Changing My Mind

Hello, how are you? I’ve been up and down, busy and at the same time quiet. The calendar says it’s the middle of May but stepping outside it doesn’t feel like it and that’s left me a bit down in the dumps.

butterflies

I spotted these three butterflies on a stroll to the library Monday. They were just  sitting in the middle of the road intent on something beneath them. I considered lifting and moving them off the road but then left them where they were as this road is rarely ever traveled by car.

We’ve had rain almost every day for the last three weeks! I can’t complain because while one day we had frost my son just an hour north had snow.  The strawberries are covered in flowers but it’s been too cold for them to set berries yet. I hope they hold off on the berries until the weather warms up as I fear I could lose them in another cold snap.

The only planting I’ve done has been non-edible.  Mother’s day my kids took me to the store where I found variegated hostas, the exact ones I wanted for the planter I’d built from reclaimed bricks found on the property to dress up the empty spot between the stairs and the ramps leading to the deck.

recycled planter

These hostas will spread and fill in nicely in a year or two. I’d like to put something colorful in the back corners but don’t know what yet. Any ideas? I prefer perennials to be in this planter but this spot gets very little sun so shade loving plants would be best.

This picture will give you a better idea of how this fills out the empty space. Since this is the north side of the house, only a bit of light reaches this spot late in the afternoon but that light is filtered by the deck and trees that surround this planter bed.

brick flower bed

The day I set out to fill the bed with soil and plant the hostas I also began working on the bed along the lower ramp and to clean up the blocks tossed into the drive way last summer and pull the weeds overtaking the drive.  It had been raining all morning but at the first break I headed out.  The first thing I did was to start on clean up. Near the end of the drive were large boxes my neighbor gave me to use as weed blockers in the gardens, I headed there to break them up to use. Suddenly something jumped out scaring the heck out of me. When you live in the country for as long as I have any animal that jumps out of a box can be one angry at you for disturbing their habitat. Luckily, it was just one of the stray cats.

This was the day for animals to startle me. 🙂  As I began to fill the bed I’ve along the lower ramp with soil I heard something fall. It was heavier than a branch, you know that sound that tells you there is some weight involved. I looked up to find this guy hissing at me.

snake

The only thing I could figure is that he came from the retaining wall above. While he posed me  no physical threat I decided to move on to the weeding and let him be.   As I turned to toss a load of weeds I was startled to find the cat I’d disturbed in the boxes spread out on the steps watching my every move. Darn cat! 🙂  A little while later the snake had moved on and I finished dumping the last of my soil.  Then I went back to weeding.

The rains had chased me in a few times during my work but they weren’t very heavy so when the next drops began to fall I decided to work through them expecting it to quit again in a few minutes. Unfortunately, this time the skies opened up and drenched me putting an end to the work outside once again.

The saga of the handyman continued

I’d scheduled another weekend with him and again he didn’t show up to run the plumbing for the washer. In the end this may have been a blessing. My son let it slip that when the day comes that I can no longer live here he will be tearing out the kitchen and starting over.

My first reaction was to be defensive, instead I asked him to explain. His first comment was that no one wants blue cabinets. I beg to differ but he continued. He pointed out that while he understood I was trying to save what was already here renters would want cabinets that worked. He’s right, no matter what I’ve done with the drawers in the kitchen they still stick and are a pain to close.

I asked him about the washer in the kitchen and he told me to go ahead and install it because it would be easy to remove.  I should mention there are hookups in the basement for both a washer and a dryer so anyone able-bodied probably would be more than happy to have their laundry in the basement and want the washer removed from  the kitchen.

I took time to reconsider my plans for the kitchen.  One of my goals in life has been to produce as little trash as possible, hence why I didn’t rip out the kitchen to begin with. I asked around and found a person who would like to have the cabinets for a storage space she wants to build so if I replace the cabinets they will be repurposed, if my son replaces the kitchen cabinets they will go to the landfill.

But what to do about the washer.  In the end, I didn’t care what type of washer I had as long as I could do my own laundry without needing the tub to do so. I decided to look at portable washers. I finally found a model that was large enough to do a good-sized load – some are really small and only able to wash one  pair of pants or one towel – and had fantastic reviews. I made the purchase.  It was delivered yesterday and I was over the moon in excitement. It’s funny how a little thing  such as a convenient way to wash my clothes can inspire the rest of my day. Well, at first.

new washer

This is made by Midea, the same company that manufactured the small refrigerator I have.  The washer has two wheels on the back of the machine for ease in moving it around.  I don’t know what the upcoming years have in store for me and so when I took on this house it was always with the caveat that it would be my home “until I can’t live here”.  I don’t like to think that one day my only option may be a nursing home, instead I entertain an apartment, assisted living, where there would be nurses on hand but I could still have my own space unlike a nursing home.  In that situation having a portable washer it could move with me.  Originally I’d planned to spend the money on the plumbing and machine and leave it behind for the next person.

I was so excited I attached the hose and started my first load of laundry. I checked for leaks, none, and set about on another task while the load ran. All of a sudden it got really quiet. A few minutes later warning beeps alerted me to a problem. The machine wasn’t emptying.

After investigating I came to the conclusion that the pump wasn’t working. Talk about frustrated. All I wanted was to wash my own clothes!  After calling the company, the customer service man was a joy to work with, I was given the option of shipping back the machine and having a new one sent to me or having a repair technician come to my house. I opted to have it repaired.  Luckily, they were able to schedule a repair for tomorrow morning.

Speaking of the kitchen. I’ve decided to replace the cabinetry along the one wall but to still follow through on my plans to cut down the cabinet next to the stove to give me work space that isn’t so high.  The arrows in the picture below show where I plan to cut the cabinet, right at the spot where the opening begins to hold the drawers.

cutting cabinet

 

I need a hand removing the counter top as shockingly it’s the only counter in the house screwed into place. I wanted to move the refrigerator which drives me nuts to see cluttering up the counter and place it underneath in the cabinet.  To do this I removed the doors and cut the wood piece off that ran between the two doors and cut a hole in the side of the cabinet to run the power cord through to the outlet.

storing fridge

Sorry for the poor quality of the photo the camera I use on my phone to take all my pictures needs good lighting and with all the rain and dreariness I can’t get a good indoor photo at the moment.

In this cabinet I am now keeping the refrigerator and next to it the basket that holds rags.  This makes it easy for not only myself to access rags when needed but for the children to quickly grab a rag when they spill something.  Behind the basket is where the coffee pot is stored.  I don’t drink coffee but inherited this when my son got a new machine and passed this to me for guests who do want coffee in the morning.

Next to this cabinet will be another cabinet I am building to hold a cooktop. The two pieces will be easy to remove and inexpensive for my son to replace when I have to leave this house, should he not find a disabled person to rent to.

Not much else has been going on. I’ve started working on a few pieces of furniture and the repair work on one of the salvaged windows, I’ll share when they are completed but if it doesn’t stop raining it may be a while. 😦

Any suggestions on a colorful shade loving plants I could add to the planter by the deck?

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26 comments

  1. so glad you’re getting your kitchen more to your desires. I love the blue cabinets! How smart to put the refrigerator and rag-basket under the counter. You are one determined lady. I am in constant admiration of your projects and ideas. I’m with you – the weather is nice for many reasons, but I’m so ready to have some warm spring-summer weather. Connor is growing weary of wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants to school every day!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jan, How are you. I think of you often and have been sending out good vibes for you.

      I love the blue in my kitchen too but I guess blue isn’t everyone’s favorite color. How can that be? 🙂

      I’m with Connor I want to be done with long sleeves and jackets.

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  2. i like where / how your fridge is, fits nicely…and I like your plans for the cupboard.

    will keep my fingers crossed the washing machine is good to go soon.

    shade tolerant plants
    Bleeding Heart (Dicentra), (I have this in a shady place, and once established is great. can grow tallish, lovely blooms

    Daylilies CAN bloom in dark shade! (seen it myself), and they come in scads of colors and sizes. There are some ever blooming ones, that bloom through out the summer/fall.

    Asparagus – have also seen this in less than sunny spots..beautiful when grown, and great for the bees…- the asparagus is good too (grin)

    Rhubarb – if you let it grow, it has a interesting flower top

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought daylillies liked sun, I’ll have to reconsider them. Bleeding hearts would be lovely in the corners so that’s definitely going on my list. 🙂

      I’ll have rhubarb in the garden and with my family loving rhubarb I don’t think I could plant it so close to the deck and drive way, my kids would steal it every chance they got. 🙂

      The fridge story is kind of funny. My kids kept telling me it was too big to fit in that space. I would look at it and insist it would fit but meant to measure it first. I forgot to measure because I was so sure. Had it been even an inch taller it wouldn’t have. At least I didn’t have to hear “I told you so” from my kids. 🙂 It’s only been a day but I love having it down below in the cabinet instead of in my face taking up counter top space.

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      • the fridge story is funny…but (and see, I too have been there trying to fit in things to tight spots),
        I had another look, and another inch, you would have been okay (grin). You could have removed the strip under the drawers (I have seen these pop right off). You may have had to put a flat slat under the drawers, but it would have still added about an inch, grin.

        oh, yes, the bleeding hearts are wonderful. and once they establish, tough.

        we are not rhubarb eaters, very little that is. My son not at all. We have a rhubarb bush, because when he was quite young, my husband took him to the garden centre to pick out what he wanted to plant..Rhubarb it was (and he still won’t eat it). He said he picked it out, cause it looked tough. it is. and if you can let one grow without trimming it can get really really tall (five to six feet), and has some interesting flowers..

        (I wouldn’t spend much on buying daylily’s as may not work, as I say, I saw them at someones flower bed who usually cant grow anything, and they flourished. but there are many kinds. also too, quite often folks are digging and splitting and giving for free)

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think I would be concerned about the spreading of the lilies as the hosta will spread as well but still a good idea to keep on my list to look for.

          How funny that your son picked rhubarb because he liked the look of it but won’t eat it. My grandparents grew rhubarb and used it in so many ways that I and my boys almost had to learn to like it.

          As for the cabinet, the drawers will be coming out and I’d like to keep that piece of the frame to add the supports behind it for the new counter but yes, I had my heart set on that being where the fridge would go that I would have made it work. 🙂

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  3. I nearly passed out reading this post. Snakes reside all over our property–I once stepped on one that had the nerve to bask in the sun on my walking path; I’d seen it too late–so I am vigilant when outdoors. If one ever fell near me, I may have to move… P.S. I like the blue cabinets.

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    • Thanks Karenlee, I too like my blue cabinets and knew before I moved in the exact shade I would use. I’ve also used it on the inside of the doors so even once I’ve replaced the cabinets I’ll still have touches of my blue.

      I’m so sorry I made you anxious with the photo of the snake. He’s harmless so I didn’t even think of warning you before hand. Not sure where you live so it might be that you have dangerous snakes around, luckily we don’t have any dangerous ones here. While I like snakes I don’t think I’d want them all over my property.

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        • That’s good to hear. The snake falling into the planter bed didn’t bother me nearly as much as when I lived in Arizona and had crickets and scorpions that would fall from the ceiling and bite/sting you. It’s horrible to constantly feel uncomfortable inside your home, always looking up at the ceiling so as not to be taken by surprise.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hi Lois! In Brazil, whenever I’d see one of those three or four inch long house geckos on the wall it would barely phase me–which surprised me–until I realized that I am only freaked out when critters move. Or slither. Or drop…. 😉 I am fortunate to have escaped the pleasure of meeting any of AZs critters as many times as I’ve been there. None of the snakes on our property are poisonous, but I have seen many varieties and all sizes. Were you ever bitten by a scorpion?

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          • Hi Karenlee, I love geckos and lizards but understand people being uncomfortable with certain critters. I have a few funny stories about scorpions such as the time I didn’t check before getting in the shower and had my head full of shampoo before I noticed the one in the tub with me. Talk about that being my least favorite shower. 🙂 but to answer your question thankfully, no I was never bit by one which is good because they say if you are allergic to bees (which I am) it’s a good possibility you will be allergic to the scorpion bites.

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  4. You have to be tough to deal with snakes where you garden. We are snake-free in NZ and I love it that way. What about Salvias? I think they are shade tolerant? They come in blue or red. It’s sometimes useful to have that second opinion on your renovations, they come up with things you might not have considered.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t considered salvias, thanks for the suggestion.

      The snakes here don’t bother me. This area of the country doesn’t have any poisonous snakes, a few can be aggressive if you try to handle them but that’s about it. I actually like snakes I know I’m weird. 🙂

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  5. OK… before I forget. I’ve had great luck using silicone spray on my sticky kitchen drawers – you might give it a try.

    I think I would have had a heart attack if a snake like that had appeared in my yard! I freak out when we see tiny little garter snakes on the bike path!

    And the kitchen issues… I share your pain. My tendency is always to fix up what’s already here and make do, but I’m quite sure that most people would consider both the kitchen and bathroom here to be unlivable, and would simply tear them out. It does sorta beg the question, why don’t I just do it now so I can enjoy the benefits myself? I admit, I go round and round with it.

    I may have told you this story before, but I’m reminded of it now, so here goes. There have been two friends who were great inspirations for me in terms of low water gardening. Both spent huge amounts of time re-working their yards into beautiful xeriscaped gardens – but both were “purists” who didn’t believe in irrigation systems, landscape cloth or weedkillers. I admired both tremendously. Then, one got cancer and died suddenly, and the other fell on hard times and had to sell her house. Both houses sold quickly to people who wanted them for rentals, and both of the new owners very quickly tore out the xeriscapes and replaced them with turf and sprinkler systems… because it was “easier.”

    What a terrible shame and waste I thought. But… it did get me to thinking that perhaps in the long run it’s better to make a few compromises and try to build something that is acceptable enough to the general public that it can outlive you. I kept thinking that if my friends had been willing to compromise a bit… use some landscape cloth to make the weed situation easier to deal with and install an irrigation system to make the flowers prettier and easier to manage… well, those gardens might still be here today. Maybe that’s wishful thinking – maybe it’s just that people are used to having lawns and it’s easy to find a service to take care of them while it’s more challenging to find people who understand xeriscapes. I dunno…

    Not sure it will get me to change my ways or not, but it did make me think that perhaps making things easier on myself is not only good for me, but good in the long run. We’ll see…

    Liked by 1 person

    • You never told me that story about your friends and I am very disappointed to hear their gardens were torn out for grass and irrigation lines. I spend so much time contemplating what might be enjoyed by the next person to live here and wanting to have things that please me. My son once said that if he’d had enough money he would have paid to send his contractors to my house before I moved in and let them make all the changes I wanted at his cost. It would have been a horrible idea. First, what would I do with myself if I didn’t have the work on the property? But I don’t like making long term decisions before I’ve tried living with a house for a while. The bathroom is a good example. I have changed my mind so many times on what I will do with that space to work with my limitations but not hinder the next person. What I thought I would do the day I moved in is completely different from the plans I have now.

      As for your house. If houses in your neighborhood are selling for what your neighbor recently received when he sold his then chances are the person who buys your house will tear everything out to make it just so and match their idea of what a house in that price range should look like. Kitchens and bathrooms are where you make your money when you sell mainly because people don’t want to work around plumbing and see those rooms as expensive to remodel. Today the trend is to install granite counters and I’d never use granite. So if you did your kitchen but didn’t put the “right” materials in the new kitchen plan on that being torn out. I think it’s sad how we now attach status to the interiors of our homes.

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      • That’s a really good point. It’s quite possible that whatever I did would be torn down and replaced – even if it seemed fancy schmancy by my standards. I’m shocked by some of the stories I hear.

        Which reminds me of another story I may have already told you. I was chatting with a neighbor who had moved in about 6 months prior. She was proudly telling me how she’d had all of the kitchen appliances replaced because they were “ancient” – I think the oldest one was 10 years old. Anyhow, she was going on and on about the fancy convection oven she had purchased and how highly rated it was, and all of the wonderful advantages of convection ovens over regular ovens. I asked her if she thought it lived up to its billing and if she liked cooking with it. Her response floored me. “Oh, I haven’t actually used it. I don’t really cook – just, you know, a pie or two at Thanksgiving.”

        Is it just me, or does it sometimes seem like we’ve been transported to some bizarre alternate universe? Somewhere between a horrific Orwellian dystopia and theater of the absurd…

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        • Oh boy, yep we’ve been transported to an alternative universe. Seems you have a neighbor who is fixated on status and keeping up with the Joneses. A convection oven would be a lovely thing to have as they use less energy and I’m told cook more evenly but to waste money on such an oven, they aren’t cheap, and never use it…oh my.

          As for remodeling. You and I are in slightly different positions. If you move you would be selling the home and need to consider what improvements would benefit the sale. For me this house won’t be sold for a long time as it will be added to my son’s rental portfolio. I have the advantage therefore to know what my son believes would rent the fastest and provide him with tenants that would care about the home. If I leave the original cabinets that stick the tenants won’t see the kitchen as something worth taking extra care with.

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  6. I think the blue cabinets are fine. But my agent warned me that people can be picky – wanting only neutral neutral neutral in colors. I lived with neutral for 30 years and now that I picked a light shade of green for my walls, we may be moving and apparently green isn’t neutral. Oh well. My house will be in excellent repair with many upgrades so if my green paint is a problem – that can be easily fixed by them.

    I am not a big fan of snakes. That snake would have chased me back into the house for sure. I know most snacks are harmless. Just an irrational fear on my part.

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    • Hi Elaine. This is something I discussed with my son. He mentioned that in all the homes he’s shown none had blue cabinets. I reminded him that we were talking about two different groups of people. A renter, which is who will move in my house next, is much less picky than a buyer. In the end, it was the quality of the cabinets that swayed me in realizing renters won’t be as happy with the kitchen not so much the color.

      I agree that if you sell your home if the only thing that needs changes is a paint color it will sell faster and for more than if it needed all new bathroom or kitchen. People don’t like adding the cost of those two remodels to a purchase price.

      The snake that plopped down in my planter was a garter snake. When I was a kid camping for summers I used to catch the garter snakes and chase the boys because I thought it was funny a boy would be afraid of a harmless snake. 🙂 I too have irrational fears so I understand. My grandmother had an intense fear of cockroaches and my grandfather talked frequently about how dangerous and mean rats were. Hence, those are the two things I fear.

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  7. First your plants are looking healthy Lois.. and yes darn those cats.. I am a cat lover and have had cats most of my life but have been cat free for about 8 yrs now since my last one past away.. But you could bet something would be dug up..
    Snakes however I am very pleased I don’t have to look for when weeding.. It looked quite large what sort is it Lois? ..
    And yes I can see how you would have had to think carefully about your kitchen.. you have put alot of work into them.. But if someone can make good use of them they are not being wasted.
    And glad you are getting your washer repaired how disappointing on the first load to not empty..

    Loved all the photo’s Lois.. Hugs your way..
    Sue xxx

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    • I like nearly all animals including cats, but don’t like them using my deck and ramps for a litter box. I don’t encourage the cats that come to my property simply because I don’t want them digging up the gardens. I also don’t pet them because I am allergic to their dander.

      The snake that decided to plop down and check me out is a garter snake. They are common all across the US and are completely harmless. here’s a link if you are curious. http://www.snake-removal.com/garter.html

      I have to admit that having new cabinets would look better it’s hard for me to rip out anything that is still mostly functional.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Glad the snake is harmless, and thank you for the link, I found it interesting.. I too do not like neighbours cats using our garden as litter tray either.. I always garden in the home garden with gloves on.. Their spraying too has killed many plant too..

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        • Hi Sue, it’s so good to hear I’m not alone in being frustrated by cats using our properties as their litter boxes. Luckily for me the cats seem to like hanging out in my yard and go to the neighbors to pee, it’s only one cat that uses my deck as it’s litter box.

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  8. I saw a snake just like that a few days ago in one of my flower beds. But of course, it was was gone by the time I got back outside with the camera. Snakes, white slugs, we’re on the same path this week.

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    • We are on the same path this week. 🙂 I often wish I had a camera, not just my cell phone, so I could take better pictures. But at least with the cell phone it’s always with me.

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