Catching up with friends

Hi, All!

We’re having a quiet morning, so I thought I’d do a little catch-up.  The tree you saw in the last post is gone.  The tree service was quick and professional.  They even raked up small bits of branches and “stuff” so that we have very little to do to clean the lawn.  They will be returning today to take down the remainder of the trunk, and two more trees which we feel  might be dangerous, should we have another big wind.

The restoration company is sending someone to look at the damage to determine the scope of work to be done.  We’ll see their representative tomorrow, and will do our best to light a fire under them to get the job done.  Dear Husband tells me that I can expect several days of repairs.  The damage is mostly located in one small area, so they won’t be able to put more than two or three men to work at one time.  I want it repaired before the spring rains come!

We have talked with another agent, and decided to sign a contract for their services to sell our house.  There are two of them, working as a team, and the older of the two has quite the success rate for sales in this area.  We asked a lot more questions this time, and think that they may be a good fit.  Once the repairs are done, they will come back to stage the house and take pictures.  This time the brochure for the prospective buyers will show the house with gardens in bloom, an improvement over the last which made the house look like it was in a desert.

My mind is focusing on more packing!  I go to sleep thinking about one more place we can clean out, or another way to make the rooms look their real size.  I think this will be the year we move.  I’m resigned to leaving my wonderful home, but eager to see what the future brings.  Wish us good luck!

Visitors

We have been in our home twenty-five years.  We spend a lot of time looking out the windows at the wildlife.  I knew there were two species out there that I hadn’t seen, but this was my year to see them!

We have been seeing robins through out the winter!  About fifteen years ago I attended an Empty Nester breakfast with my mother, (I know…that sounds odd.  :-)  She lived with us.)  There was a speaker following the breakfast, who talked about local birds, and she said that we have robins year round.  I’m sure I made a face when she said that, because I had NEVER seen a robin in the winter.  Well, the woman was right.  I have no idea what they are eating, bur we have seen robins all through the winter, despite the fact that it’s been one of the worst winters on record.  Mother and DH and I used to have a race to see who was the first to sight a robin in the spring,  Little did we know that our birding skills were sadly lacking.

The second species that I have finally seen is coyote.  I’ve heard them, and seen them a mile away.  I’ve heard neighbors talking about being afraid for their small children and dogs, but I’d never seen one on our land.  In the last six weeks I’ve seen at least three.  The first looked pretty bad.  It’s fur looked torn, and it was emaciated.  No doubt anything it was used to eating was hibernating, and feet of snow weren’t making things any easier.

I saw a second trotting through north of the house, on an east to west route.  It looked as though it planned to cut through all the back yards as it hunted.  The third was a healthy looking young adult, sitting at the base of a choke cherry shrub quietly watching for any bird activity at the feeder.  We had a freak day of rain, following six weeks of arctic freeze and about 60 inches of snow.  The coyote was sitting quietly in the downpour, hoping for a bit of breakfast.  When he saw me watching him, he moved off to the north.  This winter has been really tough for anything that doesn’t have shelter.

Robins and coyotes.  I wonder what else we will see before we move?

Tree hugger

I admit it for all to see:  I’m a tree hugger.

Twenty-five years ago we bought a wooded lot, to build our home.  It was filled with mature trees and rough areas where trees had fallen.  The only place to situate the house was in an area of very old pear and apple trees.  It nearly killed me to have to give them up.  I managed to save two of each kind, and two of the pears and an apple tree are still with us after all these years.

We left the rough areas as passage for wildlife (and barrier from our neighbors).  Woodpeckers, dozens of other birds, raccoons, deer, coyotes, skunks and the neighbor’s cats and dogs all find the area interesting.

It became apparent that we were going to have to take down pods of trees at two corners of the house.  The trees had reached old age and died off and there was no doubt that  they would land on the house one day, so we hired a tree service to bring them down.  It was fascinating to watch, but I was very sad to see them go.  The shade around the house had changed, and the view out the sky lights showed a lot more sky.  Still, my favorite tree of all, a HUGE evergreen, was still there.  We communed every morning through the skylight, as I dressed.

That is, until last Thursday.  We were eating a late dinner when we heard a terrible thump.  It had been raining all day, one of those freakish warm days following six weeks of arctic cold.  The rains had given over to very high gusts of wind when the house shook.   We both went to see if we could tell what had happened.

At first there didn’t seem to be anything wrong.  Whew…missed the bullet again.  Then, I walked into the office and discovered bits and pieces of drywall on the floor.  I looked up and saw a branch about 3″ wide jutting 15″ into the room right where the ceiling and the wall meet.  At that point, I could hear Dear Husband above me in the attic, counting holes in the roof.  At least four branches from the upper part of the tree pierced the roof.

We have been very lucky.  The rain had stopped, and the temperature had dropped again, so we didn’t have water pouring or dripping in the holes.  The heavy part of the tree didn’t hit the house.  We have a tree service coming today to cut back the tree so the damage can be assessed.  They will have to bring in a crane to support the trunk so that it won’t swing into the side of the house once the branches are cut off.  Luckily, we have insurance that will cover the tree removal.

So, we have at least four holes in the roof.  We’ll need new shingles, and plywood cladding and whatever else went into making our roof.  We’ll need a new stretch of gutter and soffit.  It’s possible that we might need some bricks replaced.  And, we will need drywall and paint in the office.

Oddly, all that isn’t bothering me terribly.  It can all be fixed.  But, my favorite tree is gone, and when it came down, it took out my second favorite tree, a beautiful mature star magnolia.  The view out my skylight, and the view out my office window are both terribly bare and I won’t get to see the magnolia bloom this spring after a winter of anticipation.

I’m  tree hugger.  These trees were my friends and I feel their loss.

My Renaissance Man

Dear Husband saw an ad for a sale on some of the Great Courses and decided to buy several of them.  He has very eclectic tastes.  He chose a class on the Hubble telescope, one on Math, two on gardening, one on cooking and a lengthy series on the Dead Sea Scrolls.  This evening we watched the first  4 lectures on the Dead Sea Scrolls.  It’s fascinating, but I think I need to watch the lessons during the morning, or earlier in the evening.  By the time it gets close to bedtime, I find it more difficult to follow some of the points.

I think we may watch the cooking series together.  I find these classes are promoting some discussion between us.  Occasionally, it’s a simple matter of not having heard something, or of having heard it wrong, but more often it’s discussion of a concept that is new to one of us.  I learned a lot of baking technique in my 20s, and then set it aside when a doctor told me to stop baking to make it easier to loose weight.  I tend to be a cook who follows recipes, while DH is more likely to take ingredients that please him and put something together.  He makes something we call “slumgullion,”  (beef chop suey), that is different each time he makes it, and usually very tasty.  I wish he could recreate some of the versions, but he doesn’t work from a recipe, and he doesn’t take notes on what he’s doing.  This course may help us blend our talents.  I may become a free spirit in the kitchen, and DH may be encouraged to keep track of his inventions!

While DH is busy with courses that don’t interest me, I have several classes from Craftsey on how to machine quilt using a regular sewing machine.  I’ve finished one of the courses and started a second.  I plan to go back to the beginning of the second course and start over.  Too much time has passed since I first started it.

And, I have too many quilting projects underway.  I have two baby quilts to quilt for family members, and at least five large quilts cut out and calling to me to finish them.  It’s almost time for Scraps on a Mission to start, and I have two laps quilts underway for them.  I don’t have any difficulty at all finding ways to fill my time.  Don’t you feel sorry for people who are bored, or those who can’t find something that interests them?

Hibernating

Winter has been brutal in my neck of the woods, but not as brutal as places to the east of us.  We have been coping with horrible cold, and even worse wind chill.  Monday, when we had to go to the doctor’s office at 9:00 a.m., the weatherman hoped that we might hit a high of ZERO for the day.  There are two snow storms headed our way which might bring us six more inches of snow.

My youngest sister, Frankie, who lives in Indiana, has had her school closed a record TEN DAYS.  The school will have to go longer than the proposed school year to make up for the lost days. She posted a picture of a drift across their rural road in which a snow plow got stuck.  Another plow was called in to dig it out.

We are staying at home, burrowing in.  I finally tried my hand at sewing sashing on a quilt, and it seems that I can do simple straight sewing now.  Dear Husband is doing a couple of the Great Courses, one on cooking, and another on ten pictures from the Hubble telescope.   I have books, and books on disks to read, a Craftsey quilt class to finish, and I still need plenty of snooze time.  We’ll make a quick trip out on Thursday before the next round of snow comes.

I hope all our friends are safe, and finding ways to stay warm during this terrible weather.  Think “safety” if you must go out!

Heads up

I’m yet living, but I’ve had a little surgery.  In October I discovered that I had a hernia and made arrangements for surgery last week.  Doc found there were actually TWO hernias during the surgery.  I’m five days into an expected four week recuperation.  Dear Husband is taking exceptional care of me.  I still have some pain, and spend a good portion of the day snoozing.  Today was the first day I felt clear enough to post.

I’ll visit more as I feel better.

TMI

Be forewarned, this post may have too much information for you.

I was good and went for a colonoscopy today.   This is my third.   Everything is fine.  My mother had colon cancer at 78.  With that in mind the doctor is now shifting me to an “every three years” schedule.  He said that as I got closer to the age when my mother had her cancer we would need to be more vigilant.  I protested that I have a lot of years to go to reach 78, and he said it didn’t matter.  So in three years, I’ll be doing this again.

I’m always glad when I get test results like this.  It puts my mind at ease.

Lost and Found

My sister, Frankie, made a tower of grapevine for us two years ago.  She had made one for herself that I greatly admired, and she and her husband collaborated on one for us.  I took to calling it “Cousin It,” much to her dismay.  Her tower was graced with strings of lights that welcomed you to their front door, and, of course, I wanted mine to look just like hers.

Frankie found strings of Italian lights with wires that were brown, so that they blended in with the grapevines.  I plugged the lights in every night throughout the Christmas season, and into January, and then they died.

One of the chores on my to-do list was to find replacement lights for It.  We tried several places near our home with no luck until I struck it rich at Hobby Lobby.  I bought two sets, to be sure I had a back up.

I was ready to string the lights the other day, but couldn’t find them.  I asked Dear Husband if he had seen them.  No….neither of us could remember where they’d been put.  I checked every conceivable place they could have been tucked away, with no luck.

I was seriously considering going back to buy more lights, when Dear Husband announced that he had found them.  We had taken the SUV in for winterizing, and were using our second car to run errands that day.  The lights had been sitting in the back seat of that car, and I’d never thought to look there.

I could SEE myself tossing the lights into the back seat.  I just couldn’t see which car it had been.  When Mother was alive, I was always the finder of things.  No matter what she lost, I was likely to be able to find it.  I  think I may need someone to fill that role for me, now.

 

Dreaming

I’ve read that dreams are a way of making sense of all the stimuli that we face in our waking lives. I haven’t made a study of dreams, but I do know that things pop up in my dreams that we’ve talked about, or things I’ve seen or thought.

A couple of nights ago, near to morning, I was dreaming.  I can’t remember what I was dreaming about, but some how a skunk walked through that dream.  His presence was so realistic that I can recall thinking, “Maybe I should wake up,” to get away from the scent.

I woke about 6:30 and got my day started without much more thought about the dream or the scent, but as we pulled out of the garage on our way to exercise, Dear Husband commented that a skunk had visited in the night.  :-)

I guess we DO process what happens in our lives!

Yup, I’ve been busy!

You have to know that if I’m away from my blog for three weeks, I’m busy.  I’m not quite sure what all I was doing, but I’ve been busy! lol

I think we saw the last of the herons and egrets about the middle of this month.  I’m always sad to see them go because they are such beautiful birds to watch.  Our weather has closed in and it’s pretty cold for the end of November.  In a week the family will be happy to be gathered in one warm place, visiting and celebrating Thanksgiving.

I have had a number of houseplant projects on my list of chores for the past month, and got to them today.  The aloe plant needed to be re-potted.  I learned that aloe needs less water than I have been giving it.  Did you know that when you re-pot aloe, you don’t water it for a week??  I was astonished to learn that.

I have a geranium that I bought when I was visiting with Frankie in central Indiana.  I have that geranium in pale pink and in hot fuchsia.  I wintered it over last year and it did well when I returned it to the front porch.  This fall a couple of the branches were broken, so I put them in water to start roots.  Today I potted two of them.  We moved the larger plants into the sunny window of the office for the winter.

I have had a Norfolk pine growing in my living room for years.  The plant has done very well, but the terra cotta pot it was in was beginning to crumble.  I’ve been meaning to re-pot the pine for the past year.  I FINALLY put down a plastic table cloth, brought in a new pot, potting soil, gloves and a sharp knife.  I slid the knife along the inside of the pot to be sure the roots were loose.  Dear Husband came along to give a hand lifting the pine from the old pot to the new, and lifting the new pot to it’s new home.  I’m really relieved to be able to cross off all these potting projects off my to-do list.

If I didn’t tell you, Scraps on a Mission has ended for the year.  I have eight small quilts that need to be delivered and six thank you notes to write.  I found a bolt of batting on sale for one quarter of the original price and picked that up so that we will be ready for the coming year.  The final count for 2013 was 58 quilts, with one woman making about 26 of them.  We gave some lovely quilts.  I’m working on baby quilts for my family now.

I’ve been crocheting in the evening when I sit with DH.  Charity Crochet Exchange on Facebook does a project each month.  They ask for six-inch and twelve-inch squares, and request a specific color plan for each project.  I’ve been doing very basic squares for them.  I figure that my simple blocks make a background for those who do the lovely work.  I just finished 52 six-inch squares for a Meals on Wheels auction.  They can either put together one afghan in white, aqua and teal from these blocks. or disburse the squares through out the other projects.  The next project is in shades of pink, with white and/or black. I’m glad to have something to keep my hands busy at night.

Dear Husband is Christmas shopping on line.  Now that he is retired, and has more time to play at the computer, I find him in the office looking for a new home, or shopping.  I’m delighted that he has taken over this activity.  I’m happy to wrap the gifts

And last, we have taken our home off the market for the winter.  I don’t want to have to clean up after people who come to look at the house during the holidays, and I don’t want to have to keep it super clean so that they can come to look.  We may have a stager come in to help us make the house as appealing as possible, and perhaps I can persuade DH to make some minor changes that might make it easier to sell.  I’m happy to have one more winter in the house. :-)

I hope that those of you who visit here are well, and getting ready for Thanksgiving,