23 February 2010

Birthdays, springtime, plans

The wild cyclamens are finally starting to bloom in the back yard. I think they are late this year, because of the weather. And I haven't seen any primroses at all yet.

Wild cyclamens in bloom in the garden

But the weather has definitely warmed up. The low temperature — the low, not the high — this morning was close to 50ºF — it was about 9ºC.

We don't know how the cyclamens came to grow in our yard.

Yesterday was Callie's birthday. She was born, along with 8 or 9 other puppies, on February 22, 2007, in a place in the Auvergne region called La Vallée des Géants. We didn't have a party, but her friend Mr. Mo, an 8-year-old Lab, came to see her in the afternoon. In the morning, when I sang Happy Birthday to her she got all squirmy and jumped up and licked me on the cheek.

The birds and the freezing weather have turned
our apple pile into a pile of apple sauce.

Finally, we made a big decision yesterday. I don't know if Walt has blogged about it — he might be afraid to jinx it. We decided to expand our living space by having our attic finished off to make a gigantic room that can be our bedroom, a TV room, and my office for my computer.

One of our neighbors has cut down some trees
and is building benches for his yard.

Our attic is at least 80 square meters. That's nearly 900 sq. ft. It may be even bigger than that; we haven't measured it very precisely. Turning it into finished space will involve putting in two or three skylights — there are already two windows up there — and, most importantly, a new staircase for access from the main living level.

Does this look any more spring-like?
Click on the picture to enlarge it.

You can expect to see more about this on our blogs over the next few months. Unless the price is just too high and "sticker shock" sets in, work could begin pretty soon. Be warned if you plan to visit this year: the house may be a construction zone.


  1. I had just written that one needs to realise that the taxe d'habitation will rise with the new works if the space is deemed to be habitable. Chez nous, we make sure that the combles are simply a well-appointed storage attic with vacuum cleaner points. Get someone to make an estimation of the tax consequences.

  2. Best of luck with the renos, and look forward to the future blogs on it.
    People visit because they want to see you, not your surroundings. Well that's what Sue tells me after telling me to wash the floors, vaccuum, mow the lawns, etc before our guests arrive.

  3. We will make the appropriate inquiries about tax and insurance implications of expanding our living space. The mayor of the village is our neighbor! Thanks for the comment, HP.

  4. I think every visit to the house, especially overnight visits, is actually an inspection tour of some kind. There'd better not be any dust behind the radiators, or spiders in the corners.

  5. Love the cyclamen - beautiful. Are primroses wild too?

  6. Your inspections have gone very well! We give you 100 percent.

    Good luck with your new plans. I think you will enjoy warmer computer space in the winters. I bet you'll get some nice views from the attic. We will enjoy watching your project without having to sweep up the dust that it produces.

    I wish cyclamen grew here! And I also would love the primrose. We do have camilla though so I shouldn't complain.

  7. That is very exciting news!

  8. Your attic is bigger than most French apartments.

  9. I think it's exciting news, too! I agree with Evelyn that you sure should enjoy the views and the warmer spot for your computing... was that part of the reason for spurring on the renovation idea?

    We WILL have fun following the renovation!! IF we EVER get this house we're STILL waiting for, we will be renovating the kitchen and 2 bathrooms, so maybe I'll have to start a blog to allow my sisters to monitor the progress :)


  10. How wonderful that your expansion plans are cycling back around again! Your house is perfectly livable as is, but it would be fun to have a bit more space to spread out, not to mention a warmer space to blog each morning. You know all about living through renovations after all the work you did in Glen Park, but I'll remind you anyway . It will always be messier, take longer, and cost more than you think. But it will be worth it in the end and you'll love your new space.

  11. I think Susan is right. I agree 100% with her!


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