April 2013 continued to bring improvements to the Roanoke real estate market. The Absorption Rate in March 2012 was 12.11 months but it dropped to 10.27 months in March 2013. Home inventory in the Valley remains high, but overall it is dropping, meaning prices will likely rise if demand remains steady or increases. Average list price in the Valley was $283,040 in March 2013, up from $272,278 in March 2012. Residential homes in and around Roanoke averaged 131 days on the Market in March 2013. There were 3158 homes for sale in and around the Valley as of 4/2/13, according to the Roanoke MLS. For more facts about the Roanoke housing market, see the Infographic.
Please, help us win! Prudential Premier, REALTORS is in the running for an award (Best of SWOCO) that is widely recognized in this area. The voting is conducted by the Roanoke Times newspaper, and we need votes for “Best Local Real Estate Company.” IMPORTANT: The poll requires that you vote in at least 5 categories in order for your vote to count. (We are category #46- Prudential Premier REALTORS.) Please help us win…thank you so much!! http://blogs.roanoke.com/swoco/bestof2013/
After riding out the Roanoke derecho in June/July of 2012, and spending 5 days with no power in 100 degree heat, our family has decided to make an effort to be more prepared for the unexpected. We don’t have a lot of money to devote to this, so we’re taking baby-steps towards our goal. My intention is to do a series of posts on the small projects we undertake, mistakes and all. We thought a good start would be: 2 weeks of stored food, 2 weeks of stored water, and developing some alternative methods of heating, cooling, cooking, etc., in case we have no power.
One of my great loves is gardening, and so I started there. The family garden is our “alternative method” of obtaining food. Every year I start seeds indoors, and I usually buy a prepared “seed starting kit” from Lowe’s. This time I decided to make my own, out of items that were laying around the house. Long ago, I remembered reading that seed-starting pots could be made from newspaper, wrapped around a jar and then folded.
We had some old newspapers and an empty salsa jar, so I was game to give it a try. The idea is not to use anything that won’t degrade in the garden-no paper clips, no thing but the newspaper. Of course I worried that I’d never get the pots to hold together, and would have a mess on my hands once soil went in.
As it turned out, I didn’t need to worry. A few tucks of the paper, and it held together nicely. I screwed the lid on the salsa jar to help compress the newspaper and make good strong seed-starting pots.
The pots can be planted right in the ground, so there is no need to transplant the seedling when the time comes to put it in the garden. It worked out beautifully, and I am all ready to start my tomatoes this Spring.
On any given Sunday, it is football day in the Farmer household. Saturday is football day too, but Virginia Tech lost yesterday… *sighs* Anyway, today we’re making a few new dishes to try while watching the games. One is from a friend; one from the Knob Creek Facebook page, one from Pinterest, and one my husband is inventing as he goes along. We’re happy to share some football recipes with you! (No, not recipes to make a football-you know what I mean!)
From my friend LeRoy Houser, came the recipe for “3 Packet Pot Roast.” It’s so simple to make, just buy a 3 lb. sirloin tip roast, 3 packets of dry gravy/seasoning mix and some carrots, onions and taters and you’re in business. Visit his site for the recipe, it’s under “Hot Stuff” on his page menu. There’s a great salmon recipe there as well.
LeRoy is quite a guy; a perfectionist, a great speaker and an even better fisherman. He doesn’t blow smoke; when LeRoy speaks, people listen. There are only 2 recipes on his site -I think it’s because LeRoy won’t put his stamp of approval on just anything. If he says it’s good, it is GOOD!
From the Knob Creek Facebook Page came the recipe for a “Knob Creek Sour Ginger.” It’s a cocktail that’s not too sweet, which I appreciate. Here’s the recipe:
Knob Creek Sour Ginger
- 2 parts Fresh Squeezed Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
- 1¼ parts Knob Creek Bourbon
- ¾ part Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
- ½ part Lemon Juice
Serve: Combine all ingredients and shake with ice. Strain over rocks. Squeeze the lime wedge to disperse the candied ginger into the drink.
Pinterest provided the “football recipe” for Honey-Beer Bread, and oh my is it delicious! It has a thick crust, tastes of malt and is unlike any bread I’ve ever had. It’s very easy to make and just soooo good.
- 3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 4 teaspoons chopped fresh jalapeno pepper (including seeds)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 chopped chipotle chili in adobo sauce
Owens & Company was founded in 1980 by two brothers with a vision. Service, high ethical standards, and a people-first philosophy led to spectacular growth in a few short years. Thus began the first sentence of the Owens & Company, REALTORS website back in the mid-1990’s. It was a time when few companies had websites, and I doubt many people read it until years later. Working for Jeff Owens (and his brother, Ron) however, we lived that philosophy every day.
Sadly, my friendship with Jeff Owens began and ended with a funeral, although ended is perhaps the wrong word. It was the last week of September, 1989, and I had interviewed for a job at Owens & Co., assisting the sales manager, Barbara Delaney. Jeff Owens called and offered me the job, calling me “sweet lady” on the phone. “We’d like you to come work with us, sweet lady.” “What a kind man,” I thought.
It would be the first of many times he’d call me that over the years. The day I was to start, I got a call from Barbara explaining that the Owens brothers had lost their father, who had lived in Stuart, VA. So it came to be that burying Guy Lamar Owens was my first introduction to his sons.
Kathy Martin, the company Comptroller, and I left the office that morning and rode to the funeral together. Neither of us had been to Stuart before, and we truly didn’t know where we were going. After the ceremony, we made a wrong turn and accidentally drove to North Carolina instead of back up to Roanoke. We wound up in Mayberry, looking for the Snappy Lunch and a pork chop sandwich. OK, it was actually Mt. Airy, but in our hearts it was Mayberry. Of course, we stayed only a few short minutes; we were expected back at the office. Most of the ride back to Roanoke was spent figuring out how we were going to explain our absence. How was I going to tell my brand new boss that I went AWOL on my first day of work? We settled upon telling the truth, as embarrassing as it was. Jeff and Ron never said an unkind word about it, instead thanking us for making the trip to Stuart.
Over the years, many Roanokers passed through the doors of Owens & Company. Jeff always greeted visitors with a smile, a handshake, and the offer to come in and sit down, whether the guest was a local celebrity, or the guy who stocked the coffee machine. Speaking of coffee, in all the years I knew Jeff, I’m not sure I ever saw him without a cup. He’d re-fill his mug before it ever was empty. Most visitors never realized they were sharing a coffee with the company President. He loved and respected people, and it showed.
Jeff’s love of people served him well throughout his real estate career, in fact, he sold homes for many families time and again. Over the years, he would assist his clients’ children to purchase their first home. He took pride in dotting every “i” and crossing every “t.” Each client mattered to him as if they were the only one. In recognition of his outstanding career, Jeff was voted REALTOR of the Year in 1996 by the Roanoke Valley Association of REALTORS.
Jeff Owens-Life Outside of Work
Jeff had many interests outside of real estate, however. Golf was a passion for him, often playing with friends Steve Turner, Don Lilly, and Keith Robertson. He also loved attending the Roanoke Regional Home Builders functions and was a secret bowling fanatic. (Many people never knew he was an excellent, and very competitive, bowler!) That said, none of these activities compared to his love of God, of his family, and of his friends.
We lost Jeff Owens to lung cancer, seven years ago tomorrow. He was 58 years old. When I get up tomorrow morning, I’m not going straight to work. First I’m going to take a ride, not to see my boss, but to see my old friend. I’m going to bring him a cup of coffee.
RIP Jeff, not a day goes by…
They call him “Mater Man.” Close friends can hardly pass the produce section in Kroger without thinking of Steve Turner. Steve’s a Roanoke native who is well known in the local real estate community, having worked for Owens & Company, REALTORS, Long & Foster and currently, Lichtenstein Rowan. When he’s not working, Steve can often be found at the Wildwood Smokehouse, in close proximity to a hot chicken wing and a cold beer. He’s always quick with a joke and a smile, and is a friend to everyone around him. Oh and he’s a rabid Hokie football fan!
Why is he called ‘Mater Man? If you visited Steve’s back yard, you’d understand. He has a gorgeous garden, named “Fort ‘Mater” by his longtime friend Pat Clark, due to its fortifications against marauding deer. I asked Pat what she thought of Steve’s foray into the sauce business:
“My friend and former co-worker, always enjoyed his summer hobby of growing great tomatoes! We always looked forward to the season when we would have those delicious bags of tomatoes delivered to our desk, or sometimes, even to people’s homes! He was lovingly named the “mater man!”
In the true spirit of entrepreneurship, Steve has turned his passion into productivity! Growing even bigger and better tomatoes each year, he expanded the patch to a small backyard farm! In order to protect his new crop from critters—and protect critters from him—-he built “ Mater FT. Knox”! Not even a butterfly could enter there!
Now there are sauces, salsa’s, peppers, and more! I expect to see this Peter Piper with his Pickles, Peppers and more be in great demand, and I hope they are enjoyed throughout the Region and beyond!” -Pat Clark
After 20+ years of gardening, he knows what he’s doing. Steve grows a lot of tomatoes. In fact, he grows so many that he has started a company named “Ol’ Phat Tuners Salsa-Sauces-Pickles.”
Recently, I had lunch with Steve to find out more about his new company. The first thing I wanted to know was about the name. Ol’ Phat Tuner? You can’t use that, you’re “Mater Man!” I thought. But Steve explained: “I used to steal cookies from my best friend’s mother’s cookie jar.” One day Steve found a note taped to the jar that read “Old Fat Tuner was here!” What they didn’t know at the time was that Mrs. Ratliff was baking chocolate chip cookies just so the boys could steal them. She left the note as a joke, and it was a fond memory. In keeping with the times, Steve changed “fat” to “phat” and a company was born.
I asked Steve what gave him the idea to start a company of his own. Basically, he said, he’d turned a hobby into a vocation. Like many people, he had a dream to “do what he loves to do.” Steve grows virtually all the ingredients that go into his products: tomatoes, cucumbers, thyme, oregano, dill, basil, tomatillos, banana peppers, jalapenos, cayenne, red cherry, pepperoncini…you name it! The recipes are all his own, and he has spent years perfecting them.
Of course I wondered how sales have been, but when I asked, the answer stunned me. “I don’t make any sales” Steve said. It seems that the regulations governing food sales are more complicated and expensive than Steve can comply with. He doesn’t have a professional kitchen or the ability to furnish nutritional labels. What he does have is a dream-and delicious salsa, pickles, and sauces, made from locally-grown ingredients that are often picked the same day the product is made. Farm to table at its best!
If you’d like to try some, Ol’ Phat Tuner’s Facebook Page will put you in touch with Steve. (Don’t forget to “Like” it while you’re there.) Some of the products offered are dill pickles, hot peppered dills, bread & butter pickles, chow-chow, salsa and salsa verde, and “Loganator-285 Hot Sauce” (named for Steve’s son, Logan, who is a Championship High School wrestler in the 285lb. class.) Maybe you can trade Steve for something, (we traded homemade barbecue for salsa) or just ask and ye might receive. One taste of his delicious, fresh products and you’ll be glad you hooked up with a “Tuner!”
Housing markets continue to improve nationwide and here in Roanoke, VA. In August 2011 there were 4,290 homes for sale in the Valley. This August, there were 3737, a 13.1% drop. Less inventory means higher prices, as long as demand remains steady or increases. In fact, Demand rose 8.4% when comparing August 2011 to August 2012. This all points to the return of appreciation. Buyers-the time to make a move is NOW! Five years from now, people will be saying “I wish I bought back in 2012.”