Down A Country Lane

I saw an opinion poll this morning that has me thinking…. ” A question for Powhatan … how would you handle an ordinance forcing you to have certain shrubs, plants, height of grass, limiting “stuff” in your yard etc.?”  Now I live down a country lane,  not in a subdivision, so my thoughts are going to be reflective from  a true country gal’s perspective.

I love the country and I love our quarter mile long country lane.

A busy 4-lane highway buzzes by our farm.  But you pull into our lane and it is pure tranquility.  In the summer,  flowers are blooming,  horses and Angus cattle are grazing in the rolling  pasture land and dust billows as you make your way back to the homestead.  When you step out of the car, the hustle and bustle of Route 60 is gone.  A border collie dog comes running to greet you home, cows look up from grazing with a mouth full of grass, chickens cluck with contentment, a proud rooster crows, a buzzard glides through the sky, pigeons coo from the loft and birds chirp gleefully as they perch high in a tree.  Home!

Home is a place of comfort and creativity.  It is my sanctuary from the busy world.  I can mow my lawn at 8 PM or 7 AM if I so care to do so.  My flower beds are a labor of love and beauty.  Our homestead is not a showplace.  The house is aging and is in need of some repairs.  There is an assortment of old farm equipment  sitting around. The lawn is mowed, not manicured.  The garden is cared for, but it is not worthy of a  Better Homes and Garden photo shoot.  3209 Buckingham Road is comfortable, it is home.

Government, even local, is levying more and more restraints, regulations, taxes, and permits.  It feels like they want cookie-cutter designer houses.  When will they tell me I can’t walk on my own grass?  I understand the need for some guidelines, especially in small-lot subdivisions.  But more and more customers are telling me they can’t own chickens because of neighborhood by-laws. (Some try and are turned in by a complaining neighbor).

Now think about this…. When did a chicken bark all night?  Who has ever caught a chicken  killing  the neighbor’s dog?  When did a dog ever lay an egg so the “back to earth,” natural people could have their own fresh brown eggs?   When has a hen ever bitten the UPS man? Really, how can a chicken clucking for 30 seconds after laying an egg in the middle of the morning be distrubing to a neighbor in their air-conditioned house 2 acres away?   When was dog poop used as organic fertilizer on a garden?

I see pictures of the adorable “chicken palaces” people build for their six hens.  They would gracefully adorn even a 1/2 acre lot.  My observation has been that people who have a few hens make pets out of their little ladies and give them names.  They will spend hours watching and being entertained by these gentle ladies.  There is no smell and no noise that can be heard more than a few feet from the chicken pen’.  They eat bugs, and turn garden scraps and weeds into organic compost while rewarding their owners with a daily supply of fresh, vitamin rich, brown eggs.

Why do we want to restrict people?   We move to the country but take the “not-in-my-backyard” mentality with us.  We purchase a house close to people but don’t want neighbors.  We crave the freedom and openness of the country but want to restrict our neighbor and police their every move.  We want our privacy but stick our nose in others business. We think about only ourselves and fail to “love” our neighbor.

So back to the original question.  Would I want an ordinance forcing me to have certain shrubs, plants, height of grass, limiting “stuff” in my yard etc.?”  No, a big loud resounding no!

Home. My home in the country-way down a country lane-a place I love to be, is my oasis from a busy world in the heart of rural Powhatan County.


  1. obejill Said:

    Are you trying to make me homesick?

  2. […] Down a Country Lane […]

  3. […] A Time“. My blog post “Hometown USA” is a commentary about change in Powhatan.  “Down A Country Lane” is a reflection on the beauty and a lament of the change in rural […]

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