Some things are worth the wait


There is no instant gratification with crocus bulbs that are planted in the Fall and if we are lucky they bloom for us in the late winter or early spring. They require little care and they grow in clumps and prefer sunshine. The clump in the picture is from planting I did at least 20 years ago.

I am always so happy to see crocus blooming and it will be weeks before anything else in my yard blooms.

Know where your water shutoff is

As I watch the news from Texas I keep seeing water freely flowing through houses after the pipes burst. People were shooting videos of water gushing down hallways and falling out of windows. I couldn’t help but wonder why they weren’t shutting off the water.

Pipes don’t burst when they freeze they burst when they thaw because water expands as it gets warmer but that is the subject for a future blog post.

If your pipes do freeze consider turning off the water before the pipes burst. Acting quickly and shutting off the water can save thousands of dollars in repairs.

There is a lever or one of those old-school round valve wheels right next to the water meter. It might be in a crawl space or enclosed, make sure you know where it is.  If you close the valve by moving the lever or turning the handle you can shut all of the water in the house.

The power can be turned off too. There is a switch or level right inside the breaker or fuse box in most homes. Learn how to turn off the power.

For your own safety, you should know how to turn off the water and electricity in your home. If you don’t today is a good day to figure it out.

If you are buying a house ask your inspector to show you how to turn off the water. Some inspectors label the valves and put tags on them.


Seeds for Valentines day

Happy Valentine’s day!

Last year it was hard to find seeds. People in warmer climates bought them all as they planned on growing their own food.

It was hard to find plants in the spring and by then the seeds were long gone. I was able to have a garden because I bought seeds in February before the pandemic years began.

It will be a while before they can be planted outside but in a few weeks, I’ll start them inside. I also have seeds from plans I grew in last year’s garden. I saved them just in case.

seeds for garden 2021


Try YouTube instead of Facebook

I am not trying to pick on Facebook but it seems like when something breaks people go and as their Facebook friends what they should do. I am referring to minor home repairs and home maintenance.

There is no shortage of bad advice when you ask a random group of inexperienced individuals how to do something that may require the help of a pro.

YouTube doesn’t have all the answers either and I have run into some bad “how-to” advice. I have also been able to use YouTube videos to perform minor maintenance and home improvement tasks all on my own.

There was the time the central AC unit seems to be leaking. It turned out to be a clogged hose. I did need help with it but at least I knew what was wrong and didn’t do something stupid like let the repair person sell me a new unit or a large repair job. He cleaned the line and it hasn’t leaked since.

I had some problems with my washer that turned out to be a clogged filter. it was a Youtube video from the manufacturer that showed me how to remove and clean the filter. I am sure my Facebook friends would have had tons of suggestions too but I doubt it any own the same model of washer.

If you want to learn how to bake a tastier potato or how to crochet a hat or how to plant a garden in a straw bale you may find better information on YouTube than anything your friends on social media can provide.

Check the source of the video and if possible find videos from a couple of different sources. You might be surprised by what you can learn.  Sometimes I learn by watching a video that I couldn’t possibly do the work myself.  Yet even if I end up hiring someone I have a better understanding of the project of I approach it from a DIY  point of view.

Are you ready for snow?

Snowy street in St. Paul

We really haven’t had much winter weather except for what we had last October.  I have enjoyed walking on sidewalks that are free of snow and ice. If we get snow today that will all change. There are homeowners and businesses that never shovel.

The city has various pedestrian plans.  You can find them on the web site where it says:

“Saint Paul is a walking city. We are more healthy, resilient, and connected because walking is safe and appealing for all.”

Walking on icy sidewalks where snow is allowed to accumulate all winter is anything but safe.

St. Paul property owners are required to remove snow from the sidewalk along within 24 hours of when it fell. There are no exceptions for vacant houses or businesses.

Here are some sidewalk shoveling tips from the city:

Shoveling Tips

  • Shovel sidewalks on all sides of your property, the full width of the sidewalk down to the bare pavement.
  • Remove all ice from sidewalks. After the sidewalk is clear, sprinkling a little sand can help prevent slipping on frosty sidewalks.
  • Pile snow onto your yard and boulevard. It’s against the law to shovel snow into streets and alleys.
  • If you have a corner property, clear curb cuts at corners and crosswalks to the street gutter. You are not required to clear snow ridges or piles left by plows beyond the gutter–City crews sometimes return to do that but if they can’t your neighbors would appreciate it if you could clear an opening and get through.

The city also has a video about removing snow from walkways.

Sidewalk violations can be reported to the city. Go to and type “shoveling sidewalks” in the search bar. I would leave a link but the city re-arranges the website often making the links useless after a month or two.

You don’t have to paint it Gray

The Pantone colors for 2021 are “Illuminating”  and “Ultimate Gray” which are a bright yellow and a light gray. The gray in the picture to the left is a little dark but the dorrs are about right.

gray siding yellow doors

I see a lot of gray walls in homes these days. it works well as a neutral but after awhile neutral can be boring. I like the idea of pairing it with a bright color. That is kind of the point of neutrals. They fit into almost any decor.

A color we used to call “Realtor Beige” was my go-to color when someone needed a recommendation, now I go with a beige/gray type color that it a more 2020’s type neutral. It is not quite beige or gray.

I can’t see painting an entire room bright yellow “illuminating” but I am sure some folks will. I see a lot of pale yellows and golds but not a lot of bright yellow in homes.

If you are planning on selling your house and if it needs paint it is important to keep it neutral.

If all else fails white works pretty well and will make the room look fresh and clean. Be advised though that there are many, many shades of white and always remember that no matter which color you choose someone won’t like it 🙂