Tuesday, September 14, 2010

REAL ESTATE - Long Term Investing

Last week I sold my boat and delivered it to the new owner in Winchester. Conveniently for me, my daughter and her family live nearby so I arranged to meet them for lunch and spend some quality time with my sweet little granddaughter. Over our lunch, my daughter asked if I got a good price for the boat and I told her that I have owned 5 of them and made a profit on every one. She was amazed but I told her that the secret is in the timing. I always buy a boat in winter and sell it in the summer and this method has worked for 13 years.

This same plan also works for real estate, buy when the market is down and sell when prices rise. Today's market is probably the best buying opportunity since The Great Depression and the bold investors in that market made fortunes. The truth is that our area is growing and sooner or later, that growth translates to housing demands which will raise prices. We have tried to make wise purchases of rental property and hold on to it until we need to cash in our chips for some other objective but, over the long term, values keep rising.

For 35 years, we have bought, sold and rented property and the income from those ventures will help us through our golden years. For that same 35 years, we have invested in stocks and funds. Over that span of time, we gave our money to 5 different brokers and they all lost money, our money. So you can understand why I have become one of those geezers who tell young folks to buy real estate and hold on, because it is the best investment of all.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Our BIG Garden

This has been an incredibly hot, dry summer with June posing our biggest danger for our growing season due to the drought. Just about the time our infantile plants were beginning to mature the heavens closed shop for the month as if to say "Only the strong survive."

Now I profess that saying wholeheartedly especially when it comes to my over zealous gardening abilities or lack thereof. At the first signs of Spring, Carolyn and I are enthusiastic in tilling the soil, laying off rows and sowing our seeds. Even QGG rises to the occasion and feigns excitement at the opportunity to break in her new garden gloves. The thoughts of dirt actually mussing her gloves however is secretly horrifying to her. She doesn't fool us though as Carolyn and I realized last year that she was an actress in her other life and a darn good one we now know!!!

As foretold every year, June gave way to July and then July defected to August and we did harvest some amazing veggies even if the quantity was diminished. We ate Poona Kheera cucumbers from India; Tonda DiParigi carrots, a 19th century Parisian heirloom; Crapaudine beets, thought to be one of the oldest varieties dating back 1,000 years; Dragon Tongue beans, a Dutch heirloom and Kamo Kamo squash, an heirloom pumpkin of the Maori people of New Zealand. Of course I have only named a few varieties of veggies. Remember the name of our garden, "The BIG Garden" so I cannot possibly recite the entire list of seeds stashed in that plot of soil.

I think it is fair to say we admired our work so much so that we were never disappointed with our produce. We were able to snatch enough from the rabbits to feed us and share with others. In fact the garden crew is beginning to feel like a green bean about now due to the heavy production. So life as a farmer turned out fairly well, or it did until about the first of August.

If you recall QCC was never any good at getting her hands dirty or at sweating so she only ate the produce that was delivered to her door or that I cooked and served her. What a Katherine Hepburn!!

Now Carolyn is a different story. She launched into this project with great passion even desiring to locate another vacant lot whereby we could plant more than our 26 kinds of seeds and not only will she sweat and get her hands dirty - she will get everything dirty. I filled with great angst at this zeal because I know Carolyn and could foresee the future. My uneasiness was heightened when my dependable sister jumped ship with the garden this year. She could also see into the future and thus acted with some intelligence. Oh woe is me, I was now in serious
trouble and still I allowed it to happen. I might liken it to a deer in the headlights scene.

(Now we have moved into the future....) and Carolyn, true to form has behaved like a hummingbird, flying from place to place and landing nowhere. She actually would say to me, "I can't come to the garden tonight because I am going out to dinner with so and so" or "I can't come to the garden tonight because I am getting a massage." Can you just imagine the dumbfounded look on my face while my eyes were rolling back into where my brain use to reside and I would shake violently. Once speech was possible again my retort was, "Well I could go to dinner or get a massage too if I DIDN'T have to work in the garden tonight." Need I say more. Then in August the real shoe dropped as Carolyn injured her knee and became disabled so she tells me, at least for gardening duty. As a result, I can be found in our BIG garden, stooped over, a lone soldier, harvesting in 90+ degree weather. After which I trim, wash and prepare the produce only to deliver them (and eggs I might add) in the wee hours of the morning at the doors of QGG and Carolyn.

Can I tell you "I am OVER this garden." Truth be known I have cut a hole in the fence in hopes I can entice the rabbits back in. In fact I am searching the internet now looking for garden eating bugs and bores because "I AM OVER THIS GARDEN!!!". Do you hear what I am saying garden (non) helpers??