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Another Day in the Country

Making an investment

© Another Day in the Country

If you are lucky enough to have some savings and wonder whether interest rates will go up or down, I’m sure you are thinking about investments.

On the one hand, I scoff at the 10 or 15 cents I make in interest on my meager savings account and wish those rates would go up.

On the other hand, I remember the days when we searched for any loan that was below 4% on our home mortgage and hoped for interest to go down.

I’ve come to the conclusion, with my meager stash of life’s accumulation, that probably the most lasting thing to invest in is people, houses, trees, and perennial plants.

When you paint your house, you’re investing — not only in the building but in the whole of your property, your neighborhood, and your town. The good vibrations just keep on bringing dividends. 

My sister decided to paint her house for the first time. She wanted to change the color and do something interesting.

An artist friend volunteered to help her decide on a color scheme. It was quite an investment of time on Phyl’s part. She volunteered to do a layout that seemed to take her ages to accomplish. When we saw the outcome, we were amazed.

She presented Jess a notebook of paint swatches and overlays, different options demonstrating how the house would look. It was mind-boggling and awesome.

This was going to be quite an investment of energy, time, and money. Could we pull it off?

Finally, several months ago, there was a paint sale, and Jess bought the pale blue paint for the porch ceiling. Then she got the moss green paint for the siding, and we began to paint.

She did the top half, and I did the bottom. We finished the house and started on the garage.

The next part would be the gable area, which we deemed too tall for us to paint. We found someone to do it and waited eagerly to see what the color would look like.

It was designed to be a deep violet — quite a leap. It had to be just right. But when it went up, it wasn’t.

“It’s way too pink,” Jess said, distraught. “What will the neighbors think?”

It was pretty garish.

I started mixing colors to tone it down, but nothing was exactly as it should be so we went back to the paint store and discovered that bright colors need to have a grey undercoat to be accurate.

Now, everyone who reads this column will know that very important fact. We didn’t.

The paint store kindly gave us the required undercoating, for free, and we’re trying again. The experience reminded me that investments don’t always pan out as we anticipate, but we need to keep trying.

We want this to be a good investment because we are investing in our community every time we paint a house, plant a tree, pull a weed, or pick up trash.

A couple of summers ago, we invested in hosta plants around the yards and discovered there wasn’t as much shade as we thought in various places. Most are flourishing, however.

I’ve also invested in rhododendrons and have come to the conclusion they should all move back to Oregon. You’ve got to be tough to survive Kansas weather.

The other day, I invested in a caterpillar. If I’m not mistaken, in its next life it will be a swallowtail butterfly. It was trying to feed on the four o’clocks, which grasshoppers eat only when they are desperate.

“How about some flat leaf parsley?” I said to the creepy-crawler. “Isn’t that more your speed?”

I promptly carried it back to my one and only (notice the sacrifice) parsley plant in the garden box.

So how will you feel if you come out later and find that parsley gone, I asked myself.

After mulling over the possibility, I decided to invest in butterflies. I don’t eat parsley all that often.

Some of you regularly invest in the bird population, faithfully putting out food for them. I invest in the winter — mostly when it snows.

If I’m too faithful putting out seed, squirrels use it to bolster their own bank accounts, and I’m not as enthusiastic about squirrels. They’re on their own in my yard. My investment in their kind of wildlife stops at trees.

While we’re investing, don’t forget to invest in kids around you.

And what about investing in yourself? What is it that you need to improve upon? Exercise? Join a health club. Inspiration? Go to the library! I’m learning Spanish. I’m not sure I’ll ever get good enough to hold a fluent conversation, but I already can understand quite a bit when I’m reading.

It’s an investment in my grandson, actually, as I’ve probably already told you, since he also is taking Spanish classes. 

Meanwhile, it’s another day in the country. Find something or someone to invest in. Who knows what you’ll discover.

Last modified Oct. 13, 2022

 

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