All posts filed under “Moving Into A New House

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Painting the New House

Moving into our new house 4 1/2 months ago, we knew that we were going to have a lot of painting to do and/or have done.

Last week, the painters came to paint the living room, dining room and hallway. Since the stairway area has vaulted ceilings, it wasn’t a “do-it-yourself” project. It would have taken me forever.

We hired a company by the name of Renovation Painting. What a nice group of people they are! Every step of the way they had me check to make sure things were being done the way I wanted them to be. The owner, Wade, was also able to do a minor handyman job for us — lowering the TV a foot down from above the fireplace. Now we don’t feel like we’re in a theatre looking up in the sky to watch our TV.

Olive Colored Walls - Before the Painting

After the Painting - Cream Colored Walls

The difference is like night and day.

The olive color went all the way up stairs. The previous owner was a decorator but I don’t know why she used dark colors for everything.

Before the Painting

After the Painting

Now we need to move the furniture from the family room into the living room. Oh wait! We need to buy family room furniture first.

Little by little this house is starting to look like what we envision.



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Minnesota Autumn

It’s “only” September 14th and the weather has taken a turn — it’s cold! I walked outside and it was 45 with what must be a north wind.

The weatherman warned us about the change for the next couple of days so I went to my winter pile of clothes and pulled out a sweater. I needed more than a sweater this morning.

Yesterday I quickly finished planting the rest of the hyacinth and daffodil bulbs. Our dirt is mostly clay and sand so I’ve had to make several runs to the local Menard’s store to get topsoil. This morning I bought 5 more bags and will mix them in with the current dirt, put a weed cover on top and then add a layer of mulch over the weed cover. All this has to be completed before the first frost which  may be tomorrow.

I’ll be using the cool weather to work in our backyard and do some clean-up. There are quite a few large twigs that I’d like to have removed before winter sets in.

The autumn colors haven’t set in yet although I expect by next week we should see a bit of a change. Our neighbor told us that we don’t have to go to the “north shore” to see colors. (The north shore is the area around Lake Superior which we hear is beautiful all year around.) She explained that since there are so many trees in our neighborhood, the colors are just as brilliant.

It’s our first autumn in Minnesota. Once it’s over, we would have experienced every season here. And, even though last year we broke winter records, I think that so far, I like winter the best. Perhaps autumn will change my mind as that has always been my favorite season.


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Minnesota Dead Trees

With at least 5 dead trees and large broken branches on our property, we had to hire a company to come and fell them. The company’s name was All Seasons Tree Service.

All Seasons Tree Company

They arrived exactly when they said they would. There were 5 of them and it took 3 hours for them to complete their work.

The first project was to remove a large black cherry tree. Although this tree was dead, a large branch was ripped to the ground from it during one of our summer storms.

Black Cherry Tree (in the middle next to the branch on the ground)

It didn’t take long for the worker to saw this tree down.

Black Cherry Tree (after it was sawn down)

Since moving to Minnesota from Seattle last November, I am constantly fascinated by the different lifestyle that I am living. From urban to rural.  I couldn’t help but take a video of the worker cutting down our black cherry tree. It was simply delightful to me. I am enjoying all the “newness” of life.

These new experiences really tickle me inside and make me feel happy. I can’t explain it. Watching a worker (see below) sawing down a tree is pretty cool.

Worker Felling A Tree

Behind the black cherry tree, 2 dead oak trees were taken down — project 2. In Minnesota, the oak trees sometimes get a disease called oak wilt which causes the leaves to turn a bronze color. Oak wilt is a fungus and can be spread from one tree to another via grafted root systems as far away as 50 feet.

The fungus can also be transmitted via a beetle.

If an oak tree is diagnosed with oak wilt, most arborists recommend that the tree be removed immediately. As far as I can tell, there is no treatment for oak wilt so the tree will not recover.

We currently have an oak tree that is looking sickly — the leaves are starting to turn brown although all the other oak trees on our property are not yet changing colors. The arborist told us we should keep an eye on it and see what happens next spring.

Oak trees are very sensitive. They should not be disturbed, i.e. pruned, removed or worked around during the months of January – August. A rule of thumb I was given by an arborist was: Every month that ends in R is a good month to prune an oak tree. I hope the arborists in this area know what they are talking about.

Our third project was having the trees cut into smaller pieces so we can use them as firewood. The pieces aren’t quite small enough yet — we need to either buy a wood splitter or hire someone to do the work for us. Another thing to learn.

The old wood pile that the previous owner made needs some work.


With the cooler weather soon heading our way, this is a project I will be working on very soon so we can have all the logs “cured.” Curing means the logs have to dry out and this can take about a year. We don’t want any critters entering our house when we bring the wood in.


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Great Grey Owl

We had the privilege of seeing a great grey owl in our backyard today. He flew one way and then another. I was only able to capture this picture of him through our window.

Great Grey Owl

Looks like he’s looking right at me.

Since these owls don’t build their own nests, I wonder if he is using the nest of the falcon that was on our property before.

This owl mainly  feeds  on rodents. Yuck! When we bought our house, there were rodent traps already here. Our pest control company has come over twice and told us that the rodent food is being eaten. Well, now the owl can eat them also.

In Minnesota owls may not be shot, captured, transported, or owned without a permit. I don’t know who would want to do that to such a pretty creature.

In spite of all the bugs, I’m glad we live on a treed property where we have so much wildlife that visit us.



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Working In A Treed Lot

I bought my first pair of knee boots to work in the yard. I felt much more at ease working on our property as the tics couldn’t bite my toes. I still sprayed the rest of my body with repellant as we have many deer that have been frolicking around.


The Gorilla Cart that we bought worked really well as we moved the chopped wood that the previous owner of the house left us to a new woodpile that we made. I’m not sure we’ll have to chop any wood this year as we have so much throughout the property.

Gorilla Cart

We have a woodpile with lots of wood further back on our property where the deer like to sit. Our new woodpile is closer to the entry to our garage. Convenient to get to when the Minnesota weather turns cold. Not too close though! There is a driveway in between.


Covered with a brown tarp, one can hardly notice it’s there.

Now — when will I use that chain saw we bought?

[amazon_link id=”B004QAYWCC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Tricam GOR200B-T Gorilla 600 lb Capacity Dumping Cart, Black[/amazon_link]

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Garden Landscaping

I’m getting the itch to do more landscaping. I started in the front yard removing half of the grass. I have the other half of the front to do. Then, I will head to the backyard. So much clean-up to do there.

The deer like our property. Yesterday they were seen frolicking and a doe was having a dispute with a buck. One of the fawns got left behind. She spooked when we headed out to check on her and took off for the woods.

I signed up for a Minnesota library card. How exciting! The library is small but they have lots of computers. I’ll take pictures and post them at a later time.

I checked out my first Minnesota book — Landscaping for Dummies.

[amazon_link id=”0764551280″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Landscaping for Dummies[/amazon_link]

Unfortunately, as I read through some of it, it’s not specific enough for Minnesota so I’ll have to weed through what is relevant.

I fully expect it will take 4-5 years for our property to look the way I would like it to look.


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Coleus Plant

My coleus plants have been doing really well on our shaded back deck.

Coleus Plant

Coleus Plant

In spite of all the rain we get in Minnesota — 2 inches at a time sometimes — the coleus has proven to be a great plant. And, it doesn’t appear to be deer friendly. Yes! I wish it were a perennial instead of an annual though but I’ll settle for what I have — a plant that likes rain and shade. A good plant for Minnesota weather.

[amazon_link id=”0760341184″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Landscaping with Native Plants of Minnesota - 2nd Edition[/amazon_link]


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Electrolux Electric Range

After we moved into our new house the end of April, I wrote a blog about our new appliances.

Now, I’d like to update you on the electrolux electric range.

Electrolux Electric Range

The range and oven both have the wave-touch feature. Wave (with a touch) your hand on the top area of the stovetop and it turns on. The display and keys are easy to read.

The oven works fairly well on bake but one has to adjust the time for the convection oven as it bakes quite quickly.

I have two main problems with this range. The range has a ceramic glass cooktop and we have to be careful what type of pot we use. We had used a flat bottom Wok type frying pan with an aluminum bottom. It should have been fine according to the range manual but when moved on the cooktop, we were left with scratches. One has to be very careful with moving pots on this cooktop.

The second problem is cleaning the cooktop. I use the cooktop cleaner by Magic called Cooktop Magic along with either a dry microfiber cloth or paper cloths. The cleaner works fine but any spills that aren’t cleaned up right away take a long time to remove. I average 20 minutes or more to clean this cooktop — sometimes 30-40 minutes. Ugghhh …

Cooktop Magic

This range is fairly new so we aren’t planning on getting rid of it soon. If I had money just sitting around doing nothing, I would buy a new gas range. Too bad I can’t just “wave” a new gas range into existence.

[amazon_link id=”B001FA1O9K” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Magic Complete Cooktop Cream, 16 Ounce (Pack of 6)[/amazon_link]

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Sitting on our deck, I noticed 2 butterflies flitting around. They were rather unusual looking. Black and white. I had never seen anything like them. They were huge compared to the ones I’ve seen before.

I wonder if it’s a black swallowtail??? I took a picture of it but the butterfly wasn’t close enough for me to capture it well. See if you can find it in the photo I took.

Black and White Butterfly

Nature has so many different varieties of creatures. We have seen so few of them and know so little about them. The phrase “stop and smell the roses” is very appropriate — especially for me, now that I live in the “forest.”


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