What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)


Friday, July 29, 2011

The Offer is Dead in the Water

My husband and I are anxious to move, that is a given.  After 16 months of having the hose on the market, any offer is a good offer.  One guy asked verbally if we would accept $45,000 less than our asking price.  We told our agent no.  Finally an offer came in at $40,000 below our asking price.  I should mention our asking price is $5,000 less than what we paid for the house a little over four years ago.  So we have been going back and fourth with negotiations the past few days.  We just got word that the buyer will not go above $30,000 below our asking price.  We had already figured out this buyer is jerking us around so to speak.  Now once the buyer who has been through our house twice has a bit of a chance to think about it, that may change.  This is prime, riverfront property so we are not about to just give it away.  We signed at the lower price hoping to be able to get moved into the house we want.  We have a conditional offer on that one.  If that house falls through, we will have to find another one meaning the carrot we were after is gone.  We will likely be sitting in limbo until spring 2012 or longer if this happens but one thing is for  certain is we are not giving this house away.  At the end of the listing we will push the price back up where it should be then sit and wait.  I'm sure someone will come along who sees the potential and is reasonable enough to give us a decent and fair offer.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Excited About the Prospects of Moving

Our lives have been pretty much in limbo since we listed the house a year ago last March (2010).  There is an awful lot of stress involved in selling a house and it really wears thin when the house sits on the market considerably longer than anticipated.  The offer this week has given me us hope and a bit of excitement.  The market has softened so we aren't going to get the money the house is worth but we want to move.  We thought we would like living on waterfront property in a rural setting but we were wrong.

It has been quite isolating especially for me during the winter months.  I can easily go well over three weeks without ever leaving the house in the winter.  It is considerably more expensive living out here as well.  We have to drive everywhere as there isn't even a variety store within walking distance.  It is difficult getting housesitters when we are away as they have to make that drive here and back.  We figured just in gas savings alone we would be saving well over $2,000 per year.  Our internet service will become more dependable, actual high speed and at less than half the cost of what we are paying now.  Our taxes, mortgage payments and in short all of our living expenses will decrease as well.  But this move is not just about saving money.   It is much more than that so hopefully the offer goes through!



Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We Have an Offer!

After having the disruption of trying to sell our house for the last sixteen months we finally have an offer that is now in negotiations.  We were not happy with the price or conditions of the offer so made a counter offer.  We are sitting close to the phone awaiting to see if our counter offer was accepted or if there will be a re-counter.  It's always a possibility that the offer will die at this stage but if it does it just means the buyer really wasn't all that serious in the first place.  It is better to die now rather than waste everyone's time, if you ask me.  So that is where we are at the moment...

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Power Washer Warning

The house is back on the market which means I've been doing as much cleaning as possible.  I had the power washer out a couple of days ago.  You know when your hands get dirty how you quickly rinse them under the hose?  Well, I did that without thinking using the power washer.  It felt like a razor going through my finger but lucky me I did not do as much damage as I could have.  I came in, cleaned and bandaged the wound then went back to work.  That night I put neo-sporin on it and rebandaged then repeated for the following couple of days.  Then I noticed the wound was weeping so decided air was needed, removed the bandages and started applying regular soap and water handwashings as well as rubbing alcohol.  Here it is a week later and the wound still hurts with a bit of weeping.  I am treating it aggressively.

Power washers have the ability to drive water and contaminates under the skin.  In the worst case senario being hit by the spray of a power washer can cause an embolism (life threatening or death).  By default it causes necrosis below the skin that can lead to sepsis (life threatening) and amputation (disfiguring).  The wound may need to be re-opened surgically. 

Never, ever, ever get a body part in the path of the stream of a power washer.  It can be life threatening or worse!  I don't know if I will need further medical intervention but as mentioned I am aggressively treating this wound.  This is a heads up to keep any body parts well away from the stream of a power washer!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cedar Mulch

We have been spreading cedar mulch both at our vacation home and here.  Since moving here we have had a problem with earwigs, centipedes and pill bugs.  Occasionally we get the big black ants.  For that reason we spent the first year removing the old bark chips that harboured all of these critters.  Cedar mulch is quite popular in Florida so I thought it would work well here to clean up a few areas giving a finished landscaping appearance.  We spread red cedar mulch around the front of the house, in a garden bed sandwiched between the house and sidewalk, and a larger garden bed at the side by the kitchen window and stairs to the upper sunporch.  I had been dealing with earwigs getting in through the kitchen window and kitchen patio doors.  The kitchen is mainly below grade with the window about four inches off the ground.  My gosh did the cedar mulch ever smell good!

Cedar has long been used for insect control such as moths and silverfish.  The most common use of cedar is in cedar chests.  In fact we have one closet lined with tongue and groove cedar.   I don't know why I did not think of using cedar as a natural control for the problematic insects getting into our house.  Shortly after spreading the cedar mulch, the absence of earwigs was quite apparent.  I haven't seen a pill bug or centipede indoors since spreading the cedar mulch either.  I have seen a couple of small ants on the sidewalk but not the big black ants and not near the house where the cedar mulch is.  I have also noticed fewer spiders.  Now this was an easy, natural solution that solved the problems without having to resort to chemical sprays. 

I have decided that once we get moved to the new house (pending sale of this house) the first thing I will be doing is spreading cedar mulch.  It is a newer house, not on the water but has a pool and it is a bi-level so has the potential of insects getting indoors.  Now if the cedar mulch repels rodents I will be elated as the new house backs onto a field.  From experience at the last two homes, when the fields are harvested the field mice will get into the house if at all possible. 

At any rate, I am extremely pleased with the cedar mulch.  We get the nice, finished look with the added bonus of insect control.  It will need to be topped up each year or at least that's how often we do it in Florida.  It is a bit more expensive for the initial application.  We used 10 - 3 metre large bags at a cost of $7.97 each but topping up won't use as much, likely 4 to 5 bags.  It's not difficult to spread either. 
 
Garden Gnome
©2006-2011


Monday, July 11, 2011

House Sale Update - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

My apologies for not updating sooner.  We arrived home from our spring vacation to see my husband being hospitalized.  So it has been rather interesting here to say the least.  Our house has been for the most part on the market since March 2010.  We went private after returning home then reduced the price  dramatically because we really want to close on our new house.  It's back with a real estate agent.  The new price is getting a lot of interest but so far no offers. 

We are continuing to do the spit and shine.  We had a concrete firm come in to raise our sidewalk and we have put down a lot of new cedar mulch.  The outside is looking really good!  We are continuing to do smaller projects indoors as well.   This week we are replacing the drop ceiling tiles in the laundry room.  It will make that room looks a bit brighter.  Next on the list is painting the master bedroom.  We will go with a neutral colour.  And so we plug along, hoping for an offer...

Garden Gnome
©2006-2011