Gardening in 2020

I’ll admit this year has been a challenge, which is why gardening seems more important than ever.  I started my garden in-doors as I often do. I am looking forward to planting this year. I have started about 36 plants so far. I collect disposable plastics and other packaging during the winter and use them for gardening in the spring.

The tray in the picture once held cupcakes, and there is a pineapple can full of coleus hanging by the kitchen sink and a cottage cheese container that I planted cucumbers in a couple of days ago.

There is something magical about starting from seeds and watching them grow. I’ll move them to a cold frame that I built out of old storm windows in a week or so.

I love homegrown vine-ripened tomatoes and look forward to them all winter.

Tomatoes and marigolds


Signs of spring

I can’t think of any time we have needed spring more than we need it now. The picture was taken on April 2, 2012. We had an early spring that year and I believe it is coming early this year. I can see tinges of green when I look across the flooded river.

The buds on the crabapple trees are huge. I predict they will open in the coming week.

I am going to go on a spring treasure hunt next week while staying at least 10 feet away from you and your family. I’ll see how many signs of spring I can find.

Harriet Island regional park
Harriet Island Regional Park


Facebook isn’t the best news source

Crocus blooming in my yard this week

This is day 2 of the Minnesota stay at home order also day 14 of the president’s Coronavirus guidelines. There are a lot of people who are frightened. There are people with little to do who spend their time on Facebook trying to save us all by posting important news and public service messages.

In one case I even saw someone from a state department of health comment on false information. Numerous news sources debunked information. The person posting it left it in place.

We all know people who get most of their news from Facebook but Facebook is not the best source of news. The Minnesota Department of Health has an excellent web site and the information we have is the best currently available. The Federal government also has a Covid-19 website. 

I like MPR radio (FM91.1) as a news source. The local papers, the New York Times and the Washington Post and the local news stations. I have been listening to or watching the Presidents almost daily press conferences too. Ask Alexa to play CSPAN or watch it at Usually scheduled for 4:00 PM our time but doesn’t actually start until 4:30 or 5:00 PM.

When you find news and want to know if it is true you can do a google search.  False information seems to spread faster than a virus on social media.

A person can drive themselves crazy watching the videos about how to sanitize everything. Most of us are going to get this virus and many of us already have it. In my household, we don’t even have a thermometer and none are available and there is little testing. We should each assume I have it and do our very best to stop the spread with frequent handwashing and social distancing.

Here is more information about the  Minnesota stay at home order which went into effect on March 27th and will remain in effect until April 10th. Restaurants and public spaces will remain closed until May.

Real estate services are considered essential and we are still working while following the guidelines for social distancing. In some states, real estate services are not considered essential.

Open houses are strongly discouraged and I home sellers do not have to allow showings. I do not recommend buying a house without seeing it first but have helped people do that. I have also sold houses for people without ever meeting them in person.

On Friday I showed a house to a client who made an offer on that house. Contracts are created and signed electronically no in-person contact is needed. Homebuyers can tour houses safely.

Stay well, stay at home and wash those hands.

Throwback Thursday to July 4th

Downtown St. Paul

I took the picture of St. Peter Street near 7th street plaza on July 4th to show how downtown closes on the 4th. There really isn’t anything to do in St. Paul on the 4th of July. People either go to cabins or camping or go next door to Minneapolis to enjoy a day of live music, food, and fireworks in the evening.

Yesterday I had feeling of Deja Vue as I crossed St. Peter street on my way to the Walgreens on Wabasha. The street looks the same today due to COVID-19 as it usually does on July 4th. . . . except there aren’t leaves on the trees.

A little housing market data

We are getting a lot of questions and since we are in a unique situation that hasn’t happened before we don’t have a lot of answers. I certainly won’t tell everyone that now is a good time to buy or sell real estate.

Yesterday we got some numbers from a company called “Showing Time” the company provides the software we use for making and tracking appointments to see homes for sale. Showings have dropped off at a time when they should be going in the opposite direction.

Here is a chart using data from about 100 housing markets. I hope to be able to get actual data on our own local market soon.

The number of showings in 2020 compared with 2019

I have talked with several home buyers this week and they have put their searches on hold for now. Homeowners who are stuck at home are often unwilling to let people tour their home.

Lenders I have talked to are busy working with homeowners are refinancing to take advantage of low-interest rates.

There is speculation the home prices may go down. All I know is that supply is still very low and demand has been high. If you plan on buying or selling a home in St. Paul this year. Watch this page. I will do my best to get data and share facts as they become available.