With Margaret driving us home this afternoon, we watched the rain get heavier while the sun continued to shine – a rainbow formed of course. But as we got back to Independence the rainbow showed really strongly, with a strong second too; we stopped so I could take photos!
Back in 2013 we chose Winter Garden as our new home town, and purchased our current Lennar Brandywine home; we love living here, with our beautiful pool / patio and Lake Koval water view, and heaps of space (too much space, really – six bedrooms for two people!)
The one thing that’s a bit disappointing is that while our address is Winter Garden, we are quite a long way out from the town center – at least by English standards! It’s a 20+ minute drive to the town, and so we feel less part of Winter Garden than we wanted to be.
Now that we’ve finally sold 8002, we felt ready to take a look at homes closer to the town center; our hope was to find a home within easy walking distance, without compromising too much compared with where we live now. But there’s very few homes for sale – smaller town, people like where they are, that sort of thing.
We found only 4 or 5 homes worth viewing, and of those we had: too old, too small, too far, the Goldilocks principle at work! The last home we looked at appeared to back on to new construction – the owner said it would be no problem since there would be a retaining pond, and encouraged us to check it out … which we did.
While checking out the site, we figured why not visit the show home too – what we found was a brand new development of “estate homes” built to a very high specification; and only 10 minutes walk along the West Orange Trail, to town (the new development is where the cluster of trees is, top left):
What’s more, there’s a home design which is basically a single level home with a second level “bonus room”, perfect for my office. The downstairs master suite offers a huge walk-in shower, and no tub – which is what we wanted (we’ve only used the tub maybe once a year in our current home!); other nice features include high ceilings and an extra large garage:
Choosing to move here, we get our desire of walking distance to the town center, along with a home that’s a better size for the two of us, and more elegant. We do lose our beautiful view (there will just be a street and other homes behind) but hopefully that’s an acceptable exchange … we signed a contract a few days ago!
I’ll post more updates in the months ahead, although we don’t really expect the new home to be finished this year. We’re also going to need to work out selling and buying at the same time, which we’ve not had to do before (we’ve always had somewhere temporary to move in to).
The Great Horned Owl chicks seem to be getting ready to fly – they’ve been flapping their wings each evening for the past few nights … Here’s a short video:
I’ve been taking quite a few pictures of the Great Horned Owl nest behind our home, but I can only do that because of the camera I own. As a comparison today, I took photos with my iPhone 7 Plus, my older high zoom Sony DSC-HX400V, and my current high zoom Nikon Coolpix P900. With each camera I took an unzoomed photo and a fully zoomed one – and I also cropped as close as possible to the nest for a closest view …
The iPhone was a 2x zoom lens, and “digital zoom” that claims as much as 10x – the horrible results are a strong indication to NEVER use that feature:
The Sony has a 60x zoom lens and takes very good photos; it’s also a lot lighter than the Nikon:
The Nikon has the highest zoom at 83x and is the camera I bought for and took to Africa for our safari last year – but at the highest zoom levels it’s hard to use without a tripod. Nevertheless if you need maximum zoom, it’s a great performer for the price! The fully cropped image still has resolution more than the normal 1500x that I use for web photos (as you see if you view the full size image):
From this comparison, it’s clear that iPhone is still useless for high zoom images, but that the Sony is generally just as good as the Nikon; if you can find the Sony, it’s a great buy!
I also set the camera to record video for a while; here’s a few minutes of “highlights” which are mostly of all three Owls not doing very much …