Tuesday, May 19, 2015

We now have a pet deer

My life this week has been packing, driving to new house for meetings with painters, handymen, contractors, gardeners, man to spray whatever that green stuff is on the roofs, etc. etc. Yesterday I spent a long time taking exacting measurements of the two garage spaces and the basement, aka my new studio. The property has been rented for years and obviously the renters weren't gardeners so the place looked like a jungle of ivy and other yet to be named species; but the gardener and crew have been pruning like mad. It's only a hair under 1/4 of an acre  but seems so much bigger.

It is now official. We have a pet deer, who I will name Elsa. She also has a friend, I'm told but I've yet to meet her. Bodhi and I first saw her a few days ago, in the back yard. Yesterday she was in what is one of her usual spots, left of the driveway among all the wild growth. When I told the gardener that I saw a deer, he replied, "Oh yeah, she lives here!". She's pretty darned tame - didn't run away when I was about ten feet from her and spoke to her. Bodhi didn't bark, he just stared! It was only when I opened the car door that she turned and headed toward the neighbors house next door.

So now I'm printing out some googled information on deer resistant plants. I wanted to plant one of my Japanese maple trees in her favorite resting place. She and I are going to have a  serious talk about what she can't eat! But in case she doesn't listen, I found there is a spray I can use on my special plants.

Today is a packing in the morning, Lowes in the afternoon for new range and a few other little things. Handyman George was a no show yesterday afternoon to make another truck load  run to the new house with more of my potted plants, so I need to touch base with handyman friend Patrick who should be at the house working on cleaning up the cobwebs in garage and basement and filling the gaps in the garage walls (I'm kindly calling them gaps!), with the 3 sheets of plywood I bought for that job a couple of days ago.Hopefully he can water the potted plants since I don't think I can get there today.

The painters were finishing up yesterday and just have to remove a large, ancient and blackened mirror above the fireplace and they'll be done. Contractors people will be in at the end of the week to start on creating a combo laundry room powder room in an available space near the entry way, so things are moving along well. Aleida my cleaning lady will be here for 3 hours and she can fluff up the sheets in the dryer that I haven't been able to get to since Friday! I'll also have her start packing my big metal cabinet in the studio with all my studio miscellanea, and then start on packing up a whole cart of kiln posts, gloves, etc.

While she's doing that I'll be off to Walmart for some of those "put together yourself" paper saving boxes. I find they work well for books and other heavy things. I hope they have freshly stocked them. I need a LOT!

I'm exhausted, but just putting one step after another forward. We ate dinner at 8o'clock last night - a roast chicken cooked by Walmart and some fresh corn, and macaroni salad also, thanks to Walmart. The chicken was moist and good and the salad not bad. I loaded up the car with TV dinners thanks to Stouffer and Marie Callendar and told Jim that last nights dinner was the last one resembling  home cooked that he's going to get for the next week. 

Time now for a cup of tea while I wait for good, first, morning light so I can take photos of some of the antique and other furniture for our daughter-in-law to peruse. She is going to relieve us of the burden of having to move some of those pieces and store them. You can't fit almost 2,500 sq ft of living space into an 1100 sq ft. one unless you're a family of sardines!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A good news day

This is the kitchen in our new, little Craftsman cottage. I was very happily surprised to see this size kitchen in an  1,100 plus, square foot house. Even the painters remarked that the house appears much larger than it's actual square footage.

Yesterday was a great day! Felt terrific after 8 hrs sleep as opposed to 3 the night before.Unfortunately, I'll be dragging today after only 3 1/2 hrs last night; but what can you do!

They're  continuing with the huge cleanup pruning/clean up at the house and after the first day of trimming yesterday, I discovered a hidden wiseria vine on an arbor. It was being shrouded by an ancient evergreen; but they trimmed the tree up and there it was. I was also happy to see a beautiful, big, healthy peony bush near the front, right corner of the house.

There was good news from Matt the contractor that he will not only be able to put a combo laundry room/powder room and that he has one of his team that he may be able to get on it right away. I love that!
A bit of not so good news - we can't put a drain in the basement; but since I'll only be washing clay water down the sink, he said he could just break through the concrete and let it drain there. Glaze material cleanup will be relegated to large buckets.

Another good news of the day, was that the ugly area in the rear garden, filled with dirty looking gravel isn't a  septic of anything I have to deal with. It's an old, make shift  fire pit! So I will be making that area a small patio for either our outdoor table and chairs or our two loungers and our portable fire pit. It will be great for watching those late August meteor showers. He said they'll just fill it with sand as part of the prep before laying a flagstone patio.

This morning I have a meeting with the mover. Since we want them to pack, I'm readying myself for a case of sticker shock. After an early lunch, then I'll be driving to Ashland to finish the measuring I didn't get to yesterday. The contractor checked a lot of things for me and made some excellent suggestions.

Bodhi and I got a huge surprise from an unexpected visitor. As I was walking Bodhi toward the back yard, he turned the corner before me and pulled so hard on the chain that I thought he might have spotted a bunny; but when I turned the corner, there stood a full grown doe. When she saw me she jumped the 6 foot fence. Bodhi was so excited. It just made his day and got me thinking I have to rethink what I plant at that house. Looks like a lot of irises and hostas, or a bigger fence!

When I told the gardener, he said there are two deer to come and sleep inside the property every night. Oh joy!

Since I've been up since a bit before 4am, I gathered some of the treasured pots from my collection and layered them with kitchen towels and pot holders. I'll be taking them over to the new house with the other box of bisqued pots I packed yesterday, and whatever delicate things I can get in the car. I figure I'll load up the center island with them and go then switch to kitchen things I won't need for the next 12 days and get them into the cupboards at the new house.   One the painters are done I can start bringing in pictures and paintings. I met with them yesterday and they'll be coming in to start painting Saturday morning instead of the late afternoon which was their initial projected start time.

If I didn't have to show the gardener the things he has to remove from the basement, I'd be staying home and trying to nap later; but I need to stop at Lowe's for flagstone tiles to create a new hearth and get some locks for the basement and garage doors, and a lot of packing tape. This kind of busyness is going to be the norm for the next month or more.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Things are moving fast

We just decided to move a couple of days ago and I been busying, measuring and calling people. I have an appointment with the mover tomorrow morning, who said he could move us on the 25th, met with the yard man yesterday who is cleaning up the property (a gift from our generous son and daughter-in-law), as well as the handyman. The painters picked up the paint samples and will start painting Saturday afternoon.

The handyman will start on some things tomorrow; and this afternoon I have to measure that basement so I can make a plan for placing studio equipment and the our other fridge and freezer. I'm also meeting with the contractor about using an existing space for a combo powder room/laundry room, and someone is coming at the same time to remove the working washer and dryer and fridge because I have newer ones that will be going in those spaces.

Jim's physiotherapist left a while ago and while he was here I managed to get two boxes of bisque ware packed. The plan is for me to get a lot of those delicate pots, painting and mirrors moved myself in the next eleven days before the move.

Yesterday I found out that contrary to what our 6ft 5 son said about the basement height, it will work for me. It's a few inches taller than me. So all my pottery and soaping things, other than the gas kiln, should fit down there. I didn't see a sink, so I will have to put one in.

Tomorrow there will be a clean up crew there for the yard. There's some heavy tree and shrub and rose pruning to do as well as a lot of under brush to clear out of the part of the yard I'm calling the secret garden. That is where my veggies will get planted. It gets eastern, some southern and western sun, and after the heavy pruning I think I'll be able to grow just about anything I want  there. The back of the garage that helps create the secret garden will be a perfect place for clematis and honesuckle vines.

I'm taking all my potted plants with me, and most of those will get in the ground in the next couple of months. The secret garden idea has been on my bucket list for ages, along with a koi pond. I want to get a nice arbor as the entrance to the secret garden. there's already a short, wooden fence there, that needs work. I haven't looked too closely about how much work it needs. If it's a lot, I'll replace it with a bit higher one and plant some rambling roses next to it which can happily cascade over it. I'm excited about getting my hands in the garden and know it's a challenge, so I'll just have to do a section at a time. Patience and planning will be the key.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Stop the world I want to get off

It's going to be a crazy month or two. We are moving to Ashland, Oregon as soon as the painters can paint the interior of the house and the movers can pack us up.

Here's the new, scaled down digs - a lovely antique craftsman house our son and daughter-in-law have made available to us.
This is a huge scale down for us since this darling cottage is only a bit over 1,100 square feet. It's 2 bedrooms and one bath, decent size kitchen and and a good sized living/dining room space. It has a lot of windows a lot for a craftsman house of this age. The one bath has to be addressed, so we will put in a powder room/laundry room in what I hope is an ideal existing, unused, small space in the house. It will probably have the smallest sink every made; but should work.

The house is very close to downtown and the beautiful Ashland park, and we will no longer be so isolated from the services and goods we need right now. There is great food shopping in the town, including a once a week farmers market about 6 months of the year, and a lot of restaurants that will deliver; or those that don't all close enough by, so I can call and pick up whatever I need and be home while everything is still hot. Even the local Taj Indian restaurant delivers!

With Jim not being well, and me having to now do everything as well as care for him, it's all been just too much. With this new place I won't have to walk Bodhi, he'll have plenty of established trees and shrubs in the fenced yard to make his mark. We just have to alter the garden gate which has slats too wide. He'd be through those in a shot!

The three hundred plus square foot garage is just going to be a repository for all the things that won't fit in the house including all my pottery supplies until I can deal with them. The garage is really not suitable as garage since I think it's a small barn/shed that someone put a big wood door on to use as a garage with a dirt floor - very rustic. So we'll build a car port in front of it if zoning permits.There's natural air conditioning in that garage with all the holes and spaces in the boards, so needless to say the only time it could be used to make pots may be between May and September, so if I want to get back to pottery in the future, I will have to make some changes either in the building or find some studio space elsewhere in town, if such a space exists. I may in the future tighten up part of that garage so I can extend the time I can work in there.

That's the update for now. If the painters get in this week and we can hire movers this time of year, we will be moving in a couple of weeks. Our son and Jim have convinced me to have the movers do the packing  and this time I'm not resisting. Once we're out of here, we can get this current house ready to be put on the market.  I'll only get do enough unpacking to get the house itself organized and then take a break and plan on a huge garage sale late fall or next spring.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon about a new hip replacement, hopefully late July or early August if they have an opening then. That will be time enough for me relax for a few weeks with our daughter-in-law and daughter here during that time to tend to Jim and I until I'm up and around and back in the kitchen.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Checking in briefly

Just another quick check in during this busy spring planting time among all the other things on my plate right now.

In the blog roll to the right, I have a probably boring, long post in my Plant, Harvest, Cook blog about what's going on in the garden.

Between garden work, getting all my soaping notes and materials organized (I'm almost there on that job after a few great rolling storage carts), as well as being the sole responsible person for all household, cooking, shopping, driving, animal care, etc. etc. chores these days. I don't even have time to check my favorite blogs daily like I used to.

Jim is on some new medications so he is eating again. Since he spends most of his time in the bedroom or his leather chair in his office, I moved my studio TV and receiver in there today, since it's not going any good in the studio since I haven't had time in months to do any studio work or make any soaps. I made him a very happy man today. When he saw me carrying it in there, he said "you need to get an electrician to do that!"; and I replied "I'm the electrician"; and I got it set up with no problem so he could watch the basketball game.

Jim has a new walker and he's able with my help to get outdoors a bit some days while I get some gardening done. Life goes on; but it's all so very different these days.

I have an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon in another week, and I'll see if I can schedule my second hip replacement early August when both our daughter-in-law and daughter will be available to help out with Jim, the house and animals while I recuperate those first few week. It's going to be an interesting summer.

Hope everyone is well, making lots of great pots and enjoying the spring weather and early gardening. It's going to be a very hot summer if this spring is any indication. I may finally get to use the pool after 3 years!