Monday, September 24, 2012

Copperhead Road

The appraisal has gone through on our Fort Worth house, but we're still waiting to close. Hopefully we will close on the house sometime this this week. In the mean time, THIS happened.

Yeah. So last night we arrived at our place in Cedar Hill after a long weekend in Aggieland and celebrating my brother-in-law's birthday. I was unloading the car and Ellie scampered out to the driveway to look for geckos like she always does. Suddenly Zach yelled and snatched Ellie away from a snake she was investigating on the driveway. It was a copperhead - the one on top in the photo above.

Luckily Ellie didn't get bitten. We're SO glad. Zach called his dad and the two of them went to town in the bushes area in the front yard. They found three more snakes--the one on the bottom is about 2.5 feet long and as big around as a rake handle. After Dean left, we looked out the glass by the front door and saw ANOTHER snake slither across the door mat. I made Zach leave it alone because I read this article and it said most people who get bitten are trying to kill them. Also, the bite effect photos are gross. Who knows how many more are out there!

Today we're calling the city, and getting some "Snake Away" which a neighbor said will help. I guess this part of Cedar Hill is snake country. All I know is I'm wearing boots and will be carrying Ellie to the sidewalk for her walks from now on.

I wonder if we'll have snakes at our new place?

Have y'all had any encounters with snakes? How did you handle them?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I Grow Herbs - the Legal Kind

Gardening has never been my strong point. Despite multiple horticulture classes and labs at Texas A&M, I never quite got the knack of how to take care of everything and make it look good. I've also never had anything but a patio to put my plants on, so I'm limited to containers.

That being said, I've kept a selection of herbs (the legal kind) for a few years, and it's been great for cooking. This spring I had overflowing pots of mint, rosemary, basil, cilantro, parsley and sage. I was gone for a few weeks and all but the rosemary died. Sad day. It's been too hot to get any more herbs, but a few weeks ago and yesterday I went to the farmer's market (I feel so folksy at the market, like I should be wearing a sundress and flats and should have gone to the market on a vintage bicycle... that's beside the point) to get some more plants.

We're still in limbo about the house, so I can't invest in anything big like a red maple tree because I have nowhere to put it. I'm hoping to have a grand landscaping plan for our new place that we can implement little by little. But it's REALLY hard to resist pretty and cheap plants. So... I came home with some containers. I'll get sage and cilantro next time I go to the farmer's market

This is an ornamental pepper. Isn't it pretty? I just love it.

My new little English Mint. She goes in a bigger container later today.

My resilient rosemary. This plant is a couple years old--keeps going strong!

I already have two bougainvillea but they didn't bloom again this fall for some reason. Might be in too much shade. Hopefully they'll bloom in the spring. I think we live too far north to fulfill my dreams of having big bougainvillea bushes, but at least I can have them in containers.

My bloom-less bougainvillea. I still love you!

I've had irises a few years and they have only bloomed once. Any suggestions?

I've had this thai basil less than a month and it's just grown and grown. Yay!

My genovese (shout out) basil. I used some leaves in a recipe on Monday.

This was a gift from my friend Spooky. It's some kind of succulent and I started it from a cutting probably two years ago. It's just now starting to grow well, so maybe I wasn't watering it enough. Or something. I told you I have a black thumb!

MY FAVORITE. My mother-in-law and I just fell in love with this ornamental pepper Black Pearl plant. The leaves are PURPLE! I'm going to put this with the other pepper plant in a container.

How are y'all gardening this fall? Any tips for my adventures in FOR REAL gardening at our new house?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pins and Needles

The last 14 days have been the longest of my life. Zach and I have been obsessively searching Zillow for a few weeks, and over Labor Day weekend we finally went looking at some 25+ houses. Initially we limited our search to Grapevine, Kennedale, Mansfield and Arlington because we wanted to be between Dallas and Fort Worth. Our search over Labor Day was a little discouraging. We found one house we liked, but it was sold before we finished lunch. Houses kept getting sold out from under us. It was crazy!

I kept hoping we'd find something awesome in Fort Worth (even though it was really too far west for us) and therefore would have to look at it, but there wasn't a lot in south Fort Worth that fit our criteria. Just for fun, I looked up "neighborhoods in Fort Worth" and plugged them into Zillow one by one. Wouldn't you know, two really cool houses popped up in Cooke's Meadow--which is far east Fort Worth, almost to Arlington. I know nothing of the neighborhood but one of them looked AMAZING... it was huge, on a huge lot, beautiful and priced far below what we'd expected to pay in other parts of DFW. It was listed the week before. So... we called up our realtor Mike and made an appointment to look just two hours later.

I was apprehensive driving to the house. What if the neighborhood was rough? What if the house backed up to a major street? What if we hated it? None of that was true. We drove into a beautiful old neighborhood (a plus) with big trees (plus) and a quiet cup-de-sac (plus). The house was prettier than we'd hoped and we knew it was what we wanted right off the bat. We put in an offer within an hour after we arrived. Apparently someone else liked the photos online because an hour before we got there, someone else had placed an offer. And two other people put in offers after us. I don't know if this is typical for buying a house. Is that crazy or what? We spent a nervous night praying about the house. Is this the one for us? Is the neighborhood where we're supposed to be? Will we get the house?

I think the biggest sign came the next day. The church we go to in Dallas (45 minutes away from both our old apartment in Haltom City and Cedar Hill, where we're living now) has always been too far for us to really get involved. We'd resigned ourselves to finding another church when we finally find a home. However.... our church is opening a Fort Worth campus.... less than half a mile from our new home. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? We can finally get involved. I cried. Answer to prayer!

The story is dragging on, so I'll try to wrap things up. Seller picked us out of the three other offers. So far everything is coasting along at a pretty good clip. We're now waiting for the appraisal and the mortgage to be finalized before we can sign. We're hoping to close before we go out of town at the end of this month. I've been on pins and needles during this whole process. I don't want to get attached to this house, in case something falls through. But I really feel that if this is where God wants Zach and I, the process will continue to go smoothly. If not... then it's back to Zillow.

I'll keep you posted.