March 2, 2017

Time again to request folks to let us know your plans for the coming year: who is moving on, who plans to stay another year. Please let us know as soon as you possibly can, as we are already being inundated with requests from incoming prospects as to available apartments. If you know someone who wants a place, please be sure to pass our information along to them. We have already placed a couple new tenants based on referrals from current tenants.

Also, (and this is the hardest part for me, particularly) Charlie and I have reviewed our costs and find that we have little choice but increase our rents. On the average, rents will be rising $45 to $65per month.  (see chart below) Although this is a jump over last year, the actual rents are in fact $200 to $400 less per month than comparable units available locally. Don’t take my word for it though, check for yourselves. Just one example: a comparable unit at Boiceville Cottages rents for $1650/month.

Winter and Spring seem to be having an argument as to whose turn it is to be in charge… one day 60’s or 70’s, the next 30’s… or even (brrr!) single digits! However, the calendar is already March and we will soon be having more warm days. The lawns are already bare for the most part, and I have noticed the winter collection of dog poop showing up everywhere. I encourage you dog owners to take advantage of one of those sunny warm days to get outside and clean up after your pooch before folks want to get out and play on the lawns again.

Charlie and I will be around soon with our tractor to clear gravel off lawns.  Last winter was a tough one for plowing, as the snow came before the ground froze, and the plow dug up more than snow.

Thank you,

Ann and Charlie

207 $975/mo

405 $1150/mo

407 $1345/mo

409 $1050/mo

1639, 1643, 1682, 1710, 1718 $1245/mo

1692 $1345/mo

December 26, 2015

We hope everyone had very Happy Holidays! Ours were quiet, just like we like them.

Sounds like we may actually be getting some seasonal winter weather soon (3 to 5 inches of snow forecast for Monday night, with sleet, freezing rain and rain also in that lovely mix.) To this purpose we dashed over to Ellis Hollow and tidied up all the driveways that exit uphill onto the road where folks have dug little divits in the gravel with their front wheel drive cars. Of course, this will stay nice only as long as people don’t spin their tires getting out. The best technique I worked out today is to swing wide as you start to leave the drive, so that one tire gets up onto the hardtop before you stop to make sure no one is coming. Not only do you get a good view without hanging out excessively into traffic, you have a good grip with one front tire and tend not to spin out the gravel with the other tire. It’s worth trying!

I also filled salt tanks… discovering in the process that three out four places did NOT have their utility room doors securely shut. I suspect other places may also be guilty of this small oversight. Open doors in cold weather mean frozen pipes, and frozen pipes mean plumbers that cost a minimum of $75 an hour with repairs conservatively running about 10 hours to do an EASY fix. (hard fixes being more costly, obviously) A minimum of $750 for a door that wasn’t properly shut? Please be kind and close those doors, because we will pass the bill for this sort of thing on to the guilty parties, and while the pipes are being fixed, you also have the irritation of being without water until all is well again. (No water for morning coffee! Gadzooks! Say it ain’t so, Batman!) Please please please do take an extra second to make sure every door is always properly shut! I do so dislike nagging.

On a more positive and cheery note: We are expecting a wee addition to the family any day now… !

Happy New Year! Ann and Charlie

November 13, 2015

November is not usually my favorite month, but this year we seem to be enjoying bits of Indian summer during this normally damp and dreary time. It makes it a bit easier to bear the early darkness when you have pleasant weather.

We seem to have a small problem with a neighborhood dog depositing her poop on the lawns at 1643 Ellis Hollow. The tenants there have been quite patient picking up after it, but would prefer that the dog do her business in her own yard. If this is your dog, we would appreciate you addressing the issue, or if you know who it belongs to in the neighborhood, do let me know, so I can contact that person. Thank you! Thank you all for continuing to be vigilant about your own dogs, and not leaving poop on the lawns for someone else to step in. For anyone who finds picking up a chore, it is rather easy to train one’s dog to poop off the lawn. It took me just a few days to teach mine that useful trick!

We have an apartment at 1710 Ellis Hollow coming available in January. If any of you know someone coming into town at that time, be sure to pass the word on. Rent is $ 1175/month. We would prefer to have the place come open in spring or summer, so a half year lease is certainly possible.

October found me away a good bit, as I returned to Florida a second time to care for my Mom after she got out of the hospital and to pack up and move her to my Aunt’s house further south. Mom is slowly improving, but it is a long hard slog ahead for her.

Although we won’t have enough snow to require plowing just yet, it is a good plan to get things out of the way that could get buried in snow or damaged by the plow. This includes firewood, furniture, dog and people toys, and so on. Seldom used cars: if you could park these at the end of the parking lot furthest from the house entry so that Charlie only has to plow on one side of the car, this would simplify the plowing and be quite helpful.
Thanks much, Ann and Charlie

July 15, 2015

And they’re off! (meaning Charlie and Ann…again!!) this time to Vermont. We will be out of town July 16th through 20th (at the latest) to once again take on the hills of Vermont running AND riding 100 miles this time! Charlie is no stranger to this race, it is the first 100 miler he ever attempted, back in 2006. It will be my third time in Vermont with Apollo. Our first race (the 50) I pulled him after 12.5 miles (long story, but short version is, neither of us were brain ready yet) We successfully completed the 50 last year, in fifth place thank you very much! thus redeeming ourselves nicely. This year, we are going to ride the 100. Goal is to complete in good shape, nothing fancy nothing too fast. We shall see if Apollo agrees to my game plan! He has a way of upping the ante on me, willy nilly.

Vermont has VERY spotty cell phone reception, so I will once again request that should anyone have an emergency to please call my home phone 607 844 8706 and Ben or Zoe will attend to it.

Update on last letter: Charlie’s race in California ended at 70 miles. A compilation of high heat (103 in the canyons!) steep gravelly -and slippery!- downhills, and elevation (9000 feet near the beginning) slowed him down and he missed a time cutoff. The bad news is, that ends his attempt at the Grand Slam. Good news is, that means we do not need to dash madly out west to attend yet another two races. Instead we can meander out and have ourselves a merry time for our vacation. More on that later.

Yet another update on last month’s letter: thank you all so much for attending to the dog deposits in a timely fashion this month. I have had no complaints, and Charlie remarks on how much nicer it is on the lawns now. Thank you so very much!

cheers, Ann

June 22, 2015
I am a bit behind in my intended monthly newsletters, but I had a feeling that would be the case once the weather turned a bit more pleasant! Spring burst upon us and Charlie and I have been going full tilt just to stay even with the demands on our time and energy. June has been especially difficult as we had all the spring yard work and repairs to do plus 5 turnovers, (one a full paint out!) 2 well pumps went down (the only thing worse than too much water is no water!) plus a new floor installed in yet another apartment.

An update on my last letter: my Dad died on Good Friday, and I was preoccupied for some afterwards with those details. It is nice, however, to have Mom back on the Hill for a few months, the first time in 4 years that she has been able to make the snowbird flight north.

The main topic of this letter is the weather! We have an abundance of water and all that goes with it: mud, mosquitoes, humidity and mold. Besides not being able to cut even one field of hay yet (normally by this time we’ve done at least half our hay for the year) rain makes it a challenge to get lawns done, and a few places need ditching done to divert water and mud away from walkways. Please bear with us, we are doing the best we can. Also, please make sure that anything you have outside that can catch and hold water (empty buckets, trash container, etc) is turned upside down when not in use, as collected water encourages mosquitoes. I’ve been doing this as I come across things; any help you can render there is much appreciated. Mold is inevitable in moist environments. Control humidity in your places by using dehumidifiers, air conditioners and floor and ceiling fans as appropriate. Clean mold areas with soap and water, then disinfect with a spray made of diluted Clorox OR vinegar. There are many helpful articles online as well.

Once again, we are running into a dog poop issue at several places. The guilty parties should know who they are… Please pick up after your dog as he does his duty! You don’t have to bag it and turn it into land fill, unless this is what you prefer. Just scoop it up and toss it into the rough areas (non mowed/weed whacked areas) Please don’t leave this to an “I’ll do it later when I have time” sort of thing, we all know that the free time does not materialize. No one likes to step in the stuff, the weed whacker distributes it far and wide (and occasionally in my face… yuk!) and the lawn mower squashes it flat ( and un-pick-up-able) We are seriously debating using flaggies to mark all the poop piles, and charging a $5 fee per pile left behind… if things don’t get better rapidly! Let’s please avoid this necessity. Thanks Much!!!

Charlie and I will be out of town for the first of his big race series starting this Wednesday, returning Tuesday June 30th. We will be away from phone and email contact for pretty much the entire time (very remote area!) If you have an emergency that absolutely cannot wait for our return, please CALL our home to report it 607 844 8706, and our son Ben and daughter in law Zoe will line up a substitute handy person to help you. Otherwise, hopefully all will be well for the few days we are gone. You may of course email me with things, but there will be a delay in my getting back to you.

thanks much! Ann

April 2, 2015
My Dad is dying as I write this newsletter to you, and I just lost my grand old Morgan mare Lady Jane last week, so please forgive me if I seem a bit less cheerful and bouncy that I usually am. I will be flying down to be with Mom (and possibly Dad, if he hangs in there a few more days) on April 6th, returning ???, so I need some help from all of you, if you would be so kind.
If you haven’t sent me your renewal letter or signed your new lease, please get that in the mail or arrange with me to do that as soon as possible. I don’t want anyone to fall through the cracks! If you have not sent your rent yet, please do so soon, so I can get our bookkeeping properly cared for (and bills paid!) before I leave.
The snow is receding and leaving all sorts of ugly everywhere… dog messes, recycles that got snowed under, garbage left at the curb that was not picked up (also probably because it got snowed under! What a winter it has been! ) A bit of “pick up and put away” will make everything look much more cheerful. If any of this applies to you, please be kind and attend to it as soon as you can. I have doggie messes on my yard too, so please do not feel I am criticizing… it’s just one of those spring jobs we dog people need to do. We will be ridding lawns of plowed gravel and cleaning garden beds/mulching soon, too. (I hope! Snow, snow go away…) A bit of spring cleaning will make all of us feel better. And it’s good feng shui too ;-)
Thank you all, I am profoundly grateful to have such terrific people as tenants!

February 15th, 2015

The wind is blasting arctic cold upon us as I write this, with minus 40 F wind chills, white out conditions and snow drifting up and over the windowsills.  A good day to stay indoors with the wood fires going full tilt! Due to our busy lives, it is just this sort of unpleasant weather when I hunker down in the office and try to catch up with all the sit down nitty gritty my job entails. Since the book keeping is mostly up to date (at the moment! it won’t stay that way for long, it never does!) I move on to updating the website: adding new information, tweaking old so that it “reads” better, adding helpful details like click on links, and generally playing around. It’s a wee bit odd, but I enjoy this part of my job. The website is entirely new and updated from last year. If you are seeing it for the first time, we hope you like how it works, and that it gives you lots of useful information above and beyond all the usual. If you are returning, having seen our former website, we hope you find it even nicer than the old one. I am particularly tickled with our “skin” … the heading picture that shows on every page.  Echoing Ithaca’s slogan “Ithaca Is Gorges” the picture is one I took in “The 600″ gorge, featuring a small cascade that can be reached via the Park Preserve off Irish Settlement Road in the Town of Dryden.

We are teetering on the cusp of our 2015 rental season, and gradually more of our current tenants are letting us know whether they will be renewing their leases or moving on. So far, three places have come available. More will show up soon, I am sure, as our turnover rate has been running about a third each year, or about 7 places per year. It sometimes run higher than that, but it sure makes for a crazy year when it does!

Our rates will be increasing across the board this year about 2% to keep abreast of inflation, which amount to about a $25 to $30 rate increase/month over last year. A quick “reality check” of rental rates in Ithaca show us that our rates remain in the average range for properties in Ithaca, although the quality certainly rates as “much nicer than average.”  Rate increases are always a hard thing for us, we just don’t enjoy increasing rents! We spend a lot of time reviewing our expenses, checking against estimated cost increases for the goods and services we regularly use, and making our best guesses as to what surprise “fix-its” we might find ourselves confronted with. Last year it was a new roof, two new furnaces and three new water heaters… and a pricey soft water appliance. Oof!

This summer promises to be even more busy than it ordinarily is, as Charlie finally won the lottery… the Grand Slam lottery, that is! He thinks this is the best birthday present he could get for turning 60 this year. Yup, this woman thinks he’s certifiably nuts, but he loves and lives to run. The Grand Slam is a series of ultra distance races, each 100 miles apiece ON FOOT, each scheduled 3 to 4 weeks apart, starting in late June and going through September. This mean that Charlie will be away even more than usual at his competitions. I will be taking up the slack, with some help from others, I hope!! How it all plays out remains to be seen, but I expect things will work their way out in a reasonable fashion. They usually do.

I’m not the died in the wool competitor that Charlie is, but I hope to take my horse Apollo to our first 100 mile race as well, the Vermont 100 in July. This depends entirely upon whether I can schedule my life to allow for appropriate training for Apollo and me, while still looking after things here at Ithaca Artisan with the artisan’s careful attention to detail that we have made our trademark.

with kindest regards, Ann