Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

Periwinkle — A sign of Spring

March 22, 2022

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

When the periwinkle in our yard starts to put on a show, we can be fairly confident that Spring has arrived.  We may still have a few days of cold weather ahead, but these beautiful flowers mean better days are coming.

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire?

December 15, 2020

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We really didn’t have chestnuts roasting on this fire, but we did still have a wood-burning fireplace when this picture was taken. (We switched to propane when the Old Man got too old to keep cutting and splitting the firewood).

But even if these weren’t any chestnuts, I like the peaceful setting of this scene in our home on a cold December night.

Unexpected Vistors

August 11, 2020

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

I was working on our container roses along the driveway last year (2019) when I suddenly noticed I was not alone — I had a ‘helper’. We usually don’t like deer to be among our flowers, but this little fellow was so cute that I didn’t mind his presence.

He (or she) was obviously very young; somewhat unsteady on his feet, but he did manage to get around without too much trouble.

My young visitor went into the grass near our bench and checked up on an even smaller young one. It was a younger brother or sister.

By this time I had gotten Betsy out into the yard with me. There is a vacant lot next to our lot, and we thought perhaps Momma Deer was in there, but we couldn’t see her. While I was looking for Momma, the littlest deer seemed to be asking Betsy if she was his Mommy.

We decided that the only way Momma Deer was going to come and reclaim her little ones would be if we weren’t around, so we went into the house. Later we checked and there were no little ones around.

Throughout the rest of Spring and early Summer we would occasionally see a female deer with two fawns on the golf course behind our house. We like the think that those were ‘our’ little ones just checking up on us.

Iris on Parade

July 3, 2018

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

We had very strange weather here on the Cumberland Plateau in late winter and early spring. February was unusually warm, while April was much colder than normal. As a result we were kept wondering about how well our plants and flowers would do, But once we got into May the irises started putting on a show. The iris above is Mother Earth. I really like these colors.

Cable car is another iris we’ve enjoyed for several years. I like the unusual colors of this iris.

Eugenia King is a relatively new iris in our yard. But she still puts on a nice display.

I had to include My Beautiful Bride’s favorite iris, although I think she likes it as much for the name as anything else. This is Tennessee Vol, and is a must-have iris for any die-hard University of Tennessee fan.

It’s That Time of Year

September 16, 2010

Wood delivered to our house. September 15, 2010.

In her blog Wednesday, Betsy told about the chimney sweep who came to give our chimney its annual cleaning.

Yesterday the reason for needing our chimney cleaned was delivered.  A dump truck dumped a load of firewood in our side yard.  It seems strange that firewood was delivered on the hottest day we’ve had all week, but that’s the way it worked out.  Now I’ll get to keep warm by stacking it.

This is actually wood that we will burn next year.  We purchase our wood a year in an advance so that we can season it and it will burn well.  We do go through quite a bit of firewood each year.  Our fireplace is in the Great Room and puts out enough heat to keep that room nice and toasty even on the coldest nights.

Wood that has been stacked and ready for use this year. September 15, 2010.

The picture above shows our wood pile with the wood we will burn this year.  I’ll have to split some of the thicker pieces so they will burn to the satisfaction of my Beautiful Bride, so this wood will warm me twice — once when I split it and once when I burn it.

Oh, well, Betsy is happy that this wood will keep me out of trouble for a few days at least.

I Wasn’t Looking for This Type of Water Flow

December 14, 2009

Plumbers at work in our front yard. October 13, 2009.

Let me begin by saying that Betsy and I had a wonderful weekend waterfalling in east Tennessee and western North Carolina.  We saw several new waterfalls and had a wonderful hike on Friday.

The weather forecast for Saturday night and Sunday was very iffy — there was the possibility of ice, sleet and rain and/or snow.  So we decided to come on home Saturday evening instead of traveling on Sunday.

It was after dark when we pulled into the driveway and the first thing we saw was water flowing across the driveway.  We both remarked that there must have been a lot of rain, because we hadn’t seen water flowing across the driveway since I built the new wall in the front yard.


When Betsy went to check on her bird feeders on the back deck, she noticed that the deck was dry.  She then noticed that we had no water in the house.  So, flashlight in hand, I checked the front yard and saw water gushing up through the cover of the water meter.

We called the water utility and a man came out to turn off the water and check the problem.  He found a crack in the line leading to the house about three inches on our side of the meter (sigh!).

They came to the rescue!

To make a long story short, our friendly plumbers came by Sunday and fixed the line and turned the water back on.  They also told me where I could get the tool to turn off the water at the meter.  If I do that, any leaks while we’re gone have to be on the utility’s side!

The Joys of Home Ownership

July 28, 2009


I usually take part in the My World meme on Tuesday, but I’m skipping this week.

When I woke up yesterday (Monday) morning, I had my day all planned out.  The front lawn needed mowing, there were weeds in a periwinkle bed that needed to be pulled, and I had more work to do on a retaining wall I’m building along the road.  With luck I could get much of that work done before it got uncomfortably hot outside (summer has returned to the Plateau).

Then I went into the kitchen and turned on the lights . . . only half of them came on.  My day went down hill from there.

Don’t get me wrong — I really like our house and think it is just about perfect.  But the lighting in the kitchen is one thing that I would change if I could.  We have two eight-foot long fluorescent light fixtures in the kitchen, above a drop-down ceiling composed of  plastic ‘screens’.  To get to the fixtures the first thing that needs to be done is remove some of the screens.

I hoped against hope that the problem was just a bad bulb, but switching bulbs between the fixture that worked and the fixture that didn’t work produced no change.  The bulbs were fine.

The next possibility was a bad ballast.  We’ve had to replace the fixtures since we’ve lived here and we got our replacement fixtures at Lowe’s.  So we wrote down all the numbers we could find on the old ballast and headed to Lowe’s.  Of course the old ballast was no longer available, so we purchased an ‘equivalent’ ballast and headed back home.

I was able to get the new ballast into the fixture without any problems, but that’s when I noticed that the wires weren’t long enough to reach the two ends of the fixture.  Much experimentation showed that there was no way I could attach the ballast to the fixture (necessary to ground the ballast) and get the wires to reach both ends of fixture.  So I did some splicing, taped all the splices well, and put everything back together.  I put the bulbs back into the fixture and flipped the switch.  All the lights came on . . . FINALLY!!!  Now all I had to do was put the drop-down ceiling back.

Of course once that was done, the day was practically over.  Needless to say, I didn’t get much done on that list I had in mind when I woke up.

Maybe we should consider renting.

At Least I Don’t Need to Mow There Now

July 6, 2009


I’ll be the first to say that I really like our house.  But there is one thing about it that is giving me increasing problems as I get older.  Our house (and lot) is lower than the house next to us.  Our lot is lower than the lot across the street as well.  The result is a fairly steep drop from the road to a depression in our lawn which serves as a path for runoff water after a hard rain.

That slope, on each side of the driveway, has gotten steeper with each passing year.  It is just hard to mow.  The area around our mail box was especially hard to mow.  When a house was built across the street, that mailbox was put next to ours and made a bad situation even worse.

Since I’m always looking for ways to avoid work, I built the small retaining wall and built up the area between it and the road enough to put in some plantings.  Right now it contains hens and chicks (sempervivum) and periwinkle.  We’ll probably add some pansies for color in the fall.  The wall  extends about six feet before tapering out where I can mow without any problems.

Now I just have to come up with a solution to the other side of the driveway, where the slope steeper and longer.

Our Woodpile is Shrinking

January 22, 2009


Our woodpile is shrinking.

This cold snap, and an earlier one in November, have put a dent in our woodpile as you can see from the picture above.

We usually have a fire in the fireplace when the temperature drops below 40°.  We have a fire because a certain blonde in my life likes fireplace fires and also because it helps warm the house.  In the past we’ve had fires mostly in the evenings while watching TV, but it’s been so cold for the past week that we’ve tried to keep the fire going through the night.  I’m not sure if it will help us make up for TVA’s rate hikes, but the heat usually comes on only in the early morning about dawn.  When we get up we get the fire going good again and the heat usually goes off for the rest of the day.

We get our wood cut to length, but I usually split some of the bigger pieces.  That gives me something to do during the day.  I can get even more exercise by carrying the wood from the woodpile to the garage.

We try to maintain a two-year supply of wood so that it has plenty of time to age before we burn it.  So although this year’s pile is dwindling, we still have plenty of wood.  But in spite of that I sure would like things to warm up.

My World # 14

January 19, 2009

Our roses in the snow.  January 19, 2008.

Our roses in the snow. January 19, 2009.

This is my posting for the My World meme, which last week had 102 people sharing their worlds with us. To join in, click HERE.

As most of you know, my beautiful bride loves snow.  She has been disappointed by the lack of snow this winter.  But we finally got some during the day on Monday, as you can see from the picture above.  So Betsy is now feeling a little happier, although she’s hoping for an additional 3 or 4 inches!

I have to admit that I’m not as enthusiastic about the snow as Betsy is.  The picture also shows a part of one of our rose beds, and the roses sure do look cold.  I want to see them green and in bloom!

Snow on our jasmine bush.  January 19, 2009.

Snow on our jasmine bush. January 19, 2009.

I know Betsy would like to have more snow, so I tried to make it look as if we had more snow than we actually did by taking this close up of snow on the jasmine bush.

My world this week was gray, cloudy and cold.  I’m hoping it will be brighter, sunnier and warmer next week!