The water features are going to have water in them

According to the kind person who works for the City of Saint Paul who answered my email last week the water features in the parks are going to be turned on this year. No word on when there will be drinking water in the parks again. City residents are being advised to bring their own water.

I really missed the water features last year, especially in the downtown parks. I might have to take pictures of some of them again too.

Kellogg Plaza Fountain – Downtown St. Paul


Got Bike?

There are 207.3 miles of bikeways in Saint Paul:

In-street bike lanes – 64.6 miles
Off-street paths – 95.2 miles
Bikeable shoulders – 17.4 miles
Bike boulevards – 10.8 miles
Shared lanes – 19.4 miles

There are some maps on the website.

In the last year, more trails have been added and I am thrilled to see trails going through downtown St. Paul.  I enjoy biking along the river and in Lilydale regional park. The Gateway trail is a lot of fun too.

Some of my neighbors use the trails to get to and from work.

There is also the 27 mile grand round trail that goes around the city. It features a few steep hills and circles a couple of lakes and goes along the river too.

Gardening is fun

It is Friday and  Fridays are for fun. It is still too cold to grow vegetables here in the bold north but it isn’t too early to get ready for planting. Last year I experimented with straw bale gardening. I had the most success with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. The root vegetables I planted didn’t do too well and neither did some of the flowers.

This year I am increasing my garden from 4 bales of straw to six and I used the remains from last year’s garden as mulch around the garden. The next step is to start seasoning the bales with fertilizer and monitoring the temperature. As they start to decompose they will get warm, up to 90 degrees. Once they cool down, I’ll start planting. Some of my crops are already growing in the kitchen.

What I like about using straw bales is I can put them where I want them, there is very little weeding and no bending.  I don’t need to rotate my crops because I can start with new bales each year which also means fewer diseases.  They are ideal for smaller spaces and city type yards. They could even be placed in a parking lot.  It takes about ten days of watering and applying plant food to get them ready for planting which is much easier than digging in the dirt.


straw bales
Straw bales

Here is a cucumber I grew last year in a straw bale.


You got the price range all wrong

Buying a house continues to be very competitive. Most home buyers have a price limit and they often search at the top of their limit or over it. The houses that are over the price limit are

I drew this myself with my first iPad in 2010

ALWAYS the most desirable.

The best way to find a house to buy is to search 10% to 30% below the top of your price range. That way there is room to compete and to have the highest and best offer.

Home prices for the year are the highest right now.  If your budget is well below the median home price wait until this winter or next summer to buy. Put aside as much money as you can for a downpayment.

When looking at house buyers should think about how much they want to pay for the house rather than what the asking price is.  The most expensive houses are the houses that just came on the market or will come on the market soon. The houses that have been on the market for a while maybe over priced or need a little work or both. They also present the greatest opportunities to own a home.

The number of homes on the market is slowly going up. Right now is peak home-selling season. I don’t think the supply will come close to keeping up with the demand but I do think that the housing market will stabilize a bit in 2022 and 2023.

2021 is so far the best year to sell a house in the shortest amount of time for the most money and it seems to get better each month.

Mosquito-Free Yard

The Metropolitan Mosquito Control District has been busy.  I can’t imagine life in the Twin Cities without them. We don’t see many mosquitos in the city which is a good thing because they spread disease. They tend to make their presence knows in the evening Citronella candles can help on the porch, patio, or deck.

The Metropolitan Mosquito Control District uses natural soil bacteria and a mosquito growth regulator to control mosquitoes while they are still in their larval stage. These materials are applied by hand to small mosquito breeding sites and by helicopter to areas larger than three acres. Last week they were flying over St. Paul along the river.

We can all help keep the mosquito population low. The larvae live in stagnate water until they hatch. Even the water in a backyard birdbath should be changed at least once a week. Puddles and anything outdoors that collects water can be a breeding ground.

For more information on mosquito control and career opportunities visit the MMCD website.

Last year’s unrest and property values

During most of last year, there were dire predictions of some kind of mass exodus from the cities. That never happened. Then there was unrest after the murder of George Floyd which was almost a year ago.  Property damage can still be seen in the Midway neighborhood which was the hardest hit during the unrest.

One year later home prices are up 6.2% in St. Paul and 10.8% in the Midway neighborhood.