To the new owners of our old house:
I hope you enjoy this home as much as we did. Any paperwork we had related to the maintenance of the house is in the bottom left-hand drawer of the kitchen desk. Most of that we acquired from the prior owners, but it may be useful to you.
The martin house out back is held up by a rope. In the autumn, once the birds have cleared out (usually by Thanksgiving), you can lower the house down and clean it out with a water house before you hoist it back up. The birds will return in the spring, and they’ll appreciate it.
The whitetail deer that live in the greenbelt drop their fawns between March and May. They have been known, on occasion, to give birth beneath the deck. If they do, try not to disturb them; they’ll be up and about in a few days. Sometimes, when the fawns are a few weeks old, the doe will leave them in the yard while she goes foraging. They are not abandoned: the momma deer will return within a few hours to pick up the baby. Once, they even left a fawn on the front porch by the door! (But that was a bit unusual.) They will move through the yard at night, and will set off the motion-sensitive light on the back deck. If it keeps you awake, you might have to shut it off.
The greenbelt itself is part of the regional drainage system. I’m told that it may fill up if there’s a really heavy rainstorm, but that never happened while we were there. Some of the neighbors have have mentioned seeing a “lake” in their back yard but it never got high enough to threaten the house. That’s what it’s supposed to do: hold the water so that it doesn’t flood downtown.
The rabbits will occasionally come through, too, but they don’t set off the light like the deer.
If you happen to see a cow, it probably got loose from one of the ranches nearby. If it’s drinking a beer, then…well, never mind. You’ll just have to cross that bridge when you come to it.
I know you can’t see the highway from the back, but you can hear it. Twice a year, there’s some sort of festival on the opposite side of the highway and it gets really noisy, but it only seems to last a day or two.
You may have noticed that the dog door is about five feet above the ground. We built a little ramp for our dog to go in and out. We just used an 2x10 and added some treads on it because it was steep and she would slide down. It took her a few days, but she gained confidence and would head outside whenever there was something to bark at (usually one of the neighbors out on a walk).
We never lit the fireplace, so I hope it still works. What with the asthma and all that, we didn’t go to the effort. You can occasionally hear birds up in the chimney, but I’m pretty sure they’re transients.
The air conditioner was replaced in 2012 and we just had it serviced. It’s still under warranty, so let the folks know if something goes wrong before 2019 (paperwork in the desk drawer).
I hope you enjoy the whirlpool. Frankly, as we’re getting a bit older, it got more and more complicated to get in and out, so we usually stuck to taking showers. There’s a shutoff switch behind one of the doors on the bottom if it starts leaking and you need to turn off the electricity to it.
Watch out for wasps! Sometimes, they’ll start building a nest under the eaves. If you can see it, they can see you, and, let me tell you, they hurt. You can knock the nests down with a broom, but then run like hell because you’ll really piss them off. It might be better to let an exterminator deal with them, come to think of it.
What with all the trees, you need to clear out the gutters at least twice a year, or else they’ll get all gunked up. The trees do make the lot beautiful, and the lighting adds a lot to that. For some reason, when we replaced one of the lights with LEDs, some of the other lights didn’t seem to work as well, but we never figured out what the problem was.
The driveway and sidewalk have been pressure-cleaned and they looked really spectacular when we left.
You’ll have access to the hiking trails and I recommend that you use them, except in the late spring when the mosquitos are out in full force.
Remember to trim that big thing in the corner by the front door. If you cut it back in the winter, it will bloom again by March, and grow healthy.
Enjoy the home. It’s a great place.