Marginalia, Vermont

Today’s post comes from northern Vermont.

It considers houses and homes on the edges of the roads.

Not the fancy houses, not the mansions, not the castles on top of the hills.

But the places on the borders, the verges, the limits, the margins.

These houses and homes are tiny to modest in size.

Some look barely lived in.


A minimal house. Comment on these photos will also be minimal, but please, give these images more than just a glance…

Some places may be tiny, but are well lived-in.


The red door says that this home has a heart. The swingset says “children”.

Some places look like the edge of abandonment.



In northern New England, where winter’s rule can be harsh, houses are often close to the road.



You don’t see the road, just the driveway, for the photo was take from a moving car on the road. The new metal roof says somebody cares well for this old house. There’s a light on at the top of the right gable, so someone is probably living here.

Why close to the road?

Many of these houses were built before the automobile, when winter travel required major effort. To have your house a minimum distance from the highway? Ubetcha: Minimum distance equals minimum effort required. It made sense to live on the margin, and not off on some scenic height. “View” was not a house-siting priority, the way it often is today.


There was a big garden next to this little homestead.

The details of these places say a lot. This house says “able-bodied and hardworking”.


A new-looking, prosperous house. I like the skylights.The main floor windows look like they were recycled from the nineteenth century.

The margin is the edge, or a place close to the edge. The margin can be literal, as in “the house by the side of the road”.

But the “margin” can be figurative, as in being close to the limit of profitability or viability.

Or in, “making it by a hair”.




A house on the margin.

I seldom use larger-definition photo files in the tompostpile, for economy’s sake, but for this final photo I have made an exception.

Try expanding the picture, to explore…see what you can find, think of the interests indicated or skills neccessary for each thing you see.


Mailbox, TV antenna, motorcycle, boat, boards, snowmobile, Subaru car, outside high-intensity yard light, lawn tractor, full-sized tractor, owner-built masonry, portable car lift ramps, barbecue, — what else?

Thanks for visiting Marginalia, Vermont.



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