Sunday, August 31, 2008

and it begins...


Man -- and woman -- with tools attack trailer. More at 11.

So far we have removed the closet in the second bedroom (office) and the overhead cabinet in the laundry room (where it was prohibiting the installation of the stacked washer-dryer.

On Friday we learned that the propane company would NOT give us a tank as long as there was a "non-mobile home approved" propane water heater. We had been warned about this, but there was no way to keep them from looking at it. I am not even sure the company that had been supplying would have done it, being a new account -- but my name not coming up in all three credit bureaus messes up any low level attempt to get a credit history on me, which they required, and I was not happy with their "keep-full only" policy, as I am used to -- and prefer -- monitoring my own use and giving them a call when the tank is in need of filling.

The new company will do that... but at the expense of having to pull the gas water heater and swap it for electric. I am NOT happy with this, as it ties us more into the grid. But we got a smaller one and one of the less expensive units, just to hold the line while we decide how we are going to go with this place. We had been doing pretty good in energy conservation by turning the water heater ON a couple of hours before bath time, and off after the bath/shower, using the residual heated water for dish and hand-washing on the between days. We are investigating an on-demand water heater, but at present the budget won't go that far and the electric would need more oomph too.

So, today we swap out the water heater. It had been on the list for yesterday, but K was totally wiped from our long trip to town the preceeding day and was unable to be out of bed for most of the day. I putzed around and then taped and painted the first coat on the Craft room. It will need a second coat, to fully cover the purple that had been on the walls. That is also on my list for today, along with touching base with the Museum in NC to get started on their yearbook project.

I have also made a committment to walk about on the back half of the property and pull some of the growth that is most near the small birch trees that are trying to grow, a little at a time.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

LONG away day

This was our first big "away from home" day since we moved in. We started early with a counseling appointment for K in Dover-Foxcroft, just time enough to check in at the body shop to find when the Subaru repair had been scheduled and Bobs for a resupply on oats, then home long enough to check on the address of the realtor office where we were to pick up our security deposit check then I was off to a massage appointment.

I won't be doing that every couple of weeks, but after the big move, it was nice to get a couple just to help keep the body remembering that is IS supposed to move in all those ways. I also picked up a gift certificate for a massage for one of my moving helpers.

Then back to get K and we were off to a marathon shopping and errand trip in Bangor. The security deposit has been secured (and a couple of days before we were even required to be out of the rental... he said it looked like it was in better shape than when we moved in. Observant fellow! LOL

On to Lowes for inexpensive plastic and metal step-in fence posts and some plastic fencing to make the doggie yard for Brandi. I don't expect her to try to breach it... heck she won't hardly walk through an opening between empty boxes that is doggie size or a bit less, won't duck under her leash or push on the door to open it if I have it started. And if she did breach the yard, I expect I'd find her on or under the porch or -- if the door were open -- in here giving me looks. I also picked up a mattock as I can use the assist digging in the slightly rocky soil, and then we were off to Walmart for kitty litter and some other odd ends, then to Sams for meats. Time to resupply the freezer... now that we have one. It is currently behind the cabinet we took out of the laundry room and buried under STUFF but that will change tomorrow. I didn't make it to the bank before closing time, so that will be on the list tomorrow.

I don't have to be at work until afternoon as the boss is taking time off, so I will be able to be here and start pattying up the ground beef, slicing the pork and getting them in the freezer while I wait for the gas company to bring the new propane tank. We still have not run out... though the guage on the old tank (different company) has been on E since before we moved in... so depending on what gives, I may see if he can avoid setting up the new regulator. No reason to waste the gas in the current tank that I can see...

I also have calls to make tomorrow... I forgot to tell the propane folks from the old place to come get their regulator, and I need to let the park service know that I have finally jumped through all the hoops to register with ccr.gov so I can get the contract they are wanting to offer me. THAT was a pain to do...

I need to begin making time to walk the land more often, to get the feel of how it changes and I want to try to pull some of the plants that are growing right close to the baby birch trees that seem to be springing up on the back lot. I was enjoying riding home from the early errands today, as the sun was still low enough that we were driving down dappled roads, as the sunlight came low through the trees, alongside stacked rock walls that undulated along the landscape. We also took a bit of a detour down Black Road in search of a Christmas tree farm that had been calling me.. and it turned out that I do not think it was the farm at all, but just to get me down the road to glimpse, peeking through the trees, a madly, brightly colored, multicolored house. It made me think of Peter Max and hippies -- or gypsies, even thought it was planted and not mobile -- and when I asked the massage therapist about it, I learned that her sister lives on that road and stopped to inquire at some time past. Apparently the house also has "interesting design" and the family let the children pick (if not paint) the colors! Further inquiry will follow.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Something has made a difference

Something has, indeed, made a difference in many things. My attitude (well, one might expect that, eh?) but my energy level and healing speed are both up, as well.

I had been struggling -- except in the late winter/very early spring when we arrived -- to arise somewhere near dawn, let alone before sunup. I had to pry myself out of bed in the morning with the alarm or slept until mid-morning with ease. But in the week we have been here I have stopped setting the alarm (I am not even sure where it IS at present... somewhere in the truck most likely as I carried it along on Monday when I did the final bit at the old place, so as not to be late to work) and awake about 5:30 or so -- no matter what time I retire -- rested and ready to go.

It took me MONTHS to stop hurting after the move from NC and this move I was barely stiff and sore for a day.

I got the clothes tree planted and most of our accumulated laundry done (just in the nick of time!) after having to wait a day for a friend/electrician to do some repairs on the washer/dryer outlet. I'll do 110 wiring, but not 220 and he had offered his services back when we were considering the Infamous Red House (for which I hired his services as a professional home inspector.) So thanks to Jon we have clean clothes, clean towels and now clean rugs on the line.

It felt really right to be hanging the wash this morning, in the rising sun and gentle wind. The wind almost always blows here (we will be planting windbreak trees and hoping they grow quickly to protect some in the winter!) and it moans and howls around the corner of the Craft room and in the dining room window. Character for the place... something most trailers lack.

I also enjoy watching the shadows appear across the back yard, which is not flat but has small dips and rises that are only visible at sunrise and sunset. The shadow from the lilac bush stretches far out of proportion to its height, on account of the lay of the land, as compared to the shadows of trees encroaching from next door.

I need a chair to sit out in, to watch the shadows come while the goldenrod in the back field still shines in the light of the setting sun. And to look at the stars at night. We see Jupiter in the south, but from the back the north star stands just a bit to the right of where it would be if the trailer had been oriented by the directions instead of the road, and currently to its left Ursa Major walks, the dipper just barely pouring out a bit of whatever it is it pours. The little dipper, in its turn, is nearly vertical, reaching toward midheaven.

I walked Brandi a bit in back today, on her long leash but not holding her. She wanted to frolic and we played a bit with her leash and then walked around the house. The horses next door were out, and she stopped to look at them but otherwise paid them no mind. I think it quite likely that a couple of strands of rope as a fence will hold her, as she has quite often refused to duck down under or push past her leash when it has gotten caught and draped across her access to the yard in Milo.

We have what had been a burn pit -- stacked up cement blocks, breaking from the heat -- but we are not into burning trash as we recycle the most of the burnable stuff so I decided to attempt to recycle the place, for now at least, for compost. I pulled out the bit of stuff that was there, unburned (a bit of wood and brush and a long piece of formica! THAT will go to the dump. I had not seen it initially and am VERY glad that I had not just decided to burn the remainer.

The wood that was pulled out I will likely cut up for use in a metal fire pit when we get one, for drumming circles and the like.

We are ever so slowly getting organized and settled. The garage is still a disaster impersonating a storage unit.

Monday, August 25, 2008

We're here.

Today, finally, I feel that we are here. We've been living here (after a fashion at least) since weekend before last, since the bed moved. We moved the last of the STUFF (washer/dryer and propane tank) this past weekend. I went to Bangor Saturday night, after spending the day moving heavy objects, to connect with a friend who was working the Folk festival; didn't make it to the festival but I did meet up with her at the UU church, where her band was playing for a contra dance.

Now, I was not really excited about dancing. Yeah I had gone to one other contra dance in the past (in NC) and had fun, but after killing my bod all afternoon, vigorous dancing was NOT on my top ten list. But that was of no consequence as I managed to show up for the only contra dance on the planet where there were more GUYS than gals, guys who ALL WANTED TO DANCE! LOL Fortunately the contra crowd are good at putting you where you need to be... patient with incompetent beginners... and eventually more gals showed up. THANK THE GODS! This was also a younger crowd than I had seen before... lots of college kids who, while fun to dance with, were prepared to "swing their partners" with much more vigor than this easily-dizzied old woman was used to. For that matter the old farts were pretty spry, too.

In any case, I survived (may even go back again) and spent the day Sunday cleaning at the old place. I got most of it done, set the repairs on the flooring with heavy weights and prepared to go back today to weed eat (EARLY before the electric could be shut off) and finish the last of the mopping. Unfortunately I forgot the bit of brown paint to touch up woodwork... and the rain cut short my weed eating... but I got the worst of it done and I will complete the paint touch up tomorrow, as I don't have to work, and will visit a bit with a friend in Milo and then try to touch base with the old landlord and return a borrowed cell phone.

But, coming home this evening... fussing about beginning to put things away... calling and working out technical issues with a NC client... waiting for a friend/electrician to show up to connect up my washer/dryer... I feel like I am, finally, HERE.

Not sure what turned the tide... maybe hauling the last load of cleaning stuff and the weed eater from Milo... putting out the trash there... knowing that nothing of us remains there...

I did a ceremony on the land here last Friday, offering to the four directions and land spirits at the corners, walking the land... looking at the stuff growing on "the back two" ... lots of goldenrod and, as one local friend put it, Maine, trying to reclaim the land as forest. Lots of tiny birch trees, no taller than the goldenrod.

Today when the electrician came -- a relatively local fellow who had done the home inspection on "the infamous red house" -- I asked him about someone who might plow/till my soil. He is thinking about it, but he metioned that, come spring, I need to come by his place and he will take me walking in the woods to collect pine trees. He says the grow very thick and the small ones, in mud season, you can just grab and pull out and collect in a bucket. He did this for some other property he has, to have trees to plant. Sounds like fun...

But I still do not have washer/dryer. Apparently the outlet died (K thought he saw sparks when something fell as we were working in the laundry room) so tomorrow night my friend will return with a new outlet and then, hopefully, I can do the wash. Gives me tomorrow to dig the hole for the bucket that holds the clothes tree. This will be a good chance to see how the soil is. I am still waiting for the soil test kit to arrive from the extension service...

It's only 8 PM but I am tired. so I guess sleep will be on the list soon, unless I get a re-send of a file from the Waterfowl Museum that got corrupted in transit.

Oh, and in a bit of surprising good news, I learned today that I got the contract (again!) for the Cape Lookout Seashore National Park newspaper! I plan to be in NC the first weekend in Dec to attend Waterfowl Weekend and will meet with the Park Service then, but this will largely be a project done by teleconference.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Coming to you LIVE from Hearthfire Hill!

Stapled to the bed - Wednesday

Progress is slow, but happening. As of last night, all the kitties have been installed in the master suite (I am sure they wonder WHY they have to share it with US, though! LOL) and I fell quickly and soundly asleep once again, stapled to the bed by furry bodies, the sounds of purring ringing in my ears.

In order to put the cats where they are to live – until such time as we are able to build the porches and give them this access to the outside – it was necessary to replace the door to the bedroom.

Someone who lived in this house had some anger issues. I had suspected the Drunken ExHusband but K says it feels more like the Angry Teenage Daughter (whose painted-over anarchy symbol is still visible on the office ceiling) as the owner verbally blamed her for some holes in the sheetrock on walls near her bedroom. In any case, there was a hole in the bottom of the bedroom door, cat-door sized on one side, neatly cut and destroyed on the other. The owner is allergic to cats so this, and other damage, makes us think they had a small dog at some point. Anyway, we needed that door to be cat-proof so as couple of trips to the hardware store and some cussing later, it is. K points out that – once again – we in in a place where nothing is either square or plumb.

Anyway, now that the cats are out of the Craft room, I will be able to vacuum in there (kitty litter! Oh my!) and move many of the boxes that are clogging the living room on into their final home. I will stack them in the middle of the room, as the walls need to be painted – with Kilz to cover the less than artistic leanings of the youngster and likely the off-white paint that was left here to cover the purple walls... once I find my tote with odd tools in, that is... Since I want to get it done, I might just replace the roller (I did get heads yesterday) as I am pretty sure that tote is buried in the middle of the chaos of the garage.

Of course I won't get to that today, likely, as I have a couple of more trips to the ghetto trailer and work. I am planning to go from work directly to the ghetto to haul another load of odd, mostly big and awkward stuff...and to carry some chicken scraps to my friend and touch base. Make sure she is still alive, as we have only briefly talked on her cell phone that she left with us, after moving day.

Those shenanigans will likely leave me getting home at sunset and a late supper once again but – as I keep reminding myself – it IS progress. Yesterday when I went to the ghetto to work, I did a first pass on most of the trailer, sweeping out the leavings and critter hair and gathering up everything that was left behind. I still have trash to remove from the Kitchen, and all the cleaning products and stuff under the sink to sort through but by the weekend, we will be ready to start cleaning and patching and I plan to turn over the keys on Monday.

Despite the shortcomings of the trailer – and it will require much more plumbing help than we had hoped, and some changing things around on the inside, likely totally gutting and rebuilding the second bath (due to water leakage) etc. this is a good place to be. Remember, I did not buy the place for the trailer, but called it a nice bonus – a place that doesn't leak when it rains and keeps out the cold... I have yet to walk the boundaries, but that will come before the weekend.


Thursday

The first day of a much-needed 4-day weekend, which couples my usual day off today with the office closure for the Folk Festival, which takes over the waterfront. This should be Internet day as well, and while I am in town today I need to make contact with the Dear River propane company and get a fill up as the guage on the tank reads EMPTY though it did give out enough gas to make supper last evening. I do not want it to go out though, as that will require re-lighting the water heater pilot. I also need to stop at the paint store and get a roller, some tape and another roller tray as mine is buried somewhere in the garags. I am hoping i can find the drywall materials to fix some dings in the craft room walls, so I can paint this weekend and actually move into it. I will be piling boxes in the middle of the long room, which will allow me to put the ladder around the walls for painting. At this point I need to sand a bit to remove texture from the kid's painting of numbers on the wall, then hit it with Kilz in places. It will take two coats anyway. This morning I de-sticker-ed the walls. Gods I hate stickers! I'd much rather kids painted on the walls... I have no idea why I feel this way but I am glad to have most of them scraped off the walls and vacuumed up.

It will be wonderful to be able to stay here much of the next 4 days, though I am planning to go to the festival on Saturday afternoon to meet up with my first Maine friend who is working at the festival. She is part of a band that is playing for a contra dance that evening, so I may stay around and listen at least.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hobbling Onward...

Slow progress is the word of the day. We made one more trip back to the trailer yesterday, and a trip to Bangor for needed stuff. Both of us were pretty well wiped. K reported that if he didn't get to feeling better I could take him to the ER, but that was just before he hopped into the Subaru to transport a full load home, with me following. He spent a lot of time “gathering energy” and me hobbling, but from somewhere he summoned energy to unload the cooler full of frozen food and an entire pickup load from Artie, for which I was as much thankful for his not needing to go to the ER as I was for the help.

There are still odd ends at the trailer, and likely the last of it will be brought today as I swing by after work. Or close to the last of it at least, as I will leave my tool box until after the cleaning and such is done... and there will be cleaning supplies, etc to come home this weekend.

Cats in the cupboard and can see me...

Home... is of course in chaos. There is no way to put the louvered bifold doors, that we have been using as cat excluders, up so the feline contingent – who are currently incarcerated in what will become the Craft room. In the photo you can see Brandi, checking to make sure all her cats are here.. the hutch came with the house (LOTS of stuff “came with the house... more on that later!)and the felines are making good use of it. Cats in the cupboard from left to right, Sherrie “FuzzyButt,” Agnes, Buster, Ghost and underneath in front is Sparky and peeking out behind her, Kindness. Only ones missing in this photo are the new kittens, 13 and Moose, and Harker. Anyway, we had hoped to be able to give them the run of the laundry room as well as bed and master bath (which is huge, by the way...) but since we cannot reasonably install the bifold doors, they will be confined to the bedroom and master bath, until such time as we get the porches built – part of which will be set up as a cat porch, with extra-stout screens, climbing tree, etc.

Neither of us wants to deal with cats in the kitchen, which would be the only other option, were we to allow them free run of the place. So, for the first time in years, we will have a cat-free living room as well. On the other hand, I will need to get a couple extra king size flat sheets to throw over the bed and wash them every other day or so to keep the hair down on the covers enough to sleep without a nose full of cat hair, I fear.

Brandi is settling in as well. I think she likes having more space, though we do not yet have a dog-yard up, nor the back door steps rebuilt so that she can go in and out to the yard that way, which will be the end result of all this. For now, she is in the front, on-leash as she was in Milo... but she has a the large deck to lie on (which she seems to enjoy).

I am thinking that Angela was less prepared even than we were for this move... she said she had left “presents”... stuff that she didn't need and just gave up on... and we had found a pile of art stuff and another of board games, etc. on move-ion day... but I also had to empty bathroom drawers, and I have not yet emptied kitchen stuff. She left a nice, programmable coffee pot (which of course uses different size and shape filters from mine! LOL) and a microwave and toaster... an electric can opener, mounted under the kitchen cabinet (which will go away) and radio (likely ditto... not because I don't like a radio in the kitchen but because the damn thing has a clock on it... as does the oven... and I detest having the time flashed at me at every turn.

We enjoyed breakfast buffet at the local restaurant yesterday morning (about 7 miles away) and I made burgers, frozen fries and salad for supper last evening, our first meal in our new home. In a few minutes I will go searching for the oats to make for breakfast and then head out to work. I want to stop by the library and catch Wifi to upload this, my Words of Wisdom (which didn't get posted yesterday, as we both were too spacey and forgot the modem and laptop on our trip back to the trailer park)

I am slowly in the process of de-pink-afying the new place. The previous owner loved PINK and frilly...I have already replaced the bedroom draped with our green print ones which are a hand-me-down from DC-area friend Lorrie a few years ago. The rods are up a bit high, so there is a gap at the bottom, but moving rods down will easily solve that and can be done at any time. There are pink frilly in the bathroom and kitchen window that will come down today and pink sheers at the dining room which will likely be replaced with muslin this weekend (once sewing machine and I have a bit of time... ) suprpisingly, both the drapes and sheers in the living room are tolerable... a heavy lace sheer and natural color drape that could be a muslin but are likely a synthetic blend... she also left a halfway decent sitting couch, but the damn thing is RED VELOUR. A couple of king sheets will cover it for now though...

The first day of the rest of my life

Office window, morning view...

Good friends. BEYOND good friends, help you move – bring their dad along and HE helps you move... even when everyone is so past tired and weak they can't see straight.... even when they are actually hurt – injured – and stay until the job is done. We have BEYOND good friends.

And while the job is not quite done (remember, guys, Uhaul trucks of a size are actually smaller than Penske trucks of the same size and that you cannot fit all your worldly goods into one if you have acquired more since the Penske move.

We did get all the impossibly heavy stuff, all the furniture but the washer and dryer, moved. There are still boxes of stuff – food – stuff to have the filth and cathair washed out – remaining at the trailer park, but we do not have to be out until the end of the month. Current plans are for a couple of runs today, and for K to do one after checking in with the truck rental place and for me to come hone that way and do one after work on Monday. That should pretty much complete the move, except for the stacked washer and dryer, which we will not have a place for until after we remove a built-in here at the Hill.
But I have Thursday and this week Friday off as well... Friday is the day of the big Folklife festival in Bangor, which I understand takes over the waterfront area (where the guide office is) and we will not be able to GET to work. Goodie for me in this case.

I am hoping to finally connect with an old friend here, who is a folkie, at the festival one of the three days. But more importantly, we will be working around home, making it ours, making it “right”.

The previious owner ran short of time on her move-out and left lots of stuff... games and toys, just plain junk, d├ęcor items that do not fit our lives... and if we can get this out by the garage by Wed there will be a final trash pickup, I am told. Otherwise it is off to the dump which will require stickers and logfistics, which will happen in time.

But I am home. Slept – when we finally got to that stage, after returning the truck, stopping by the trailer park to check on critters, and meeting our Beyond Friends at their place to take them out for pizza – like the proverbial log. And now I am sitting here in my new office, typing on the laptop and looking out to the East watching the sun rise and the neighbor horses browsing in the field.

K very efficiently got the electronics all packed from the trailer park, not thinking that we DO have Internet there for much of the week and that I could use that for my Words posting and blogging...so I will be having to make a trip to Bangor to the library today that was not on the schedule. But we need more kitty litter too... so that is not such a big deal.

Cats are currently at home in what will be my craft room, as we have yet to figure how to exclude them from the common area other than to confine them to master bath and bed.

The day awaits... I am not yet as stiff as I expected to be at this point... and so it is off to bath and breakfast buffet at the local restaurant and on to more moving, just as soon as I have emptied the truck of my plants and garden stuff.

Friday, August 15, 2008

HOME




We're finally ready to step forward, with the full moon tomorrow, as stewards and guardians of a piece of Earth, upon which we can put down roots. It may be, in some folks eyes "just" a single-wide and a gravel drive... but it sits on the top of a hillock overlooking 4 acres that just call for me to plant them and tend them.

Tomorrow we move, with the help of friends and a rented truck. I am not yet fully packed, boxes are in short supply and I am sure tomorrow will be total chaos. But within the week we will no longer be connected to the "most ghetto trailer park" that served as a refuge these past few months.

I have lots to say and not time to write it at present, but I am thankful for the support and good wishes and workings of a large circle of friends and the Powers That Be that helped bring this about.

We will be mostly out of internet connection for a week or so. See you from Hearthfire Hill.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Moving forward

Well, it looks like it will actually happen.... this week... tomorrow... this weekend...

The lawyer finally got the papers together and while there are some surprises (which is why I wanted the papers to review in advance of closing) I do not think any will be deal-killers. We may have to re-write parts, at the worst. Today we will be heading off again to town hall, and maybe the county as well, addressing these issues.

It is a matter of there being covenants on the property and how they are worded. Nothing crazy, no HOA (that WOULD be a deal killer) but enough about that.

The terms are great, 20 yrs at an appropriate (not ripoff) interest... which makes the monthly payments less than here.

I am confident enough that this will indeed move forward -- at this point -- that I have arranged moving crew for Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday as well.

One of the things on the list today is to touch base with a relatively nearby Uhaul outlet, to see about last-minute rental of a small truck, should the weather prove inhospitable to the transport of upholstered furniture and mattresses in an open truck or trailer.

Time Warner has been notified, though with their typical schedule here in Maine, we will not get installation until Thurs afternoon of next week, which will put me into the realm of doing my daily Words of Wisdom updates by laptop either from the trailer park in Milo (when we come back to clean) or by catching WiFi from the library in Bangor on the way to work. Shades of a year ago, late September.

What a long, strange 11 months it has been... and how wonderfully the Gods have worked it all out in ways I could not have foreseen when I stood on the bridge overlooking the Kenduskeag creek last September, "on my way out of town" and threw my "wish" written on a piece of birch bark into the moving current.

  • K getting his disability and being able to join me
  • my getting laid off when my part-time job folded with the owners' retirement
  • finding -- and then walking away from -- an old home on 2 acres (which is still for sale, by the way, here in Milo) the day we got the truck to start loading to move
  • finding "temporary" housing that we expected to inhabit for a month or two
  • finding many wonderful, affordable properties that did not have well, septic, power or connectivity
  • finding that we could not get a mortgage until next year
  • finding that most "owner finance" was of raw land, under ripoff terms even here in Maine.
  • getting "oh, so close" to several pieces of property... and having to walk away because it did not have even the possibility of high speed Internet
  • getting "oh, so close" to another place and finding out that the investor/owner was asking way more than it was worth
  • having folks respond to our ad in Uncle Henry's with property that did not meet the stated criteria (too far away from Bangor, house on small town lot, no Internet) or that were WAY over our (unstated) budget
  • getting hired on part time in July with an outfit where I interviewed in April, who became my first Maine web client (and best salesman to boot)
  • and finally having one of those callers call back inquiring what our budget was, as she had lowered her (highly optimistic) price into the realm of possible..

What a long, strange trip it's been.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Holding Pattern continues

Here we go on another week of hoping that things will begin to move forward. Both the homeowner and I are getting impatient with her lawyer...she is going to nag him again today and hopefully we will be able to close soon.

Meanwhile, back in the life-that-happens-while-you-wait, the last hex to be painted in this space has been top coated, boxed and will hopefully go out from the PO today. Seen above, it is the first Inspiration / Spiritual Rain sign that I have done for exterior display -- a 2' circle painted in house paint. I have found that the aluminum containers for tea light candles make an excellent size and place to mix custom colors of this paint. I have enough when I do that to do the requisite two coats of the color and don't waste much. No, you do not have to save them for me, I generate plenty, believe me!

Next job is to put up a "on vacation" sign in the online store front. I think I will re-open it on Equinox... that should give me enough time to get set up and the new place and do some site updates as well.

The next few weeks are going to be totally stressful at work; one of the guides is on the "sick-lame-lazy list" and that leaves us scrambling to find qualified personnel for the scheduled trips at season's peak. That is not the only logistical issue... but and I am sure there will be more crop up over the next few weeks. Getting extra time off for this move is NOT in the picture. But I will survive.

I have been dreaming a bit here online -- searching out sources for bulbs and other things that I want to plant that should go in the ground in the fall. A friend who works in landscaping has offered to break ground for me this fall and I intend to take him up on it. I do not want to wait until next fall to start the asparagus bed, nor to put in the first bittersweet, daffodils, tulips, crocus...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Holding Pattern

We (the owner of the home we are hoping to buy) and I are still in a holding pattern, waiting for the darn lawyer to work through his pile, I guess, and prepare paperwork. I DO need to see it -- and have the option to have it reviewed by another attorney -- before we hit closing but at this point I am thinking of suggesting that the owner push him for a closing date... and pray that we get the papers earlier than close of business the previous day (which was usually the case with the closing I was privy to in NC).

But other things, that I am not at liberty to discuss, have happened that give me the good news that this is supposed to happen and I am to move forward.

I have begun dreaming over online plant catalogues, looking at stuff that wants fall planting. It hit me on the way to work the other day that I had said I wanted to grow bittersweet -- and it looks like that wants a fall planting here -- so as soon as I know when we will move I will put in an order for that... my plan is to "naturalize" it along a simple rail fence of some sort, across the front of the property... possibly with grapes on some of the fence as well. It takes several years for it to become established enough to bear the characteristic fruit so I want to get it going quickly.

Also I was drooling over asparagus roots -- green and purple. Likely I will start with 25 of each and see what happens. So they will need a bed.

I have sent off for soil test materials from the Extension service3 (they can come to the PO box) as that will need to be the first thing done, asap.

And, as I am about done with the final hex to be painted here, I am starting to pack up the Craft room -- leaving out only the essential stuff for my daily and weekly spiritual work, the mending projects I hope to complete shortly and what is necessary to complete and ship this hex sign.

We had a brief bit of sunshine today (What WAS that bright light in the sky??) and I managed to get the rugs washed and dried but the rest of the laundry wasn't dry before the sprinkles started and is finishing in the dryer. I hate doing that, don't like the feel of dryer clothes, the use of the electric and I am worrying over one of my lightweight cotton sweaters that had never been dryered (turned out ok, it is a poor boy knit and stretched back out). The only good thing about it is that the dryer is wonderful for removing cat hair... but, it seems, only when things are actually dried with HEAT. Dryer sheet makes it more effective (though being it was my clothes, not bed covers, I refrained) but fluff setting, I might as well not bother.

Tonight's supper will be some fried (not breaded) haddock, cole slaw and boiled, fried potatoes. Local cabbage, local taters, fish came from SAMS so who knows.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Flannel and Oatmeal mornings

If I had to characterize Maine in one thought, it would be with flannel and oatmeal mornings. And maybe the woods through the fog, taking out the dog and walking through grass wet with dew.

I am told this is not a "typical" summer (but then when, these days at least, is weather ever "typical"?) and farmers are worrying about harvests as a result of the earlier dry spell and now the protracted overcast, rainy and cooler weather. It is showing me that -- once we have "home" secured, a greenhouse of some sort will be essential for the next season. But it also feels wonderful to my soul. I have spent too long in the southlands, shrinking from the sun and heat for months upon months on end.

One of my friends commented that this is September weather, and it does remind me of last fall when I was here camping. I started each day in a jacket or some sort of long sleeves and ended it the same way... layering so I could shed to a t-shirt during mid-day and only once being glad -- as the temp hit a NC norm -- that I had packed one sleeveless top.

Today and tomorrow the high will not get out of the 60s, the weather guessers say. If my boss were in today I would for sure have to wear long sleeves as the man loves cool weather even more than I do. He is on river today and tomorrow but I will likely wear one of the new long sleeve tops I got at a yard sale today anyway. My tomatoes have yet to give me a ripe one, so I am seeing that this garden thing, here in Maine, will be different that anywhere else I have lived... But I will continue to research short season varieties, build a greenhouse and learn to love row covers as much as I love foggy, flannel and oatmeal mornings.

Especially when they come with blueberries that I picked by my own hand.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Harvest comes

I am truly feeling this as a harvest season, but more in the metaphysical sense than the physical. Oh, yes, I did have quite a harvest of herbs from the planter-box "dooryard garden", the larger garden is giving forth lettuces and peas and sprouts of broccoli and a wonderful cauliflower is growing (only one from the 6-pack is producing at present...) . And I did spend a wonderful (though WET!) time picking high bush blueberries up in Amish country with a friend yesterday (blueberry buckle as desert yesterday, one quart laid out on the cookie sheet to freeze (they are surely ready this morning and need to be bagged so the next batch can be frozen.

But this season, as the year turns ever steadily toward autumn, and then winter... the quiet time... the inward time... is showing the fruits of our labors in other ways. Not of my patience, mind you... for I am no more patient in life and I am in the garden. (I'm the one you see out there every morning, peering at the freshly planted earth for signs of sprouts, and looking over the plants and vines for the first blossoms, checking out the enlarging fruits!) I have been ranting and raving (hopefully more in private than on these pages) over the slow pace at which our home search had been proceeding. It has been rather like waiting for that giant pumpkin vine to set the first fruit -- only to have it do so, and then rot on, or fall off the vine over and over again. You know winter is coming, you know that without the pumpkin you WILL get on just fine, but darn it, you WANT ONE!

Well that's the way our house hunting has gone. Never mind that we have been looking for that needle in the haystack -- "unreasonably" low price, a couple of acres minimum, within a good distance of the city for my work but not "in town" with all that entails (city water, sewer are not for us) but yet it has to have reliable high speed internet (again, for my work) and be able to be LIVED IN while we work on it... and oh, yeah, owner finance. LOL I am used to having folks turn me down flat and laugh at me when I am looking to buy real estate. Been there, done that before.. but in the end previously each time the needle HAS been found.

But I am impatient, like I said... and for a while it seemed there were not even any properties out there in our price range.. they all dried up... then they began dribbling back.. the "tear-er down" mascaraing as "fix-er up", the basements out of a Stephen King novel (he does live around here y'know!) and the realtors more than happy to send us long lists of properties, getting us all excited, BEFORE they check on the financing aspect and shoot us down again. GRRRR

But we persisted -- putting cards up in stores and gas stations, running ads (mostly on line, but sometimes in print, which costs) in Uncle Henry's and that, it appears, may be the source of the fruit that -- so far at least -- seems to be ripening.

Last month we got a call from the ad.
  • Wanted : Home, land wanted. Fixer upper w/business class dsl or cable internet available. Must have well, septic, yr. round access and be within 1 hr of Bangor. Prefer more land, less house. Owner finance necessary, have down payment.
We had not specified a price -- K's suggestion -- and after getting all the rest of the details the price was quoted as nearly double what we had set as our top dollar. I brushed her off and figured that was the end of it.

It wasn't... a couple of weeks ago she called back, having (she said) lowered the price twice. Now she was talking "only" 20K over our top dollar and something prompted me to say I would go look. With the wierd lack of schedule on my new part time job (yeah, another thing that came to harvest from a seed sown in April!) by the time I was able to get home, pick up K, and get out to the place a week ago last Thursday, it was pitch dark. Well, at least we know there is not streetlight in the front yard (as in one of the recent rejects -- it was also way over priced!) or yard lights shining everywhere (yea, that was another one that got knocked out for other more serious reasons as well) and that the mobile home was not totally trashed inside. We made an appointment to see outside the following Saturday.

And we liked what we saw then as well... 4 open acres, the home sits pretty much in the middle... and talking $$ with her... well lets just say we were in the same ball park on terms. I told her it would depend on what the monthly numbers looked like and gave her an "application" of sorts... our rental history, some banking and employment info and references. I didn't get around to warning the references... looking back I think the surprise aspect of her call might have been a good thing... she could tell these were folks who knew us and it was totally unscripted. And she did call them all! And then talked to her lawyer who came up with an amortization schedule and the numbers look good. She said he said (yeah... LOL) that we could close in as little as 2 weeks.

So, I am now waiting to see the actual papers, to review them and if they look good, to schedule a closing. At this point I am still guardedly optomistic -- and prepared to walk away from the deal if I don't like what I see. Been there, done THAT too... in WA state 20 yrs ago... and I got my deal.

But we may, just may, be home for Equinox... which is, in truth, when this journey started one year ago.

Readers...