Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Maple Hill Hop 50

Maple Hill Hop

Welcome to 
The Maple Hill Hop
This is a hop for folks who love the outdoors.
Feel free to post about anything that's going on
in your neck of the woods.
(Please share only outdoor posts.)

We've had an unseasonably rainy September.
This passionflower vine is pruned almost weekly
because of the abundance of precipitation.

You won't hear me complaining one bit.
It's so calming to hear the raindrops on the roof,
splattering the garden with exactly what it needs to thrive.

Even the birdseed is sprouting!

Occasionally we'll get some gusts that wreak havoc on the more statuesque specimens,
like this rattlebox that succumbed to the wind.
It'll be fine once it gets staked.
It attracts the rattlebox moth, so we keep a few of these growing.

The native salvia has been savoring every drop that comes its way.

The daisies are no worse for wear.

 The zinnias are still popping up and giving us a bit of color.

The veggie garden is moving right along.
The screen that we used to protect the lettuce plants
has worked out quite well.

 They are getting almost big enough to start enjoying.
This is the Simpson Elite variety that I got from my farmer friends, Faye & Lynn.

The sugar snap peas had to be resown, but are finally popping up along this trellis.
The green beans in the middle of this bed have been doing well since the get-go.
The two eggplants on the right are starting to flower a bit more.

 I also had to resow the beets, but a few were found breaking through.

The Calabaza germinated well 
and we will try to grow them on our homemade tepee.

Lettuce is slow, but steady
and we can't wait to have a full supply to pick from each day.
We're growing four varieties this fall.

 Faye & Lynn gave me a Cuban oregano plant.
It's doing quite well in the little pot,
so it will soon get more room to spread out.

It's wonderful when Mother Nature helps get the work done in the garden.
I'm relishing the daily check on our food crops.
What a blessing to be able to have space to create an oasis.

I hope you're getting just the amount of rain you need!
What's going on where you are?
HOP to it!
(Remember to link back to The Maple Hill Hop.)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Quick tips for showing your house

Yesterday we talked about how we're working toward
moving to North Carolina so that we can s-p-r-e-a-d out a little.
Today I wanted to share how we get our home "show ready".
The idea is to make your home welcoming
so that prospective buyers want to live there.

In the entry, run the vacuum or damp mop.
Fluff rugs in the quick setting on the dryer before replacing them.
Add fresh flowers (preferably from your own garden), 
or a small seasonal display on a tray or table.
The idea is to have something pleasing to the eye as soon as buyers enter your home.

In the bathroom, make sure to rinse tubs and showers.
Wipe down toilets, sinks and fixtures and then dry sinks and fixtures.
Clean mirrors and empty the garbage bag.

In the kitchen, clear countertops as much as possible.
Make sure all surfaces and appliances are wiped down. 
Place a cup of water with a few drops of dish soap in the microwave and cook for 2 1/2 minutes.  
Adding a drop or two of essential oils in the water too, can add a nice fragrance to the room.
Be sure to change the garbage bag or place it in the garage.

Even if a home is bright and airy,
it's a good idea to turn at least one light on in every room.
Blinds are opened so that the garden can be seen.

Clear shelves of everything except a few trinkets.
It seems silly to have a bookshelf without books,
but we figured,  
we are moving
so we might as well pack up what's not being used.
We place a notebook with all of the appliance manuals that stay with the house 
(A/C unit, water heater, stove, etc.)
 next to a glass container for realtors' cards.
This helps folks know that we maintain our appliances 
and that they'll have the necessary information should they need it.

It's a bit of work when your house is on the market.
But in the end, when you end up where you really want to be,
it's all worth it.


 For more ideas about staging your home,
check out Leslie's blog,
Goodbye House, Hello Home!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thrifty Thursday-A Staging Trick

With a yearning to live a more seasonal life,
we are headed further north.
As soon as we sell our house.
We need to sell in order to buy acreage in North Carolina.

One of the most important things a homeowner can do 
when selling a home is to declutter.
We've been paring down for a few years in anticipation of this,
selling a few things, but mostly giving things to the 
Meals on Wheels thrift store or to folks on Craig's List.
The house needs to look as if no one lives there.
Crazy, right?
I guess the idea is to create an atmosphere where potential buyers
can picture themselves living in your home,
with their furnishings and decor.

Whatever it takes, people.
We are beyond ready to go...

We live pretty simply, so we have just what we need to be comfortable, nothing extra.
Our spare room only had a futon in it and a wall-mounted tv, 
as we use this space to watch movies or complete projects
(and occasionally nap).
We didn't want to buy extra furniture just to fill up the space,
so we figured out this neat trick to stage our spare room.

Here's what we did.

 See this little table next to the futon?
It's handy to have the remotes or a good book right at your fingertips,
along with a small lamp for extra lighting
(I found these lamp bases in someone's recycle bin).
A side table is commonly found on either side of a sofa or in this case, a futon.
But, it's not actually a table.

We simply stacked two bins and placed a large canvas on top
(Mimi painted this, but we haven't yet found the right spot for it).

Two bins work best to achieve just the right height,
but you could use tackle boxes, tool boxes,
milk crates, or even cardboard boxes, if that's all you have.

Guess what's under here?

The covers are old twin-sized sheets that we aren't using.
We just tweaked them until they fit around our bins.
I just. love. simple.

For brilliant staging tricks,
you can visit Leslie at Goodbye House, Hello Home.
She has some wonderful tips for showing your house in its best light.
In fact, I think I may spend some time this weekend
perusing her posts on organizing and staging for a quick refresher.

Tomorrow we'll talk about some quick tips when showing your home.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Maple Hill Hop 49

Maple Hill Hop

Welcome to 
The Maple Hill Hop
This is a hop for folks who love the outdoors.
Feel free to post about anything that's going on
in your neck of the woods.
(Please share only outdoor posts.)

Today is the first official day of Fall!
Cooler temperatures are not far behind!

Recently, I was fortunate enough to garner a garden tour
by a couple who are strong proponents of organic gardening.
Welcome to Sandhill Farms.
It is located near Babson Park, which is about 35 minutes from my location.
Near acres of citrus groves,
their home is nestled among the growers.
These gorgeous trees have been planted around the perimeter of the property
to protect it from nearby crop dusters.

The property is filled with native plants as well as 
more tropical species that do quite well.

If you'll notice, they don't have a conventional lawn.
Instead, they choose to use perennial peanut,
which is a ground cover that needs very little water or care.
 I was informed that the grass is cut about once each winter
and only once a month the rest of the year.
They have also been successfully keeping bees for a couple of years
and have enjoyed harvesting honey from this hive.

The veggie garden is in a state of transition.
They use a combination of containers and raised beds
to grow much of what they eat.
The preferred method of fertilization is fish emulsion,
kelp and a mineral supplement.
No pesticides are used at all.
I like that.

New seedlings are started in another area.
Many are used by ag students where he teaches.

Their trellis was laden with gorgeous green globes.
How exciting to be able to make your own grape juice, 
wine, or just munch on the fruit as  you wander the property.

Although many avocado trees in the area are in decline,
they have several that are doing well and bearing fruit.

They gifted me with several as I left,
and they sure didn't last long!

The Pomelo tree was loaded.
It tastes similar to grapefruit, without the bitterness.
The rind can be used to make marmalade or candy.


There is a veritable papaya forest on the north side of the property.
No doubt they eat well right from their own backyard.

Pineapples abound at the base of the lower garden.
Several looked ripe and ready to eat.

As if all of this abundance wasn't enough,
they have a spectacular view of Crooked Lake.

A private beach has been left as nature intended it.
The unmistakeable reverence is apparent in every inch of this space.

It was an honor to tour their home and garden.
Knowing that this sacred place is in their care,
is very comforting indeed.

What's happening where you are?