Friday, May 16, 2014

Nature Wants Your House Back



Not my house.  At least, not yet.

Homeownership is about nothing if not vigilance.

When you buy a house, the bank wants its mortgage payments and the county its property taxes.

These are minor matters in the larger scheme, however.  The real challenge is this:  Nature wants your house back.  Over the long term, nature will win.

Some years back, the Significant Other and I bought a newly built house.

The first time a big rain blew through, water pushed under the sill of a slider door and left a puddle on the living room floor.   I ordered a piece of lumber cut to fit the space, nailed it in and caulked it all around.

Then another big windstorm came along and ripped a bunch of shingles off the roof.  I called a roofer and had them replaced.

Next, a couple of skunks dug their way under the house one night.  They got in a fight, and one of them died.  I called a pest control company to remove the carcass and a handyman to build a barrier at the skunks' access point.

I planted climbing hydrangeas that grew so well they started covering the windows.  I cut the hydrangeas back; they returned the next year.  I applied herbicide; two years, later the hydrangeas returned.

Nature owns the world.  We humans are just squatters.

I think about this sometimes, like when I see pictures of Detroit houses whose owners have moved on.


In fact, it happens all over the country.  Here is a house that nature is reclaiming in Aberdeen, N.J.


And here is a house in the American South that is being swallowed by kudzu.



Below is a pioneer homestead cabin built in 1906 and abandoned during the Great Depression.  Structures like these, all rendered unlivable, dot the prairies, the Dakotas, Montana and portions of Canada.

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Nature has won, and humans, knowing their defeat, cannot muster the energy to tear down the little that remains.

No matter.  In time, nature will see to that.


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