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The Nevada Department of Forestry declared no campfires, anywhere, until further notice. We haul our old propane bbq with us in our toy hauler so we can still cook outside when we go camping. We miss evening fires but we’re ok with that. Who wants to be the jerk that burns down the state anyways?

We went from unseasonal rains to extremely dry and abnormally hot weather. Everyone I’ve talked to said they can’t remember ever having a statewide restriction like this. I know it has been common in other states to have such broad restrictions so I guess Nevada just has to follow suit now.

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I had a large vacant spot by the kids pirate ship that just seemed to be a waste of space. I also had a need for a protected area to plant tomatoes to protect them from the local critters that like to eat my plants to the ground, given the chance.

So I mention this dilemna to my husband and he built me a creative raised bed with scraps from our never ending wood pile.

 

Upright boards and 6" Round Posts

Upright boards and 6" Round Posts

Then he used some rope leftover from the pirate ship project to make a decorative perimeter. He was able to flow the look of existing wood retaining wall by using the same wood, but changed the direction of the boards and added  the rope to match the ship with a nautical touch.

 

Adds a Nautical Touch

Adds a Nautical Touch

It did take a yard of dirt to fill, but that was affordable and easy. We just filled the bed of his truck at Moana Nursery

 

Jeni Gave Me Heirloom Tomatos and I Use a Florida Weave for Support

Jeni Gave Me Heirloom Tomatos and I Use a Florida Weave for Support

Then Jeni brought me some tomato plants and VOILA! A new garden is born. My only wish is that I had a picture of the garden from this morning. We’ve had so much rain lately that the plants are thriving and blooming.

I use a Florida Weave to support the plants but instead of matal posts, I cut back some willow branches to use instead. They will root and I can transplant them in the fall. And I use standard twine for the weave. We keep a huge roll in the garage since it only has about 2 million uses!

This is also on the edge of our patio, so it provides a few other benefits as well. It is another addition to the defensible space around our home, I love to dine outside and actually watch food grow (for some reason, what I’m eating always tastes better!) and it is convenient to monitor water/bugs/etc when I don’t have to hike out to maintain another section of the property.

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A very strange thing has happened this week. We’ve had rain everyday. Hopefully it will continue through the week.

This really isn’t normal for this time of year. Come to think of it, I don’t think it is a normal weather pattern ever considering the length of time. Please don’t think I’m complaining. Definitely not!

The good? Recently the Division of Forestry came through and cleared 50 feet of brush and trees on either side of the road in our section of the neighborhood. The moisture brings out the fresh smell of the cut pine and they seemed to have spread lupine seeds far and wide. With this rain, they are blooming up and down the roads. I’m starting to feel like I’m in the hill country of Texas when the Bluebonnets are in bloom!

Lupine AKA Bluebonnets

Lupine AKA Bluebonnets

I appreciate the dust staying down since it is constantly damp. The rainbows in the evenings are beautiful over the mountains. The double rainbows are even more fabulous. The birds are in my garden singing their happiness and the garden itself is thriving. My house stays cool enough that I don’t want to crawl out of my cozy bed in the morning.

 

Cheatgrass

Cheatgrass

The downside? There really isn’t too much to consider. When I see the lightening striking in the distance, I hope the rain continues as protection against fires. Unfortunately, the weeds are thriving too. The cheat grass is going to seed faster than I can kill and bag it. So as soon as I think I’ve removed all of it around my house, it grows back. This in itself is becoming a full time job! If you aren’t aware of the dangers of cheatgrass, please read this.

 

Northern Nevada is wet and the good definitely outweighs the bad. I just hope it continues through the week like the forecasters predict!

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With a shrinking economy, I went out looked for reasons why I made a good choice in where I live. I learned many things I never knew….

  • Constitutional Ban against Income
  • Ranked 49th for the lowest tax burden
  • Ranked 7th for the highest income

You can read the entire post over at our blog about living Eco Friendly.

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With more and more people losing their homes, do you wonder where they will go? An apartment maybe, or I’ve heard of people walking away from their mortgages because they can rent a nicer home for half the price they were paying to own….

So my next question is who is making money right now? The rental owners or the banks with mortgages? The banks are working hard to correct their balance sheets but the investors in rental property are where the money is, and will be for a while.

I’m wondering where this is all heading. I would like to sell my home to upgrade in acreage but I’m caught in the same trap as the majority of people these days. But the smart people are always the ones to take advantage of a crisis. I want to be one of those people and I want to know all of my options.

Buying houses now, that sometimes cost less than when they did brand spanking new 4 years ago, is where the economy seems to be going. Those who were financially strong through the boom, and continued to keep financial stability during the bust, are the ones who are snapping up properties now. Especially if you realize that people have to live somewhere, the affordable investment is more secure than the 401k or IRA of last year.

The rental investor can offer such competitive rates and of course there is demand. Any industry that people create wealth in has to have a demand and investors able to take advantage of the situation. Of course, the demand stems from home owners not able to keep their investment but still needing a home and DESIRING a nice home to live in.

The investors with the courage to snap up short sales and foreclosures for 50% (or less) of their value will continue to make a profit for years to come. With the affordable prices, they are gaining a real estate asset immediately. With demand, the business model is a sure bet. With desirability, they are proud of where their money is parked.

Affordable. Demand. Desirable. Today wealth isn’t created like the automobile industry at the turn of the century or even the computer industry in the 1990’s, it is real estate. Where will your investment be tomorrow?

Me? I’m thinking it is time to quit my relationship with Wall Street and channel my funds into making my home a rental property. I have been a landlord before and it is a huge responsibility. At least it is if you don’t want to be a slum-lord. But, my husband and I are looking at our options. If we can’t sell our home for what we owe maybe we should rent it. We have been approached by rental opportunities but we were wary. I think it is definitely time to come up with a game plan and pursue this path.

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My local source is Dry Creek Gardens in Reno, NV
My local source is Dry Creek Gardens in Reno, NV
Slope plantings according to height, placing the tallest against your fence and the lowest closest to your outdoor area. Choose plants by density of leaves to create a thicker barrier. I would recommend a mixture of evergreens with deciduous trees or shrubs mixed in to give seasonal change while keeping a year round barrier. Then choose lower growing plants to fill in the bottom and act as a border.
 
Give thought to colors of leaves and flowers when making selections. Don’t hesitate to consult with the experts at your local nursery, they are always happy to help. When you actually decide to place the plants, do not forget to give them room to grow!

 

This will not cure all sound problems, but it will help muffle and absorb most of it. A garden will add beauty to your landscape and peace to your space.
I intentionally do not give plant recommendations because every area is completely different. This is to give you an idea of using textures and colors together to create a pleasing garden that will help suppress sound.

 

 

 

 

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This is something I swear we will enjoy forever. Privacy fence structured to work with wind and not block your view! 

From inside the house, you still have a viewWe had this style fencing around our back deck in Alaska to maintain privacy around our spa. We used this to surround the entire deck, but changed the angle to avoid sight to and from neighbors and roads. The beauty of it equals the practicality when you want your investment to last.

Ours faces our neighbors so we have privacy to enjoy our views and our outdoor room. In the spring, there is a lilac that grows like a weed on the outside that provides more privacy in a natural way. From our living room, we still have a panoramic view of the valley!

wall-angle2Ours was built by framing the area needing the privacy screen with 2×4’s. Using fencing slats that are set at the desired angle, then cut spacers using 2×4’s. At the top and bottom of the frame nail in the spacer, set the slat, nail the spacer, and repeat until the frame is filled. This privacy wall is raised about a foot and a half off the ground so the winter snow can melt under it, without rotting the fence.
This technique isn’t new but I don’t believe it is as widely used as it should be. Here is a book with more detailed instructions

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