Archive for category Other

What’s it Worth?

Apparently, almost exactly what I’m paying for it. As part of the mortgage process, my bank had a real estate appraiser survey the property for real estate value. They do this to make sure the house is worth, at minimum, the amount I’m borrowing to purchase it. If the house appraises for more, thats great for me the buyer (instant equity). If the house appraises for less, the bank won’t let me borrow any more than the appraisal amount. And in many cases, you take the appraisal back to the seller and say, “about your price…”

My appraisal came in just $1000 higher than the purchase amount, so I’m in good shape. As part of the appraisal, which my bank gave me a full copy, it shows the recent home sales in this and similar neighborhoods which show where she based her number. She compared my house with 4 others which have sold in the last few months, all similar in square footage, number of rooms, and condition. The house she ranked as the most comparable was the house across the street. Although it has a basement, she deducted a certain amount from its selling price and volla, my house appraisal.

Now I am waiting on the bank to do a clear title search and schedule a closing date. We are less than 1 month away, or so they tell me.

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All That Glass

My window replacing adventure took several months, and as each new window was installed the old window from the house took its place in the garage. So once all the new windows were snuggled tightly into the walls, the old windows were a dusty heap in my garage, taking up valuable space which I like to use for refinishing/repairing furniture. I blogged in this post a while back about a company just an hour away from Van Wert that actually recycles all types of glass, including window glass. The grand plan was to disassemble the windows, which would not have been difficult because they were nearly falling apart anyways, and haul the glass to Upper Sandusky to be recycled. When the weather hit 90 degrees, I quickly became reluctant to spend my weekends removing the glass in my 200 degree garage. So I posted an ad on Craigslist. And guess what? A guy came and said he wanted all of the windows, storm windows included! It turned out that he is a local artist that likes to paint on glass. He likes to use reclaimed materials, mostly glass and spray paint, and creates awesome looking space and sci-fi artwork. Here are just a few of his more recent pieces of art, gleaned from his Facebook page.

In whole, reusing a material is so many times more sustainable than recycling. The energy used to transport and re-manufacture that material is saved if the product can just be reused another way. So no glass recycling in my future, but all the same, I am thrilled that someone else will get use and enjoyment out of those old windows.

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Peony Festival

If you read the title and thought, “what in the world is a Peony and why is there a festival for it?,” you are obviously not familiar with Van Wert County, Ohio. So let me explain. A peony is a flower; a huge flower, with blossoms between 4 and 7 inches big! And boy are they strong smelling! Just place a few in a vase on the table and your whole kitchen will be smelling sweet in no time. Just be sure to shake off each flower before you bring them into the house, as they are usually covered in large black ants. For some reason, ants really like peony plants and apparently they live pretty harmoniously together. Although we never could get them to grow while I was a child, the house I live in now has several large peony shrubs thriving in the back yard.

So why do we Van Wertians have a festival each June named for this plant?

Apparently back in the day, like over 100 years ago, Van Wert had huge commercial peony farms where the plants were grown for both the flowers and the seeds. In 1902, Van Wert officially named June 2 as Peony Sunday, but it wasn’t until the 1930’s that the Men’s Garden Club decided to provide entertainment for the hundreds of visitors who would visit the county each year to see the farms in blume. It was during this time that Van Wert became known as the Peony Capital of the World. Thus the Peony Festival was born. During the 30’s, it was a huge annual event, with one parade in the afternoon and a nighttime parade with the floats all lit up with lights. Each parade had more than 40 floats from all over the country and more than 45 marching bands. In 1938, at the height of the festival, a national newspaper claimed that the Van Wert Peony Festival had more floats than the Mardi Gras parade! Alongside the festival was a beauty pageant, with the winner being crowned Queen Jubilee, named after the Jubilee Peony.

Queen Jubilee Float, 1960 Parade

The festival ended with the arrival of WWII, but was revived in the mid 50’s by local businessmen. In 1959, it is estimated that over 200,000 visitors came to attend the parade and weekend festivities. But the commercial flower farms closed during those years and 1960 was the last festival for over 30 years. It was brought back again in 1992 and has been growing strong since then. The pageant is now a scholarship competition for senior girls from several area high schools. The festival lasts an entire weekend again, with an art show on beautiful historic Main Street, concerts in downtown Fountain Park, a judged peony flower show, quilt show, garden tours of local homes, a fun run and much more! Years past have also included a car show and special exhibits at the Wassenberg Art Center. And of course, the parade is Saturday at 5pm, down beautiful Washington Street. The city estimates that in the past few years, we have seen numbers close to 70,000 visitors! (That’s quite a lot of people for a county whose population is barely 30,000.)

For more information, check out the Van Wert Convention & Visitors Bureau‘s June Events or the Van Wert Independent online newspaper. See you at the Parade!

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