Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ladybug on the front steps

Eeeep! No wonder she's so hot all the time! Poor furbaby is really furry again...

Plans for That House

Yesterday I spent some time talking to the Handyman. He reminded me that duct tape will buy me some time on a leaking drain pipe, so I've got that on my mental to-do list.

He was pretty blunt with his opinion about the inspector requiring we get a licensed contractor to repair the brick wall. Like me, he believes she overreacted, since the wall is a decorative facing and not structural at all. We have plans to put outdoor cabinets and a gardener's workbench in where the bricks fell out, so that the structural wall is protected from the elements and I have the outdoor storage I need for the lawn mower and my gardening tools.... but he has to get a licensed contractor to work with us on that, and it means a higher price. *sigh* Still, he's willing to work with us on a payment plan and that is absolutely wonderful. His goal is to do the work we need done at a fair enough price that in the end, our house's value is increased more than we had to pay him for the work. I suspect we'll be keeping him and his crew busy for a long time to come.

We qualified for the weatherization program but we have to get the roof fixed first, and probably also will have to get the brick wall fixed, since the acceptance letter said "major repairs" had to be done before they would help us. It's okay because the waiting list is six to twelve months now.

In order to get the roof fixed, we have to apply for the emergency repair program. They do roofs. We'll qualify--it's income based--but I don't know if they have any funds left right now.

My first garden is in, teensy though it may be. One eggplant, one strawberry, and two geraniums now live next to the front steps. Herbs and raspberry vines are still to go. The Mystery Shrub may be a Mock Orange (Philadephus). I am utterly enchanted whatever it is, because it's STILL opening new blooms and the old ones last for days, so that small section of fence is filling with lush white fragrance!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Making Progress

Things are humming along here in That House; we were approved for help with new paint; we've applied for weatherization help; the electric company automatically applied the deposit to all bills; the rose on the side fence burst into pink-petaled glory; another completely unknown to me shrub burst into intoxicatingly beautiful fragrant white bloom. Yesterday Gryph moved the heaviest boxes for me and suddenly we both have reading material AND there is open floor space in the dining room!

We've picked up a couple of garden tools and some seeds and soil at Home Depot, and I have started laying out my first garden bed: along the front of the front porch, eastern exposure, part sun part shade. Neighbor called the city to trim her street tree, a green ash that had many dead limbs, and I was lucky enough to get the biggest branches and plenty of leaves. The branches will be the walls of my raised bed and the leaves will give me organic matter. One of the new tools is called a Garden Hound (think generic Garden Claw) and I am going to be turning soil as I can today. We have some newspaper to use as a mulching layer and three bags of topsoil to cover the whole thing.

I was highly amused at myself to check out my seed packets last night and discover that I have three packs of cilantro seed and four of basil seed; any guesses on my favorite herbs? lol! I also have doubles on carrots and green beans.

I don't know what summer gardening will be like in this yard; I don't know if it will be too hot for peas and spinach or not, but I'm going to try them--tis the only way to find out, and gardening's always a crap shoot anyhow. If you don't take a risk, you don't win.. and planting seeds is about as risky as I get, lol...

I know, I know... I have this image of myself as highly risk-averse, and here I go haring off to be with someone I met online, and then we buy a house that is falling down.... and somehow those don't change my basic self-image as someone who is risk-averse, lol....

Monday, May 18, 2009


Today we had a glorious surprise, a fragrant white flower on a shrub I (once again) have never seen before. Kansas is fun! The last one was flowering quince; I have no idea what this one is, just a vase-shaped delicate shrub about six feet high, growing on the fence on the north side of the yard. It has a scent like a fine perfume, sweet, complex, and altogether intoxicatingly beautiful!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Aaaack--it's been way too long!

Please forgive me! I am shocked once again at how long it's been since I posted!

We are here; we have completely moved and we live in That House now. We've even had out of state company twice! Several family members have come to spend weekends with us. I cannot BEGIN to say how gratifying it is to finally have enough space to allow a thing like that to happen! *big beaming grin*

The bad news is that we still don't have a working kitchen sink, the bathroom sink leaks into the basement, and the diverter is stuck so we can't use the shower, only the bathtub--but hey, at least we do have running hot and cold water!

I am still very worried about the brick wall on the south side of the house. It will be quite a while before we can get it repaired, since that means taking it down completely, scraping the mortar off all the bricks, and having a mason re-use the bricks to rebuild the wall. The cheapest bid we got was $10,000 and that is way out of our reach right now.

I've begun telling the rain to go away every time it threatens, because having a river in the side yard is not good for that wall at all--and it has rained so much that water is now seeping into the basement. Dry days are my friends. Hot windy dry days are my saviors! As the water evaporates out of the yard, it also seeps back OUT of the basement.

I bought a fridge that was too big to go through the kitchen doorway, so we punted... it lives in the dining room. The washer and dryer are still on layaway and when they are delivered, they'll have to come in through the mudroom--which is okay by me since that's where they're going to live! The fridge is big and the washer and dryer are heavy duty, because I'm planning for lots of company.

We have more weeds than grass in the yard, and I'm all excited to see if the violet-looking weeds in the back yard really are violets. The ones in the front yard surprised me no end by sending up a weedy yellow flower that wasn't a violet at all. We also have henbit, dandelions, and miner's lettuce as far as I can tell.

The big trees in the back are maples.

Last night a young yellow-crowned night heron came to visit our backyard and caught bugs for dinner; we were thrilled to see it!

Forgive the blurriness of the pic; we were afraid the bird would fly away if we opened the back door, and so the pics were taken through the window without a flash. Tis a young bird; the full adults are a bluer gray with streaks rather than spots on their backs, and in breeding plumage they have long white feathers coming off their heads and draping down over their backs.

I admit I was completely enchanted! A heron... a HERON... in MY backyard! *big beaming grin*

We aren't unpacked yet and the place is a mess; we moved in without finishing the floors (I pulled forty more nails out of the living room floor the third day we were here) and it startles me that we can live like this... but yanno, we can, we are, and everything will be okay: we're Home now.