Hedge Fund Investments: Divine Dividends

When most people think of a house as being an investment, it means they spend money on things that will contribute to financial gain when they sell it in a few years or more. We live in a culture of a “starter home” mentality where the belief is that one should always be buying something bigger and more expensive when able. When I bought my house my goal was for it to be my “forever” home, so one of my long-term investments for which I’m now enjoying the gains are my natural window treatments of the street-facing windows in my sunroom. A small investment in two potted perennials which have been nurtured for ten years have blossomed into the gorgeous privacy screen of my dreams!

What are some long-term investments you’ve made in your home simply for the joy it brings you and not because your ROI will be financial gain?

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Gardening Adventures: Tomato Babies! Chipmunk Babies!

Normally we wait until Memorial Day weekend to plant the tomato babies, as I call them, but with the unusually warm temps it was safe to plant them this past weekend. We decided it was a good value to spend $65 to have the many bags of soil delivered to save wear and tear on Wayne’s back. This summer will be the greatest amount of tomato plants we’re growing: 26 of them! Besides the Lemon Boys we have Black Cherry, Yellow Pear, Roma, Cherokee Purple, Carolina Gold and Supersonic. In addition to the two raised beds we have ten containers spread out on our deck and behind our house. I’m looking forward to a fun growing season and this weekend didn’t disappoint.

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Sunroom Mocktail: Non-Alcoholic G&T

Who doesn’t love a G&T?! Well, I don’t! As most of my readers know I don’t drink alcohol. I came up with my own mocktail, also called a G&T, made with ginger syrup and Topo Chico. Here’s the simple recipe:

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“New Old Stock” Kitchen Linens Dilemma

It’s been a while since I “raided” my stash of vintage estate kitchen towels that are in new, never used condition, most which still have the original price tags. Because we do our dishes by hand we use about three kitchen towels daily including one that lines our dish drying rack. Some have been in service for many years withstanding weekly laundering. A good old-fashioned kitchen towel will fade gently over years, not two washings like so much of what is sold today, and becomes more soft as time goes on. Then, after their golden years the perfect fading and softness gives way to becoming too thin to be absorbent. At that point they get transitioned into dusting rags or bedding for our degus. Sometimes I’m not sure if one is too special or unique to use, like this circa 1960s kitschy towel with an important message:

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When Life Hands You Lemon Boys

My adventures in securing potted annual flowers and tomato plants, with Lemon Boys being the most desired began early this morning. It’s strange seeing how much has changed since I was out and about a year ago. For example, a century old church was razed and there is a new apartment building being constructed. Marijuana dispensaries with names like House of Hash (Maine legalized marijuana) have popped up near the mall/big box store area where I was headed. The super friendly and helpful older lady who has worked the cash register at the Big Box plant nursery for over twenty years is no longer working there, and the two younger replacements weren’t helpful. No one knew where the tomato plants were but I finally found three sad ones on mostly empty shelves. I knew I was done with that place. The nice lady was the only reason why I still went in the past. Since the pandemic I’m less tolerant of things that wear and tear on my psyche. Bye bye Big Box store! I did notice some pretty, low priced hanging flowering plants on my way out, though. Not for me, I’m done, so over that chain of questionable repute. Onward!

But I knew what that meant. I’d have to go to the very nice locally owned nursery with the horrifying chaotic overcrowded narrow parking lot situation where I once almost got run over by an elderly lady on a moped.

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Enjoying the Best from 2020

I know I said my little series about how I decided to go to college in New England and not New York would be coming up next, but I’ve decided to make it “soon”. I like to intersperse my more essay-oriented posts with snippets of joy and photos.

Tonight we’re having the last batch of the heirloom sauce I made from the tomatoes in our garden. If you’re interested I posted the recipe here. There is (almost) NOTHING better than homegrown tomatoes. I honestly can taste all of the sweet memories of last summer and early fall. When your food is picked fresh it also still has much of the life force within it. If that sounds kooky just try some and I bet you’ll experience what I mean. Plus they’re loaded with love!

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Happy Easter!

I just put out the crystal candelabra and tulips along with the glazed strawberry pudding cake I made this morning. It’s still cold in the sunroom right now but it will reach the 70s by noon when I’ll finish setting the table for our Easter luncheon. I’ll keep the cake refrigerated until then; I just wanted to show it to you because there’s a secret I’ll share!

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Pretty Things, Ugly Attachments.

I roasted a chicken last night and I decided to put out a very special tablecloth that I hadn’t dare used since I first scored it at an estate sale over a decade ago…

It was a beautiful late spring morning in Portland and for once I had beat the other early bird pickers, those old-timers who had been doing it since they were kids. I was standing in the lush green yard and asked the lady having the sale if she had any linens? Yes, she said. “I’ll buy them all.” I learned that early on. There’s no time to ask how much, just claim them! Seconds later one of my main competitors showed up. I have to tell you that this part of picking is the most fun…that is, when you are the one winning! The woman having the sale proceeded to bring out gigantic boxes stacked with vintage, never used linens! She only wanted $15 for everything! This competitor in particular is very good-natured, not all of them are, and she was shaking her head but also smiling for me. It was Christmas for weeks at home as I sorted through them all. I sold most since that was a side hustle for me but the very special pieces I’ve kept, like the tablecloth I used last night.

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Yankee Thrift isn’t always about frugality!

Doesn’t the man on this vintage marketing piece for a Thermo Pride furnace look like Tom Netheron from The Lawrence Welk Show? Speaking of which, PBS isn’t showing it for the next three Saturday nights in a row! What will we do?! Anyway this is an actual part of the paperwork that came with my Thermo Pride furnace installed 31 years ago. When the housing inspector walked around my home before I purchased it he made a point to tell me that it could possibly last forever. When I looked up and met the original owners of my 1950 home and had them over the husband, Len beamed with so much pride when he stood in front of it. I can still see his big smile as he said: “It’s the Cadillac of furnaces!” I told him how I truly appreciated it since I was enjoying its comforting, reliable service. He was not the type of man who bought Cadillacs or flashy things, but he was an old time Mainer who knows the value of a dollar and when it’s prudent to spend more.

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Valentine’s Day Cake & Amarena Cherry Mocktails

We had my Valentine’s cake for lunch and my Valentine loves it! I’m really happy since I had never baked with beet juice before so I had no idea what the result would be. I’m also glad to have discovered Fabbri Amerena cherries which was a direct result of my planning for this cake when I was doing an ingredient search for delectable red edibles. Since we don’t consume alcohol it’s wonderful to find something that can turn a simple sparkling water beverage into a sophisticated mocktail in addition to making a dessert shine.

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