Thursday, May 6, 2021

Trying to catch up

Hi there! Sorry I was gone for so long again. Blogging seems different to me lately. I'm finding more and more bloggers are "doing their thing" on Instagram instead of keeping up with their blogs and it's easy to understand why. Posting one photo and a blurb takes a few minutes versus a blog post that can take at least an hour by the time you're done uploading and editing photos and writing a post. I sometimes simply lose my writing mojo, too.

Yard work continues around Comfy House. Brian recently finished cutting down a bunch of dead tree branches that were overhanging the fence. Not our trees, nor our fence. This is the neighbor with the dreaded mulberry tree. We desperately need some professional help with landscaping this year. We have a huge bare spot in back of our house where we had a lilac bush dug out last year. It runs most of the back of our house where there's barely any sun. We can't even get grass to grow there. We also need some landscaping done on both sides of the sidewalk (we tried ourselves - and failed) and we'd like to have bushes planted in front of our house. We need a load of fresh dirt spread under the arborvitae trees that line our back yard. We've had a couple of landscapers out here for estimates but they didn't work out. Another is coming tomorrow afternoon. They have excellent online reviews so we're crossing our fingers.

May is one of my favorite months. The landscape is finally lush and green and beautiful and all the plants are coming to life. The weather is still fickle...daytime temps can be anywhere from the high 40's - low 80's and you never know if it's going to be sunny or rainy. We've grilled twice and patio season has started - hooray!

Some plants around my yard right now ~

Bleeding Heart...


Bishops Cap...

Peonies about to burst open...

Celandine Poppy...

Hostas lining the walkway to the patio...

I made my first trip of the year to a favorite garden center last week.

It's still a bit early for there to be much to choose from, as far as annuals go. You can see that they start all their annuals from seed and that a lot of plants are just now growing.

So all I came home with were some lettuces (which have doubled in size since last week) and a couple of herbs. 

I normally don't buy a lot of plants at the big box stores, but the other day I was grabbing a few groceries and there was a Home Depot in the same shopping center. I stopped in to look around and found daisies ~ one of my favorites. I only grabbed two plants, thinking I'd plant them in a smaller planter, but the plants were too big. My neighbor-friend just passed along this lovely planter to me, so it was perfect for the daisies. I need just one more to fill in the area in the back of the planter.

Now for the not-so-fun stuff. I mentioned in my last post that we were busy with some projects, one of which was some updates in the kitchen. We are still looking for a general contractor. A good one is hard to find! The one we thought we were going to use turned out where they hardly do any of the work themselves; they simply suggested other businesses that could do each job. We do not want to hire five different contractors just for some kitchen updates! Another contractor that was supposed to stop by a couple of days ago to give us an estimate simply didn't show up. I didn't receive a phone call, email or text - nothing. 

We decided to start with something easy - a new ceiling fan in the kitchen. I know some people don't like ceiling fans in kitchens, but we happen to love having one in there. I do a lot of cooking, plus this is where family and friends tend to congregate, as the kitchen truly is the "heart of the home". In the warm months, the extra breeze from the fan is a big plus. We've never had a problem with grease on the fan. We hired an electrician because we needed some other electrical work done in the house, as well. We went out and bought a ceiling fan we thought would work, but dummy us didn't measure how far down the fan would hang. Turns out this fan is 1) way too low, 2) way too dark for our kitchen and 3) way too bright since the light is LED and we don't have a dimmer switch. And...we still have dead zones around the kitchen with one big LED light, so we need recessed lighting in the ceiling, too. So now we are stuck with a fan we hate until we find another one. The electrician said we should get one that comes with a remote where we can control the brightness of the light or else he can install a dimmer switch on another type of fan. We also obviously need a flush mount fan. And I think a white one would be best. Of course, the big box stores don't have anything like this in stock. It would have to be special ordered. Who would've thunk that something as simple as a ceiling fan could get so complicated?

The excitement doesn't stop there. When the electrician was up in the attic, he found torn screening hanging down from the center of the attic ceiling and a big pile of dead leaves. He said it looked like we had a nest of squirrels in there over the winter! We couldn't believe it. We haven't heard a thing scratching or scurrying. And Brian was understandably upset because a neighbor-friend who's a roofer just did some minor repairs on our roof last fall. So these naughty rodents must've chewed through something to get into the attic. Brian got on the phone to an exterminator right away and they're coming out tomorrow morning. We also recently discovered - via our cat Monkey - that we have mice in the basement. Oh, the joys of home ownership! Now that we're *ahem*, getting older, I am starting to see why people move into townhouses or condos when they retire. Sometimes all this upkeep is just too much.

(sunset on our neighborhood lake)

Thanks for hanging in there with me and my sporadic blogging as of late. Hope you all are doing well and staying healthy and safe.


  1. Oops, cheeky little critters sure have been extra sneaky it seems. Good luck with getting anyone to do things you are looking to get done. Doesn't sound like you've had a lot of luck so far. Your kitchen looks neat and tidy. Can't tell that the fan is too low but maybe someone needs to be standing under it. :) I think hanging out with the plants in the garden might be the best thing to do, as long as the weather cooperates. HA! Beautiful sunset photo. Take care.

  2. I hope you find a good contractor! We used Lowe's when we remodeled our kitchen and bath, but they did not do electric or plumbing. Luckily we didn't need any electric or plumbing done. We changed out our own light fixtures and didn't move anything around. I will say we are enjoying living in a condo after all the years of working on maintaining a home!

  3. I love your yard pictures. I keep saying over and over that it seems like our yards are much greener earlier this year. I feel like everything is blooming earlier too. Maybe it isn't or maybe my perspective is different. Probably because of last year. :) Your garden looks beautiful, as always.

    I love a ceiling fan in a kitchen. I wish I had one because I always get warm in mine while cooking, even in winter. I think yours looks beautiful but you have to live with it and understand why you may have concerns.

    Happy May!

  4. Yes, homeownership is not for the faint of heart! I've been thinking about that lately, too. My brother and my sister both sold their houses during the pandemic and bought charming condos and they are loving their new pads. Someone comes to shovel in winter and service the lawn in summer and they just turn the key and smile. Must be nice! Good luck with your fan and your "furry friends"...yikes. That would freak me out, too. Spend more time in your garden, it's lovely!!

  5. Working with contractors is not a fun job. We've always been DIYers, but it is getting harder and taking longer these days. Lol. Jess and Greg and Nick did some drywall work in Jess's dining room last fall, but the finishing just wasn't happening. She was able to hire a guy whose wife she knew, and he did a good job, but left the place a mess every day. Maybe our expectations were too high, but I don't think it's asking too much for a contractor to pick up his trash or sweep up after himself before he leaves the job each day. Anyway, I feel your pain in trying to find one who does good work for a fair price.

    We've been looking online for some remote-controlled ceiling fans for the living room and master bedroom. There are not a ton of choices, and I really need to see them before I buy. I don't have a ceiling fan in the kitchen, but only because our ceilings are slanted and it would be too low for most people to walk through safely. I keep a small fan on the counter to help move the air while I'm working in the kitchen.
    Not much gardening here yet - next week after it warms up again, I'll get out there and plant things before the heat/humidity settle in. The kids only have a week and a half of school left, then I'll have some helpers for the garden.

  6. Well I'm sorry to say you've made me feel better.
    In February we had to replace appliances that were 25 years old. That was quite a chunk and installation which we thought would be easy was not and required parts that no one even mentioned we'd need so we had to wait for those to come in to get appliances in.

    Now it's mowing season. John is just now ordering ANOTHER part for the lawn mower that he's determined to make last one more season. I told him at the rate we're going we're averaging about what a payment would be on a new one each month. Sigh. Then there are are the leaks, stopped drains, the dog digging out the foundation of the shed or digging up the propane gas line to the house, etc. etc. I asked John if we're ever going to get to any of the 'fun' things like new baths and laundry room or kitchen anytime this lifetime?

    I was very lucky when we had the work done on our underpinning and porch two summers ago because I saw the man working on a neighbor's house and stopped to ask him to come by. He showed up within a couple of minutes, got me an estimate within two weeks and had the work done in about two weeks more time. HE contracted the cement guy to come do what needed to be concrete, we didn't have to do a thing but pay Mr. Marshall himself. I've asked John to call him to do estimates on some of the 'fun' jobs we want done but the mower is eating any funds I might save towards that so just as well he's procrastinated on it.

    But yes, I too see that getting older and maintaining a household is going to be interesting in the years ahead.

    And just for added interest, I now own a second house that must also be kept up...Oh joy!

  7. We live in a townhouse/condo and believe me, there is still lots of repair and updating to be done. The only difference is that our yard is smaller, but we are still doing some work in our courtyard area. We had a contractor come out this week to write a bid on completely redoing one of our upstairs bathrooms. We had the same contractor do our other upstairs bathroom the summer before last. We decided we didn't want to have a lot of contractors in and out during Covid. We have a ceiling fan in our dining room and our master bedroom. We like ceiling fans. I sure hope you can find some good contractors to work on your house. The pictures of your home always reflect the title of your blog. You really do have a comfy home. Have a good weekend.

  8. Ahhhh your garden is coming to life. How wonderful. Hope you enjoy your mother's day even if Tim is in California. You are a special mom and deserve a nice day. Enjoy. xoxo

  9. I am so glad you posted. I love Instagram but I find that it really lacks the connection you make with bloggers. Sounds like you have been super busy. I went to my friends house yesterday and weeded, planted and mulched for her. I have a raging headache now but it was worth it because she needed it done and can't get down on the ground to do it herself. Stay safe my friend.

  10. My husband will be retiring in 5 years and we plan to sell our current house. It's too big, plus we have 40 acres and a guest house. Way too much upkeep for the future. We've got a lot of decisions to make for our retirement home but ease of care and upkeep are near the top of the list!

  11. I love reading your blog posts, there's something about blogs that are heartwarming and personal. When you read them you truly get to know the person that is writing and many times like with you, I've developed a friendship that is close at heart even though we'll probably never meet in person. You don't get that from Instagram. Instagram is cold and impersonal. It's just not the same. So, I hope you don't decide to do it, instead of blogging. I know taking the time to put together a blog post is not always easy, but as Martha Stewart says, "it's a good thing".
    I hope you find some competent and trustworthy contractors, they are out there.
    Wishing you a happy week :)

  12. I always enjoy your posts, they are like getting a letter from a friend. Instagram is fun, too, but in a different way. Your gardens always make me a wee bit envious at all the plants you can grow in your area. The bleeding hearts, ferns, hostas. We can put in hostas, but they aren't nearly as lush as what you see in the midweast. And ferns, forget it! It's just too dry here. It's fun seeing what grows in other parts of the country. I do have a shady area that Lily of the Valley has taken to. Perhaps an idea for your back fence area.
    Good luck getting the home projects taken care of. Home maintenance can be a pain, but it's so nice having a place to call your own. If I could, I would have a ceiling fan in every room in the house!

  13. Ugh! You have a lot of frustrating things going on now. Finding a good contractor can be a real challenge. Do you have any neighbors who might have a good suggestion? So sorry to hear about those little varmints in your attic. We had them in our last house and ended up spending a lot to have them captured and then even more to seal off all of their potential entry spots. I hope you are finding plenty of opportunity to get away from the frustrations in your lovely garden. Everything looks so pretty and healthy.

  14. Enjoyed your update Melanie! I well understand your dilemma with blogging, yet while life still gets so busy, I do enjoy visiting with my dear blogging friends, and I do love it so much. Relationships are so important to me, and I love the dear ladies I meet who blog. I enjoyed all your renovating ideas and issues, as it seems no matter what you try to do, there are so many decisions to make. I hope the contractors and landscapers show up and do the work you need them to do! Blessings and hugs :)

  15. I've been thinking about the futility of my blog too. Does anyone actually read it? Instagram is so much easier! But I do like having a monthly record of what's blooming, so I'll continue indefinitely, even if only my mom reads it. Ha!

  16. I love the gray of your house with the yellow door. How welcoming! You are now in your garden where I was several months ago.


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