City Life · Construction

Finally – the house is sold!

 

DSCN0376
The house, 2003.

In the past, we have always looked back on a home with nostalgia during the process of selling a house.  Over a 20-year period, I’d even drive by my first house to look at the trees I’d planted as Arbor Day twigs and enjoy the sight of them as mature trees.  Maybe that will come with the house in Columbia, but at this point we prefer to just forget about it!

As I blogged about at the start of the month, a supply line mysteriously sheared off the weekend before our original closing date and the first floor was flooded.  The insurance paid everything for the $11,000 of repairs except the deductible,  but we are still out $1,000.   There were also a couple of other minor things that the seller wanted fixed (caulk over the garage door, etc.) and we ended up with a fantastic contractor.  (Bomb Island Builders.)   The owner even worked over Memorial Day weekend to ensure that everything was complete by closing.

Then the buyers showed up after lunch on the day of closing and wanted to nitpick things.   At closing, the attorney decided to hold the checks for the repairs until the buyers are satisfied.  They went to the house yesterday (the day after closing) and started requesting that the contractor fix things that were never on the list from the home inspection.   We are now worried that the contractor will not be able to get his check in a timely manner.

Now, the buyers have wanted to test the sprinkler system for over a month, but it didn’t get checked until Tuesday morning.  So, as I’m driving to Columbia, my phone keeps dinging.  The sprinklers won’t turn on (you have to wait a minute or two for the lines to fill when the sprinklers have been idle for six months), sprinkler heads are broken (uhh — how did that happen? It turned out to be two of the misters in the side garden, which the contractor fixed in about 5 minutes), we need a letter from the contractor that states that the window about the garage is not cracked, the contractor needs to paid in full before closing…..  on and on and on.   The entire 300 mile drive was filled with stress about things that had been left to the morning of closing.

Then closing:  the buyers didn’t do the final walk through until well after lunch.  They showed up to the closing appointment 20 minutes late.  They made a couple of comments about the house before they realized that I was the seller, and I set them straight on a couple of things.  (It takes a long time before I’ll snap, but they were claiming that the kick plates were missing from the bathroom cabinets.  That was never on a list of things to address, and the cabinets have kick plates built in.)

Then they met with the attorney first and carefully read every single piece of paper.   I didn’t get to go in to sign my paperwork until an hour after closing, and the attorney’s next clients were already waiting.

Deep breath:  I feel my blood pressure rising. I need to go sniff my calming lavender blossoms.  I need to go listen to the hum of bees. 

It’s done.  The house is now theirs.  I’m back at the farm, and counting my blessings.   We are never going to sell this place.   Tomorrow I’ll post a happy post about blackberry-blossom honey, but I think I’ll turn this last burst of stress on the bugs trying to make a home in the cucumbers plants!

 

Bees · Gardening · Lazer Creek Apiary · Natural Food Sources · Nature · Pests - General

Buckwheat Nectar

Buckwheat bees
Buckwheat nectar source

During the week, it’s hard to see whether or not the bees appreciate the quarter acre of buckwheat we have planted for them because the nectar dries up in the heat of the day.   Temperatures have been in the 90s this week, so it doesn’t take long for the blooms to run dry.    There was a loud hum in the garden this morning, so I came back indoors to get the camera and then spent about 20 minutes looking closely at the buckwheat through the lens.  (I gave up when I heard something rustle around the cucumbers as I wasn’t appropriately dressed to encounter any snakes.)

bumble bee on buckwheatI’ve seen red wasps on the buckwheat in the evening, but this morning was all about the bees – honey bees, bumble bees, and tiny bees that I don’t have a name for.    Butterflies are making the best of the pink clover, and the dog was fascinated by something in the wood line.   All in all, it was the perfect way to start the day.

So now I’ve had sufficient coffee,  it’s time to start on chores, the first of which is get the RV ready for guests.   We have only been in there to access the freezer or work on craft projects since we moved into the mobile home in June, so the critters have had free run of the place.   Now that the kids are coming in for the weekend, it’s time to evict the squatters and clean up their mess!   Hubby put some traps out last night, but I’m hoping that the mess-makers were only in there over the coldest days of winter.   (After disturbing a mouse while packing up my classroom, I know that’s a futile hope.)

First tomatoes of 2019
First tomatoes of 2019

While I’m not looking forward to cleaning, life is still good on the farm.   Another school year is over and I can look back on a year during which my students made a lot of progress.  Then I can look around the farm and see what a difference living here full time has made.   Finally I can look at the tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons that are growing so very well and promising healthy eating in just a few weeks.   I love this place!

 

Construction · Gardening · Honey · Lazer Creek Apiary · Natural Food Sources · Nature · Products and Vendors

4 days away from selling the house, but….

broken line
Broken Water LIne

….the buyer’s home inspection showed a slight leak under the master bath and a couple of other minor issues that we needed to take care of.  (There was no leak at the time we had a home inspection done.)  We had someone come in to do estimates for the repairs and he said the wax ring on the toilet needed to be replaced.  We’re not sure how he knew that, but sometime over the following weekend, the water supply line to the toilet sheared off (not a normal PVC break) and flooded the house.    The bamboo floors in the master bedroom and closet have to be torn out, some of the bathroom tiles have cracked because of damage to the sub-floor, the padding has to be replaced under the brand-new carpet in the dining room, and the dining room wallpaper may need to be replaced.   Luckily, the insurance adjuster is working directly with the contractor on repairs, so things should be moving forward, but work will almost certainly not be done before closing on Thursday.   Of course, we’ll have to pay our deductible and we’re really concerned about how much our next water bill will be, but so far the buyers want to move forward with the sale.

buckwheat-COLLAGE
Buckwheat May 2019

Still, life is good on the farm.  We are back up to 37 hives and most are packed with nectar.  The blackberry flow was really good this year, and the wild flowers are continuing to bloom.  We have buckwheat planted in a few areas, and it is coming along quite well.   There are even a few over-achievers blooming already!   The rest should bloom when many of the wild flowers fade, so we’ll be able to delay the nectar dearth.  We should be able to mow once the buckwheat goes to seed and then let it grow and bloom again.  By then it may be too hot for that, but as buckwheat is an excellent soil conditioner and  cover crop, it will help either way.

May 5-COLLAGE
Plants May 5, 2019

The first lavender blooms are opening and all of the plants have survived pruning!    I let the lavender in the city get too “leggy,” and it’s been scary to prune this batch as much as is recommended.   In fact, I pruned a little less than recommended this time, but the results show that I need to have faith in the multiple sources I read.

We already have a constant supply of strawberries.  Grapes, thornless blackberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons all look promising.   I plan to harvest some wild blackberries for jam, but the thornless ones are so much easier to deal with!   One blueberry bush has twice as many blueberries as last year, but don’t get excited — we had 5 last year!   The other two bushes are doing well, but didn’t flower this year as we moved them a couple of months ago.


SchoolSurprise, surprise, we are also almost at the end of the school year.   I’m so used to teaching into June that I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that next week is the last one for seniors.   Some seniors stopped coming to class over a week ago, which has me concerned about them maintaining a passing grade, but hopefully they’ll be back tomorrow.   We also got to the end of standardized testing last week, and teachers and students alike are glad to have that over with!    It’s been an interesting year, as any first year at a new school is, and I’m glad that school will be over before Memorial Day.  It was always such a struggle to keep students focused after Memorial Day, especially students who took AP and IB exams at the start of May.

Workshop
Workshop

So, soon I’ll be back in the bee yard and garden full time, unless I’m in the kitchen canning the results of our labors.   We only have half a cup of honey left from two years ago, so we’re looking forward to harvesting this year.  The exterior workshop construction is complete, but we won’t start on building the honey extraction room until after we sell the house, so we may be extracting in the kitchen again!

With the workshop done, Hubby was able to change the blades on the cutter, so we’re taking it in turns to get “tractor therapy” and bush-hog the cleared areas.  After 3 years, the blackberries have given up and the Dutch White Clover has settled in, so we want to keep that maintained.  Plus, I don’t want to have to worry about what’s hiding in the long grass when I go to the well house or compost pile.

Here I am, starting another topic, when daylight is burning and I have trees to plant!   We bought a healthy black walnut at the Cotton Pickin Fair yesterday, and I’m going to ride down to its new home on the golf cart and get it in the ground before I start another hour writing and uploading pictures.

Here’s hoping life is as good in your world as it is here at the farm.   Let’s just forget about the annoying house in the city!