Saturday, February 25, 2012

2 Months in the New House!

Ok. Another rainbow (sorry, I just don't get sick of them and get disappointed when I don't get to see one).

It has been 2 months in the house and there is a lot to do. We are mostly settled, my guests are gone and now it is time to get to it! With any house there are going to be things to do and this one is no exception. Already we have done a couple things: there wasn't a trap on the downstairs shower (stinky), and the downstairs needed paint to freshen it up! Jeff thankfully installed a trap for the garbage disposal and downstairs shower so now my mystery smell has disappeared. On the list next is to have the septic pumped. The downstairs is kind of funky in that you have to go outside the house and down to get to it either via the lawn or through the garage.We may make some stairs on the outside. The previous people did a shitty job of painting and everything is white-white with slightly different shades of white with different sheens where they tried to patch(?) things. The major thing on my list is to pressure wash and seal the roof but that didn't affect painting the interior downstairs to I set to it. I primed and then painted a flat green in the bedroom and a slightly yellowish in the TV area. I left the "beams" (used to be a marquesina) white for contrast but not a shiny white. I still have to paint the bathroom. I scrubbed the floors and razored them as best I could and it is now as good as it will ever be! I painted the storage/shop area so we can start hanging sports equipment and get things off the floor and organized! So the downstairs inside is now done basically.

Now for a cat update. 3 cats didn't come with us since they took off and despite multiple visits back are no where to be found. Bepo took off on day 3 and Princess took off on week 3 and neither has returned. So that leaves us with Chicken (the best), Tuca, Rip, Dakota, Pollo, Blanco, and the new one Jackie. Pollo has gotten nicer, Blanco is hanging around all the time now and the others have settled into a routine of hunting or sleeping on platforms during the day and hanging on the porch watching me when I am there. I came in from outside yesterday to this-
Tuca decided to sleep IN the fruit bowl on top of the table and little Jackie wanted to hang with her! I do not want them on the table but when I saw this (there is a fruit in that bowl) I couldn't move her! I know, kind of gross. Since my visitors are photographers I may get into a photography groove and start exploring more of close-by Puerto Rico. I tend to stay out of towns but might venture into them once a month for some exploration. I like the shadows on this hibiscus flower (near my swingy bench on the porch) so I guess sunsets, sunrises and stuff around the house are my beginnings of getting back into it.
Pollo is squished in a plastic shoe box - the cardboard ones keep spreading. She is a little sausage!
On my list of things to do is the front yard. This area between the porch and wall is really boring and ugly. Beyond the wall is the road (not big) and a field of grass and bad trees before a steep (as in vertical) drop off. I sit everywhere on the porch depending on rain direction, sun direction and birds. This is a depressing little patch of lawn. So I decided it is going to disappear! I want it to be lush and tropical...with different layers and no mowing....with flowers for butterflies and shrubs for birds and lounging areas for cats. I also want some shade but don't want to have something too full since our Desecheo view is out there along with the sunsets. I went out on a find-some-plant-shops mission and ended up with a pot of 2 bottle palms! These are show stoppers and everything else has to be designed around them. The intention was to keep some symmetry. The bottle palms however don't get huge (maybe as tall as the wall in 6 years) and the leaves are not the interesting part so I had to figure out the shade part of the equation. I really wanted Royal Palms (I thought) because of the cool cement looking trunks. I figure the trunks wouldn't be in the way, the tops would give some shade and I could strap orchids on the trunks for color and interest. Then I started looking for some and realized they are way too huge for my spot. They will tower over the house (no shade for inside) and block views so I rethought it and got 2 fish tail palms instead. I think they are the better solution providing a column for orchids and a lacy, fern like shadow to diffuse light coming in eventually. They aren't huge palms which is better and as an added bonus get they broom-like sprays of flowers/fruit! I think it is a good choice. First I have to take out this "Shooting Star" tree. I hacked off all the branches and was going to leave it to Jeff to get out but then got involved in the project and wanted it out so the palm roots (which are shallow) wouldn't get disturbed later (Jeff is gone for a couple weeks).
I laid stuff out prior to digging up "perfectly good lawn" and then got to work on the tree. I would normally leave an existing tree as shade to help out a new one underneath but since the palms are shallow-rooted and sun lovers decided to dig it out and be done.
There you have it, the beginnings of the plan. Now I have to restrain myself and not over water. Palms need once a day watering for the first week and then only once a week. Most people kill them by watering them to death. After a month or 2 I will fertilize with a palm fertilizer which is a 7-3-7 (low, I know). Jackie's first encounter with the sometimes in-the-yard hen.
The day ended with a beam-me-up sunset and I went to bed thinking about the rest of the garden and all the other things I want to do!
So what needs doing? First off the roof needs to be pressure washed and sealed. I have to wait for Jeff to get back because I can't lift the pressure washer onto the roof (do we rent or buy?). After that I can finally paint the inside of the house so it isn't white-white-white. The next priority will be covering the deck, putting in a wind block lattice part-wall and some built in seating. Then maybe paint the outside of the house? A slightly darker blue since we sit way up here in the sky or possibly peach (sunset color) with lavender? (I saw a house painted that way that I liked) I have already started planting things under trees but can't plant my torch gingers until the deck cover posts are in. Every hinges on something else but there is plenty to do and the front is going to keep me occupied for a couple weeks anyway - lots of digging!


adolfojp said...

A cat in a fruit bowl you say?

Thanks for taking care of so many strays. We need more people like you on the island. I hope that your compassionate attitude is contagious.

Theresa said...

Not gross at all!!! Very caring if you ask me:) And what a beautiful sunset. I'm so glad your happy in your new home.

Cassie said...

Such sunny, fun pictures. Glad you're enjoying the new place. Hopefully the other kitties are doing well wherever they ended up.

Jeff and Katrina Kruse said...

Thanks all - we do what we can with the cats. Jackie (confirmed girl) did show how our influence rubbed off...our friend David stopped his car to rescue it from the road (and brought it to us). That video is hysterical! Glad you're not grossed out by the fruit bowl. They actually compete for it now! I'm waiting for 2 in the bowl at once!