Perennial Succulents and The Back Fence is DONE!

The view of the final gate from the backyard of the Cottage East.

Oh, happy days, my loyal readers! I am pleased to finally announce that the back perimeter of our properties has been fully secured.

D’Oh!

But first, a little pie in face. We went out this morning, bright and early, and quickly learned that the lumber and pickets we had set out for the last gate were missing. Yep, we had fencing out there for WEEKS but someone decided that it was too good an opportunity to pass up with it sitting right next to where it was to be installed and they absconded with it.

We felt dumb. It was around $50 in materials.

So when we went to Lowe’s to pick up the lumber, I stopped and purchased a set of four locks, one for each of the new gates, all keyed to the same key set, one for Dave and one for me.

The entire back fence is now locked down tight.

I took a look at the Cottage East’s backyard and there were a few thin spots in the underbrush, enough that I could see folks trying to shove their way through, so I moved a nearby pile of dead brush and branches against it. It would take some doing to get over and through it, and that should hold us steady.

Now folks can still sashay into our yards from Tenth Street, but they would have to go back the way they came because it is flat-out IMPOSSIBLE to go through that fence without either a key or serious climbing skills.

Perennial Succulents

These darlings were a great topic of study for homeschool science this past week. My daughter learned about their care and gave me some great tips for planting them. I had purchased a whole mess of them, 25 in total.

Several have gone in their own pots, planters, and at different spots in the yard. When I was in the alley re-positioning some old tree stumps I happened across one I knew I could re-purpose.

So I lugged this thing up to the front yard. I want folks to get to see it! I shoved a whole mess of dirt from our compost heap into it and planted the remainder of the succulents inside.

I can’t wait for them to dig in, reproduce and fill up the space. They will look fantastic!

Get ‘Em While the Getting is Good

By the way, now is the perfect time to buy ferns. I found mine at Lowe’s which had them marked to half of the original price, so just $7.50. As you can see from the picture above, they are HUGE!

I’ll bring these two inside when the temperatures drop and overwinter them in our art room which has a good southern exposure. Next year I can either set them out in these pots I transplanted them into or divide them up (i.e. hack them into quarters ruthlessly) and add them to the hanging planters that adorn our wraparound porch.

I’ve been on a mission this past few years to accumulate/propagate ferns by purchasing them in the fall on sale, overwintering them, and then using them again in the spring. With 22 hanging baskets, buying them over and over each spring would be prohibitive!

How Odd…

I have never seen this before and had to share it.

The seeds in this tomato are sprouting!

I showed it to my daughter Emily, she found it quite fascinating.

No More Paycheck to Paycheck

A while back I talked about getting to the point where we weren’t “a paycheck away from the streets.” And while we were certainly already in a good spot, I had sit down and really look at it from the angle of “Should I be focusing on building our savings or making sure there is a solid three week cushion in place?”

Now, without getting specific we are doing just fine, but I don’t believe in sitting on my laurels (or in eating bonbons by the poolside), so fine is nice, but fine doesn’t help us if I get horrifically ill and can’t work or the government has one of those financial all-stops that occurs when the boys in D.C. can’t agree on the budget. Or if Trump gets a bug up his butt and decides to do away with NOAA (small chance, but still!) where my husband works.

So I took the plunge and decided that I had to have a MINIMUM of three weeks worth of funds in our checking account. I moved money from savings, I pulled it from the renovation budget (and damn, that hurt because I really  want to see these projects done ASAP) and as it stands at the moment we have approximately four plus weeks worth of funds in the bank. I hope to keep it close to that amount. That would be really nice.

I was also pleased to see that our debt reduction is continuing at a solid pace – over $3,000 of debt reduction last month alone!

We work hard for this to happen. We buy used clothes, shop at Aldi’s and discount groceries, we rideshare to avoid parking costs at Dave’s work (that and him working just five minutes away is saving us over $150 a month in fuel and approximately $1500 per year in maintenance), and carefully parcel out our dining out expenditures.

I recently made the decision to focus on my writing and to not take on any new cleaning clients. When one of my current clients told me she needed to stop cleaning services for a while, I told her that I probably would not be filling her spot, but I also would likely not be available for cleanings in the future. It means that if I can’t make the writing pay, our budget will slowly reduce over time. OR I’ll start making money on my writing. Here’s hoping it’s the latter!

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