May 25, 2011
- a bat house is no beauno. Pete has put the ix-nay on that considering we back to woods with "natural" bat houses. It is true, we see plenty of bats playing in the evening air around our properties so no real need to attract more.
- fabric softener sheets= may help a bit. Last night I went out to work on my garden at dusk after work, and besides wearing leggings and high boots, I coated myself in Off and stuck fabric softener sheet around my person. One at the top of each boot and another in my ponytail. All bites received last night were on my lower back and upper thighs. I witnessed the bugs wanting (I could just tell they wanted to) to bite my knees and shins but ultimately steering clear of that area. No telling in how many sheets of fabric softener are needed for full body protection.
I'm wary of eating the raw garlic clove at day trick. Supposedly it makes you smell bad to mosquitoes, but I've tried it before for other health reasons and consuming raw garlic daily makes you smell bad in general. Garlic smell wafting outta your pores on the regular does not make you any friends. Unless you don't want friends. Then I highly recommend you swallow crushed raw garlic cloves with honey everyday before breakfast. Everyone will steer very clear, humans and bugs alike.
May 23, 2011
If you guessed a wee hornet nest you'd be right. This 1" mini city in the clouds was inside my (quite rusty) wheelbarrow. Sucks for the hornets, but I had to destroy the tiny nest being as how I a) hate hornets b) I had to use the wheelbarrow for an actual purpose and c) am not in the business of hornet farming.
Quite a difference in size when you compare this to the bee hive I found inside the Wee house while tearing out walls...
May 19, 2011
We also took advantage of the tractor by using to help us plant our long talked about willow tree. One of our long term landscaping goals was also to grow a weeping willow tree in the back of the back yard by the stream. The area is the perfect spot for planting a willow, they love being near a water source, lots of sun and should be kept father from structures with foundations since the root system can be extensive.
May 13, 2011
This weekend I told Pete that I'm pretty sure mosquitoes subscribe to a newsletter that clues them in on my location, if there is one lonely bug in a zip code then it will find me. Or if there are 50 million, they will all find me for feasting on. Just me. I can be right next a group of people and no one else will walk away with bites. Something about my A+ blood makes their tiny little insect hearts sing with happiness.
The bites cause a major reaction on me as well, they get all puffy and itch like hell for days. Especially compared to Pete, who usually gets a bump that is gone in two days. I also don't usually stop scratching until I start bleeding and a teeny bit beyond that point. Which all makes for some (not very)attractive legs in the summer...
Part of me really wants to include a picture of my legs just so you can all see I'm not being a drama queen. My legs get tore up in the summer because of bugs. the other part of me doesn't want to gross out my readers with legs that look like they've laid down in an ants nest covered in honey.
The point of all this is to ask for help. I would like to spend my 28th summer not looking like I bug bitten mess. For once I don't want to have to wear pants in august because the bites look like my lower legs have been attacked by some ravenous beast, and I don't want to have to go through a box of band-aids a week trying to make the bites heal without scars.
Please, give me any tricks you know of to get the skeeters away. I'll do and try them all. Anything from skin so soft to pure deet to eat three cloves of garlic a day is welcome advice. Has anyone had luck with lawn treatments? I currently coat myself in Off before leaving the house and multiple times a day when working outside. But I still get bites. Lots of bites. Including one under my eye that makes me look like I've been rumbling in alleys with dancing gang members that carry switch-blades.
May 11, 2011
Side yard waiting for clean -up.
May 10, 2011
The pile afterward the massive pick through, see the post from yesterday for the before shot.
It took us 13 minutes to clear the trailer. Boom. Done.
May 9, 2011
The dirt delivery was just the kick off of our hard working weekend! Anyone else accomplish a ton during this past weekend? Or did you get to enjoy fabulous weather without having cheap dirt stuck to the sweat that was all over your body?
May 3, 2011
Good news: They'll take it.
Bad news: They won't take it if it has wallpaper attached.
Dream Killing News: Every inch of our house has wallpaper on top of the plaster.
For about five minutes I debated how practical it would be to scrape off a century's worth of wallpaper from all remaining plaster surfaces of our house before demoing the plaster for recycling. Then I remembered- our old wallpaper seemed to be put up with a permanent sticking charm. No amount of warm vinegar/fabric softener water will loosen the wallpaper's death grip on our walls and this delusional plan of mine shouldn't even be attempted.
So we're back to square one when it comes time demo the rest of our walls. Buckets and paying for the county dump. Fun times.
May 2, 2011
This year Pete and I have been focusing on lowering our financial output. Which is a fancy pants way of saying we've busy been searching out ways to save our dollars. You always read advice in how to save that has you watching the nickles and dimes, but we decided to attack with the big guns and go after a few ginormous bills that where making our checkbooks weep.
Besides, I already brew my morning cup of coffee at home and forgo the fancy afternoon lattes.
First up was the home insurance on the Wee house. Do you have any idea how much coverage on a vacant property that is in the midst renovation costs? It is mind-blowingly expensive. When when we got the coverage it was hard to find someone who would even write the policy for us.
What? You don't want to insure this hot mess of a house that is sitting empty and gutted? I can't even imagine why...
A few months ago, Pete's parents found themselves with an empty house that they needed to insure. They got refered to a company that writes vacant property policies and the quote came in way less than what we were paying. Call us flabbergasted. We raced to the phone and inquired about a policy for ourselves. Turns out, we could get the same coverage we have now ( we have a few riders on our policy for injury because of the reno's ) through them for about $1,500 less than our current payment. Yeah...That is comma in our savings amount.
Needless to say, we switched insurance and are super happy to put that money into the garage and renovations instead.
Next up was our Wtown taxes. New Jersey has notoriously high property taxes. It is a fact of life for living in the Garden State and the price we all pay for being with a 30 minute drive to mall or Target at any location in the state. Way back in 2007, when the market was still *hot*, our entire town got reassessed on the home values and after that reassessment our property taxes doubled. Which was not so awesome.
Last year we failed to sell our house for something very close to the assessed value. (Also not awesome). Which led us to believe something along the lines of " Hey. The town is wrong. We can't sell our house for this much, so it can't be worth X amount." So this tax year, we filed for the lowering of our property assessment, which would lower our property taxes.
The whole petitioning process cost us $5 and about an hours worth of time in filling out forms. We asked for an insanely low amount, but it was also the price that we honestly think that our house could possibly sell for if we needed to unload it asap. So there was some justification in our minds for the price point we choose. The adjuster called us, and basically was like " um, how are you asking for this price? There is no way you're house could be worth this little when compared to the comps."
Ahhh we beg to differ...
None of those other comps have a train running next to their house. And despite all the appraisers, property assessors, real estate agents and mortgage lenders we've had out to the house- not one person can give us a nailed down price on how much the train hurts the value of our home.
We met with the lovely lady who came by to inspect the digs, there was home tour conducted of casa and property. She sat down with us and agreed with our appeal. Not quite for the rock bottom price we proposed, but that was a long shot anyway. We reached a happy middle number and signed off on the OK. The new taxable assessment is about 12.5k lower than the previous amount and brings our taxes down a sweet couple hundred a year.
Despite the fact that it means our house has lost value (uh-duh) I'm still filing this whole tax appeal process as #winning.
Did I mention that we got notice that our college rental property taxes are going up? Oh, I haven't? Well that is long story for another time, but in the shortest summary: Taxes are going up the exact amount we just saved between the insurance and appeal.