Sunday, May 31, 2009

Zone 3

Thank you for cheering about my new house! I think I needed a kick start in the enthusiasm department, and your comments really helped! (frequent updates from a sick relative and a friend in different hospitals can really get a person down) I will try to answer a bunch of questions from your comments here...

Mary mentioned our "old Durham house." You see, Mary and I shared a house in common. Prepare yourself, this is a weird one... Mary lived in a big yellow house, built in 1923 in Durham, North Carolina, on James Street. She sold it. We bought that house. We didn't know Mary, we knew very little about her, but we loved our house. Our first house as a married couple, it had a rose garden, a grape arbor, raspberry bushes, lots of flower bulbs...and eventually raised beds for gardening. (we put those in.) Eventually we moved away from that house, in 2002, and I joined the Association of Knitwear Designers and recognized Mary's name as one of the members. It couldn't be THAT Mary, could it? It was.

Long story short? Mary now lives in Northern Virginia (where I grew up, we seem to follow each other around geographically) and we share a lot in common when it comes to picking out a house. The professor and I like housing from the period of, say, 1912-1929--as did Mary. This house has a window seat, just like the house in Durham. Remember the window seat, Mary!?
Nancy asked:
Does it have a cottage garden? Kitchen garden? Herb garden?

Umm, no, we don't think so. Houses in downtown Winnipeg have weenie small yards. This house is on a corner, so there is a bit more yard. Also, and this is big one--Winnipeg is in USDA Hardiness Zone 3. Here's a map of hardiness zones...Winnipeg is just above North Dakota, if that helps. The short summary of that is that gardening is a very short lived enterprise outside. Here are some photos of the backyard. As best we can tell (and we were there in mid-May)--the yard has a forsythia...and it was flowering. We have no idea what other surprises are there for us.
Many yards in Winnipeg are just gravelled over or filled with a garage, so we feel lucky that there will be some grass, some chance for gardening (likely in raised beds or containers) and room for a garage just beyond that back fence. We'll be making sure the fencing is extra secure so Harry and Sally don't escape--the street is very busy. We hear there are community gardens available, but people were just beginning to work the soil in mid-May. It's that cold. (northern Vermont was ahead of Winnipeg in terms of gardening--I'd visited New England just the week before!)

Alison said: You GOT it!!! YAY!!
Well, yes, and I'm getting excited, but we are still dealing with mortgage issues, currency conversion, and the complication of getting a down payment from the U.S. to Canada in the small window of time allowed before the deal falls through. This has been a little complicated. The professor has also let me know that I should not go on any spending sprees while we're dealing with this transaction. (The Canadian dollar has gone up quite a bit compared to the U.S. dollar lately, so this costs more than it used to, say, a month ago.) When our house sells and we've dealt with the moving costs, etc. it will all be easier. We're working with the buyers for our house right now, so that should be ok...we hope!

Andrea says: Congrats on the house! And yay for breakfast pie too! See, I told you.

Andrea, thank you for the congrats--and she is right. Indeed, you told me, and I've almost finished that pie. It's pretty good stuff for coping with stress. Now I've just got to get this book proofing done, wish several people great healing and hope they get out of the hospital soon. Oh, and on Friday? I'm flying off to Durham to see our yellow house, Mary! Well, not exactly. I'm actually going to Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh to give a little talk and see my old guild friends, but I'm staying at a hotel near my old house. I'll be cruising by. I'll be eating at Guglhupf, one of my favorite bakeries. It'll be a 24 hour stay in a place that I think still feels a little like home.

Got any other questions for me? I'll try to keep answering them. The next few weeks will be busy but I'll try to keep you updated!

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Blogger Nancy said...

Hmmmm...OK, raised beds doubling as mini-greenhouses? Flourescent lit gardening indoors 8 months of the year.... take heart, there is always a way or a dozen ways to beat the short growing season! Isn't there a bank nearby that can automatically convert US to Canadian $? My local bank can't but I can go 20 miles to a different bank that can!

May 31, 2009 at 8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To give everyone some basis for comparison, forsythia blooms in January in North Carolina, in late February in Kentucky, in early to mid-March in New York City, and apparently in late May in Winnipeg.

We will have some learning to do to get the gardens going--we may try cold frames to extend the season on both ends. It'll just be part of the adventure!

The Professor

May 31, 2009 at 10:12 PM  
Blogger PghCathy said...

And what an adventure it's going to be! Good luck on checking off all the items I'm sure are on your 'to do' list! We'll all be watching the progress.

June 1, 2009 at 3:50 PM  
Anonymous AlisonH said...

My daughter in Vermont raised a Meyer lemon tree in a pot in the window. It can be done.

June 1, 2009 at 11:22 PM  

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