Monday, October 19, 2020

A year later...

Well it has been a little over a year since our last blog post! 

What a year it has been. As most of you know we decided to settle back down in the Asheville, NC area. We bought a house in Weaverville, which puts us about 15 minutes north of downtown Asheville. There are days when we miss our full-time travels, but with the current state of affairs we are pretty happy to be settled down. 

The day we moved in
We moved into our house on June 18, 2019. It is a 3-bedroom home sitting on an acre of land. About a third of it is cleared where the house sits, surrounded by lawn and gardens. The rest of the property is treed, both the hill behind our house that leads to a flat section of land, and the slope down to the creek in front of our house. 

While we are just minutes from shopping we feel like we are in the middle of nowhere. A definite win-win for us. We love the privacy and the fact we can get to a store or restaurant (well, brewery really) in short order.

The past year has been filled with home improvements to the house (not much needed to the house except our personal touches) and the yard. We have added and upgraded the raised garden beds. 
Nancy is becoming quite the herbalist, in fact she is taking an online Master Herbalist class. New flower gardens have been added to both ends of the house, along with one in front next to the walkway.

On our back hill we have planted heather (appropriately Irish Dusk and Swedish Yellow) and flowers. Plus we have added steps leading to the property at the top of the hill -  that is still an ongoing project, waiting for cooler weather this fall to finish it up. 

We have planted Blackberries, thanks to our friends Barb and Steve. They were the owners of the campground we were staying at when we bought the house. They gave us a bunch of plants and they are doing great here. There were two new apples trees here when we moved in. Blueberries and Raspberries have been added to the mix. 

The front stone walkway has been refurbished, it was a true labor of love, while pulling all the weeds Nancy discovered the original small stones were buried under all the dirt. So she dug it all up and sifted the stones out of the dirt. By the way, that sifter was in our first home in Detroit, 40 years ago!!! It looks so much better. A funny story regarding the colored marbles you see in the bottom left picture. 
Nancy laid out 400 blue and green marbles to imitate a river. During the week we waited for an additional 400 to come in to finish it off, the original ones disappeared. Yep, all 400 of them. - gone. They are nowhere to be found. 
We believe the local crows have taken them, and are leaving us pennies in return. They need to step up their game if they are going to pay for all of the marbles! 
We also have added solar lights to the walkway and deck - it is rather dark here at night! 
Speaking of Solar - the biggest project was having Solar Panels installed on our roof. The entire back roof (south side) is covered end to end, and we have one panel on the front of the house.

The project was finished last September and we discovered over the winter that the sun was blocked by some of the trees on our back hill. So early spring we had 15 trees cut down - don't worry we still have plenty left.

One of the guys on the solar crew had his dog with him - he is a big sweet baby and Mielikki loved having a playmate.  While taking the trees down - the tree crew found two metal chairs under a bunch of vines. 

The tree trunks will one day be the path of our labyrinth that we plan to create. 

The second big project was installing an RV pad for the Beast. This was the whole reason for buying a house with land. The original plan was to turn it into an Airbnb, but Covid has put that on hold. We got the pad in and electricity hooked up, next step will be hooking up water and sewer. One day it will be perfect for guests, both friends and family and paying customers!

We were pretty excited that there were rain barrels - but the existing connection for them was placed way to low on the downspouts - we got new connections and now we can collect all that rain water for our plants - and we have had a ton of rain this year! By the way - that is a wine cork plugging the old connection - Nancy knew her wine drinking would come in handy one day. 😁

We have had some visitors since we moved in - unfortunately not many this year. We had envisioned a revolving door of guests - maybe next year. 
Our first visitors were our niece Lillian and her fiancé Larry. We took them to our favorite place on the Blue Ridge Parkway - a hike to Craggy Pinnacle.  

Second visit was with our niece Jennifer, hubby Jim and son and daughter-in-law Barrett and Emily. More fun on the parkway along with them enjoying Sliding Rock. A new tradition was started - the M & M Challenge. A big bowl of many different types of M & M's - so which one did you get? All of them were just recently here again with the addition of daughter Sophia and boyfriend Sam. Sophia was on her way to Duke University for grad school. Due to Covid we just hung out at the house, which was actually perfect! No pictures - hard to believe but true.

Thanksgiving brought more guests - the first time in many years that our niece Sherrie, hubby Eric and daughter Lilly along with our daughter and son-in-law, Katrina and Steve have spent Turkey Day together. Lots of food, drink and laughter - along with some creative Gingerbread Train decorating. 

Katrina and Steve came for a second visit just a few weeks ago. They got in some hiking and lots of hanging out happened. Mielikki always loves to see Steve. 

Our feeders feed a variety of birds - so fun to watch
We have a number of local visitors on a regular basis. Surprisingly bears are not included in that.  
Turkeys - Deer - Cows and Squirrels 

But all of these creatures have stopped by! 
Spiders - bees - wasp enjoy our plants

Yep - that is a Black Widow
spider in the bottom left pic

Box turtles and lizards! 

Yes we do get snow here but
thankfully not as much
as we got when we
lived in Michigan. 
The deck is great place to relax -
Mielikki has found lots of
new "toys" in our woods!

We will leave you with a few random shots of the outside and what the place looks like now - along with the coolest shed ever!

Hope you have enjoyed the tour - we hope that soon traveling will once again be the normal thing to do and you can come and visit us! 

Watch for future blogs of looking back on our travels - and other adventures we get ourselves into. 

Till we meet again....

Happy Trails to You!