The Last Big Project

When I first saw this house the one thing I noticed was the windows. I knew from the get go that they needed to be changed out. But those other things were more urgent. Now with everything else taken care of I could work on getting the windows replaced.

The windows that are presently here look nice but they are not of any use except to say they are windows. They are single pane and just glass so all the heat inside in the winter goes out and all the heat in the summer comes in. Also who ever put these windows in did not know what they were doing and there was big gaps around many of the windows that let the bugs in. While we were fixing up and painting we were bothered by the potato bug that came in those cracks and they have an awful bite so Joe went around to all the windows and caulked all the windows to keep the bugs out. Then Holly put the plastic sealers on all the windows to act as storm windows for the winter. These helped hold in the heat but it made it hard to see out and you can not open the windows to air out the place until spring when we take those sealers off. Also there are no screens on any of the windows so for most of the year you could not open the windows anyways.

I found an add for windows on line. It was for Anderson Windows. I knew those and like the company as we had used them in The Villas in Port St Lucie. They aren’t cheap, but cheap was not my first priority, quality was and this add was for a very good discount so I answered it. When they called me I found they do not service this area but they gave me a company they recommended that does service this area and does work on Mobile Homes. I called them and that was how I found Mad City to install my windows.

Like the windows we put in in Florida these would be very expensive and at first I planned to just get an idea of price and then save up to buy them. I did not want to use all the savings I had left and I did not want to pay interest on a loan. I turned out that month there was a special promotion to get 75% off the labor cost of putting them in and a 48 month no interest payment plan so the price of $15,000 seemed do able for me and we began the process. Long story short the finance company talked me into doing half of it now and the other half when the first half was paid for. Mad City agreed to lock in the whole job price and do the job in two steps with all the benefits we had agreed on and so I picked the two windows in my bed room, the one in Joe’s bed room and the dinning room window to be done first. There is no penalty for paying it off before the 48 months so I will try and get this first part done and paid off in a year and a half. They did write into the contract that the other windows could be done at this agreed on price as soon as I pay off the first half and if the new deals that come out in the future are better and would save me money, I can opt for those also. I think that is a win win situation. My monthly payments are very low so I should be able to save enough each month to pay this half off early. Joe still wanted to do the windows himself. He has never done them before and he would have to use standard windows and make them fit into the spaces. I would rather have these custom built windows that I know the quality of and have them installed by professionals with a warranty on them. Also Joe would have to take every free moment he has all summer to do the job that this company can do in a week and Joe needs some time off even if he doesn’t think so.

The windows are being built as we speak and will be installed as soon as they are finished and checked for size. The other thing that I liked about this company is, if they find any wood rot or mold when they remove the old windows they will repair that at no additional cost and that was important as the reason I picked Joe’s window to be done first is because we know there is wood rot around that window. I wasn’t hiding anything from the company, I told them and they had already looked at my old windows and noted on the contract that there was wood rot to be replace and there was mold that needed to be taken care of. I have no idea where the mold is but will be glad to have that removed too. I chose my windows in my bedroom because I face the corn field out back and the wind blows across that and howls at night. I don’t mind the sound but I know it is stealing heat from my room and with new windows, double pane, high impact glass the stealing will stop and I can just enjoy the sound if it still can be heard.

Today it started snowing about 4am and will snow all day and night. The snow here in Iowa is very different from any snow I have ever seen before. The snow flakes are so small you almost think it is rain but it not only snow but very light snow almost , no water in this snow so if I keep up with it I can just sweep it off my porch with a broom. It also blows away if there is any wind and the wind does blow a lot here. It blows across the corn fields and then piles up around anything that is in the way. This picture of my back yard will give you an idea of what I am talking about.

I took this picture this morning. If you look at the top of the picture you see the corn field on the other side of the tree line and see there is only a trace of snow there but look at the corner of the house, my back yard and see how much snow has accumulated there already.

This is looking out my front window and you can see how much snow we already have there. This is Norman’d toy that the boys used to love to play with when they came to visit. Now he stands watch over me. Also look under his front foot and you see the plastic storm windows that are on all the windows. It does seal very nicely but the frost that forms on the window when the temperature goes down into the teens lets me know heat does get through this plastic.

My passion now is my birds. I have about 50 sparrows that come here to eat every day between 7 and noon and again in the afternoon between 2 and 4. These are ground feeders so I put seeds on the porch for them and any that is left at the end of the day I sweep off onto the ground under the porch and half of them feed there. It is fun to watch the area when it snows as that area where I sweep the seeds onto is all little bird prints. I also have a whole flock of juncos that come every day, a pair of downy wood peckers, two other kinds of wood peckers, a few chickadees, a couple nut hatches. a blue jay, a dove and a couple others besides my three squirrels

This is my bird feeder when we first put it in. Since then it is joined by a 30 gallon tin bucket that I keep the seeds in as the birds eat 50 pounds or more a month and a pie plate full of seeds that I have to fill three times or more a day. The green pad on the floor is the poop pad I got hoping to train Otis to go in the house when it snowed but he uses it to sleep on not poop. The black thing on the left is my fire pit.

This as taken this morning. I had already been out and cleared all the snow off and this that you see has accumulated since. The birds keep the seeds free of snow. They are very fussy eaters and toss out the ones they don’t like as much. Later they come back and eat the ones they passed up earlier.

The first time it snowed I put the chairs in front of the ramp to try and get Otis to do his business on the porch but he just held it for the whole day instead. The sparrows like the chairs there as they had a place to wait while the squirrel ate out the sunflower seeds. Now they will eat along with the squirrel on the floor. When the squirrel decides he wants the suet cakes on the feeder, he goes and chases the birds away from the feed and I chase him away from the feeder so the birds will come back.

Remember this little beauty? One nigh when we were getting ready to go to bed Otis went to the door to go out before we went to our room. I didn’t look out before I opened the door for Otis and as soon as he went out he stood at the top of the ramp and barked. I looked out to see him in his defensive stand ready to fight and looked over behind the fire pit was this little guy ready to fight. It took me a second to decide what it was. An opossum ! They are not aggressive but can fight and do a lot of damage with those sharp teeth when cornered. And that night he was cornered as the only route of escape for him was down the ramp and Otis stood infant of the ramp. I grabbed my broom ready to jump in and fight if Otis and he got into it. Before I moved I remembered in Spanish Lakes we had three farrow cats that would not run when Otis tried to chase them, They just stood their ground and were going to fight. Otis is a lover not a fighter so I would tell him “You better leave them alone. They will knock you block off” and Otis would just go on his way and leave them. So I tried it here. I said, “Otis, leave him alone, it’s alright. Don’t mess with him, he’ll knock your block off “

Otis turned and looked at me. Looked back at the opossum, turned and went down the ramp. When he finished his business and started back up the ramp, I went out and met him at the top and picked him up and took him into the house. The opossum had come up for the corn. He left and has never been back up on the porch. He does come and get the corn on the ground under the porch as I see his foot prints in the snow. I have never let Otis out again without first looking to see what is out there.

Time for lunch so I must go. I will get some more pictures of my birds to show you another day. From now on my blogs will just be to let you know what is happening each day. They won’t be so long but may be more boring I hope not but I really don’t want any excitement here. I like the quiet and peace but do want to let all my children know what is happening. Love to all and God Bless.

About Carol (Ouma) Petts

I am a retired teacher. I have taught all levels from kindergarten through college and have been retired now for over 20 years. The last ten years we have lived on a farm and lived off the land, growing our own food and canning for our extended family. Now we have sold the farm and are moving to Florida to truly retire. I guess I have always had a short attention span as this is our 11th move. We have moved from a small farm in New Hampshire, to more city type living, small business adventures, focusing more on traveling, Florida living, Georgia, and Tennessee farming and now back to Florida. My blog is a way to keep my children up to date on what I am doing and letting them know I am still alive and well. My children are spread across the country from New England to Florida, Nova Scotia to New Mexico and CA and several places between, They let me know what they are up to by commenting on my blog but they are so busy with their own lives most times I have to assume " no news is good news". Now I are starting on a new adventure so will try to give daily updates until we get settled into a routine. Then I know even if I am getting older and should settle down I will start looking for some new and exciting adventure to start. Welcome aboard. Norman died Oct 30, 2017 so I am continuing the journey alone with the aid of my children, grand children and great grand children. At present I am living with my daughter and we are 7 in one house and cover four generations. We range in age from 7 to 85 and are finding common ground, we are living proof that multi generations can live and function in a three bedroom house if they really want to. Soon my grandson will have his house built next door so we all will have a room of their own except for the seven year old twins who by choice will share a room.
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