Wednesday, July 20, 2005


This post is the first thing I'm writing from our new place. Well, not counting all those checks for the cable, phone, and the zero turn 52" lawn mower we bought in lieu of the tractor (which will take out a large tree at 25 mph, reduce it to toothpicks and turn on a dime to eat another half acre of grass [insert a Tim Allen owr-owr-owr grunt.])

Over the last four days I've mostly unpacked about ten thousand boxes. Only ten thousand more to go.

One minor tragedy: after warning the kids about the great big bristling catepillars I'd spotted in the garden, and describing the horrendous, man-o-war-type stings they inflict, I went to put some trash in the outside garbage can, lifted the lid and met the great big bristling catepillar that had been lurking under the handle. Thus the first words our neighbors heard out of me were shrieked and not very polite, but the subsequent swelling and need for ice impressed my children to no end.

I love nature. I love butterflies. But those catepillars? Are all going to die.

The neighbors do seem to be quite forgiving, as one came over last night to say hi and brought us a loaf of homemade bread. It was wrapped in a kitchen towel to stay warm, just like my mom used to do. People are already bringing me comfort food; I'm going to like it here.

The house seems huge. All of our furniture fits, and I keep finding closets I didn't know we had. The kitchen is a dream. I like to cook, and have enough pots, pans, appliances, utensils and dishes to accommodate feeding a modest army. After unpacking I still had empty cabinets and six feet of open counter space.

Wildlife: cardinals, jays, doves, wrens and finches hang out in our big oak tree. So does a large family of squirrels. One of our neighbors keeps chickens, so we wake up by rooster. Our kids have never heard real chickens before and think they're hysterically funny. A couple of sandhill cranes have taken up residence in the neighborhood somewhere and squabble a lot. There are mutant-size moths, dragonflies and grasshoppers, and lots of different frogs, wasps, flies and bumblebees, but so far I've only seen one orb spider.

A large horse came to watch me while I was out dead-heading some of the rose bushes this morning. It was only fifteen inches yards away, but I did not scream and run into the house. It did not jump the fence or race over to stomp me into mulch. We eyed each other, then I went back to pruning and it went trotting off to do whatever horses do. Maybe it heard about the catepillars.

It's after midnight. My feet are singing the Ave Maria, and I think I just hooked up Harry to Darth instead of Mrs. Peel. I can't find the coffee filters, my watch or my favorite sneakers, but those ten thousand boxes aren't going anywhere.

Doesn't matter. We're here. We're home.


  1. Welcome to your new home. May you have years of blessed happiness within 'and outside' of its walls.

  2. Yikes. Those caterpillars sound worse than fire ants.

    Or the Texas wasps, that attack in formation . . .

    Or chiggers . . .

  3. Anonymous2:09 AM

    Congratulations! Your house sounds like a dream.
    I'm particularly impressed with that mower. Zero turn? Gawd, I'd KILL for that.
    And the horse? He'll be back tomorrow with a few of his boys.
    They can smell fear, y'know. Sort of like the IRS.

  4. Anonymous2:35 AM

    I'm so jealous of your kitchen!!

    Welcome back!

  5. Anonymous4:00 AM

    Many Blessings on your new Home.

  6. Anonymous5:12 AM

    Sounds idyllic! Although I adore horses, so....the only downside appears to be those caterpillars, at least from where I'm standing. Sitting. Anyway.

    Good luck with those other 10 thousand boxes!

  7. Anonymous5:24 AM

    Hope you're doing well at getting settled in.

    Since you now have horses as neighbours, can I recommend

    "The Medieval Warhorse From Byzantium to the Crusades" by Ann Hyland.

    It's pretty much a writer's heavy cavalry cheat book. She's very readable and incisive, well researched (nothing rang any warning bells) and can back up her arguments with her equestrian experience.

    Best wishes

  8. Anonymous7:09 AM

    Welcome home, hon.

    Don't let the horse scare you. Just a big herbivore. Probably very friendly and likes to be scratched behind the ears and fed fruit. I'd love to have horses next door.

    Of course, that would mean my neighbors didn't live there anymore...

  9. Anonymous8:05 AM

    Congratulations! It sounds like a dream house. Except for the catepillars. What the heck are those things, anyway?

  10. Congratulations on the new house! May you be extremely happy there!

    Oh, and about those catepillars? Are those the big white fuzzy ones that look like they would cool to touch but once you do-those fuzzy things get embedded in your finger and take hours to get out? We have those here and yowza...I hate those. They ARE spiteful and hide in the darndest places!

    Cool about the horse though, I bet your children love that!

  11. Anonymous8:38 AM

    It sounds wonderful! May you have many wonderful years in this new jewel of a house!


  12. Anonymous9:10 AM

    Sounds like heaven, PBW! Wishing you and your family much happiness in your new home. Scary about those horned caterpillars -- I had no idea they were stingers! Ouch!

  13. Enjoy your new home! I'm so happy that y'all are settling in well.

    Sorry about the caterpillars. I'm glad that we don't have those up here in NY

  14. Congratulations on your new home!

    We just moved, too, but I haven't found closets I didn't know about, and Mom helped me fill up my empty cupboards.

    Blessings on blessings!

    Oh, yeah, and as long as you stay away from the back end of the horse, you'll be fine. Don't carry carrots in your pockets; they'll follow you.

  15. Anonymous10:03 AM

    Mazel Tov on the new house. It sounds like a winner.

  16. Sorry about the catepillar wounding. Little bugger!

    But your house sounds lovely, and peaceful.

    Good luck on unpacking the rest of the boxes. Don't over-do it, though. Like you said, they're not going anywhere.

  17. Anonymous10:27 AM

    Despite the giant killer catepillars, I'm very envious of how lovely your new home sounds. I'm especially envious of the space in the kitchen (eyes overflowing counter in my own kitchen).

    Congratulations on your new home. May it be a place of warmth and happiness and may your family know many years of joy within its walls.

  18. Your new home sounds lovely, PBW. Many, many happy years!

    Ohhhh, I had a run-in with one of those caterpillars shortly after I moved to Florida. I figured they were benign, so I picked one off of my flowers with my hand only inside plastic. YOWWWWWWWWW! I had no idea that it would sting me so badly!

  19. Anonymous10:34 AM

    Wait, where do you live that you have stinging caterpillars? What are they? When I was a kid I worked at the Insect Zoo at the Smithsonian and was really into the bugs -- but I'd never heard of caterpillars that actually sting or bite.

    (I'm really interested -- email me at -- I want to look these little nasty guys up.)

    Congratulations on the new place! We moved into our new place last winter, and man is the moving and unpacking one of the top five most annoying experiences that make you want to never ever move again...

  20. Anonymous10:51 AM

    Congratulations, Sheila. Tom and I moved into our new place in the summer of '03, and I had much the same reaction to my kitchen that you're having to yours. I have empty cabinets, still, and cooking has never been more fun.

    May you spend many happy years in the new house.

  21. Anonymous11:30 AM

    "He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home." -Johann von Goethe

    Wishing you and your family many years of health, happiness and prosperity in your new home. Eveything will eventually find it's new place but it will certainly be adventure until you stop saying - it has to be in a box somewhere.



  22. Your new house sounds fantastic. And all that empty space....

    The catepillars on the other hand have to go. I'm usually the nature is allowed outdoors type, but I'd make an exception about things that hurt you when you go to share it. We kill the wasp nests here :).

    Enjoy getting settled in. You'll find everything eventually.

  23. Welcome and good luck in your new house. It sounds like a great place.

    Those caterpillars sound icky, but as an arachnophobic, I'd me more concerned about the spiders. ;)

    And don't worry about the horses, they keep the grass short and drop a bit fertilizer now and then. :)

  24. I wish you all the best in your new home. As everyone knows, I love to cook, so it's only natural that I'd envy you your kitchen space. I hope you and your family have many great meals, great times, and build great memories in your new home. :)


  25. Sounds like heaven, Uh, well, except for some of the creepy crawlies. So glad you're settling in. Wishing you much happiness in your dream home!

  26. Congratulations, PBW!

    Wishing your feet a nice long soak,


  27. Congrats on the new home!

    (Isn't there a Greek myth about man-eating horses? :) )

  28. Anonymous6:35 PM

    Blessings upon your new home, PBW, may there be years of happiness and fruitful endeavour.

    As for the catepillars... I'm sure there's a nasty story in it, maybe a book: family moves into gorgeous house unaware of the sinister creatures hidden in the garden. Better yet, you can turn the catepillars into an enemy of Cherijo - I'm sure she'll appreciate them... heh, heh.

    Jaye Patrick

  29. Welcome back, PBW! Your new home sounds wonderful.

  30. Welcome home. It sounds lovely. May you and the family have many years of health, happiness, and prosperity there.

    For the first time, I also have a kitchen I can't fill up the cupboards. I could use a touch more counter space, but it's not too bad.

    I'd rather have the horses than the suburbia I have here, but at the ranch we have cows--not sure which would be better.

    I'm still looking for a few things, too, but I'm down to about a thousand boxes to unpack yet. (OK, that's a slight exaggeration.)

  31. Welcome Home-

    I seem to be running behind again so forgive the lateness. And as for those ugly caterpillars--they're all evil.

    Enjoy your new home!

  32. Your new home sounds like a dream, and I hope you find that your area becomes a warm community.

    I have those caterpillars too and they hurt like an SOB. As for the horse, feed it a carrot or apple and you will have a lovely friend. My kids fed the neighbors horses every day after school and the horses would wait at 3:30 every day by the fence. Not to mention free fertilizer. (You have to let it age well-but the roses love it.)

    The rooster hilarity will wear off by the end of the year. Get a BB gun and aim for the legs. Shuts them right up.


  33. Anonymous9:52 PM

    Oh, for God's sake, don't shoot the rooster!! :-O

    Geez! It's part of the ambiance. In a few weeks, you won't even notice it.

  34. Glad the move went well. (For the most part.)

    I've had the good luck to not run into anything but the cute little fuzzy caterpillars. Hell's bells on Satan's reindeer, if I ran into a spiky one, my reaction would be about the same. "DIE, MOTHERFUCKER!" ;)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.