Saturday, September 2, 2023

I'm fine. house projects, heat advisories, hibernating

Greetings Folks ~ the past few months have been full. We've had heat advisory warnings for over a month as the weather has been horribly hot and humid. Two more sections of fencing were put up just as this hot weather started so we took a break on doing more. Then my friend Sean who has been doing my fencing work, with my help, has a pulled tendon in his lumbar region from years of sports and heavy lifting with the job he has. So fencing is on hold for the time being until he can heal up. It's still too hot really, so hopefully it will be much cooler when he's ready to put up the next couple of sections of fencing. I am grateful for what has been accomplished. The last time he was here we just cleared stuff away from the old fencing. Stuff is growing back though with all of the rain we've been having. ;-)

Hurricane Idalia went up the west coast of Florida, I'm on the east. What a lot of damage has been done in FL, GA and the Carolinas. I just saw today that three typhoons converged on an area in China and there is great devastation there. The fire in Maui, just horrible. So much tragedy the world over.

There is another possible hurricane headed this way, hopefully NOT. We should know more this weekend.

House projects: laminate flooring was buckling in the kitchen, my dear BIL came to check things out. He took up flooring where we had cut a hole in the floor about 9 years ago when he repaired leaking water pipe under the house. Well, what he found had me in tears. A broken floor joist, but the worst thing he found was the caved in OLD cast iron sewer pipe. This house was built around 1950 - 1951 and cast iron is what they used back then. So, I asked at church is there happened to be a plumber in our church family. There is. He came to Plum Cottage, assessed the work, had two young plumbers from his company come out to do the work. They were here around 5 hours, one young man was doing the work under the house, cutting out the old pipe, grinding off connecting ends for the new PVC pipe, chipping/grinding out concrete. The other one handed down tools, etc. on his belly on the floor most of the time. They did a fantastic job. The owner of the business who came out to assess the job, did not charge me at all.  What a blessing that is for me!!

God sent a young man who does lawn work at a great price, for those who need help. He had seen me one morning as he drove by and wondered 'does she take care of that herself'. I had been out front working on my hedge. Later I found a note and his business card in a baggie tucked by my mailbox flag. For years, since my dear husband has been gone, I have prayed when I am out there working, that some lawn maintenance people would stop and see if they could help and give me prices.  No one ever did until now. This young man works for his dad, and they just live one street over. He has wondered who lived here for years, now he knows. He has spent 15 hours so far and done a great job. There is still more work to do, but I can only afford a little of his work at a time. I am so thankful to God for working this out for me. What a difference in how it looks around here with  the overgrowth being taken care. I felt like crying looking at before and after pictures as to how bad it had gotten around here, since covid happened. I lost my umph,  but with the work that Luis has done, I am feeling motivated to get back out into my gardens and keep on top of things as much as possible. Although, right now, I'm basically just keeping up with mowing until all of this horrible hot weather is over. It's been in the 90's and the real feel temps have been around 100-103.

I will post pictures later. This post is just to let you know I'm still alive, just hibernating.

I thought I had a horrible car problem, thinking it was the transmission, but what it was was that I had accidentally knocked the shifter over into manual.  I didn't even know you could do that. Anyway, that gave me quite the scare. Another nice young man from church helps out the elderly with all kinds of things and he works on cars and he changed my oil, put in a new oil filter, put on new wiper blades, air in tires, at No cost to me.

God is certainly taking care of this widow. I've now got to see about ripping up the floor and replacing the broken floor joist. Right now I'm basically tiptoeing around the area. Replacing the old sewer pipe was the most important thing that needed fixing.

I have termites also, so am going to look into the 'non-tenting' solution. Have heard it is good and you don't have to leave your house, take out all of your food, etc.

I have been stressed to say the least. Have been reading my Bible about not being anxious, listening to or watching devotionals about trusting God to work things out. Learning to 'cast all of my cares on Jesus, because He cares for me'. It is a 'daily' casting of cares. I am learning patience, learning that He is in control, that He knows what is best for me. I'm learning to be thankful in all circumstances. He's not done with me yet and still has plans for this widowed FlowerLady.

Ok, I think I've caught you up on all of what's going on down here at Plum Cottage. Thanks for checking up on me.

I am so looking forward to fall. This coming Friday will be the 54th anniversary of when my dear husband and I said 'I do'. I sure do miss him, the missing never ends, the grief is less, but can be  triggered at times. I watched a Hallmark movie the other night and when it ended I sat in my chair sobbing. Sigh! I miss the laughter, conversations, working/playing together, fixing our meals and making special ones for special times. I miss the twinkle in his deep brown eyes, his deep bass voice,  I miss his ways of showing me he loved me.

Friends, love your spouse, let them know how appreciative you are and how much they mean to you. Each day is a gift with many opportunities to show love and our loved ones need to know they are loved. We will be loved in return. We don't know if, how or when our lives could be changed in a minute. Be kind, show all of the love you can. Be thankful. 

It can be so easy to get discouraged, but faith in God, can lift us out of gloom. We have not been promised a care-free life, but we have been promised that He will never leave or forsake us. We are precious to Him.

Flowers are still blooming and giving me great joy. I am thankful to our awesome Creator for these gifts. I will close this post with the picture below of a lovely hibiscus and a bit of decorative rusty iron.


 Love, hugs and prayers, 



Friday, June 23, 2023

50 years and new fencing

Greetings Folks ~ here it is the first day of summer. This year sure is zipping right along. It is 50 years ago this month that my dear husband and I moved into this little 50's cottage. Hubby had served his 4 years in the US Navy, we traveled to 9 countries by Eurail, with our backpacks, cameras, canteens and guide books for almost 60 days, before coming home to this little place.

The road out front used to be two lanes, then imminent domain came along taking another 15 ft into the front of our property. They already had a 10 ft easement. We did have 1/3 of an acre, now we have 1/4.  This is basically how it looked when we moved in here. Hubby's grandparents bought this place in the mid 60's, they bought it with him in mind. We came here in 1973 and bought the little place from their estate. They had both passed on before we came home.

 I just went out and took measurements. From the front of little porch overhang out to the sidewalk is roughly 21'. Then there's the 3' sidewalk and the 5 lane busy road. Very noisy especially at certain times of the day. Traffic is lighter during the summer as the 'snowbirds' have gone back up north.

We are all hedged in across the front now, have been for years, plus there is privacy fencing on the other sides. When we moved in, all of the neighbors were using our property like it was theirs.

A lot has changed in 50 years. When I say that I've lived here that amount of time, I am amazed. I was just 24, now I'm 74. There have been ups and downs here, joys and sorrows, laughter, we enjoyed working together as we were self-employed and did different things. We worked together building a workshop, a polebarn and a storage building, all with permits. I grow flowers, hubby did a lot of hardscaping. We've gone through hurricanes. The saddest and hardest thing I've dealt with is that my dear husband/best friend went to be with his Creator, our Savior and God, Jesus, 10 1/2 years ago now. Oh how I miss him every single day. God is seeing me through this widowhood journey though and I am so thankful for His many blessings big and small.  Every day is a gift.

Last year I received a totally unexpected monetary gift which has allowed me to get a new washing machine, a new ac, and a few other things, plus pay taxes. I've been able to get started on replacing privacy fencing, the first part is along the driveway. Over the past few years that fencing has been falling down more and more. It is probably at least 30 years old. (Fencing on three other sides was paid for mostly by those three neighbors, Sean and Stan did labor on two sides, and the third side was replaced and done by someone that neighbor hired.  There is still the fencing along the back of the property to replace, but not at this time.)

 I have a Christian brother/friend, Sean, who has helped me quite a bit the past 3-4 years, with other fencing, cutting back trees, etc. Well, he is now helping with putting up this new fencing.  I ordered the fencing, the three young pastors from my church, picked it up and stacked it here at the back of the driveway.  That way when Sean is able to work here he can just come and we can get started. We've worked two mornings a week or two apart, for roughly 7 1/2 hours, getting up 4 6'x8' sections.  What a job, cutting roots, tree limbs, vines, digging holes, hauling fencing.leveling, etc. What a difference in how it looks and feels here. Another answered prayer, a burden lifted. I am so grateful to Sean for his help. He is 61 to my 74. I'm thankful I'm still able to work at helping even though it is getting harder and I move slower. This weekend we are hoping another friend will be able to come, then I won't have to work so hard. ;-)

Views of old fencing. Neighbor's trees that I keep having to keep cut back. It grows very fast, hangs over driveway and grows up into the power lines. Every now and then then power company comes along and cuts them back.


View from scullery window. The purple flowering tree on this side of the driveway is a Queen Crepe myrtle. A real beauty.

In the picture below, the huge tree base to the left of post in the middle was a real pain. Sean had to cut roots it in order to dig a hole for new post. We couldn't cut away the base of tree, way too much work, so at that point in the fencing it bumps out a bit. Hardly noticeable in the overall scheme of things, but it was frustrating to say the least as we/I wanted it to look 'perfect'. Sometimes we just have to work around things.
This work was started on the 10th of June. He took down the old fencing, cutting it into manageable sections and I carried it out front to be picked up.  Look at these tangled woods.
This is Sean. 

What you don't see here, is us having to get sections of fencing from behind Sean's truck down to this area. No pictures of that. Below, getting first section in place.

First two sections up. Yay!!! Forward progress.

The next day, I put these two wrought iron hearts that had been cut from two antique ice cream chairs no longer usable as chairs. That space on fencing needed something to go between those two darker fence slats. From these two sections of fencing you can see that they were made with whatever slats could be used. The pandemic caused so many shortages, and prices to go up and up. You take what you get and it will end up weathered in the end anyway.

New look through the scullery window, what a difference!

Now on to the next two sections on the 19th, giving a total of 4 new sections of fencing. We are moving right along.

You can see that I had more foliage to be cut away before the next two sections can go up.

 View now from the scullery window. The round piece leaning on the fencing is another iron piece with hearts. ;-)



I made a start the next day on digging up plants. There is another section of roots from a different tree from the neighbor's side that we are going to have to deal with as the roots are up and showing on my side.

Below you can see an upright piece of wood to the left and one beside the green barrier (to keep critters from coming through), these mark where the next two sections will go more or less. This work should happen tomorrow, depending on the weather.

We worked 3 hrs and 40 minutes roughly each of the two mornings we worked on this,. 9-12:40. In the shade for the most part. We were pooped and hot and sweaty. Drank electrolytes and plenty of water. The heat and humidity have been awful, although not as bad as some people in TX are having it. This morning, Friday, it is cloudy, it is 90 and the real feel is at 100, humidity at 68%, wind 5 mph from the se.

I didn't feel like working outside this morning. I started this post yesterday, but with getting bogged down from working with this photo editing program I stopped. This morning I'm better at it and glad to be able to wrap this post up.

 I am thankful for this new day, a gift from my heavenly Father. I have much to be thankful for. This cottage is small, 675 sq ft, quirky, not modern, but it is paid for. I have running hot and cold water, a comfortable bed, food to eat, a stove/oven to cook with, gardens with flowers, butterflies, bees, birds. I've seen a few you-tube videos lately of people living in their houses of corrugated tin and other materials, not just for a single person, but families. The women hauling water, feeding farm animals, cooking over fires, raising children, running little businesses, whatever they to live their lives. They dress in their colorful clothing, there are smiles and laughter and they keep on living, one day at a time.

Jesus gives me the strength needed for each new day. My hope is in Him. He is my Savior, He is  Almighty God, Creator of all things, He is the Prince of Peace, He is my Provider, Healer, my Defense. One day He will make all things new, evil will be no more, and there will be no more sickness or death, all tears will be wiped away. Amen.

He desires a relationship with each and every person. He is the only One who can satisfy our longings. If you don't yet know Him, seek Him, He will come to you.


That's it for now from Plum Cottage.

Have a great weekend. Be kind, be thankful.