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Jan. 9th, 2017

So, we got a wee bit of snow on Sat...

Christmas lights left up just for the snow.


And I was up at 530 am that morning. Yeah. Hey, it was our first snow at Five Oaks and I really wanted to see it. We decided to turn the christmas lights on for awhile, when it was coming down and I got this absolutely stunning photo of our Phoenix, a Red Oak, in all his glory. Just gorgeous.


Snow!

Caena and I walked aways down the driveway, just looking around. It was so eeriely quiet and just beautiful.


Caena is absolutely loving the snow.

She, naturally, absolutely loves the snow.

Bittersweet

The bittersweet vines and berries made for some gorgeous shots too. And it's free food for the birds, who were going nuts at the suet feeders. And still are today.

Sunset on the first snow of the year

After the snow stopped, we had roughly 5". The sun came out and made for a lovely sunset.


Sunday, we woke up to no hot water. Apparently our tankless water heater decided to die overnight. Hrm. I'd say thank gods for the home warranty, but we still haven't heard back from them as to when a tech will be out to look it over, and we have no idea how much it's going to cost. *sigh* Too bad it didn't wait until tax refund time. At least we still have cold water and a stove to heat it on. Heh.



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Oct. 17th, 2016

*dusts hands*

Dear Suburban Propane-

When I tell you we decided to go with Blossman Gas because they are local and literally 10 minutes away, don't try and tell you are too.

No, you are not, you are 30-40 minutes away. That's not local to me.

Don't try and tell me you're cheaper either. I priced things out. I listened to what the seller had to say about their experience with your company. That, more than your claim of '30 years of service at this house', says a lot to me.

You never called me back about a pick up date and just randomly showed up. You're still 30-40 minutes away. Your tank is still not certified*, and still not in compliance**.

Yes, they are a competitor, but guess what? You don't exactly have a good track record with at least two owners of this property now.

Thank you for finally picking up your tank and getting it off my property.


* Certification ran out last year. It has not been inspected and thus, recertified in over a year now. New tanks from Blossman are 12 year certification, and are in much, much better shape.

** It is not 3-5 ft from the nearest ingress to the house, ie, the outside cellar access and the sump pump drain line. AND there's an old burrow directly behind it that leads up under the house. Propane sinks and looks for an ignition source- sump pump and dehumidifier are less than 6 ft down, and less than 3 ft away through the outside cellar access. Yeah. New tanks are now 8-9 ft away from any under house access points.



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Sep. 26th, 2016

Well ok then.

So adulted today and called about taking over the lease on the propane tank and getting a refill. (We're running low, we think, and haven't been using it much, which makes cooking dinners creative.)

Only to be told that it's not the propane company that we were told the sellers used, tank and may well in fact be ours. That they in fact only have records of doing service work on our very cool vintage propane stove, but not any records for ever filling up the tank for the sellers.

Well.

That would explain why the seller mentioned how the propane company they claimed to use never performed maintenance or upkeep on the tank- it belongs to you, silly! (Well, now us, apparently. I told Maximilliean I was going to get some white exterior paint, repaint it and stencil Five Oaks on it. He laughed at me.)

So tomorrow, I get to adult again and go into town to fill out paperwork to set up an account and get what appears to be *our very own tank* refilled. Yay me.

And now I'm wondering, who really *did* fill the tank before the close on the house then, if this company didn't...

Curiouser and curiouser...

Edit- Turns out, there *is* a decal on this tank for a company out of Roanoke or Lynchburg. So since we're wanting to go with a local company, after we get that account set up, we'll have to call this company and say, come get your tank. Convienently, the sellers never mentioned that.}:/


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Aug. 15th, 2016

Day 15 of the #CTMonthInTheLife Challenge...

The prompt for today is "Rest"...

The #prompt for day 15 of the #ctmonthinthelife  #igchallenge  by @createandthrive is #rest... What better place to take a break than on my very own #frontporch , usually with a #pet or two, in this case, with Morrigan and Caena.  Sometimes you can hear a

What better place to take a break, than on my very own front porch, with Morrigan and Caena. Miss Sassy deigned to not come outside with us, however briefly. This porch is absolutely perfect for listening to the birds, watching storms roll in, watching it rain, occasionally hearing a train or far away traffic. A great place to relax and a long time in the coming.



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Jul. 26th, 2016

This will never get old...

This will never get old.  #nofilter #fiveoaks #sunset #summer #peaksofotter #bedfordcountyva #dantesspirit</a>


Hard to believe we've been here 3 months. It's still like a vaction and not something we actually *own*. Heh.



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Jun. 22nd, 2016

Creating habitats...

So the Red Oak out front is dead. Dead as a doorknob dead. But it's huge and solid,so we're leaving it alone to essentially rot in place, eventually.

There are a few reasons for this-

One, there are Indigo Buntings nesting in a hollowed out knot hole in the end of one big branch.

Two, the woodpeckers- Pileated and Yellow belly Sapsucker so far, *love* this tree. So do alot of other birds, such as Nuthatches, the Goldfinches, Brown headed Cowbirds, Crows, Grackles, Sparrows, Carolina Wrens, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Purple Finches, Mourning Doves and so many more.

Three, there are Common Five Lined Skinks living on and in this tree. Along with all sorts of other insects that provide food for the Skinks and said birds.

The area beneath it had apparently at one point, already been a garden. The shape was there, but the shed bark and Pokeberry Weed (which is staying because it makes a nifty natural dye), along with Thistle and a Yucca were all that was left.

We added good dirt and planted swamp milkweed seeds, Mammoth sunflower seeds, various poppy seeds and transplanted some irises we found when we removed all of the Nandina from around the Peach tree (and found 6 other peach trees!) around the back of the house, as well as my Yarrow 'Paprika'. Also planted and scattered some black oil sunflower seeds as well.

Yesterday, while walking down to get mail, I spotted some milkweed growing along the edge of the hayfield, between where it starts and the mowed edge of the side of the driveway starts.



Little, thin, straggly milkweed. So not what it should be this late in the season. So, this morning, Caena and I went back down the driveway, trowel in hand, and dug up as much as I could find. Ok, so I only dug up about 6 plants out of the dozen or so that I spotted this time down. Heh.

They are now transplanted into the Habitat Tree's bed. They're a little wilty right now, but they're small enough that it won't take long for them to settle in and perk back up, especially with the rain we got yesterday, are supposed to get today and tomorrow.

The butterflies are so going to love our yard next year. Heh.


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May. 31st, 2016

Five Oaks



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We've been here just over a month now, and it still feels like a vacation.

Fezzik! Our 400+yr old White Oak. What a glorious Tree.  #nofilter  #oak #oaktree #whiteoak #fiveoaks #home #garden #dantesspirit


Well, with the exception of yard maintenance.}:P Even then, there's a huge sense of accomplishment when we stand back and look at the fruit trees, the roses, the black leaved crepe myrtle, the day lilies, the irises, the asiatic lilies and more that we've already planted and see how well they're settling in and flourishing just within days, as well as how nice the grass looks when it's freshly cut .

This place hasn't had anyone living in it properly, full time, taking care of the land and the plants and the trees as they need and should be, for a very, very long time. As I've said before, we are apparently only the 4th owners of the property and as far as we can tell, outside of the first owners, it was really only used as a vacation home for much of it's 76+ year life.

But slowly, slowly, we are bringing the heart back into this land. The previous owners did an excellent job at updated the interior while keeping the original features and character as well as put in some great bones and framework for spectacular garden spaces, and now, it's our turn to help the land reach it's full potential.

Already have a good start on the road towards getting a bird sanctuary designation, common five lined skinks, red headed woodpecker feeding ground and home to various insects. So, until it becomes unstable, we're leaving it alone.

Meet some 'neighbors'- not really neighbors in the sense that they live right next door, more like across the road and up the next one aways. They've been here 50 years and love this area too. Watched the front hay field be cut yesterday. The guy spotted a fawn, stopped, picked it up and moved it out of the way. Then waited while it ran for the brush line, bleating for its mom, before starting the tractor up and finishing. When he was done, he waved and told us to have a good weekend. People are so *nice* around here. It's quite the change and we're still getting used to it.

Tomorrow, we actually make out first mortgage payment. Maybe then, it'll become real, that yes, this *is* in fact our home now. Heh. But first, a final blood count check for Miss Sassy.

Meanwhile, today, I'm in my office, admiring the view, smelling the fresh cut hay and getting ready to list new items in the Big Cartel and Square shops, while watching thunderheads build over the Peaks of Otter.

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