Inside Out

Funny how the weirdest things can cause one to change an opinion – especially an opinion about how one (okay – ‘me’ – enough of the ‘one’ stuff) exists in this wacky world.  I’ve been struggling with an image of myself as relates to more clement weather and the great outdoors.  For most of you who read this blog (or follow me on Instagram) I would appear to be a person who revels in being outside, working in the garden, etc.  And that’s true.  Except! I find that, once I’m done digging/weeding/sniffing/etc.  what I really like is:  looking at the outside from inside!  Now.  Not INSIDE!! …more inside.  Or maybe ‘inside-adjacent’.

This portentious/pretentious post is about  … Back Porch v. Deck.  Oh, the humanity!  I just finished reading Hilary St John Mandel’s ‘Station Eleven’ (which I highly recommend), so the whole Goober Things to Worry About is fresh in my mind – there’s a paragraph where a wealthy man tells a young paramour of his to come by later, he wants to give her a check to pay off her student loans.  My first thought (because I have the luxury of sitting here, Not Dead) is “gosh, I hope she got the check before he died”… then….”gosh.  it won’t matter – she’ll probably be dead in a week” … then “well, even if she’s not dead, Student Loans will not even be on the radar of Worry.”  Btw – did I mention that I highly recommend this novel?  It’s got a quiet, elegiac tone to the winking-out of humanity, going back and forth in timelines.  I didn’t think I would want to read it, given the current pandemic – but I found myself devouring it within 2 sittings (and that 2nd sitting only because I’m old and don’t stay up late like I used to).  It is beautiful.

But since our pandemic is not currently wiping out 99% of humanity within 3 months I have the luxury of thinking about how I prefer to view the outdoors.  I have always been a perimeter nut  –  I love walls and gates.  El O said ‘if you could build a moat around this property, you would.’  And I couldn’t argue with him.   In the old days walled properties existed for a reason – neither nature nor humanity is always your friend. And they still aren’t, hence my love of walls and gates.  I also love porches with roofs.  Perhaps I’m not completely evolved – there’s an element to the sky that always makes me just a bit uneasy.  And, on a more civilized note,  there is nothing lovelier than being able to sit on a porch during a thunderstorm.  I think I need to just accept the fact that I want a porch – with a roof.  Yes, A Roof of One’s Own.

I also realized that what I love about Spring and Summer isn’t always being outdoors – it’s the ability to choose to be outdoors  – or to bring the outside in.  I only use AC in the bedroom so having the windows open and the fans going is a lovely, seasonal luxury.  Going out into the garden is an early morning/early evening affair (late Summer in the Midwest is hot AF, so 5a-8a is it, until about 6p, when the sun is behind the western tree line).  I think… yeah.  when I get the back done, it’ll be a porch.  With a roof.

Crap.  Do you think they’re going to make me turn in my Gardener card? I mean, it’s just a roof, right?  Keeps the pterodactyls from pooping on my head.


If you had to choose, which would you prefer?  Open deck or roofing?  Open garden or fences and walls? And here’s a weirdo question:  given the current viral state of affairs, do you find disaster/apocalyptic entertainment to be terrifying… or cathartic (I keep wanting to rewatch ‘Contagion’ but… I dunno…)

  • Maggiecat says:

    Definitely a roof (I like to sit outside during storms too) and a fence at least. I’m reading and rereading easy novels right now because my mind Needs A Break from all the bad news and work. I recommend Maeve Binchy who writes about Irish people in a way that makes me feel at home.

  • Maya says:

    A nice covered porch for me too, for all the reasons everyone has listed. I never saw the purpose of a deck. Just use the lawn. 🙂

    • Musette says:

      I’m fortunate to be able to have plenty of seating throughout the garden, including lawn areas. It’s nice to be able to have choices! xoxox

  • Dina C. says:

    I’m an allergy-afflicted person, so I’m a big fan of indoors all the time. A quick little stroll through a highly manicured garden is enough for me. Wrestling my tiny townhouse/rowhouse garden into submission is more than I can manage (right now it looks like a jungle). My husband jokes that I have four temperatures: too hot and too cold. 😉 Love the look of a roofed porch, but the weather has to be just right.

    • Musette says:

      Allergies can be a real bummer – sorry! We’re approaching harvest and during harvest, even if you don’t have allergies, you have allergies! xoxoxo

  • rosarita313 says:

    Ok I’m commenting before reading the comments so sorry if someone beats me to this but what about a pergola? My husband built the most beautiful deck on the back of my mother’s house this past spring and included a pergola with a heavy canvas cover. I’ll email you a picture, Ms A. Then when the weather gets cold you remove the canvas, and….sunshine!
    That said, I adore my front porch but it’s more like a four season room. I’ve had a couple houses with porches and I’ll take them over an open deck any day.

  • Tara C says:

    I would kill for a large covered porch. Right now I’m dreaming about the house I want to buy next year, thinking about porches and fire pits and large gardens. A fence is a must to keep the dog safe. And a garage for the husband.

    • Musette says:

      One of the loveliest feelings is being in the garden with The Girl, knowing she and I are both safe (or as safe as we can hope for) because it’s 6′ stockade fencing and the gates are locked. I fantasize about having a 10′ high stone wall around the property…. but that would be very odd for a Midwestern rural town garden.

      Plus it would cost more than the entire property is worth! LOL!


  • March says:

    I could go on FOREVER about this one!

    Like Lemoncake I grew up with a screened porch, standard in our hot summer clime before air conditioning. The larger ones are called “sleeping porches” and are off the upper floor, I always wanted one of those, although we slept on our regular side porch on sultry summer nights. When I was still married, and in the big house we built, I routinely slept on that screened porch in back, that’s why it had a wicker sofa. That big back porch was one of the things I cared most about when designing the house. Man, I still miss it. I hate camping, but porch-napping and reading is a gift from the gods.

    When I lived in the desert Southwest an outdoor area under an extended roof was crucial; it was so dry, the temp difference in shade was significant. I love love love sitting through a summer storm on a porch. My mother, who was over-anxious about all sorts of things, just loved summer storms, weirdly. We used to throw open all the doors and windows (water be damned) and head to the porch and watch it roll. I still feel that way, and I hope I’ve passed that love on to my kids. When my front garden here was at its finest I’d sit out on the front porch for hours and read and stare at it. We have that big fancy party deck on the back and other than using it for grilling and my kitchen herb pots, I can’t be bothered. HOWEVER if it was my “forever” house I’d put up a pergola over part of it, and I’d reclaim the underneath area for an outdoor summer shower, another love of mine, probably from summer camps and rinsing off after the beach.

    • Musette says:

      LOL! I was waiting for you to show up – I kinda wrote this post with you in mind, knowing your love of your porch! That screened porch was GORGEOUS! When Maroon Camry and I were in Portsmouth I remember drooling over those sleeping porches in the Old Town part of the city! If I’d had one of those, you would have to set the house on FIRE to get me out of it!
      My neighbor has a large front porch, not easily accessible from the sidewalk – he keeps threatening to get an outdoor chaise and sleep out there. I’d already be out there, were it mine!

  • Lemoncake says:

    I grew up with a screened porch and loved sitting reading on summer afternoons….definitely also heaven on rainy days. Now a screened porch is a must for me. The stone wall idea reminds me of A Secret Garden…kind of mysterious and private…sounds like a good place to hide out right now.

    • Musette says:

      Screened porches are great, especially when those vicious little zebra flies are around – I’m convinced they are the piranhas of the garden!!! Barring that, I’ll take a covered porch with a couple of ceiling fans! xoxox

  • Cinnamon says:

    A lot of the big old houses here have brick walled gardens with small wooden doors set into one wall. I would love such a thing. My house-house garden has high fences with climbers so I don’t see my neighbours. I’m sort of looking forward to cutting back all the climbers once I return to house-house with the hope everyone benefits next summer. My vote goes to porch with roof (don’t have one of those here) that wraps around 3 sides of a house. That def gives you the indoor/outdoor thing. And def not an apocalyptic story person. These days I mostly read mysteries and good detective novels.

    • Musette says:

      that type of porch/veranda is a staple in the South, where Summers are BRUTAL! The Midwest, where I am, also has them (again BRUTAL), depending upon the architecture. Lots of farmhouses have them, with Summer kitchens, etc xoxox

  • Portia says:

    Hey Musette,
    I 100% get you but I’m really greedy.
    We have two lovely covered verandahs off our apartment. The main one is large enough for table, chairs, plants, BarBQ, A/C and two Greyhounds, without being enormous. We have just had the most fabulous torrential rains and sitting there, rugged up with a cuppa and the dogs is sweet bliss. So I think an amount of covered area is a must.
    BUT……. I also wish for a section of it to be uncovered so I can properly sunbake, sit in the sunshine, enjoy a peaceful escape of an evening to stargaze without having to cross the road to the park with all its midges, mosquitos, flies and doggy wee grass.
    So my advice, if you’re doing a reno, is create a big old deck and cover half of it so you can really choose.
    Portia xx

  • Amy says:

    Porch with a roof for sure. I love porches and fantasized about having a sleeping porch, even though I was also very happy that the incredibly hot part of the country in which I grew up was air conditioned by the time I got there. Even as I know how terrible that is for the environment. Eek.

    But the porch is premised in the assumption that you have a lovely garden and can sit outside in it if you like.

    Station Eleven is a marvel of a book. I haven’t been leaning into apocalyptic literature at the moment, but I easily could.

    • Musette says:

      SO glad to find another S11 fan on here !! and I do like a pretty garden to look out on, though it doesn’t always have to be grass and flowers – a well-designed courtyard is nice or… if you’re in an apt, maybe do up the back porch! A friend’s porch looks out over the parking lot – but the porch itself is nicely arranged, which is lovely! xoxoxo

  • Kathleen says:

    I feel as you do; porch with a roof. I prefer being protected from the hot sun, rain, and wind while sitting outdoors. And a fire pit on the porch for ambience and heat in the the other three seasons. I prefer fences, I enjoy separation and privacy.
    Given the current viral state of affairsI find disaster/apocalyptic entertainment terrifying; I prefer humor these days. Kiss your Girl from me. xx

    • Musette says:

      she’s kissed! 😉 I’m somewhere in between, liking some apocalyptic stuff but finding others way too unsettling. xoxox

    • March says:

      That’s another thing I miss about the desert southwest — a lot of people had these free-standing adobe fireplaces near their outdoor seating so you could be out there in winter. That was one of the first things we added, it was marvelous, smelling the pinon burn.

  • Gina T says:

    I prefer being at the barn with my horse out on trail rides in the woods. But, if I had to choose the vantage point of my home, I would like a porch with a roof so you can sit in a thunderstorm and watch the rain like in your picture. I would like a stone wall garden with a little hidden door in it. And, cathartic for sure.