Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Sorry, there's no do-over here, but 'oops' is the underlying concept behind a lot of my thoughts lately.  The question?  What the hell was I thinking when I bought this house? 

Oh, I know what I was thinking: housing security in retirement, a place without people on the other side of walls, with their corresponding noises and the corresponding need to be always aware of noise from my own space.  I wanted a project -- something to do, because I wasn't quite ready for the rocking chair and didn't see that happening for a long time.  Grow my own food -- fresh and healthy, always at the ready when it's time to eat.

A lot of hard truths have risen to the surface over the past 9 months:  this place is in need of more time and money and energy than I have to give it, for one.  But, there's not much I can do to change that.  Even if I could sell it in the current housing economy, I'm required to live here for 3 years because of the rebate I got from the government, such as it was.  All I can, and probably will, do is slow down, re-evaluate priorities and needs and do what I can, rather than trying to do it all.  So much is needed that it's hard to know where to cut.  The exterior certainly needs painting. The roof is OK for now, but in a year or so, who knows?  The refrigerator is on its last legs.  Some bracing is needed underneath because of the vibration from that damned washer I wish I'd never bought.  I've got that back room torn apart and need to put it back together.  I want revisions in the kitchen, a dishwasher, revisions in the bath, a carport.  And so much more.

And the garden -- I noticed last summer that I wasn't always very excited about whatever was growing out there.  The tomatoes weren't very good, the squash kept getting bugs, the eggplant was rampant, the peppers so-so, the green beans good but not very productive, and I just wasn't always interested in whatever was there.  I'm finding the same now, with the greens.  That's all that's there -- greens.  Now, when I lived in Eugene I bought large amounts of Swiss chard every week at the farmer's market, along with salad greens and other leafy greens, because I like them.  Now that I have them growing, I've quickly become less interested in them.  They still need to grow some more before they're at all prolific, so I need to be patient.  And heaven knows, there certainly isn't any source for decent fresh veggies in this town.  I stopped buying bagged lettuce and spinach because of contamination problems with so much of that kind of thing.  The local stores don't offer much and there's no farmer's market.  So -- growing food is a good thing and I enjoy it, aside from all the work I've put into it, and all the work that still needs to be done.  Here it is mid-October and I still haven't turned the compost piles this month.  I've been doing it monthly, around the first of every month, but there just hasn't been the energy or time lately.  I'm guessing it won't happen for another couple of weeks.

When I was toiling in the garden over the weekend, I found myself thinking that life would be so much easier if I did like 99% of people do and use Roundup to kill unwanted grass and weeds, but I just can't do that.  So, I do it the hard, labor-intensive way that is slow at best.  If I used bagged chemical fertilizer it'd be easier, too, but no, I can't do that either.  I'm building soil the hard way -- green manure cover crops, compost, and if I had a way to haul it, some good old horse manure, or chicken or rabbit manure.  I'm not fussy, and neither are the plants. 

And I'm so cold!  This house just doesn't warm up easily, which is nice in the summer, but not so nice in the winter.  Doesn't help that I don't have a real heat source right now, although that should be corrected today.

Right now, that rocking chair sounds pretty good.  Whine.


  1. For some reason I am not surprised at your post. When I lived aboard my sailboats I was constantly working, improving, doing maintenance, etc. etc. but my home was mobile and if I got a bit bored with my location well up with the anchor and off with the wind. Houses are a whole different dynamic and I can empathize with your thoughts and feelings. It never seems to end ... it is the essence of the money and labor pit. And who is the beneficiary? More an ego thing than anything else at least IMHO. Oh the necessities are important but ownership is a simple ball and chain. It sucks money and labor leaving little else. But what is the alternative? I have become a bit long in the tooth to hump a backpack and live in one cheap hotel to the next. Sailing is no longer the joy and sense of freedom it once was... more dangerous today than rewarding. Renting is not a bad option but restrictive...

    Life is a bitch and then you die... LOL

  2. BTW... we have just about wrapped up our garden for the winter and will cut back next year. I am also putting up our flats fishing boat for sale. We have lost the energy to keep it up, pay the registration, launching fees and the gas and oil costs more than a visit to the local fish market. It is what it is...