Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Moving Thoughts Thanks

imageWe appreciated the comments received on the last post about our moving preparations. All were moving (whoops, sorry about that pun). Grenville and I read and really appreciated all the wonderful comments about our home, The Frog & PenguINN, AND especially all the good wishes, positive thoughts and prayers — from many folks who have gone through (or may be considering) a move. Thanks, everyone for sharing your experiences.

Since we don’t know if folks revisit a post to read any replies to their comments, I decided to post our comments as well as links to others’ blogs in this separate post —  ALL are special folks.

Karen (away for the weekend). Welcome back and you are SO right about the thought of moving being overwhelming. It is to us as well and we did it when we moved here from NJ. The difference was that we bought this house BEFORE selling the previous one and we spent 2 years going back and forth between the 2 homes to get projects done. This time we plan to sell the VA house without having another place to live, at least right away, thus we are putting things in storage and trying to be somewhat organized.

John (The AC is On). Since no one has (yet) come by with an offer, we DO have the time and after slacking off a good part of last year we are back in what we call our de-cluttter mode.

Pat (Pat’s Posts).When you moved from CA to MN you must have gotten lots of folks wondering why? We do too with our planned move from VA to NH. But then we like colder temps and snow. We DO try to pack in similar size containers/boxes and label them as well. We did the moving between NJ and VA from 2003-2005. It’s not the thought of moving that’s anxiety-producing, but the follow-thru. Rotting for St. Joseph to come through for us.

Mildred (Maple Lane). We know you have also been though a downsizing move and see how happy you and John are in your new location, so we are hoping for that same feeling. Yes, we do think the F&P is lovely and hope someone else feels the same way — preferably soon. Thanks for the prayers.

Denise (An English Girl Rambles). We also hope there will be a fast (and soon) sale too. We find that giving things away whether to local organizations and/or family & friends feels great. Good luck to you and Gregg when the time comes to decide your future. Thanks for sending us the good house for sale fairy, maybe she will work with St. Joseph?
Mellodee (Mellodee Musings). Glad that St. Joseph helped when you sold your home OR maybe it was that fresh-baked bread. If we knew when someone was coming we might bake some chocolate chip cookies. Nice to know you would like our home IF your family also lived in VA and not TX.

Christer (thecottagebythecranelaketwo). Glad you like the charm of our home as we do too. We also hope that the economy starts moving soon and we DO like your optimistic opinion that our home  will sell fast when it does!

Claire MC King. Yup, we have heard lots of friends tell us success stories thanks to St. Joseph. Hope we get added to that list!

Tammy (Simple Southern Happiness).  Knowing that we share similar positions now with hoping to move, we are also keeping your plans in our thoughts and perhaps good things will happen for both of us.

Sandra (MadSnapper). Yes, we do hope that there advance preparations will mean less craziness later, but Grenville would tell you that I am usually crazy so a little less would be nice.

Rebecca (Shenandoah Gateway Farm). Deciding what to keep or not is tough and we are sure we will wish we kept some of the donated items and vice versa.

Debby (cozy blanket). You are right that is is quite a job to list a home AND decide to move. We are now 10 hours each way from family in New England, so 90 minutes will seem like nothing in comparison. Also, the grandkids and their folks live in RI,, which is not where we would like to live as it’s too like NJ which we left behind. Thanks for the positive thoughts on selling soon. We remain hopeful.

Steve (Out on the prairie). We label all the containers, but are sure to find surprises packed in them and it will be like finding treasures!

JP (A Quiet Corner). Your are right in saying that unpacking will be like opening Christmas presents that we’ve given ourselves! As you did, right now we are using many items we will donate later; some will be packed later like the KitchenAid appliances. Thanks for the vote of confidence in St. Joseph too!

Eileen (Cicero Sings). Being organized is not something that comes easily and some days are better than others and some worse.
Grace (NewsFromTheHill). Thanks for the support and we will be hanging in for as long as it takes, which hopefully won’t be as long as forever. Just heard on the news that the real estate market is picking up. Great to read that you unloaded the pod and the storage unit is next! You are emptying out while we are filling up. We are making sure the lids fit tight and snap shut and the storage facility has outdoor traps with mouse poison. We would NOT want to have any dead ones inside the unit.

Rest assured that y’all (and anyone else who checks out our0113 house FRONT snow (2) blog) will be among the FIRST to know when our home is sold.

Grenville keeps saying, “The buyers are coming . . . the buyers are coming” whenever he sees a car traveling slowly down our street and in the past couple of weeks there have been several “lookers.”

Maybe one day soon his comment will become reality — we HOPE.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Contained Life . . .

That’s what it seems we’ve been living since last May, when we made the decision to list our home, affectionately dubbed The Frog & PenguINN, for sale. We’re planning to relocate to New Hampshire so we will closer to the grandkids, who live in RI. The 90 minute drive from NH to RI will be MUCH closer than the 10 hours we travel now each way to visit (but not TOO close).

We have been sorting through “stuff” that is being donated, tossed or kept. And, the “keep stuff” is being boxed (or containerized), then moved to a local storage unit. Grenville is very organized about stacking 0113 (1)But, contain yourselves, we’re not leaving (just yet). streeet views (2)

We hoping (and praying) that St. Joseph can help us sell this home, first.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

DAFFY- Dils??????

IMG 0356

Spring must be close….. The Daffy-Dils are trying to bloom. Or are they Bloomin' idiots?????

Snow Job ?

snow on pinesEXACTLY what Grenville was thinking when his wish for more snow fell (very) far short of his expectations.  YES, we DID have more snow late yesterday afternoon that lasted into the early evening, but it was far less than forecast, a little over an inch and not 2-3 inches.yard snowStill, it was a pretty sight this morning in the front yard of The Frog & PenguINN. Unlike when we lived in NJ, there is no requirement to shovel walks within a certain timeframe after a snowfall, not that there was anything to worry about anyway from this snowfall. However, Grenville did clear the walkways in anticipation of any prospective buyers. And, sure enough late this afternoon, we saw folks driving around the property AND stopping to pick up an information sheet. We sure hope that the St Joseph statue buried near the realty sign above wasn’t too cold to help out. (If you missed the post about WHY it’s buried there, you can find out HERE.)house in snowLots of strange tracks could be seen around the yard in the fresh snow . . . birds, humans, cats. dogs, rabbits, and ?snow printsLast weekend, Grenville lit a fire and sat on this back patio, but not today. Most of this snow was gone by late afternoon as temp warmed into the 30s so he might be out there tomorrow.

back patio snowWarmer temps are predicted for next week with daytime highs into the 50s and possibly near 60. But, we’re keeping out the snow flag, just in case the forecasters are wrong — AGAIN. yard in snow2

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Snow-Birding in Onley

NO, not ANY kind of snow birding you might be thinking about as I learned from an online search that it’s not just when folks travel to warmer climes in winter.

This title refers to the birds around the feeder today. As you know from Grenville’s earlier post, it SNOWED here this morning. And, he was (more than just a tad) EXCITED.

This was the scene from our kitchen window this morning. Maybe they all noticed that the feeder had been refilled late yesterday ?snow birds in tree2IMG_7940
Grenville was very happy as you might have noticed from all the exclamation marks. We got less than an inch and he hardly needed to use the shovel which remained on the back porch to measure the snowfall.

It was enough to shut down lots of things, including local schools. YUP, that seems odd to us too. In our native NJ a LOT more snow would have to fall. But, here on the VA eastern shore, they are a bit wimpier about snow than other places as it’s not the norm in winter. And, in all fairness to the school closings, there is NO snow plowing on back roads (or most main roads). Many rural roads are narrow, winding and uneven with ditches and children’s safety is primary.

Back to those snow birds — a female cardinal  looked mighty cold.
female cardinal-snowMeanwhile, this blue jay surveyed the feeder from above and then went down for a closer look . . .blue jay-feederAnd, sure enough he found the pecans and loaded up (doesn’t share).
blue jay-pecans
It was a pretty morning to take a go for a short walk to check out the snowfall in the The Frog & PenguINN front yard and back yardIMG_7946 too.IMG_7948
Grenville may get to use that shovel for real this weekend, as predictions are for LOTS more snow. Forecasters are talking about accumulating snow late Friday, continuing possibly overnight into Saturday morning. Grenville will definitely be doing a happy dance if that happens.

Jingle Bells,,,,,,Jingle Bells

Here is your instant morning weather update from the Frog & PenguINN in beautiful Downtown Onley

IT'S SNOWING!!!!!!! IT'S SNOWING!!!!!!!!



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pining for Nuts

WOW, we  have a long wait to harvest any pine nuts shown above.


This is our pine nut tree . . .charlie brown tree (1)

Now, before you scoff at its size, you should know that we received this plant growing from a seed well over a year ago. It has been flourishing in our downstairs bathroom (yes, the one with the purple walls) ever since. Not only do we water it when home, but leave it sitting in a bowl of water if we go on an extended road trip.

It keeps growing, so we haven’t replanted it, but moved it to this larger pot; it does need repotting again. We’re not sure IF it would survive outdoors just yet.

A pine nut is the blond, tear-shaped seed of a pine tree and it grows grow inside pine cones. Before you run to the backyard to start harvesting your own pine nuts, you should know that only a few species of pine trees produce pine nuts worth gathering.

In the U.S., pine nuts are harvested from piƱon pine forests in the mountains of the Southwest. Pine nuts are grown throughout Europe, but China produces most of the world supply. The cones are pulled from trees with a long hook and spread in the sun to dry as the cones open up and the nuts fall out.

Pine nuts add a sweet, oily flavor to classic dishes like basil pesto and spinach with golden raisins. Toasted pine nuts add richness to steamed greens or roasted vegetables or sprinkled on pasta. If you get the urge to go out and buy pine nuts, a word of caution — be prepared for sticker shock. Seeds are hand harvested, which is a contributing factor to their cost.

We’re being patient after reading that it takes 6-8 years for pine nut trees to produce cones. Another source stated that it would take 15 to 25 years for the trees to begin producing the seeds and up to triple that time for them to reach top production.

Wonder if Miracle- Gro® would help speed its growth ?

Monday, January 21, 2013

SPRINGing Too Soon ?

Here on the VA eastern shore, snow is measured more in snowflakes than inches, which means that the dusting we received overnight last week might be our total winter snowfall.

Of course, the weather has been unpredictable in many parts of the country, unseasonably warm temps have prevailed in what’s supposed to be winter’s chilly grip. The result is earlier than usual plant growth which was was very evident walking around the Frog & PenguINN yard this weekend.

The wall calendar says it’s January. But plants don’t lookspringlike4 at dates. A lot of the spring and summer flowers here have kept re-blooming.

Others are getting ready with new growth already in view.


springlike5Wildflowers too are cropping up all over the lawn even some snails have started coming out to sun themselves.




However, our maple and crepe myrtle trees still bear witness to winter and  remain without foliage and no signs of budding.


It’s a different story outside our local “Y” where this tulip magnolia started budding in early January.springlike2HOW about you, getting out sandals or (still) wearing boots?

Blogger friends like Sandra and Christine exempt from this question and AC, Christer, Elaine and Mona we already know your answer.

At the F&P, Grenville is leaving the snow shovel on our back porch. The weather prediction this week is for the COLDest temps so far this winter season — at least for here.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

What Snow ?

Grenville was ready.

Thursday night, he put the snow shovel on the back porch, placed hisIMG_7793 winter shoes by the back door and checked that his wooly socks were out.

He even turned his flannel wear inside out AND started humming “Snow” from the film White Christmas. It’s the one harmonized by Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen on the train headed to Vermont —where it does snow.

If snow was coming this way, Grenville was prepared ALSO wishing and hoping.

So HOW much did we get ?

Very little — NOT even enough for a decent snowman.

NO snow collageAt the feeders, this male cardinal was trying to figure out why the smaller birds could get inside the feeder and he couldn’t.looking inSince there’s a chance of precipitation headed this way early next week, Grenville is leaving the shovel out, even IF it’s only a 10 percent possibility per The Weather Channel.

He’s ready (in case the forecasters are wrong). WOW, it’s a good thing I also like that Snow song.

Friday, January 18, 2013

RED Letter Day at the F&P...

Yes Sirree!!!!  Today is a true RED LETTER day. Today is Lee-Jackson Day here in Virginia and the start of our Annual Frog & PenguINN Anniversary WeekendIMG 9322 Celebration. Ten years ago this weekend we became the owners of the now famous Frog & PenguINN (where there are no strangers, just friends we haven't met yet, and they are always welcome).


But whats that you say!!!!!!!! You've never heard of Lee-Jackson Day????? Well i guess not everyone is a True Virginian, or at least living in Virginia like we are. Ok kids, sit back and Uncle Grenville will tell you about how Lee-Jackson Day came about.
The original holiday, created in 1889, celebrated Lee's birthday. In 1904 Jackson's name was added to the holiday. This holiday is celebrated only in the Commonwealth of Virginia to commemorate the birthdays of both Robert E. Lee (January 19, 1807) and Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson (January 21, 1824). For those of you who may not be familiar with the layout of the United States or are familiar but geographically challenged, Virginia is in the SOUTH…. thats right, Confederate Territory. And they take Lee-Jackson Day seriously. This is an official State Holiday. State offices are closed. BUT banks and ABC (liquor) Stores are open.
So what happens on Lee-Jackson Day?????  Typical events include a wreath laying ceremony with honors at Lee jackson day2Lee's grave in Lexington Va., Civil War themed parades, and a gala ball. Luckily they have stopped hunting Damn Yankee New Jersey Come-Heres.
Now you're probably asking "What does this have to do with their anniversary?????" Well, we closed on the Frog & PenguINN ten years ago on Lee-Jackson Day (actually Jan. 21st that year). We had never heard of the holiday, but were quickly educated by our attorney. He then asked if we wanted our deed right away. We said yes, so he told us to make ourselves a cup of coffee and he would go across the street to the County Clerks office. Twenty minutes later he returned with all of the paperwork signed, sealed and ready for delivery. Oh yes, he apologized for making us wait so long. He had stopped to have coffee with the County Clerk. There are some wonderful pluses to rural, small town life. 

Friday Funnies

Spray painting clouds?

cloud sprayerNo, it’s a construction crane at work (cropped for effect).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Shelling Has Stopped

last pecans (1)Pecans are a southern treat, delicious in lots of recipes, but also costly, unless you harvest and shell them yourself. This has been my ritual from mid-Nov. to late Dec. BUT, yesterday, I shelled the last ones harvested from our neighbor’s yard. Jim, the neighbor, enjoys pecans, but dislikes collecting and shelling them; he greatly enjoyed the packages of shelled ones given at Christmas.

last pecans (3)Our local supermarket sells a 1 lb.package of pecans for $10, so my current stash of 7-8 lbs. is costly. And, that doesn’t last pecans (6)count the packages given to friends and family at holiday time. These cinnamon roasted pecans were a BIG hit — easy and cost-effective as I didn’t need to BUY the pecans, just shell and roast them.

My usual shelling station is by the kitchen window that gives a view of the flat bird feeder — it’s the most popular one with BOTH sunflower seeds and pecan “rejects.”many cardinals1There’s been a steady stream of bird visitors, despite the nearly non-stop rain we’ve been having since the weekend. At times, there have been as many as 8 to 10 male and female cardinals — a few recent ones . . .cardinals in rainBlue Jays like the pecan treats, but unlike cardinals, don’t share . . .blue jay in rain2sharing collageIMG_7694Lucky for them, there’s still a supply of pecan rejects  to go in the feeder, but when they’re gone, these treats end.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Time Has Come

After almost a year of big hopes, expectations of becoming homeless nomads, beginning another great adventure, we succumbed to the reality that we needed help. And not just any help. Help of a Heavenly Magnitude….. After researching in the Bible of Home Selling we knew that there was but one person to call on…. That's right, we called in Saint Joseph. And why not????? He was a carpenter. He was familiar with home selling, home buying, homelessness. If He couldn't make the divine connection between us and the buyer, some frustrated soul who was wandering aimlessly through the real estate ads hopelessly searching out our house, who could????

Photo 1


Photo 4







Well, Saint Joseph arrived Saturday afternoon via FedEx. I expect that that was to keep travel costs down. With trepidation and baited breath, we unsealed him from his traveling unit. He came not only with instructions but also an approved prayer to say over him.

The sun finally came out Sunday afternoon. After making sure that St. Joseph was properly clothed for his next stop, we reverently created his new accommodations. And after gently placing him, upside down, and facing the house, we recited the enclosed prayer together. I also reminded him that i too am a worker of wood, and that before we leave, i would retrieve him and give him a place of honor in my next workshop. 

St Joe collageNow some of you out there may be snickering (yes, you in the back. I heard ya) but many folks take this seriously. Some of the testimonials were truly astonishing. M.L of Shebongin  sold his house just hours after ordering a St Joseph kit on line.  K.M of Seacaucus NJ, after having her house on the market for 25 years sold to a local pig farmer one week after planting Saint Joseph. And the list goes on and on. Just google it and see.

Whorehouse in Texas

BUT there can be disastrous results if the explicit instructions are not followed. J.D of Flat Rock TX faced Saint Joseph towards his neighbors house. Even though it was not for sale, a buyer came the next day and offered twice what the house was worth. After the sale, the new owner opened a clandestine brothel.



C.M. of Short Horn Fl followed the instructions and sold his house a month later. BUT failing to retrieve Saint Joseph, the house continued to resell for the next five years until landscaper Jose Gonzalez found Saint Joseph and rescued him. Jose placed St Joe on the dashboard of his 1948 Chevy pickup, which was on its last legs, and the truck sold that afternoon for over $200,000.00. Apparently, it was one of the few trucks that was made by a dyslexic worker who sometimes reversed the brake and gas pedal.


J.K of Landown MS received an offer to buy his house shortly after buying a Saint Joseph Sell Your HouseKit. BUT he failed to follow the instructions and the morning of the closing the deal fell through. That night a giant sink hole opened in his backyard and swallowed the house. It was then that he remembered he had cancelled his homeowners insurance.

The stories are endless.

AND now the waiting has begun. Beatrice and I are taking turns watching from the front porch or manning the phone. And all the while we are shouting our new battle cry……

The Buyers are coming!!!!! The Buyers are coming!!!!!!