!


a big sprawling angel wing begonia that I hope is big enough to distract you from the peeling paint:

Dion de-coding secret messages left in the fading azalea next to the porch steps:

If you squint your eyes and don't look closely, the porch looks pretty good, with its Boston and asparagus fern hanging baskets, and when I plant window boxes and some foundation plantings other than dandelions . . . it will go a long way toward distracting from crooked shutters and faded paint!

Crab grass and other assorted greenies masquerading as a lawn in the side yard:

And our mystery.
This is my "What's On My Walls" section; look closely at the side of the house.

There are no shutters on this side, although their hardware remains. But that's not the mystery. Enlarge the photo below, and notice the clapboard siding. It is original (ca. 1832) to the house:

Do you see? At the top of the wall, the siding is narrowly lapped, and as you come down the wall, it widens, until it gets to the level of the bottom windows, where it's widest of all. On the rear part of the house, built 50 years later, the clapboard is of uniform sizing.

I figured this couldn't be just sloppy carpentry, so I did some research and discovered that it was most likely done on purpose.

This side of the house takes the brunt of the weather, with the upper floors more exposed to wind and rain, so the savvy fellow who built this house gave his upper clapboards minimal exposure to the elements, while allowing maximum exposure for the lower ones which would not take such heavy weathering. It was a common practice.

Clever, no? And it worked; those cedar clapboards are still in good condition after all these years.

Well, let's keep walking, toward the back of the house.
A little patch of Lily of the Valley is fading fast:

Further along the back wall, a grindstone leans against the old stones:

And I present to you the world's ugliest conifer. What the heck is it?

Across from the wall, a sprawling rose bush is ready to pop hundreds of dark red blossoms:

The bleeding heart is still going strong:
Along the wall, another iris has burst forth!
Nearby, a clump of chives cuddles up to rampant spearmint:

(You can just glimpse some gazania and cosmos Alida popped into the border yesterday.)

Annie tidied up the ivy . . .
and now we need to tidy up the tidying:
Back to beauty; in a nearby pot, a hibiscus begins its summer show:
And Oriental poppies are almost ready to pop!

Time to go back inside. At the edge of the granite slab that serves as our doorstep, a basket of pansies has been valiantly blooming since March, and showing no signs of stopping:

(You can just make out the pink begonias Anne tucked in along the conservatory border yesterday.)

I hope you enjoyed our stroll around That Old House,
and the "mystery" on the side wall of the building!

Dion has decided he wants to stay outside for a little while.
This will last until he realizes that I am inside, where the refrigerator lives.

Enjoy your Wednesday! -- Cass


  1. Oh, thanks for the tour! I love the sherbet colored iris and the hibiscus! And how interesting about the clapboards!!


  2. Loved the tour and Dion was the perfect tour host. He's such a cutie. One of my friends has a King Charles named Churchill who could be Dion's older brother! :-)

    Great house and garden!

    Happy OW...


    Sheila (that's code for Outdoor Wednesday and Hugs and Kisses... though why I am hugging and kissing a perfect stranger is baffling to say the least, though I seem to do it with every passing post!) ;-)

  3. ~Gorgeous OW & WW post Cass!

    Love the porch and all your
    new flowers as well.

    Dion is adorable!

    Have a blessed day.
    ~Melissa :)

  4. I just loved our little stroll. You have quite a few things popping up Ms. Cass!! Were these perenniels here when you bought the house? I adore irises and lost a bunch when our house at the lake was "raised" 13 inches. I am definitly going to plant more! And your roses look like they will be beautiful~the bush is HUGE!!! Well, I just love everything!

    That is intersting about the way the house was built although I thought you would have known this by now with your "Old House" expertise!! ;-) Honestly!

    Good 'ol Dion looks like he enjoyed the sniffing tour the most. Does he water everything for you? Sometimes I wonder if Milo saves up small quantities for the duration of his walks! He has a little bit for everything! LOL!!!

    Have a great week, Cass!!


  5. It is nice to see all the different parts of your senior home. Just because she is on in years doesn't mean she isn't in good condition. She is a pretty grand Dame.

  6. Happy Outdoor Wednesday Cass! I enjoyed the tour...beautiful blooms!
    Thanks for sharing your photos.~ Susan

  7. I certainly enjoyed my walk around your yard!!

  8. Hi Cass- I just really really really adore your house. You must get a lot of compliment from your neighbors and passersby! And little Dion is so cute and adorable, I just want to hug him!

  9. Cass -- loved the tour.

    What Dion did is what we call "mail" -- dogs leave mail and other dogs "read it" and then leave their own message.

    I love the old fashioned plants -- iris, pansies, begonias. There's something so traditional about them.

  10. Hi Cass! Oh, how I've enjoyed the stroll around your lovely home! Now I must tell you, that little Dion is just the most precious little fuzzy face! How long did he stay in the pen?
    Be a sweetie,
    shelia ;)

  11. Thanks for the tour. Enjoyed your beautiful flowers. I have no clue what kind of conifer that is - interesting looking. Interesting about the siding.

  12. I enjoyed the tour -- and the dog is adorable!


  13. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. The flowers were beautiful. And I did not noticed the difference in the clapboard siding until you mentioned it. And then I still had to look real good. I learned something new today. Thanks! Dion is a cutie pie!

  14. Lovely tour. I love all the unique things about an old house. In one house we lived in the windows were not the same size - nor were the panes in each window. Hand made, the windows were close enough to look the same - but when we had to replace one of the four over four panes we were lucky - the glass fit - but if it had been for another of the panes it would have been too small by about 1/4". So of course we had to measure all the panes all around the house and hardly any were the exact same size.

  15. Your outside is just as pretty as your inside!

    It's funny to me to see a yard that's not perfectly flat like mine - you forget that other people don't live in the land of the swamps. ;)

  16. What a great tour, beautiful flowers, house and such a cute puppy!

  17. Love the tour! Love the info on the clap board! Flowers are so pretty! I do love your home.

  18. Beautiful blooms, beautiful home and a very cute little dog!

  19. Thank you VERY much for this wonderful walk-about and the information about the clapboard...I learned something amidst the eye candy *smile*.
    Oh, and that conifer is, of course, the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I'll tell Snoopy where it is :-)

  20. That was a wonderful post.
    I love your house and all the character of it and all the beauty around it.

    Interesting about the siding, and so smart.

    I've found that if you keep your less than perfect grass mowed, it looks like it is nice lawn.
    (at least that's how we fool our neighbors, and ourselves.) =0)

    Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment.

    Barbara jean

  21. You have been outed as a blogaholic. Please pick up your badge at:
    Don't try to deny it, we recognize our own.

  22. Cass, your ole house is so lovely! Enjoyed the tour.

  23. Good morning Cass :)

    I had so much fun on the tour! I'm really jealous of your beautiful siding!! I love the mystery and I learned something new :)

    Did you name Dion after Dion and the Belmonts??

    Oh and thank you for clearing up the cookie issue... I can't imagine where my head was LOLOL


  24. I just love your old house! The clapboard siding (just that word evokes old memories!), the irises, the porch. You have a patch of heaven there!

  25. Cass I don't know how the heck I lost you off of my blog list, but I am glad that Lori steered me back here. I love your house and you share my sense of humor. I've just been catching up..I shall not lose you again.

  26. I LOVE that ugly conifer! Did you find out what it is?

  27. Cass

    i think the perfect color for old houses is yellow--makes them sing! Looks so nice!!!

  28. Hi Cass
    You have a beautiful home. You must love it! I am so glad you are going to join my porch party and I am glad that I found your blog.
    Hope you have a great weekend!
    Hugs, Rhondi

  29. What a great post, Cass!! I just loved walking around your property with you!! You have a lot of lovelies to admire, and such a cool old house!!

    Hope you're enjoying your holiday weekend!! Thanks for showing us around!!

    Blessings and hugs,

  30. Cass...that is sooo interesting about the siding...very smart! Dion is such a cutie pie! Cass, I was wondering if you remember what template you are using in Blogger? I really like how large your pics are and how it's laid out. :-) Susan


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