Friday, April 29, 2005

Well, The Good New Is...

A double rainbow- Posted by Hello
On the way down to town recently, I noticed a brand new "For Sale" sign pointing up our road. There are only four homes on this gravel road, and I know ours isn't for sale, so I emailed my favorite neighbor of the remaining three.
Thank God it wasn't her! (And she was happy it wasn't us.)
The home I was hoping was on the market is the house of the neighbor with the wandering dog (mentioned on an earlier posting.)
I went online to to get the lowdown, and found it is not the neighbors I was wishing gone.
It turns out Royce is moving! That's too bad, he is what I consider a great neighbor. He keeps to himself, and the only noise to be heard from his place is the squawking of his many birds. When we first moved in, his peacocks loved to wander around our property, and what a sight! Early one morning, before we had blinds on the bedroom slider, I awoke feeling someone was watching me. Imagine my surprise when I opened my eyes and saw a huge peacock on the deck, staring at me!
Royce is great to talk to when we do cross paths. I haven't run into him in probably six months. The last time we did speak, he mentioned the possibility of moving sometime in the future.
We're hopeful the new owners will be as nice (and quiet) as he was.
I'm hoping the double rainbow is a sign of good things to come.
One good thing to come about is that we now know what our place could sell for, and it's waaaaaay more than we paid!
If the new neighbors don't work out, we can actually afford to move.
* The link to the actual property is: Royce's house.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Backwards House

the house- Posted by Hello
My house is built backwards, I kid you not!
This photo (of the front of the house)was taken from down below the paddock.
The driveway is on the other side of the house. The garage is also on the other side of the house.
The nearest entrance to the parking area is a plain old glass slider which leads into the dining area. Tacky! Add another french door to my wish list!
When we need to lock-up and leave, we must go out through the living room door, which isn't a chore. Coming home late, in the dark, is.
The outdoor lighting allows pools of light, but for someone who has night blindness this can be hazardous.
The sad thing is that not one of our guests has ever walked in through the actual front door, ever!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Car That Tried To Kill Me

The Demon Car- Posted by Hello
I used to own this little Saturn.
It was a great commute car during the time I was working in the San Francisco Bay Area, but wasn't quite what I needed up here.
Sure it was fun, ripping through all 5 gears while zipping around the sometimes hairpin curves here in the foothills.
The car was used less and less, due to the more useful truck, until its little battery finally died. We didn't even notice for quite some months!
About two years ago we hired an arborist to de-mistletoe some oak trees, and had to move the Saturn out of the way.
By that time, the battery wouldn't even accept a jump start, so we decided to push it out from under the trees. After all- it's a little car, right?
Problem #1. It was on a very slight hill, and wanted to head off into the back 40!
My husband decides to hook up our garden tractor and pull it while I sit and steer. Still no good.
Husband reties the rope, and the new plan is I'm to push and steer, while he drives the tractor.
Hooray- it's moving!
Now it's rolling faster...
And faster...
And hubby has stopped the machine between a maple tree and the house.
I'm running, and steering, and yelling, and he shuts off the motor!
Hero that I am, I attempt to dive across the driver's seat and pull the E-brake. After all, I don't want the car to smash the tree, the house, or even my husband.
I reach the brake, after losing grip for a moment and dragging my butt through some gravel. I seriously wrenched my entire right side, while my ankle took the next phase of gravel torture.
But I'd stopped the car from hitting anything, or anyone!
Mr. SierraBella finally turns around and is surprised to see me laying on the drive, crying hysterically.
He thinks, perhaps, I've been run over.
I stagger to my feet, still crying, and finally explain what happened.
"You should have let it hit me" was his response. Not thank you, not you're my hero...
After telling this tale to friends and family, the concensus is that I really should have let it hit him!
You know, I'd do it again.
But I do have one piece of advise: Do not ever attempt to push a car, no matter how small, wearing a sundress and no underwear!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Someone Let The Horse 'Outta' The Barn!

The faux barn Posted by Hello
Thanks to some help from Sylvana I'm finally able to post links!
Oh, the photo actually shows our garage/workshop which has a small area where I can start young seedlings.
There is a skylight over my plant room, and what surely appear to be grow-lights.
I don't know what the former owner was up to, but I'm not going there! REALLY!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Just Dreaming On A Rainy Day

Looking out the master bedroom slider- Posted by Hello
Out and about in 'blogworld' I've noticed recently many posters are either moving, or renovating.
I don't plan on moving anytime soon, but I desperately need to do something about my master bedroom.
This photo alone contains two items on the agenda, maybe three-
We need new carpeting! I don't hate the colors, but this carpet is so early 1980s.
I want french doors! There's a lovely view, and I believe new doors would perk it up a bit.
I'd love to either refinish the deck, or maybe rebuild it using Trex (sp?) or another of the faux woods. I'm talking some serious $$$ with this idea, so it'll have to wait.
What's not shown in the picture is some ugly blonde paneling along one entire wall. I'm not talking about real wood paneling, I'm talking about that 1970s style garbage.
My husband is reluctant to remove it, he's afraid of what might not be behind it... like drywall.
In the 3 years we've lived here, we have had the entire kitchen remodeled, as well as had all the floors tiled (except the bedroom and office.)
During those renovations we lived in the bedroom. Since there's an adjoining bath (with a jacuzzi) we were fine with this. The fridge was moved (both times) to the deck, so our only worry was bears. Neither of us relished the idea of coming around the corner (for a late night refreshment) and coming face to face with a black bear.
As long as I'm dreaming of these changes, I'd love to have a mini-fridge too!
That would sure make the next project more comfortable... We also want to remodel the front bath.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Postman Doesn't Ring Twice

Mr. SierraBella and the dogs- Posted by Hello
Our mailbox is down by the road, about 1/4 mile from the house. Not far, but a pretty doggone steep walk.
After having two knee surgeries on the same knee, I rarely take this journey on foot.
As I've mentioned before, we have no garbage pickup up here. We have what is called a transfer station about 20 miles away, which is open several days a week. Therefore we generally load up the truck about every three weeks and head down the hill to do this dirty deed.
We recycle, but due to this rural method of waste removal immediately noticed the incredible amount of junk mail, especially catalogs, we received. One of the first things I did was register with the Direct Marketing Association to (hopefully) stop this barrage of unwanted garbage.
Next step was to begin emailing and calling the various catalogs to get removed from their mailing lists. In the past three years I have successfully stopped 53 catalogs. At least half needed a reminder or two before ending their mailings.
I just received another new catalog several days ago. Guess I'd better make the bitch-call... ahem make that #54!

Monday, April 18, 2005

What Is This?

Unknown thing- Posted by Hello
This immovable metal object sits at one edge of our clearing, atop a small plateau.
As I've mentioned before, we live in what is commonly called "Gold Country," in the California Sierra foothills.
I researched the history of our property and found this particular parcel wasn't bought from the Bureau of Land Management until March 3, 1919, by one Charles L. Wetmore.
Most of the surrounding parcels had been bought much earlier, and had been used for farming, quartz mining and gold mining.
In fact, the 1920 census for this area had an interesting notation along the border where the census enumerator normally would write the street name, and address. It said "Farmers And Miners All Over The Woods, Vicinity of ________ _____ Road."
Charles Wetmore's land was later subdivided into five acre parcels, and our home wasn't built until 1982.
Could this object be debris from some (probably illegal) placer mining?
Maybe it's just abandoned equipment from the grading and building of the house?
A friend suggested I plant some flowers inside, and that's a wonderful idea... except for those doggone deer!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

At Least Somebody Came By For A Visit

Lone deer in front of the garage- Posted by Hello
Allow me to preface this story with the fact that I've been suffering from both allergies and neck problems for the past week, and been self medicating with both NyQuil, Advil, and most anything I can get my hands on-
My sister-in-law called real early yesterday morning and left a voicemail informing us that she, her husband and two other family members were running late, and they wouldn't be here until noon.
I happened across this message while waiting for my morning coffee to appear, around 9:15, and was flabbergasted. I didn't remember making any plans whatsoever!
Could I have actually held a conversation with someone while under the effects of the previously mentioned medications and not remembered?
Horribly embarassed, I woke my husband, gulped some coffee and roared into motion. I showered, swept, dusted, vacuumed and tidied up the bathrooms.
Since most of our guests choose to spend the night, I made up the guest bed as well.
Noon came and went.
1pm, 2pm, 3pm also came and went.
Now I have one sister, and if she were this late I wouldn't be surprised. She's been to our home 5 or 6 times, and gets lost every time! One Christmas, she called late and lost as usual. She didn't know where she was, but she did say it was snowing... it wasn't snowing here! The last time we got together she called en route to inform us she'd left extremely early (for once.) We were elated! She called again, about 15 minutes after she should have arrived and said "we're almost there, which Yosemite exit do I take?" We live somewhat between Yosemite and Lake Tahoe... sister was only 2 hours late that time.
Anyway, about 3:30 I fired off an email to sister-in-law, asking where they were (and mentioning we'd been expecting her special deviled eggs as well.)
It turned out sister-in-law has been sick, stressed, and had meant to dial the other SierraBella and Mr. Sierrabella in their lives. (Who would think with such an uncommon name this could happen?)
All I can say is at least my house is clean...

Friday, April 15, 2005

A Dog-Day Afternoon

Bobo & Tasha Posted by Hello
Our two babies!
The wisteria in the background has been severely pruned since this photo was taken. When we first moved in, the wisteria seemed to be attempting to eat the deck. Several prunings later, it's beginning to assume a more tree-like shape.
On the other hand, the dogs continued to grow. Bobo, the larger of the two, has now maxed out to about 130 lbs.
Dogs, you gotta love em!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

So I Had This Nightmare Last Night...

Sunset Posted by Hello
I dreamt that I was forced back to work! This nightmare is becoming more and more frequent. Last night I awoke from the dream, poured some ice water, walked around a bit to clear my head, then went back to bed. Wonderful- It only continued!
Do I feel guilty about retiring at the age of 48? NO, I worked my full 30 years!
Do I miss working? NO, I worked all those years for a large company which shall be left unnamed, but by the time I retired the initials had evolved to SBC. If someone farted upstairs, we'd all be smelling it down through the ranks if you know what I mean.
I do miss some of my coworkers, but have kept in touch with many.
Am I worried about money? Although we're definitely not rich, we are OK, so that is also a big NO!
If I were to choose a job I'd actually like to do, I'd work in a nursery. A garden nursery, not a child care facility.
I'm enjoying the hell out of retirement!
So why the dream... Susie, anyone?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

It's A Goner!

The dead oak tree- Posted by Hello
This photo was taken a few hours ago.
Notice the tree behind? It appears quite healthy.
The few remaining leaves on the oak in the foreground are what is left of last years largesse. They're dead too...
Other than some darn good firewood, I just now realized one other reason not to mourn its demise- I won't be cleaning the deck and the eaves so frequently!
Bye bye big fella!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Reflections & Recollections

Reflected Me- Posted by Hello
A few years before retirement, on one of our usual camping vacations, I talked my hubby into making an appointment with a local realtor to see what was available up in the area.
We looked at 5 homes, revisiting the first one twice. We then went back to the campsite, did some math, and the next day purchased our (at the time) vacation/retirement home! (And you think your significant other buys silly souvenirs!)
The next couple of years, each vacation week was spent hauling little used (and sometimes new) furniture up to the house in the used truck we bought, which we called "The Green Monster."
The Green Monster began dying shortly before the final move, and why not- it was very old and temperamental.
We finally had to buy a new truck to finish up the move, and because (we learned) there's no garbage service up here so we have to do it ourselves!
The picture above is one of the few photos we have of the old Green Monster, and me too.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Forget The Yellow Ribbon, We Need An Arborist!

The Oak Tree- Posted by Hello
Several years ago we hired an arborist to trim and remove mistletoe from several oak trees on our property.
He was somewhat sceptical of the health of the tree nearest the house. The previous owners had placed the hot tub within ten feet of this tree, and the routine draining of the tub (along with it's chemicals) had possibly weakened the poor tree.
This spring we see the other oaks have leafed out, but not this one. I belive they're all Black Oak, so would imagine they'd all be on the same schedule.
We're planning on waiting another week before calling him again, perhaps this tree is lethargic due to the recent weather.
If not, we'll at least have ample firewood ready for next winter.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Deck Gardening

Corner of the deck, Iris in the foreground Posted by Hello
This is now my third attempt at adding text to this posting! It could be me...
When we first looked at this house, the listing advertised "extensive decking." Since the home is built atop a hillside, we could understand the need, but my God!
Now that we've lived here full-time for almost three years we've found this to be the only place on the property which is safe from the deer.
Experimenting with supposedly deer resistant plants has taught me that yes, deer do eat lantana and agapanthus. They've avoided the oleander, foxglove, rosemary and iris.
We'd intended to keep the property in it's natural state of wildflower fields (in the spring) bordered by cedar and pine, but had hoped to add a little color around the edges of the house.
At last count, I had 86 potted plants on the deck. There's room for more.
I'm just not looking forward to our next project- refinishing this deck. The big question is "where am I going to put all these plants while we're doing the work?"
Should I bring them all inside? That would really thrill my husband. He's already not thrilled with the 19 plants I have throughout the house...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

It's Safe To Come Out Now!

Knucklehead Posted by Hello
Well, the grandson has returned home and I can begin blogging once again.
Of course I do need to attend to weeding, planting and working the wood chipper- shades of "Fargo!"
I know gardening isn't a hot topic, but it is a great way to exercise and tan at the same time...

Friday, April 01, 2005

A Gentleman Caller!

The grandson- Posted by Hello
I will be off-line for a few days as my grandson is coming to visit.
Since he's almost three, and nap-free, all my waking hours must be devoted to his care and feeding.
He loves all sports involving a ball, but our property in mostly hilly so a good percentage of the balls end up rolling into the next county.
He is allowed one movie a day, and as much as I love it, watching Babe 5 times in a row gets stale.
He eats three meals a day!
But you have to love a little guy who knows when he's deserved a "time-out" and walks himself over to the appointed corner without being told.