Chronicling the cleanup and restoration of our house and property in northern Michigan

Chronicling the cleanup and restoration of our house and property in northern Michigan

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Life Intervenes...

I know that it's been a while, but as the name of this update implies, life threw us a curve which required that our attention be places far from the blog.  Sadly, we recently lost Shelly's mom.  Mom was battling several significant health issues, with kidney failure and dialysis three days per week being the most severe.  She fought the good fight, but Mom grew tired and made the decision for herself to discontinue dialysis and enter hospice.  We moved into Shelly's folks house to spend the last few weeks caring for and spending time with her, and in the end Mom passed while surrounded by loving family.  We were so very proud to be able to honor Mom's wishes right until the very end, and it was one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences we've been through as a couple.

I have to share one of the overwhelming positives to come out of the experience.  The hospice care workers who we encountered, and the care that people in their line of work provide...they can absolutely restore your faith in humankind.  I know that they did mine.  I truly cannot say enough good things about these angels on earth.  The absolute "Good" within these people is truly something to behold, and though I pray that you do not find yourself in a situation where their services are required, if you do I wish for you all of the love, caring, and respect that we encountered.

Being there for Mom and dealing with the emotional aftermath has certainly put us on our heels, but we're slowly feeling things begin to ease back into a sense of normalcy.  We're looking forward to getting back to work on old Shangri La and updating you all with our progress on several different fronts.

Spring is slowly creeping into the air up here, and before the trees bloom there is work to be done.  I've been doing research on caring for our fruit trees, and the one thing that all of the documents I found agree trim the trees in late winter, before the sap starts running.  So, I worked on doing just that over the past two weekends.  We have fourteen apple trees, one pear tree, and one almond tree that we newly planted just this past year.  The apple trees had been seriously neglected for the five or more years that this place sat vacant, and I did the major pruning on all but four of them at the end of last winter.  This year I fine tuned the ones I had pruned last year, and tackled the first time pruning on the remaining four.  I also tackled the pruning of a crab apple tree, whose branches were trying to take my head off when cutting the grass.

After the snow melts I'll be laying down some fertilizer, and watering per the recommendations I've been reading.  As long as mother nature cooperates, and we don't get a hard freeze after the trees bud like we did last year, we should get a pretty darn good fruit harvest.  That's when the magic happens, when Shelly turns those apples into jelly, sauce, and pies.  Mmmmmm...  Shelly is making plans and strategizing for this year's garden as well.  She learned a ton from last year's failures, so we're adjusting our game plan a bit.  More to follow as we get on to that project.

That's really it around here.  In addition to dealing with life's twists and turns, we're also going through something of a self-imposed sequestration.  We're working hard at paying everything off, and I do mean everything.  We've had to sacrifice some progress on the basement and other projects for the short term.  Those that know me, you know that I'd be lying if I said that it isn't eating at me a bit, staring at a half finished basement.  I absolutely know, though, that it is completely worth it for the long term health of our finances, and our ability to fund projects with income and not credit.  Shelly, aka The CFO, is totally rocking the checkbook, and is making the most of every dollar coming into the house.

I did manage to pick up one very much needed item, and still stay within the CFO's sequestration guidelines. ;)  We are very much in need of a door to cover the 11' wide opening on our barn.  I've been pricing the track and hardware for a sliding door, and OUCH!  Enter Craigslist.  I scored one heck of a good deal on 24' of heavy duty track, the door hardware and rollers, and all of the mounting hardware.  I got it all for just...get this...$85!  So, you should be seeing a barn door project update popping up here in the not too distant future.  :)

Until next time!