I am ready for fall but not for winter

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I have been enjoying the cooler weather this week. I even used my indoor oven.

In the Summer I use what I call my outdoor kitchen, which consists of a propane grill that I can use as an oven and a cooktop. I have mastered pizza on the grill and the art of roasted vegetables. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are easy to cook on the grill. I have dabbled a bit with using it for baking. There is definitely a learning curve.

I’ll use it in the winter too. For some reason burgers and chicken on the grill taste even better in the winter.

Enjoy the parks and trails during our short Minnesota fall season. We all know what comes next. This weekend will be a good one for grilling.


Como Park in the fall

An inexpensive useful tool

One of the most useful tools in my house is the plastic strippy thing for cleaning out drains. It cost a few bucks and I have used it many times over the years. I
guess I have had two or three of them.

The strip easily removes hair from shower or sink drains which is usually what clogs them up. The strip won’t damage the pipes and the results are instant.

If you live in a house and use a shower or a sink and have hair, buy one today. They can be found at the hardware store in the plumbing section. . . . unless you would rather pay a plumber.  You are welcome.

Circles of doves and light in front of the court house.

Circles of doves and light


Judge Larry Cohen served as a mayor of St. Paul, a Ramsey County commissioner, and chief judge of the 2nd Judicial District. The sculptures are called “Circles of Doves and Light” and there is a seating area and some plaques about Larry Cohen. The Larry Cohen recognition project was Designed by artist Marjorie Pitz and is on the plaza in front of the Ramsey County Courthouse on Kellogg Blvd.

Cohen also organized the first Hmong interpreters in the Ramsey County courts, advocated for the creation of the city’s district council system, and, in the 1970s. Cohen died in 2016 at the age of 83.

There is a lot going on with the sculptures and the new seating. I took about a zillion pictures.

Circles of Doves and Light in front of the Ramsey County court house
Sculpture _  Circles of Doves and light – Ramsey county courthouse seating area 

Downtown St. Paul in 2021

Downtown St. Paul was pretty quiet last year. So many events were canceled, restaurants closed and without downtown workers. I was downtown on Saturday night and there was a lot of activity with people dining out and going to the Ordway. There were people out walking and enjoying the lovely weather we had last weekend. It looked like the before time except without a Minnesota Wild game or concert at the Xcel.

Rice park was clean and litter-free. Earlier in the day I saw people from the downtown alliance out picking up litter.

As home prices have been going up the median downtown condo price went down by about 5% between 2020 and 2021. The inventory of condos for sale is higher than average and makes up about 11% of the housing for sale in the city. The number of condos for sale peaked last year and has been going down ever since.

This fall is a great time to buy a condo downtown assuming that the pandemic ends or lessens within the next year. Downtown St. Paul has always had ups and downs and I can’t think of a time when an “up” hasn’t followed a “down”.


graf of condo sales
downtown St. Paul condo sales

The numbers used to make the chart are from the NorthstarMLS which is deemed reliable but not gauranteed.

Why I’ll vote “NO” on the rent control ordinance

There will be a vote this fall on a rent control ordinance in St. Paul. I am not against rent control but am against the ordinance. It is an across-the-board 3% cap on rent increases in any 12 month period. Current rents will not be changed.

The 3% cap even applies if the property is vacant and waiting for new tenants. The 3% isn’t tied to inflation or to anything else.

There are exceptions where owners can get a variance if property taxes go up or if money is needed for repairs. There isn’t any system in place to handle those variances and the process will be expensive for the city which means more property tax increases. Property taxes make renting and owning more expensive and they keep rising.

Under the proposed ordinance all rental properties are treated the same. Properties large and small and luxury rentals too. New construction and existing construction. Properties owned by individuals, small businesses, and large corporations alike. There isn’t a rent control ordinance like it anywhere in the world.

I am in favor of affordable housing and rent control could help but the way the law is written I have to vote against it.  The main reason why we don’t have affordable housing is capitalism.

The rent stabilization question as it will appear on the ballot:
Should the City adopt the proposed Ordinance limiting rent increases? The Ordinance limits residential rent increases to no more than 3% in a 12-month period, regardless of whether there is a change of occupancy. The Ordinance also directs the City to create a process for landlords to request an exception to the 3% limit based on the right to a reasonable return on investment. A “yes” vote is a vote in favor of limiting rent increases. A “no” vote is a vote against limiting rent increases.

Just vote no. A yes vote isn’t going to lower rents or make housing more affordable.

On a related note:

Remember the St. paul tenant protection ordinance?  It was/is the strongest tenant protection law anywhere. “On April 19, 2021, a federal judge temporarily enjoined enforcement of Saint Paul’s Tenant Protections Ordinance.  As of April 19, 2021, and until further notice, the City will temporarily cease enforcement of the ordinance’s requirements, including any rules previously posted

Frost aster, seedum and bees

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. It is late summer and fall starts next week. I have been enjoying the bees that flock to the frost aster and the sedum growing in my flower beds.  I have seen more honey bees in the last week than I saw all summer. The asters are native plants but the sedum isn’t and it attracts all sorts of bees.

I am looking forward to cooler weather and I am not looking forward to cooler weather. I do like living in a place where there are seasons.  Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the weather.

fall blooms
Frost aster and sedum