Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring is Here and Reflections on an Old House

News First Today:

I didn't get carried away with the IWSG April lnstagram Challenge for one main reason:
Family is a priority for me. My family and I are in the process of making a big decision for our younger daughter's college choice. We want it to be her decision, which means we are visiting colleges, helping her make pros and cons lists, and just praying over this big decision. Plus, we have a mini-vacay planned for four days (two traveling...).

However, I will post insights from the IWSG blog posts, motivational quotes, and other fun sorts of things in addition to the following highlight days:

The IWSG is partnering with DIY MFA this spring to bring you a great program for writers.
Before we announce details, we’ll be sharing several of their learning videos. 
The first one is Episode 234: A Master Class on Character — Interview with David Corbett.

Also, The IWSG has new merchandise available. There's something for everyone!


I am thankful and feel immeasurably blessed to live in the Pacific Northwest on gorgeous spring days which come mid-March, right before the calendar announces the first day of spring. We have daffodils up in our yard and other bulb leaves poking through the ground. The storms of winter have been over long enough for the birds, squirrels, raccoons, and rabbits to gather nest-building materials from the storm-blown tree branches, pine cones, and leaves while their human counterparts do the heavy lifting of clearing large branches and fallen trees.

I have realized my dog plays with sticks less often than I do. He usually watches with some confusion, amusement, and finally, boredom, as I trim bushes and clear branches from the ground, cutting them into smaller pieces and moving them into a pile which is waiting to be cleared away. One of our ancient, moss-covered apple trees fell down in the big snowfall and wind so the current brush-pile is nearly four feet high and eight feet wide. I still have more tree limbs to cut into manageable pieces.

My family and I live "off the road" down a gravel driveway, despite living just a half a mile from the nearest cute little neighborhood and a few miles from the nearest movie theater complex, county library, and "uptown" shopping center. It's a strange mix of rural and suburban life, just five miles from the downtown of our small town in one direction and five miles from a large city in another direction.

I often take it all for granted, or sometimes with trepidation for the yard work and the house projects which are never-ending and often in various degrees of completion, or not fully completed for years' worth of time for there's always something more, something else, some other thing that breaks in our 60+ year old house built by a couple from Florida who didn't realize flat roofs and prize-winning greenhouses built in Florida-esque ways would not survive well in a temperate rain-forest with occasional snow.

The greenhouse was falling apart when we moved into our house and we replaced it with a one-car garage - a one-wall remodel sort of thing attached to the "workshop" and the two-car carport which are separated from our house by a small garden bed with a palm tree in the center of it. The palm tree actually does well here because it's a specific breed of palm, and because it is right next to the house where it can get heat all year-round. It's the sort of thing which people notice when they drive up - "whoa, there's a palm tree growing out of the roof."

Palms are not normal fauna for the Northwest. Our two giant cedar trees in the back yard are more expected, although they are also old enough to be dauntingly huge - it would take at least two people to span their individual trunks while holding hands with their arms outstretched. Their tops are between one hundred and two hundred feet up from the ground. My daughters used to climb the bigger of the two, before an aggressive squirrel family chased them down one afternoon. Our squirrels are not the fat tame things of cities. They are rude, lean, and bold. The wildlife in our area eat our garden plants, steal our nuts and most of our fruit, and are afraid only of our nine pound cat. (This includes the five-point bucks which roam through to eat our apples - they will actually run away from the cat, but not us, not our dog, and not the cars.) It's sort of like living in our own wildlife refuge, but I try to avoid the black bear and coyotes.

We still get some amusing "sell as-is" advertisements in our mailbox - offers to take our old fixer-upper off our hands for a "good" price. We've lived here for 17 years and are still not keeping up with the neighbors, and I'm not sure we ever will. It's a project house, an old house, one in which the pipes don't always work correctly even though we had it re-plumbed six years ago. My college-aged daughter was unprepared for how to operate a food disposal when she first moved into an apartment off-campus last fall. Her roommates thought it was hilarious to find her surprised and awed by such a simple thing as a food disposal in their sink.

It's a rambling sort of old house without any of the old-house charm which one might expect, but it is home. It's kind of like this blog. I have "lived" here for a while online. I've thought about changing over to something newer, snazzier, with fresher paint and less trouble, but I'm still here.

I'm coming up on my 10 year blog-aversary in April. I'm not sure how to celebrate. Fresh paint? New plumbing? Any ideas?