My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An update, plus snow, sunrises & a special bunny

Boy, it sure didn't take long for my blogging muscles to atrophy! It's "only" been about three weeks since my last post, but it feels like years and I'm staggering around Blogger trying to remember where the light switches are. Mercy.

Anyway, I don't have enough time to write much but did want to send a quick status report from the trenches. Finally finished the spring cleaning (yay!) and got everything (I think) ready for the big yard sale (June 17 and 18 at Robyn's house, should you happen to be in the neighborhood!), and finally got everything - and I do mean everything - sorted, culled and organized. Well, except for the garage, which I've declared to be BW's territory, and he's got it more than halfway done. And almost all of our indoor repairs and maintenance are done, just a couple more small(ish) things left. But our homeowner labors continue unabated because we still have several outdoor projects to do, if only the weather would cooperate. Which it decidedly, stubbornly won't. We've only had about one nice day in the past two weeks. The rest of the time it's been very windy, raining and/or snowing. We've had a lot of snowfall during the past couple of weeks, including almost non-stop for the last 48+ hours. Here's what it looked like yesterday morning...

BW had shoveled more than 6" off the deck the day before,
or that snow on the railing would have been a lot deeper!

Of course everybody's favorite deer, Punky (and by this evening, the rest of the gang) put in a patio appearance, and I don't think she was too impressed with the weather either...

You probably know by now that I like winter and usually don't complain about snow. But by late April, even I'm tired of it. Our poor jonquils, tulips and grape hyacinths are coming up and our sumacs are trying to leaf out, but they keep getting clobbered. Down in town, which is always about 2-3 weeks ahead of us when it comes to spring weather (no snow down there!) the daffodils are all a-bloom. And this spring snow is wet and heavy, melts quickly (it's supposed to be sunny and 52º today, followed by two more days of rain), so it's just a muddy mess. While I wouldn't trade snow, rain and mud for tornadoes in a bazillion years, this weather is causing us delays and extra work.

I care more about that this year than I usually do because a big reason we've been working so hard for the past three months getting all these cleaning/organizing/culling/maintaining/repair projects done is that we're putting our house on the market and hope to have it listed by next week. We've lived here 19 years and have enjoyed and appreciated this beautiful setting, wonderful wild critter friends, and breathtaking views. But this house and property (10 fenced acres with two outbuildings) are just much too big for us and remodeling, cleaning, fixing and maintaining them has taken most of our time and energy (and money!), plus BW's commute adds an hour to his already-long workdays. So we've been ready and wanting to downsize and enjoy more leisure and together time, conveniences, hobbies and travel for a while now. Most likely we'll buy or rent a smaller house in town where BW can finish out his last 4 years + 47 days (but who's counting? lol) at UPS before retiring, at which point we'll definitely be moving on. But we have a couple of other possible options and plans in mind... we'll just have to wait and see how the sale of our house goes. It's with somewhat mixed feelings that we're doing this but know it's the right thing for us to do now, after talking about it for the past few years. Wish us luck!

We sold the only other house we've ever owned together (and that I'd ever owned) 22 years ago and without a realtor. So all the stuff that's required these days and when working with a realtor is new to me. The paperwork (contract, property disclosure forms and documentation), the visits (market analysis, photography, videography and measuring sessions, and MLS open house for realtors), and all the decisions to make (too numerous to list!) require a lot of time and effort, and that's before we even show the house to a single prospective buyer! I'll be a slave to this place while it's on the market, keeping everything spic-n-span, mowed and trimmed (no sooner will the snow have melted than I'll be mowing!) and in top showing form, just in case. Oh, help.

Anyway, that's most of what has been, is and will be going on with me these days! Now and then I've been able to take some photos, so here are a few. Been having a lot of fog again; the two foggy sunrise photos below were taken from our deck two days apart late last month...

I truly don't know when I'll get a chance to post again, and I definitely won't have time to do an Earth Day post on Friday or an Easter post on Sunday so I'll take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Earth Day (every day!)...

...and, with along with my sweet bunny friend, a very Happy Easter!

This is the first time we've ever seen a cottontail this color! I tried to take a photo of this bunny playing with two of our typical dark gray cottontails so you could see the big contrast in their coloring, but they were playing such a rowdy game of grab-ass I couldn't get a photo before the gray bunnies had sped off! So I just got this one of the white bunny sitting alone in our driveway, apparently savoring victory in the grab-ass game. :-) S/he's really camouflaged against the ground right now, but will sure stand out against the green grass (assuming spring and green grass ever show up around here!)

I hope you're all doing well and I really miss you, our "comment chats" and/or emails, and having time to visit your blogs! Someday I'll get my life back, knock the rust off my blogging skills (such as they are), and do my best to make up for lost time! :-)


  1. Hey Tex-
    Well, I think you found where the lightswitch was....great post. You have been busy and I know all too well how much "crap-a-mundo" there is with putting a house up for sale. It is physically and emotionally demanding, but when the process is over you get to start a brand new adventure.
    Sorry you still have/are getting snow-we have just lost the very last of ours. Mowing begins in one month. Your sun shots with the fog are incredible. Take a bunch now for the file....and it never hurts to put 2 or 3 out of season gorgeous view shots out on the kitchen table when the showings start.
    My best advice....don't try to eek out a few extra thousand on price. Price it where it will sell and get on with things.
    Hugs from Maine coming at ya.

  2. What an exciting new adventure. Good luck on the sale!

  3. And Happy Spring to you, such as it is. Now I see why you were so industriously upgrading your house, though I suspected something like this. Downsizing is both comforting and frightening, don't you think? We're in the process of doing something similar (downsizing), and it scares me more than a little. I hope the sale of your house goes well — yes the paperwork for a home sale is more than I remember from when we sold a house by ourselves so many years ago.

    What about your animal friends? Punky et al. How will they feel about your leaving? (And vice versa, of course.)

    I look forward to your updates.

  4. THanks for the update! I've been thinking of you working away over there! You've got so much done! It's a lot of work, but it must keep you in pretty good shape all the same.

    I hope the weather clears up for you and your house debut on the market. I definitely wish you luck and send good thoughts! The next phase of your life will be exciting and fun.

    The sad part of course is will be saying good bye to Punky and all other animal friends...that rabbit does have his camouflage down!

    Take care and good luck with the house!

  5. Laloofah -- What will Punky do without you? Maybe a neighbor will adopt? Selling and moving is a lot of work. I hope that you pop in once in a while to say hello to all your readers. Good luck on selling -- I've heard that house sales are picking up. -- barbara

  6. wow you have some insane views from your porch! and when i saw that bunny my first thoughts were how different he looked color-wise, but you say he is dif even fro the other bunnies by your house..i wonder why?

    omgosh selling a house is so time consumming! i was 12 when i hd to help, and all i waws soing was part of the "keeping it spic and span" i cant imagine how much work would be involved without a realtor, but you sound on top of it! good for you!! they are expensive!

    i had been wondering where you were! thanks for updating and please let us know whats going on any chance you can get, but we all understand if you cant get on. lol four years and 47 days huh? no, no counting:)

  7. That is one light colored bunny! Cuteness. <3

    It sounds like you guys got soooo much done & I got exhausted just reading that. How exciting, stressful and exhausting all at the same time for you. :) I hope the sale goes nice, easy & quick for you!

    Your weather has been a lot like ours. We've had a few nicer days that got into the 50's, but otherwise there's been snow, sleet, rain, hail, fog and cold.

    Hang in there, Laurie, and I hope you get your leisure time back soon!

  8. Take care of yourself, thank you for the pics of Punky and the bunny. Next time you see Punky, tell her she has a fan in Oklahoma. :-)

  9. Sue ~ Thank you!

    "Physically and emotionally demanding" - boy, you got that right! Things haven't been going well this week, making us look even more forward to that brand new adventure, whenever it might get here!

    I've read the advice about displaying a few out of season photos, and earlier this week had sent several to our realtor to choose from for the listing ad (I withheld any winter views since I'm pretty sure most people are sick of snow and winter by now and those scenes would be a turn-off!) ;-) And we took your other advice (which I shared with our realtor and she totally agreed with) to heart and made a new decision re: our asking price, painful as that is given the big hits our home value has suffered in just the past three years, despite the fact we've put even more money in improvements into it during that time (and still are!) Getting on with things is exactly what we want and need to do. Thanks for sharing your realtor expertise! Got any sellers out there who long to move to a mountainside in Wyoming? ;-) Hugs from said mountainside coming back at ya!

    Jamie ~ Thank you! We need it!

    Andrea ~ I absolutely agree, downsizing is both comforting and frightening, though I wouldn't have thought to describe it that way! It's hard after so many years in one place, so much room to store things (it's the stuff that's hidden from view in closets, cupboards and drawers that really can overwhelm you in a move!), and having a place for everything and everything in its place (especially in our custom kitchen!) in a 2800sf house and then figuring out even after all the culling how all the remaining "essential" stuff is going to fit without being a cluttery mess in a home about half that size (with no basement or outbuildings!) But I know it will feel good, like opening a window and letting in fresh breezes, to manage it. And no doubt a lot of what we consider "essential" now may seem a lot more expendable once we're finally living in new digs.

    One strategy I've devised for a smaller kitchen is to finally get that VitaMix so one appliance can replace three (2 food processors and a blender!) Great tactic, don't you think? ;-)

    I wish you all the best on your own downsizing adventure!

    Leaving our wild animal friends (especially Punky and PJ) is the major reason this is emotionally difficult. I sure hope they'll have new friends and allies living here when we leave, and intend to do as much as I can to encourage (if not ensure) it. I'm sure the deer will be fine without us, but I'd love for the people who buy this place to feel as thrilled and as fortunate as we have to be able to enjoy the company of Punky and friends and get to know them (and give them cookies when it's cold out!) As for how Punky & Gang will feel about our leaving, I'd like to think they'd miss us but have a feeling as long as the alfalfa and cookies keep coming, they won't suffer any regrets. :-)

  10. Rose ~ We really have gotten a lot done, but often all I can see is what still remains to be done, and that's why it's so frustrating to have the weather keep us from doing it day after day (that and having to rely on people other than ourselves to show up and do what they're supposed to do!) I don't know if all the work we've done so far has kept me in shape, given that it's stolen time from my hikes. I guess it's helped my arm muscles (moving furniture, scrubbing walls) and I find that bursting into tears from time to time can really give the abs a workout. But other than that... I don't recommend it as an exercise program! ;-)

    Thank you for your good wishes and good thoughts! Things seem to have really turned against us this week, so if you have any pull with the weather or gutter-installation gods, please put in a good word for us and ask them to be kinder! I agree with you that the next phase of our life will be exciting and fun - it'll certainly be different, which would be nice for a change - the novelty of something new can carry us for a while all by itself! Whenever we feel bummed about the probability of living in Sheridan and BW having to keep working at UPS instead of retiring early and getting to move to Oregon or Maine right now, we think about the financial security it'll give us, short and long-term, and how it's only 4 years. I remember how fast high school, college and the AF went by and they were all 4 years, and time goes by much faster now that we're in our dotage! LOL It'll also be a great experiment in finding out what it's like to live in town in a smaller house, without it being a big investment to test that out.

    You're right about the sad part, of course. I'll miss the wildflowers, views and hikes out my back door, too - but the views of the mountains from town are beautiful also (just different), there are beautiful parks and lots of walking paths, and ironically we'll end up with time to hike in the Big Horns, which we don't have now despite them being in our backyard! And we can have lots of trees and flowers in town that would never survive up here. So it's a trade, and that's okay.

    Thanks again for your good luck wishes!

    Barbara ~ I hope (and think) that Punky will do fine without us, but will miss her terribly! Our neighbors Dave & Vistara (two houses down the mountain - the ones we enjoyed our vegan Thanksgiving dinner with) take great care of the deer and our bunch (including Punky) spend lots of time down there when they're not up here. So maybe they'll be spending even more time at Vistara's when we're gone. As I said to Andrea, though, I do hope whomever buys our house will carry on our legacy of kindness and sharing with the non-human neighbors here!

    I heard that same report yesterday on NPR about house sales picking up, so am hopeful. Our realtor is wild about our place, wish she'd just buy it! :-) I'll do my best to post updates when I can, but will try to only post the positive stuff. I could write a really whiny post right now but that just sucks up more energy. I'll definitely check in when the place is finally listed (delayed at least a week now) and/or when we have had our first showing. But lots more work must take place between now and then, I'm afraid! (This weekend especially, when we're supposed to have a 2-day window of nice weather and need to tackle about a weeks' worth of outdoor projects!) Thank you too, Barbara, for your good luck wishes!

  11. DD ~ Thanks, I think our views are insane too (in a good way, of course!) :-) I don't know why that cottontail is such a different color from the rest. A genetic mutation, I guess! I kind of doubt s/he's a different species, since except for her coloring, she looks just like all the other cottontails she hangs out with. She sure is pretty!

    Selling a house, buying a house and moving are all such hard work, it's amazing any of us - never mind so many of us, ever do it at all! We didn't use a realtor when we sold our house in Texas (also during a recession and bad housing market, but that was just local and not nationwide like this one), but actually are using a realtor this time. The market conditions are so tough, the process so much more complicated now, and having MLS (among other tools at her disposal) will be very helpful. But you're right, they're expensive! I'll happily pay her, though, and the more the better since it'll mean we were able to sell the house for a relatively good price. And our realtor is sharp, so we feel like we're in good hands.

    Thanks for sticking with me during all the times I'm having to "go dark" (being unable to find the Blogger light switches, lol) and for understanding my predicament and inability to post or reciprocate blog visits and comments for a while. I'll sure post updates when I'm able, and I still have a stack of fun, non-real estate related posts to share someday! (I haven't forgotten about doing a post on my horse Sassy for you, either! :-)

    Molly ~ Thank you, Molly! It's pretty much just stressful and exhausting right now, but I'm sure when the place is on the market and being shown, it'll be more exciting (I hope, I'd hate for that part to be discouraging!) And it'll be fun to get to the point where we can turn some of our focus to a new house. We actually have our eye on one in Sheridan that's under construction that would work really well for us, but it's way too early in the process for us to do anything about it now. And we're having to seriously consider canceling our trip to Oregon, sadly. Leaving the house for two weeks at the end of May is feeling more and more like a bad idea, and a more and more expensive one with gas prices the way they are (among other things). But we'll see. We won't make that decision for a few weeks yet. If we do have to cancel it, we'll try to spend 3 or 4 days somewhere - maybe Fort Collins, CO - just for a much-needed break! I know you've been through this before and will be going through something similar again, and thank you for your positive thoughts and good wishes! Your home is so lovely, I imagine you'll be able to sell it quickly when the time comes.

    I'm sorry you're still suffering through winter weather too! Spring can be such a horrible tease in our northern latitudes this time of year. I hope your weather warms up soon! I don't recommend importing any from us these days, though - except for the weekend, the 10-day forecast here looks drear. Especially tomorrow - wind, rain and snow and a high in the 30s'. Oh, come ON!

    Vegan Elder ~ Thank you so much! I delivered your message to Punky this morning, along with some cookies, and she batted her beautiful eyes at me in reply. I think she was flirting with you! :-)

  12. Ah, snow in April! I can relate. I woke up to the same thing this morning! I can also relate to the moving angst. I have done that more times in my life than I care to recall! Good luck on everything and I hope that it is as stress-free as possible. Btw, I wish I had a Punky! Although, the resident squirrels are making me ridiculously happy. I think my new neighbors think I am nuts. They devise crafty systems to keep the squirrels out of their bird feeders and I actually put out squirrel feeders. :)

  13. Christina ~ Happy Earth Day!

    I'm thinking that with all the snow Lake Tahoe is infamous for, waking up to snow in April probably isn't that unusual there but having recently arrived from Seattle I'll bet it was a bit of a surprise for you. (Actually, even after living here this long, I'm still a bit unnerved to see a lot of snow and/or blizzard conditions in late April. Or May or June, for that matter!

    I remember that you're a highly decorated moving veteran. :-) I've moved a lot too, but it's been such a long time that I'd forgotten a lot about why I said I'd never do it again! I keep thinking a local move will be easier, but then I recall having thought that when we moved just 40 miles to this house, and realizing then it's not easier at all! Oh well, we'll make it through the ordeal and I thank you for your wishes for a stressless experience! :-)

    I wish you had a Punky too! I love hearing about your squirrels, and how you're putting up feeders just for them while your neighbors are erecting barricades and defenses! LOL Good for you! Squirrels are a lot of fun to watch. We have a few here from time to time (far fewer since our wildfire 4 years ago, though), and the dogs really love to watch them run along the top of the dog run fence.

  14. It's almost unbelievable that you still have so much snow! I think I'd be slitting my throat if ours had lasted till now! We've been having lovely spring weather (though it's probably our summer...)

    Moving house, eh? BIG upheaval (voice of experience!) I hope it all goes well. I'm selfishly sorry that you won't be able to blog much, as I'm so enjoying getting to know you.

    I know you'll choose new owners who'll love Punkie and the gang. :o)

  15. Good luck with the house sale and subsequent move (we've just put our house up for sale too!). I would find it very difficult to tear myself away from such a beautiful place. xx

  16. ok, can't get you out of my mind, and haven't heard from you in ages, but I do understand how that goes and I have had things going on also which hasn't left me as a very good correspondent, but you do have major changes going on and so I just wanted to write to say that I'm thinking of you and hoping things are going well. Is the house on the market? Any nibbles, etc. Your posts are always so wonderful and inclusive, obviously taking a lot of time and thought. I suspect, however, that as busy as you are, I'm not the only one of your readers who would like to hear something, even a brief one liner to say you are still out there, so if you can bring yourself to doing less impressive posts, I'd love an update. Anyway, just wanted you to know you are in my thoughts these days so know that good thoughts are coming at you from my island!

  17. Penny ~ I hope your beautiful spring weather has only gotten lovelier since you posted your comment! You'll be pleased to know that almost all of our snow is all gone now and things are greening up. In fact, we've had no snowfall for about 2 weeks! :-) Although it's currently raining and only 35ºF right now, so that could change. But at least the days are mostly warmer now. No throat-slitting necessary. (Well, at least not over the weather!)

    But when it comes to trying to sell a house, my razor strap is hanging in a handy place! Just kidding. I'm not to that point quite yet, but I've been close a few times (like today!) Big upheaval is right, and that's before I even have to pack a single carton. Just having the place on the market is so intrusive and disruptive and discouraging and draining, life is definitely "upheaved." I share your hope that whomever might buy this place will love and care for our wild friends as we do, and sure wish we had the luxury of choosing the new owners! Alas, the market over here is dismal. But how could ANYONE not adore Punky at first sight?

    Thank you, I regret that I've had to suspend my blogging/internet friendships for so long, especially the ones just beginning to blossom! I'd been very much enjoying becoming acquainted with you as well, and look forward to resuming it ~ hopefully soon!! xoxo

    Barbara ~ Et tu, Barbara? It's a pity we can't get together and commiserate over some boozy beverage!! I hope your house sale goes smoothly and quickly. I'm so curious to hear what you plan to do next! (For that matter, I'm curious to hear what WE plan to do next, since our plans are constantly having to adapt to changing circumstances! And I'm really enjoying that, being about as flexible as a petrified oak stump).

    It will be hard in many ways to leave this place, but after 19 years of being a slave to it, it will be a relief too. It's ironic that in order to leave and start a simpler life with more free time, we have to enslave ourselves even more and work even harder! Life can sure be stupid sometimes.

  18. Daphne ~ Thank you so much for your comment, it's been a lonely and frustrating sort of day and my blog buddies always manage to make things better!

    I've sure been thinking of you (and Sasha) a lot lately too, and you have no idea how many times I've sat down to write exactly the sort of post you requested, only to be interrupted and unable to return to it, or to realize I just didn't have it in me to write even a simple one. I've been distracted and exhausted, and when I've found myself with a little time on my hands (which happens rarely these days), I've been trying to read a fascinating book from the library which I'm only halfway through and after renewing 4 times am on my last 10 days of getting to keep. It's "Phantoms in the Brain" and it's so interesting, but not the lightest of reading material. I need some trash novels to get me through this! :-)

    Anyway, I finally do have some free time and a little energy to go around, BW is working late and it's raining out. So I am just about to start (and, hopefully, finish) a post with some updates and photos.

    Thank you for missing and thinking of me! The feelings are definitely mutual!


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

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"

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