July 28, 2021


This photo was taken in my back yard around Christmas time in 2002.  I had just bought my Crieve Hall home shortly before and was excited to have newlyweds Patrick and Julia here from Atlanta as well as Heather from Charlottesville for the holidays.  

After twenty years in my Columbia Williamsburg style home and another 15 months living in a room at John and Kay’s, it was time to reimagine a new home. Built in 1956, the house had had only one owner and she had recently updated it with a Florida room, built in shelves and cabinets in the living room and upgraded the kitchen and bathroom.  No immediate renovations were needed—just the challenge of making it feel like home!

I had scaled down some of my furniture, books and other items for a smaller house but still had boxes of “treasures” to be discarded or passed on to others.  The house had a double garage with a concrete floor and this immediately became storage space for random pieces of furniture, boxes of papers and books, and more. Except for a path left clear to get to the washer and dryer in the garage, it was piled high!

Another welcome space was the bright red storage barn in this photo.  It wasn’t new but was still in good condition.  Everything that wouldn’t fit into the garage went there, as well as yard tools and leftover paint. 

Now I’ve lived here almost twenty years, and the little red barn has changed!  A couple of years after moving in, I had the garage built out as a family room (now thought of as the headquarters for visiting grandkids).  That was the motivation needed to finish getting rid of “stuff” and anything left over went up to the little red barn.

It’s practically empty now—and I haven’t even been inside in several years. The paint has faded, plants and vines are growing through the wall and it’s gradually deteriorating. Recently I began trying to find someone to demolish it and carry off all the debris. 

Before that happened, I learned there were likely some tenants in the old barn—young red foxes!

The kits are born in the spring and need shelter. Foxes have dug a hole near loose boards on the back of the barn to go in and out.  Everyone says they’ll move on as the kits are bigger—maybe they have already.  So I’m delaying the tear down until this fall. 

I’ve often seen foxes in the neighborhood and occasionally in my back yard.  And several years ago I bought a fox pillow for the back bedroom.  Perhaps they took it as a personal invitation!

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