If you were to log in, you'd be able to get more information on your fellow community member.
My recent (October 2006) encounter with ice in my DA40: http://www.flyingsummers.com/2006/10/07/excitement/ Autumn in Southern California. Still too warm on the ground to keep the canopy closed during taxi.
It would be interesting to see the back of those houses. I believe part of what you are seeing is a typical movement for a residence to turn their back on the street. It used to be that the public spaces of a home (living room, entry hall or reception space, dining room) were on the front facade and part of the expression of the house seen from the street. Now, instead, we have people focused on the family room, or a combination kitchen/great room, which usually opens into the back yard. So there's nothing to really put on the front of the house, other than some garage doors.