Best & Worst Retirement Cities


A chart on the BankRate website compares 196 U.S. cities as retirement destinations. I found the list interesting. Maybe you will too.

Mason Bees - Success!

About a year ago, I wrote about my unsuccessful attempt to lure mason bees into our yard. I promised to try again - and I have. 

And I succeeded!

Early this spring, I bought a simple mason bee house on etsy.com and attached it to a post in our yard. A few days later we noticed activity and, sure enough, the first bee was depositing eggs in the house and sealing them in with mud. In the meantime, the bees have used most of the 32 pre-drilled holes, which means we should have 80-100 of the useful creatures next year.

As noted in my earlier piece, mason bees don’t sting, they are very useful pollinators, and it’s interesting to watch them do their masonry work. We’re glad to have them.

Here are links to my earlier posting, and to an information-packed article about mason bees by Judy Beaudette that I found on ecolandscaping.org. 

Maybe you'll get the bug too.

New look! New concept!

The focus of amijohn.com is now on property values and the issues that affect them in the Waterford, Magnolia Greens and Brunswick Forest neighborhoods.

Use the silver menu bar at the top of the page to navigate to one of the neighborhoods; then select a property type from the sub-menu that appears.

Statistics and graphics are updated once each month after I determine that all transactions for the month have been posted to the Brunswick County Tax Assessor’s database. The date can vary, depending on workload in the county office. 

If you want to be alerted when the monthly update has occurred, sign-up for email notification. There’s a gadget at the top of the sidebar for that purpose. The only time your email address will be used is when there’s something new on this blog.

Classy Rental Apartments Planned for Brunswick Forest


A luxury, 360 unit rental complex is in the works for The Villages at Brunswick Forest.

Grass Carp

The Waterford Board recently approved restocking our grass carp population. Then, the other day, I saw a good sized school of them in the canal behind our house. They got my curiosity going. 

Breakfast at Blossoms

This morning, The Lady and I had breakfast at the newly expanded and redecorated  restaurant at the Magnolia Greens Golf Club. Along with its new look, it has a fitting, new name, “Blossoms”. We found the new spaciousness and tasteful decor comfortable and relaxing.

Gates: I Was Wrong

If you read my blog, you already know that I'm no big fan of Waterford's gates. They are wide open during daylight hours and, even if they were always closed, a bad guy can walk around them anytime. I’ve posted several pieces that gripe about the cost and the amount of time and effort necessary to maintain them. 

Phew - Stinky Waterford !

We were cheated yesterday. The gorgeous weather made everyone want to get out into the fresh air and enjoy the mild temperatures, but someone else thought it was a great day to burn a stump. The irritating, stinking smoke made it impossible to enjoy the day.

After thinking about it overnight, I was fired-up enough to write an Email to the Leland Mayor to see if she can do something to prevent it happening again. You can read it below.

Aldi is Coming to Leland

A Port City Daily article this morning indicates that Aldi, the German grocery chain, wants to build a store between Ploof Road and the Westgate (Walmart) shopping plaza. The pre-construction planning is still going on and, from the sound of it, approval hinges only on some modifications to the site plan.

New Neighbors


According to WECT TV, Waterford of the Carolinas will get some new neighbors. 

The Brunswick County Planning Board OK’d the conceptual plan for a 240 unit apartment complex on Route 17, across from Waterford.

If my interpretation of WECT's map is correct, the complex will be located between Ploof Road SE and Ocean Highway East - more or less behind the Exxon gas station and Domino's.

Read what WECT had to say about it here.

Real Estate Sellers and Buyers Statistics

Peter David of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty passed along this graphic from the National Association of Realtors (Insight Magazine, Vol. 94 No. 4). Peter found it interesting and so did I. I hope you will too. These stats are for the entire nation, but are certainly pertinent everywhere if you are thinking about buying or selling your home.

Gate Reports - A Summary


The monthly Waterford Master Residential Association (WMRA) Newsletter includes a Gate Report - which is an indictment in and of itself; illustrating  that our gates are a problem area worthy of ongoing attention. 

If you read the report in each month's newsletter, you will be appalled by the amount of time and money we invest in pretending Waterford is secure and exclusive. Starting with January, 2015, I've posted copies of the reports below. I encourage you to read them - preferably in sequence.

Fiber Optic Services in Waterford?

I was very pleased to see that ATMC, a local company in Shallotte, is interested in extending their fiber optic network into Waterford if enough demand exists. 

Waterford's Gates - Continued

This morning, two postings in the General section of Waterford’s online community message board caught my attention. Each, in its own way, supports the arguments of those of us who would like to replace our gates with systems that work and don’t cost a fortune every year.

Magnolia's Bed & Biscuit - Daisy's Home Away from Home

The Lady (my wife, Elvira) and her girlfriend, who's visiting from Sweden, are heading off to Asheville tomorrow to visit Biltmore and spend lots of money in the shops. They’ll be gone for most of the week. I'll be staying behind but, since I have some appointments over the next few days, we will board our Rottweiler, Daisy, at Magnolia's Bed & Biscuit.

High and Dry in Waterford

Back in July, I posted my thoughts on flood insurance, (Do Waterford Property Owners Need Flood Insurance?). My opinion was, "If your bank doesn't force you to buy it, save your money."

I had some second thoughts about the subject last week when we got about a foot of rain.

Waterford Flood Precautions


After the rains of the past few days, and with more to be expected in the days ahead, it is reassuring to know that the Waterford board, CEPCO and others are taking the necessary steps to keep our canals within their banks. 

The following message from Dr. Patterson just landed in our E-mailbox. 

Waterford's Gates - More Good Money Out the Window

Our homeowners association expects to spend $32,440 on our useless gates during the coming year. 

I just looked-over the proposed 2016 WMRA budget and found that we anticipate spending $15,000 on repairs to our gates next year, and we also expect to need $17,440 to replace some.

During the first seven months of 2015, we’ve already spent $7,607 for gate repairs and $9,524 for replacement.

Those gates are a money pit. As I noted in an earlier piece, Why Waterford’s 20 Gates are a Waste of Money, we spent almost $130,000 on repairs from 2010 through 2014, and there’s no let-up in sight. Every year, we budget large sums for maintenance and replacement without questioning whether it truly makes sense. Why can’t we at least look into other security alternatives? 

Obviously, we haven’t smartened-up yet.

Stinky

Yesterday, our pest control guy was here to do a scheduled treatment and noticed some stinkhorn fungi in our mulch beds. The technician told me that his company frequently gets calls from customers for help finding whatever has died in their yards. Usually it isn’t a dead animal that is polluting the air. It’s stinkhorn.