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News from the Lanai Garden

Our family is having a good time growing and harvesting fresh salad, spinach, celery, and herbs from our “family farm” on the lanai. My sister and her husband have multiple planters filled with good organic soil and lots of veggies. Turns out they do have green thumbs and are harvesting some amazing fresh produce. Daily they pick greens for their own use, plus have filled many salad bowls for our table. The greens are fresh, delicate, tender, and tasty. This has turned out to be a good source of veggies, we make less trips to the market, and a nice diversion from life’s stresses.

My family all seem to have green thumbs and now that most of us live in Florida we all are growing Orchids. Last year we had a bumper crop and this year, we are again looking at hundreds of potential blooms. We are counting down the days until the Orchids begin to bloom again. Over the last year we have had quite a few of our orchids sprout babies on their flower stalks. This is the first year we have had this happen, the baby plants or “keiki” will need to be removed and potted so they can continue to grow. I have been reading up on the process and in the spring, once the weather is a bit warmer and the roots a bit longer, I will jump in, cut the keiki with longest roots and pot her. If it works, I will try the rest. From all I have read, it will take a few years to see blooms, but it will be a fun growing experience.
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Florida Coast to Coast

Looking to take an easy trip, just for a change of pace, while socially distancing during the Pandemic? Look No Further. Florida has lots of great spots to visit easily and safely.

When in NY I love to People Watch, I enjoy quietly watching the NY attitudes, clothing, hairstyles, purses, couples in love and groups of friends, but we live in Florida. With social distancing people watching in NY is out of the question, so we decided to take a day to bird watch. NY is People Watch Heaven, but Florida is a bird watcher’s paradise. So many birds, so much variety, interesting and a good healthy day out.

Lee and I recently took a trip to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and took a walk/drive on the wild side. If you do not feel like taking a walk, just bring your camera along and take a drive. A great drive is the Black Point Wildlife Drive, it is several miles long and you will be able to photograph birds from your car without disturbing them. Lots of Ospreys hang out there, and if you stand on the shore near the entrance you may even see them catching and eating fish. If for some reason Black Point Drive is closed check out the Biolab Drive. It is several miles away from Black Point, but you will probably catch plenty of action there. You can virtually visit Merritt Island at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/merritt_island/

We enjoyed our day out and came back with some nice memories and a few decent pictures. It appears that When this Pandemic is Over, we need a photography lesson and a new camera. Of course, to see the most birdlife, it is best to get to the location before sunrise, so you are ready to photograph birds arrive early for the best light. If that doesn’t work for you, seeing and enjoying our bird population around sunset is also good. You just want to avoid Bright afternoon light as is not good for birding, nor is it good for photos. But during the Pandemic, any time of the day spent in nature, makes for a good time.
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Hanging Out Around The House

Lee and I have added lots of Indoor Plants to our home. The plants freshen the indoor air, bring clarity and calm to our space, and when placed on a shelf or tabletop act as a sculpture or a centerpiece. Caring for plants is grounding and life affirming, plus each new bloom brings a moment of joy and satisfaction. In my kitchen I always have two edible plants; basil, and parsley, outside on the lanai I grow rosemary. Each of these herbs are recipe staples in our kitchen and are ideal for creating dishes and even beverages. Lee and I both enjoy spending time in the kitchen cooking, eating, and sharing the events of our day.

Butternut Squash with Rosemary and Cinnamon

Easy and Delicious. The hardest part is peeling and cutting the squash.

1 Butternut Squash 3 – 3 1/2 Lbs. Peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 Tsp Salt
¾ Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 Tsp Black Pepper
3 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Rosemary


Toss all the ingredients together. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush a bit more Olive Oil on the Baking Sheet. Spread the squash over the baking sheet. Leave room between the pieces, as you do not want the squash to steam, therefore you may need to use two sheet pans. Roast until tender and browned on one side about 15 minutes. Turn the slices over and continue roasting for approximately another 15 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy. I have also substituted the Maple Syrup with Honey and the squash was equally delicious.
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Life During the Pandemic

Weaving our way through the Pandemic has certainly been a challenge for each of us. But, Solivita residents have proven to be strong, supportive, and resilient. Together we are getting through this. Some of our neighbors have already received the vaccine and are safer for it, plus each vaccine in a neighbor’s arm helps keep each of us safer too.

Thank You, The Solivita Team worked hard to bring the vaccine to us, and between Solivita and our local county teams we are confident that soon everyone will have access to the vaccine. Solivita Activities did a FABULOUS JOB with giving out the Covid-19 Vaccine to our residents. “Easy Peasy” and Effortless for the residents. Solivita gave out 2,600 first doses of the COVID-19 Vaccine. This Confirms it, we not only live in a Beautiful Community but a Safe Community that Cares! Thank You Solivita for helping to make us all Safer and for providing a good quality of life for those of us lucky to reside here. Everyone who wants a vaccine needs to remain strong and diligent until they are on the list and have the vaccine in their arms. This is not an easy process, but a process that is well worth the work.

Until most of the world is vaccinated it seems that life, as we knew it, will remain a distant dream allowing us to explore other, quieter, avenues for adventure. Each of us now can find the time to redecorate our homes, plant and tend to our gardens, plan our post-pandemic adventures, learn a new skill, a new language, or write that book we always dreamed about. Lee and I have friends who are taking guitar lessons on the computer, my brother-in-law is making furniture in his garage, Lee is busy perfecting his golf game, my mom is baking lots of yummy cakes and cookies, and my sister is busy in her lanai (lovingly referred to as the family farm); planting, tending, and harvesting lettuces, radish, spinach, herbs, carrots, and celery. Lessons learned from the last year, although life is quieter, it is good. Solivita offers the luxury of living life in natural surroundings with a large population of beautiful birds, wonderful folks, and interesting creatures, surrounded by lush foliage in the warmth of Central Florida. Making Life here a Win, Win for us all.

Please be safe dear friends, by the end of this year, we will all be celebrating together, and our fear of the virus will be in the rear-view mirror. Until then, please enjoy the gift of living life in our Beautiful Community.
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The Benefits of Working with a Realtor

It is important that when choosing a realtor, you choose the Right Realtor for the Job and the Right Realtor for You. I always suggest clients interview a few realtors, gain an understanding of their expertise, discuss how many homes they have closed, and understand the primary location of their agency and the locations they cover. What you wish to avoid is a realtor that is 50 or 60 miles away from your target area. You want to hire a realtor who is an expert in the area, a realtor with many contacts, a realtor with community knowledge, and lots of experience. A realtor with a home base too distant from your home will not be able to show your home promptly or meet with a potential buyer at a buyer’s convenience. In this fast-moving market, waiting a day or two is the difference between selling or buying a home, or losing a sale.

An experienced Realtor has many useful tools, contacts, interested buyers, and great marketing skills. A true industry professional will significantly reduce the time your property is on the market or the time it takes you to find your new home.

Negotiating, Renegotiating, Closing and Settling a Real Estate Purchase is an art that an experienced realtor is trained to handle. A good realtor will guide you through the process from appraisal to inspection to financing. In addition, if any issues are found at inspection a good realtor has professional tradespeople at the ready to make repairs and recommendations.

If you are selling a home, an experienced Realtor will help you determine the selling price for your property by performing a full market analysis, discuss the value of your home, the competition in your neighborhood, will advise staging tips, inexpensive decorating ideas, and helpful hints to speed up the sale of your home.

Choosing a Realtor is an Important Step in Buying or Selling so please don’t sell yourself short. Making a small investment of your time when choosing the right realtor is a smart investment that will provide you with many benefits.

Solivita Sales are Sizzling Hot, with a Limited quantity of Homes on the Market, our Market is a True Seller’s Paradise. If you are thinking of selling, now is the time, call a Bella Verde Realtor for a Free Market Analysis.
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Recipe for Sun Dried Tomato & Chive Pesto

This is a great recipe that can be used many ways, enjoy it served on cucumber rounds, add it to whipped cream cheese for a great spread on crackers or bruschetta, or top grilled polenta or pasta with this pesto. However, you choose to enjoy this Pesto, I know you will enjoy it.

1 – 16 Oz Jar Sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
2 Cups Chives Chopped
2 Cups parsley leaves, chopped
½ cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, if needed.

Drain oil from the tomatoes and reserve. Combine tomatoes, chives parsley, pine nuts, garlic, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. While machine is running, gradually add enough of the oil reserved from the tomatoes to create a pesto. If there is insufficient tomato oil, use a bit of EVOO to supplement. Season to taste with Salt and Pepper. Store in refrigerator with a small amount of olive oil to cover the top surface.
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Safe Distance Activities while we wait for the Vaccine

Visit the Space Coast. Get the schedule of launches and take a drive to Coco Beach, it is only about 1.5 hours to the coast and from any parking lot on the ocean you will be able to see a launch, that is if the sky is clear.

If the launch time works and you want to spend the day on the coast, plan a trip to Rockledge Gardens near Coco Beach and visit the Farmer’s Market held Wednesday to Saturday from 10 – 4 pm. Visit the Rockledge Website to see what items plants, fruit and veggies are available, order for easy curbside pick-up or you can enter the building. Due to COVID-19 the number of guests permitted inside is limited, and masks are required so please, decide in advance.

https://rockledgegardens.com/the-farm-market

Even if the timing does not work for the market/gardens plus a launch. Lee and I have packed a picnic dinner and enjoyed the sounds of the waves washing ashore as we viewed a rocket reaching for new heights. You can view the upcoming launch schedule by using the below link:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/launch-schedule-upcoming-florida-rocket-launches-and-landings/ar-BBUPAyN

A Day at the Beach, A Day in the Park, or a Walk in a Wild Place is a great way to enjoy our beautiful weather, get some exercise and fresh air, and enjoy a change of scenery. I am always looking for new places to visit, therefore I would appreciate any feedback you would like to share with me.

I would love to do a Restaurant Review, but alas we have not dined out for quite some-time. We have done local take out and for a treat we have called Door Dash and had them dash dinner to us and it was a nice change of pace. Must say, we do miss eating out, but feel safe and secure dining in our own home or on our lanai in the beauty of our own community.

In Lee’s Opinion, Our Resident MD, now is not the time to take our foot of the gas. We are close to the vaccine, please be patient a bit longer, and soon the Pandemic of 2020 will be in our rearview mirror.
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Activities in Solivita

During the Holiday Season, The Solivita Activity Department went above and beyond with creative ideas and safe distancing celebrations, they organized a Holiday Parade early in the season to bring us all a bit of Joy, followed by the Ugly Holiday Sweater Party, and a House Lighting Contest. All reports from The Ugly Holiday Party, held out of doors with Ugly Holiday Decorations, were fabulous. Funny Holiday Sweaters, Outfits, entertainment by DJ Penny plus silly fun “Reindeer Games” with prizes. The event was outside with beautifully served small plates and an open bar. The New Year’s Eve Party in Solivita was a fun event with a limited number of guests held out of doors. One thing we can count on in Central Florida is year-round nice weather, so we can still party safely in the fresh air. When Solivita holds an outdoor activity, and the temps dip below 60, they always include heaters, firepits, or if the event is at the Palms, they light the fireplace at the outdoor gathering space. Solivita has “Thought of it all” and is a great place to live, a great place to work, and a great place to party with lots of lovely party spaces, beautiful homes, a great activities department and a catering staff that is up to any challenge. Thank You Solivita for making our Life Fun, even in a Pandemic.
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Travel

Every Client, Friend and Neighbor is voicing their sadness at being held back from travel, missing vacations, or even the freedom to plan a vacation, but too worried to “pull the trigger” and buy a plane ticket or book a hotel. The upside to Life in Solivita, we already live in the “Vacation Capital of the World”, it is beautiful, no snow to shovel, our gardens are in full bloom, and our wildlife is prolific. Our neighbors and friends are out walking, biking, working out in the gyms and swimming, so life here is still active and lovely. Although our country is currently being ravaged by COVID19, life in Solivita is still good. We all need to be careful, but we are still having fun while being safe.

Until we can safely travel, you can armchair visit the destination of your choice by virtually visiting https://www.webcamtaxi.com/. After I virtually traveled thru webcamtaxi, I must admit to adding a few new places to my bucket list.
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Housing Predictions for 2021

The Experts are Predicting 2021 to be the Year to Buy A Home, Despite Coronavirus.

Our Mortgage Rates are at all-time lows. Though the Fed’s target rate does not have a direct effect on mortgage interest rates, there is a connection between the two, and mortgage rates dropped accordingly in 2020. Today, you can obtain a fixed rate mortgage below 2.5. Despite the economic challenges 2020 brought, housing had a banner year. As Mortgage rates bottomed out, buyer demand surged, and home prices rose accordingly.

Currently, the market still looks like a seller’s market with low inventory Nationwide and prices rising. Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association predict home price growth in 2021 in the 2% range.

The mortgage rates, while they may not hit record lows again (in 2020 they did almost a dozen times within the year), should remain low in 2021. All the experts agree that mortgage rates will remain in the high 2% or the low 3% range. All good for buyers.

Various factors determine your mortgage rate, your credit score, down payment, loan type, property location, and term of loan. Your credit score impacts your mortgage rate because it is a measure of how likely you are to repay the loan on time. The higher your score, the less risk you pose to the lender, so the lower interest rate you will receive. Lenders also look at your down payment amount. If you bring 20% to the closing table you are viewed as a less risky borrower and will obtain a lower rate than another borrower financing most of their home purchase. The loan amount and closing costs also play a role in your mortgage rate. If you ask a lender to roll your closing costs and other fees into your loan, typically you will pay a higher interest rate than a client who pays those fees up front. In Florida, the buyer typically pays for a credit report, appraisal, loan origination fee, survey, home inspection and Capital contribution to the HOA. Doc stamps, title policy and Estoppel are the seller’s responsibility.

On New Construction closings, the buyer pays the Title Insurance.

Inventory is currently historically low in Solivita and homes are selling quickly, one call to a BVR Realtor will put you in the hunt for a great home. A BVR Realtor will ask you a few questions about your needs, wants and requirements. With your answers in hand, we will hook you up and email you all the listings that meet your requirements. We can show you homes remotely, or you can visit with us over the phone or in person. We would love for you to “come on down” and we are happy to give you a tour of Solivita, show you our extensive infrastructure, and walk you through the homes that fit your needs.

In Solivita we offer homes from just over 1,000 Sq. Ft. to over 3,000 sq feet with selling prices from $150,000 to over $400,000. Solivita is an Active, Modern, Well Maintained Community full of folks enjoying life, making friends, and having lots of fun.