Got buckthorn?

Buckthorn is on the Minnesota DNR’s list of restricted noxious weeds. It is an invasive species that was imported from Europe and used for hedges. You may recall a couple of years ago goats were hired to eat the buckthorn growing in Indian Mounds Park.

This year I found some buckthorn in my yard and my neighbors are growing a large buckthorn bush along a fence. The way to get rid of buckthorn is to pull it out and dig out the roots. The plant I found was fairly small and easy to remove. It was hiding near my lilac bushes.

The plant is fairly easy to identify. When in doubt look for thorns at the base of the leaves where they join the stem.

Buckthorn plants that are two inches in diameter or larger are best controlled by cutting the stem at the soil surface and then covering or treating the stump to prevent re-sprouting. Cutting can be effectively done with hand tools (for a few plants), chain saws or brush cutters.

The Minnesota DNR has a lot of information about the plant and how to remove it. You will need a permit to have goats in your St. Paul yard but I suppose that is an option too.

Buckthorn Bush
buckthorn
Buckthorn

 

 

Ten years ago homes were hard to sell

When I look at the marketing materials some real estate agents put out there you would think they are magicians the way they sell houses. When selling houses in a seller’s market just about any kind of marketing works better than it did during the buyer’s market.  Here is something I wrote in June of 2009:

Brickhouse“I found 107 homes listed on the MLS that have been on the market for more than 500 days.  That is a long time even in today’s market.

Of the 1768 homes that have sold this year in St. Paul the average cumulative days on market was 137.

Townhomes and condos take about 90 days longer to sell on average than single family homes and most of the homes that have been on the market more than 500 days are townhouses or condos.

Buyers look at how long a home has been on the market.  Sometimes the information is used to determine how much to offer for the home and in other cases, they get cold feet and make no offer because the home has been on the market for so long.

When I look at these listings I check to see if there have been any price reductions.  If I see a home that has been on the market for a long time, like over a year and the price has never changed I assume that the sellers are not very motivated and wonder if they are open to negotiation.”

 

Ten years later in some price ranges if a home is on the market for more than three weeks without any offers it is almost always overpriced. The demand for homes is higher than the supply especially in price ranges below $450,000.

Back in June of 2009, there were 1770 or so  houses on the market in St. Paul, today there are less than 550. It was a very different housing market.

Rice Park is open again

Rice Park in downtown St. Paul was closed for a year and a half or so for renovations. The park is the center of many events throughout the year. It just wasn’t the same having Winter Carnival events in Kellogg Plaza Park.

There will be an official grand re-opening on June 11th from 4:00 to 6:00 PM 

The park has a long history, it is 170 years old and St. Paul sprouted up around it. It is seven years older than Central Park in New York City. Before it became a park, Rice Park was used as an open space to dry laundry and graze animals. The land was eventually made into a “public square” in 1849 by John R. Irvine, a territorial pioneer and Henry M. Rice, territorial delegate and United States Senator. In May of 1914, a Woman suffrage rally was held in the park.

The revitalized park doesn’t look all that different, and this isn’t the first time it has been renovated. The landscaping has been changed, and the lighting has been improved. There are fewer trees and more concrete. The fountain is still in place. Statues were moved around but they are all still there.

My memories of Rice Park go way back. During summer vacations we used to ride the bus downtown and go to the Library, which is across the street from Rice Park. We would check out some books and sometimes sit in the park and read them.

Part of what makes the park so special is the Saint Paul Public Library on one side and the Landmark Center on the other.

I looked through my pictures of the park and most of them were taken in winter during the winter carnival. Last week I got some new pictures just before the park was filled with tents and people ready to add to the history of the park.

Go to StPaul.gov for more information about the recent renovations at the park and future events.  – Click on the pictures for a larger view.

Do you want the lights on all night?

One evening I looked out and my whole backyard was lit up. A light had been installed on the telephone pole in our backyard. The light is bright enough so that we don’t need to turn on the lights in our bathrooms at night.

It seems bright enough to read by and it will be interesting to see if it attracts insects in the summer, it has a yellowish tint so maybe not.

I did a little research to find out where it came from. It turns out some neighbors ordered it through the Xcel energy additional lighting program.  

They had to pay for installation and they have to pay an electric bill for the light each month and they will have to pay for maintenance.

Some of my neighbors leave outdoor lights on all night and the new light isn’t the only extra nightlight near my home. It never gets dark in my yard, not ever.

Nighlight

Historic Firehouse

Hope Engine Company No. 3 fire station was built in 1872. A couple of years ago it was slated for demolition but the neighborhood was able to save it. The building has been repurposed and will be a wine bar. I have no idea when it is going to open but it is starting to look pretty nice on the outside and the inside looks kind of finished but it is hard to tell looking in from the outside.

 

firehouse 1

You might also notice in the recent picture there is a new building next to the firehouse. That is actually a Marriott hotel. The firehouse is on South Leech street and to the right in the pictures is Grand Avenue.

I am a fan of recycling, reusing and repurposing our historic buildings and homes. They really don’t build them like that anymore.