Marlene Ratledge Buchanen

I do most of my writing in the sunroom. It is by far my most favorite room in the house. Until the weather is warm enough, I keep all my house plants in this room. I have orchids blooming most of the winter and greenery everywhere. The best part is looking out the windows. It is a six-sided room that used to be shaded by a 300-year-old oak tree. The tree was destroyed by Irma.

We have bird and hummingbird feeders in the yard. There are plenty of birds and squirrels fighting over the birdhouses. There are three outside cats in residence: Fluffy Mama, TDH (Tall, Dark & Handsome) and Spats. We feed them. They will have nothing to do with us. Fiona, our baby deer, is growing up in this yard. Our three crows, Geraldine, Edgar, and Vincent, live here, too. We have a large backyard family.

The piece d’ resistance is an outdoor toilet. Yep. An old potty. And I love it.

I have an old outhouse that has cost me a fortune to move and restore. I don’t care. It is worth every penny. When we bought this property some 23 years ago there were two old barns and the outhouse on it. It took me years of trying to persuade Snell that I needed that outhouse in the backyard where it could become the centerpiece of a flower bed.

I finally gave up on Snell and called someone to move the out-house. It was taken apart board by board and each one was labeled with a location number. All the usable boards were assembled into what you see now. We replaced the damaged boards with old harvested pine that we had salvaged years ago. It is a two-holer—a sort of deluxe model.

The farmhouse that had originally stood on this site had a granite step with some initials and the date 1933 chiseled into it. I am assuming the core of the outhouse and the barns may be from around that period of time. Our neighbor did some research and his information indicated some of the outbuildings could be older.

We tried to save the farmhouse but termites and weather had done too much damage. The barns are still standing. Occasionally we nail another board or two on them for strength.

We have surrounded the old barns with azaleas. Azaleas can make anything beautiful for a few weeks of each year.

The flower bed around the out-house will be iris, daylilies, wildflowers, and native plants. I have put out tons of seeds and transferred a lot of iris and daylilies to the beds near it. Mother Nature has been taking this yard back with a vengeance. I am letting her have most of it. I guess I will try to make her happy and put what she likes in this bed. If all else fails, I’ll put in more azaleas.

On the front of the outhouse is my traditional Hey Y’all greeting. Don’t you just love using the word Y’ALL? So soft. So southern. So comfortable.

That “Hey Y’all” is my general greeting to most everyone I meet. It greets all of our outdoor critters to the back yard where they are safe and enjoyed in their beauty.

This morning I was coming into the sunroom with my first cup of coffee, and I heard honking. Not just normal honking but HONKING. I think the sunroom windows were shaking. I looked out the back window, and there were two geese. Let me introduce you to our newest family members. Goosie and Gander. Apparently, they love the old outhouse, too.

Hey Y’all. Welcome to the neighborhood.