Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Greetings from Dragonfly Cottage!
I've missed you, dear blog readers (and dear blog!), and am happy to be able to carve out some time to share some news and pictures at last ~ and get my blogging muscles back in shape!
We finally got a contract on our house in mid-August, and got busy trying to find a place in town and start packing, while going through all the inspections -- home, radon, well and well water, plus appraisal - with our fingers crossed. It's not easy to pack with your fingers crossed, but we managed it. ;-) And it (along with all our efforts, diligence and expense) worked, because the property passed everything with flying colors and no repairs were required nor requested, which our realtor said was unheard of. Whew and yay!
We didn't get real ambitious with the sorting, culling and packing until we got the results of those inspections and the post-appraisal green-light, just in case! So by then we had less than a month before our scheduled closing date of Oct 3. But after looking at about a half dozen houses for sale and ruling them out, on Sept 1 we leased this little bungalow - which we've named Dragonfly Cottage - right on the creek, between two parks, and within walking distance of downtown!
Front of cottage facing Big Goose Creek & Kendrick Park.
I took this photo on the day we signed the lease,
so the flowers on the porch were the previous tenant's,
who's now our neighbor living in her brand new house.
Note Miss Willow doing her own property inspection! ;-)
I've added my own Autumnal touches to the front porch.
This is the back of the cottage...
You can see the green footbridge on the left
that crosses the creek into Kendrick Park,
and a tiny bit of our micro-garage on the right!
Here's our view from the front porch of the footbridge and neighborhood's wildflower meadow (closeups of some of the beautiful wildflowers will star in a future post!)...
The cottage is a Sears Catalog Craftsman kit house from 1920, and is the only original house that was allowed to remain in a new "Pocket Neighborhood" development called Bridge Creek. So far there's just one completed new house and one under construction that's scheduled to be finished by Thanksgiving, and another is scheduled to begin construction next spring. We've met all of our present and future Bridge Creek neighbors and really enjoy them. We think this will be a fun neighborhood for us, and the dogs sure love it! Ironically, though we're on a tiny lot, they have a bigger yard here than they did when we were on 10 acres! And now they have lots of shade trees, their very own "Pooch Porch" to sleep in (more on that later), and can participate in as well as observe all the comings and goings past the house on the wonderful walking/biking paths, part of a huge and growing system of paved pathways (our house is in the middle of that map, between the two parks) that's earned Sheridan major points from us and the dogs! But the girls think the best part of living here is the squirrels! (Like watching bunnies ~ only way better ~ because they climb trees!) :-)
Willow's very first day of squirrel watching
In addition to squirrels, we also have a family of mule deer who stroll through the neighborhood regularly, at least one bunny (and where there's one, there's usually several!), and ducks! We went for a sunrise stroll a couple of weeks ago and BW enjoyed sitting on the bank in front of the cottage watching a large group of beautiful Mallards in the creek, while I took this photo from the footbridge. We've always wanted to live in a cottage by a creek, so we're pretty much in heaven these days! It doesn't even feel real yet ~ most of the time we feel like we're housesitting for someone else, or on vacation.
I do miss the Mountain Bluebirds and Magpies, but now have new friends - including Grackles (who share the Magpie's iridescence, long tail and chatterbox traits) and Flickers! I haven't gotten photos of a lot of the wildlife yet (but rest assured that I will!), but I do love this photo I took of an inquisitive Northern Flicker in our back yard...
Anyway, it's been a very hectic few weeks. Moving from a 2800 square foot house with an oversized 2-car garage and two outbuildings on 10 acres to a 1000sf cottage with a single car garage too small to store anything but our Jeep (and that's a tight fit) required a LOT of culling. We sold most of our furniture (and then had to buy a few new pieces, like a sofa, coffee table and dining set that would fit our new hobbit house size!), sold our remaining firewood and wood pellets, and sold or gave away lots of clothes and household goods, putting most of what remained in storage (though I hope to sell several more things on eBay this winter, and at another yard sale next spring).
We're keeping our 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee beater and dog-hauler supreme, but traded in our car and 1978 Ford Crew Cab pickup, snowplow and flatbed trailer on a 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid (driving a hybrid - another dream realized!). And we thoroughly cleaned both houses, made major fixes to the cottage fence so it would hold the dogs and made some other, more modest repairs/improvements to the cottage (even as renters, we're "particular," to quote our contractor - or did he say "peculiar?" No, I'm pretty sure he said, "particular!") ;-) We did all our own packing and moving (even having to replace the alternator on the truck in the midst of one haul), and had to maintain both houses and yards for about 3 weeks, driving the 30+ miles between them nearly every day till we finally closed on Oct 3, so it was a very busy, exhausting time. We're not quite settled in yet, but we should be putting the final touches on everything by this weekend. I even have my Fall and Halloween decorations up, and promise to take and share some interior photos as soon as possible, but since I am going to try to squeeze in a trip to Havre in the next week or two to visit my mom, your continued patience is requested as blogging still hasn't gotten dibs on the Front Seat of Life. :-)
I'd long been saying that the first thing I wanted to do if we ever moved to town was to buy a bicycle. True to my word, the very first thing we did after we got the check from the closing was to hit the local bike shop! I still don't have photos of our bikes, but this is mine (in gloss silver) and here's BW's (in gloss black). We've outfitted them with various racks, odometers, head and tail-lights and locks, and ourselves in helmets. And since I'm an easy bike-ride away from the library and local Safeway (and much more), I got this nifty gizmo at the bike shop, which is great for hauling books, DVDs and groceries. Though I already have my sights set on something bigger for next spring! :-)
So in addition to downsizing, packing, moving, replacing, cleaning, unpacking, repairing and getting settled, we've also been enjoying our exploratory walks and bike rides, and I've got some photos from both to share next time. I've also been re-acquainting myself with using a dishwasher (haven't had one in 20 years), cooking on gas (ditto), and learning to live without a clothes dryer (no room for ours here!) Since it's getting too cold to use our clothesline, we bought a second large one of these to add to the one we've been using for a few years (they're fantastic!), so we're all set!
Oh, and something else we've been doing that we haven't done in well over 20 years? Rake leaves! Lots of shade trees = lots of leaves in the yard, so we've been getting a good workout. But when I saw this beautiful leaf caught in the fence, I had to drop the rake and grab the camera. Because there's always time for an artsy-fartsy photo! :-)
I'll be back as soon as possible with more news and photos, including this year's annual library quilt exhibit, which runs through the month of October! (Remember last year's?) I already have the photos downloaded, and I think you'll really enjoy this year's entries.
Until then, I hope everyone's doing well - I really have missed you all (and your blogs!) Happy Autumn!
- INFERNO ~ Dan Brown
- MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD & EVIL ~ John Berendt
- MY NOTORIOUS LIFE: A NOVEL ~ Kate Manning
- ONE SUMMER: AMERICA, 1927 ~ Bill Bryson
- QUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT CAN'T STOP TALKING ~ Susan Cain
- THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL ~ Daniel Stashower
- THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY ~ Erik Larson
- THE SHADOWS, KITH AND KIN ~ Joe R. Lansdale
- THE TIPPING POINT ~ Malcolm Gladwell
There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.
~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"