My youngest niece, who is a grown woman, is visiting.  She and one of her girlfriends arrived on July 3rd, and the two of them and Dear Husband spent the day and evening on Lake Michigan for the Fourth of July.   They took in the fireworks off Navy Pier in Chicago, and were home close to 1:30 in the morning.  I had the pleasure of playing in my studio all day!

I spent some time yesterday teaching beginning quilting to the girlfriend.  S. has never sewn, and wanted to start a simple Log Cabin pattern. We talked about color layout, and designs that could be created with Log Cabin blocks, and then made a trip to an area quilt shop to buy fabric. S. has never used a sewing machine, so I hope that her mother will be able to instruct her on how to use their sewing machine.  We covered how to cut the strips, and how to sew the pattern.  I had her sew part of a block on my machine.  I sent her home with completed samples, a spare cutting mat, rotary cutter and ruler.  I washed the fabrics for her last night, so she will be ready to start cutting strips tonight. when she returns home.  I’ll work with my niece this week, who wants to try her hand at one of the star quilt patterns.

My niece has come to give us a hand packing boxes.  We’ll be working in the basement and garage, trying to get as much cleared out as possible.  I’m very glad to have the help.  The job is dwindling, but still seems very daunting.  We are moving some things that we probably should be pitching, but we wanted to see what kind of room we had in our new home before giving things up.

It’s a lot of fun to have 20-somethings around.  It’s very refreshing to see the world from their point of view!

More of the Same

But  something different, too.

Today, we put a bid on a house.  Last Thursday we walked through three houses.  The first two were ranch houses, and the second turned out to be a two-story duplex.  If you are looking at houses, I recommend that you not assume the pictures are giving you a clear idea of what to expect!  I thought I would love the third place, and didn’t care for it at all.  We looked at the first one because it’s in the same town we live in now.  We thought it had large front and back yards, with absolutely no landscaping, and that wasn’t the case. The yards were surprisingly small, and there was some shrubbery.  Unfortunately, it backed up to a club of some kind that was for sale.  We couldn’t see that in the pictures! lol

The middle house, which I didn’t expect to care for, turned out to be lovely.  The layout is clean, and open.  It’s sunny, has three bedrooms and three full baths.  The basement is partially finished, and one of those bathrooms is in the basement.  The master bedroom suite is on the south side of the house and the two guest bedrooms and second bath are on the north side of the house, with the public areas of the house in between.  There is a two and a half car garage, and a laundry room on the main floor.  I believe the house is about 1800 square feet, about half our present house.  We were willing to look at houses much smaller than this, but this house feels gracious.

There is a brick patio off the kitchen, and a pocket back yard that is surrounded with the most incredible garden.  The bones of the garden are evergreen trees and shrubs that block our view of the house to the east of us.  There are strip gardens along the north and south sides of the house where paths lead to the front yard.  Other than the fact that our neighbors are incredibly close (compared to where we live now),  I can’t find anything to complain about.

Our agent put in a bid, contingent upon the close of the sale of our house.  IF we manage to bring our buyer to close, we would turn around and close on this house the same afternoon.  At least, that’s what we hope will happen.

I’m sure there will be more to come in this saga.  :-)

Back on Track

We are back on track with the sale of our house.  All the repairs have finally been finished, following the fall of a 60′ evergreen onto the roof in February.  The painters were finishing the interior repair in the office minutes before the photographer came through.

Brochures have been printed, the house has been listed, and we had our first visitors Thursday night.  So far, we have not heard anything from them.  Our agent was particularly excited because these people had visited the house last year when it was on the market.

Our house is a one of a kind house, with an unusually large lot within in the city limits.  It’s not going to be easy to sell, but I think the agent is hungry, and he may be able to find the buyer we need.

So, we’re back to keeping the house relatively tidy.  I’ll have to be careful about tracking garden dirt into the house.  :-(

Happy Fourth

To all my Internet friends,  to my local friends, and to my family, I bid you a Happy Fourth of July!  I hope that you enjoy all the wonderful things of summer, family picnics with burgers and hot dogs and potato salad, and watermelon, swimming, carnival rides, sparklers and fireworks!

I hope you’ll take a moment to think about why we celebrate the Fourth of July.   We’re very fortunate to be free.  We owe our founding fathers our thanks for setting us on this path.  I hope this wonderful experiment called democracy will continue for many more centuries.  I, for one, am very grateful to be in the USA!

House Hunting

We looked at three houses today.  I fell in love with the second of the three.

We are looking for a ranch style house (one floor), with a full basement, and an attached two-car garage.  We would like a master bedroom suite and two or possibly three additional bedrooms, with at least two full bathrooms.  It would be nice if the basement is finished, but that isn’t required.  We are looking at houses in a range of size from 1500-2400 square feet. We hope to find a house with a much smaller lawn, to limit the mowing.

The house I liked today has a master bed room at one end of a hall, and the other two bedrooms were on the opposite side of the house.  It’s very sunny.  The basement is not completely finished, but it has a full bath.  It would make an exceptional quilting studio, as long as I could do the stairs.  The back yard is tiny, and the landscaping is phenomenal!  There’s a pocket lawn surrounded by a mulched area with an amazing assortment of trees.  My mother would have loved this house!  I hope we will have the chance to bid on it.

Almost Two Months

I’ve been absorbed with the possible sale of our house.  The same man who wanted to buy it last year has tied us up with a contract again this year.   If he does not come through and purchase the house this year, he won’t get a chance the next time it goes on the market!

We are supposed to have a closing date of July 31st, but the buyer just requested his second extension to find the funding he needs.  He has until July 17th now, but if he doesn’t succeed, we will have to cancel the appointment with the movers.  If we do that, I’ll be canceling the contract, and opting to see if there is anyone else who will be interested.

Meanwhile, we have packed boxes every day, filling a 16′ POD with things we don’t need daily.  Books, china, kitchen things, linens – things that can be stored in a non-climate controlled situation, have all been boxed.  Now our house looks rather like a normal house, with the exception of the living room, which has very little furniture left.  We gave away the two couches!  (It was either that, or burn them!)

We have made electrical repairs, had radon testing, had the exterminator come through, and are waiting for a visit from a roofer to replace a rubber gasket and the top 8 inches or so of the shingles, which were damaged by hail.  We’ve replaced the garage door openers with ones which have an optical safety control.  We’ve had the furnaces tested, and the landscaper is coming to shape up the gardens.  Whew!  If the house doesn’t sell, it will be a very safe, very tidy place to live! lol

My niece is here for a week to help us pack.  I’m delighted to have the help.  It gives me a chance to talk with her, and find out what’s going on in her life, and get more packed.  That’s a win-win situation.

Wish us luck.  Think positive thoughts for the sale of the house.  Pray, if you are so inclined.  We will accept any and all help to move us through this sale.

It Smells Green

It was a beautiful, sunny day today.  This is the first day we have both been out working on the lawn and gardens.  Dear Husband was mowing the lawn, (trying to kill the lawn mower), and repairing the lawn mower.  I spent my time in the sun working on the herb garden.  Between the chives I ripped out, and the grass DH cut, the air smells very green.

I cleaned out half of the walkway today, and turned the dirt in four sections of the herb beds.  I have two larger spaces to turn, and I want to add composted topsoil to the beds.  I have nasturtium seeds, and wildflower seeds, a pear tomato plant, and a pickle cucumber start to plant in the herb bed.  I may add basil and flat leaf parsley next week.

I’m fairly certain there is a bunny abode beneath my oregano plants.  I have enough oregano to stock the kitchens of Northern Illinois, and I noticed that one pod of it is raised in a very odd manner.  I thought about digging up the plant, but I think I’ll leave it for the new owners.  They can decide what goes and what stays.

The chives are about ready to bloom.  The clematis is reaching up, and we guided it to the arbor today.  The lemon balm, thyme,  spearmint, lamb’s ears, purple coneflower and day lilies are all doing well, in addition to the oregano. Feverfew is still trying to grow, and I’m still trying to eradicate it!

I won’t miss the weeding, but I WILL miss the herb garden.  It’s been a great joy over the years.

New Bird

This time of year, as birds are flying north to their summer homes, we get several birds that aren’t with us all summer long. Dear Husband pointed out the return of the towhee roughly three weeks ago.  I was surprised to find that it is still visiting,

Last week I saw a rose-breasted grosbeak at the feeder.  In past years we’ve had evening grosbeaks visit, too.

This week we have had three male indigo buntings appear.  I had always thought that the indigo bunting was a bigger bird, so we had some discussion at the breakfast table about the beautiful blue, TINY birds in the shrubs.  They are about the size of the gold finches and house finches which have returned for the summer.  Like the cardinals, it’s the males who have the beautiful plumage.  I suspect that there are female indigo buntings out there, too, but I just haven’t recognized what I’m seeing.  I’ll have to check the summer range of the buntings to see if our back yard might fall in their summer range.

We saw our first heron early in April, and an egret about a week or so later, but the rest of the flock has been slow to arrive.  It’s just as well, because we’ve had a spring with surprisingly low temperatures.  DH tells me that an egret flew by the kitchen window this morning.  There are retention ponds just to the east of our house where we might see the herons and egrets.  I think walking past the ponds to see who’s visiting would be a great reason for an early morning walk.

I hope I’ll see the yellow-bellied sap sucker this year.

Friday’s notes

We’re coming down to the wire today, trying to get things cleaned up or cleared out before the photographer comes to take pictures for the brochure the agent will provide to those looking at our house

We’ve been moving things to the basement, boxing things up, and getting general cleaning done.  The guy who came to clean the carpets worked miracles, getting out an old rust spot and a newer stain that we couldn’t identify.  I made sure to praise him to the agent,  who had recommended him.

Yesterday, the men came to patch the hole in the office wall, and while he was at it, he patched some nail pops that had been irritating me for about 15 years.  Today they painted one wall and the ceiling.  I hope things will be dry enough to return the office in time for pictures,  we can always do that room last.

The house should be really clean, and lovely for Easter, but we won’t be hosting the usual family gathering.  Hopefully, we can rest for a couple of days before the house isn officially listed.

I love the open areas, and the light.  I love that the house shows it’s size and looks uncluttered, but it’s a very sterile look.   I’ll have some serious work to do when we start opening what I’ve packed up at the next house.  For sure, we won’t be keeping everything.  Most likely once we have moved, all my posts will be about having to decide what to give up.  If you’ve read this far, you are a very patient person, or a very good friend!

Getting Closer

We have the sounds of banging and heavy thuds reverberating through the house.  At long last the repairs are being made to our roof.  The roof was damaged, nine holes, when a 60-foot evergreen blew down about six weeks ago.  We hope they will finish this evening, but they may need to return tomorrow.  Storms are coming our way, so there won’t be much room for delay.

Yesterday, our realtor came to stage our house to prepare it for photographs.  I made a list as I followed him around so that I wouldn’t forget anything.  We’ve begun with some of the easiest tasks, and will work at it daily for the next few days.  The realtor wants the house to look as large as it can, so we are putting away or packing up anything we can live without.  I think the house looks sterile, but it certainly does look BIG!  We need to move at least six chairs, a table, and several other odds and ends downstairs  They want me to shift some plants to clear three windows in the living room.  I’m astonished as how effective his requests are in opening up the rooms.  Be prepared, though; our island in the kitchen looks like the State of Texas.  It’s almost bare, and just huge!

I made a call today, and we have a carpet cleaner coming on Monday.  We had a load of composted topsoil delivered today, and I began top dressing the perennials in the gardens at the front of the house.   I need to find someone to clean the outside windows this coming week.  Dear Husband has talked with a company about delivering gravel for the drive.  The cleaning lady comes on Thursday, and we should have pictures taken on the Friday before Easter!  Whew!

Things are really heating up with the sale of the house.  I can see the agent is eager to sell it.  We are not as eager to make the move, but the time is right for a LOT of reasons.

My mantra these days is:  Wish us luck!  :-)