Checking in

It is hard to believe cold weather is already here, but our lawn is covered in leaves, and Honey has begun nagging me to put up the Christmas trees. As I watch my various plants and trees enter their dormant phase, I am already looking forward to next spring when they will burst forth with new life. The growing season never seems to last long enough, and this year seemed to fly by in record time.

Like every year, this one has had its highs and lows. I officially became a business partner on January 1st. The legalization of gay marriage in Illinois allowed us to travel to see our friends get hitched in Chicago, and we took that opportunity to continue on to Wisconsin to see our wonderful friend Barb. We saw Cher in Nashville. We spent several relaxing days in Gatlinburg last month.

Some of the low points included losing my coworker and friend, Jerry, and then learning of Barb’s passing a few months later. Both affected me deeply, but I try to focus on the good memories. I will never forget Jerry’s belly laugh, his dirty sense of humor, or the way he never ever let life get him down. I will always remember Barb’s unwavering courage and the way she exuded love to everyone around her. I am so thankful we took the time to go visit Barb this summer, and I feel blessed to have known and loved both of them.

We are currently in the middle of refinancing our home. I can get the interest rate down from 5.25% to 3.375% – which will shave 10 years off my loan while increasing my monthly payment by only $20. My goal is to have our home paid for in 10 years, just in time for my 50th (yikes!) birthday.

Other than that, life continues on as before. I always remind myself to appreciate the mundane moments, because it is hard to complain about being bored when you are comfortable and happy.

In like a lion

This winter keeps dragging on and on. We had snow and ice again last week, but we finally had a warm day yesterday with temperatures in the 70’s. Unfortunately, a cold front blew through during the night which brought more blustery and cold weather today.

Even though Mother Nature can’t make up her mind about the temperature, I am beginning to see signs of a change of seasons. Eastern Robins have been hopping over the lawn in search of worms, buds are adorning the trees, and daffodils are starting to push their leaves through the ground. The grass is even starting to green up a bit.

I have become a bit obsessed with landscaping over the past few years, so I am itching for warmer weather and the opportunity to get out and work in the yard. I have been sketching ideas for plant beds on notebook paper, and I would like to bring some of those ideas to life as soon as possible.

We recently had our property surveyed and marked, which makes it so much easier for me to tell exactly how our property line cuts through the hilly, wooded area behind the house. I have been exploring the woods over the past month, and absolutely love being in the middle of all the trees and knowing that it is all mine. Heaven on earth.

Even though we have been here four years already, I am still discovering things about this place that makes me happy. The woods are filled with dogwood trees, wildflowers, and even a huge burning bush that is growing inexplicably under the shade of a cedar tree. One of the small dogwoods trees was so lovely that I couldn’t resist transplanting it into the yard last weekend, even though the earth was so wet from the melting snow that I had to wear rubber boots.

I am so ready for Spring.

Time flies

Today marks three years since we moved into our current residence. I can honestly say that it has only begun to feel like home over the past year or so, and I think Honey would say the same.

We still don’t have everything the way we want it on the inside, but we have almost completely redone the outside of the home since we moved here. New windows, roof, gutters, doors, front porch, back patio, steps, shutters, and landscaping. Construction on a roof over our patio is supposed to begin later this week.

So, yeah. I love it. Honey loves it. The cats love it (as far as I can tell). We may not live here for the rest of our lives, but I don’t think I would be disappointed if we did.

Late Double Red Flowering Peach Tree

When the bright red blooms popped out all over the tree in our front yard last year, I was stunned by its beauty. Not knowing what kind of tree it was, and seeing that it was old and in decline, I decided to find out so that I could get another one. It got pushed to the back of my mind until it bloomed again this year. I finally figured out what it is yesterday, and quickly ordered another one online.

Late Double Red Flowering Peach Tree
(Prunus persica ‘Late Red’)