Friday, January 3, 2014

New year, new things.

I've been thinking about wrapping this here so-called blog for a while now and the new year seems to be a perfect time for endings. The blog is dead (says Jason Kottke) and this one also seems to have run its course. We're pretty stable in our tiny house now (though projects will be never-ending) and eeking out a living here is pretty boring for the most part. There are new things in store for us in 2014, we're looking to the future as always. But I think I'm going to turn inward this year and work on myself rather than putting things out into the world. There's plenty of that already. 

I'll probably continue to post photos sporadically on flickr, so head over there if you feel the need to verify our existence. Otherwise, I'm going dark for a bit. Thanks to any who stopped by and we'll see you later on down the road.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Grateful is as grateful does

So much to be thankful for, always.
Good health, family all together, enough to eat, a warm place to sleep, dogs to pet, anyone who reads this...And some fall colors from the past couple of weeks.







Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Slowing down

The first snow fell yesterday. And then melted.

It's a transitional time of year for everyone; we're no exception. Shorter days, colder weather and less money coming in during winter forces us to re-think our habits. Whittling down to where we should be, physically, financially, psychologically. 

The holidays are usually not our favorite time of year for a bunch of reasons - one of them being the cultural expectation surrounding gift giving. I am going to try to put an emphasis more on experiences than items when I make my list. We keep trying to opt-out of the family xmas celebration (none of us religious, why do we do this?) but it hasn't happened yet. I may claim to be part of the BuyNothingNew crew. (Bonus reading: How Your Stuff is Killing You and You Don't Even Know It)

Lazlo loves hazelnuts. Look at all that white on his face. Considering the fate of our oldest dog who really only has 2.5 good legs on his best day. Winter snow and ice is not going to make that any easier. Hard decisions coming up.
Mia has a perch where she can enjoy the sun - when it's out. She was a bad dog earlier this year (fighting with a neighbor dog, nothing serious) so the tie-out cable keeps her safe if she feels the impulse to chase marauding canines.
My bedside table was re-purposed into our new TV stand. We move it out of the way (or in the way) as needed and it plugs in to the same outlet (outlets are a new development - yay!) as our new heater which is working fabulously. (The slim white thing on the wall there is the heater.)
Huge mushrooms growing under some trees at the end of the driveway
Keith at Fish Creek on the way home from Missoula where we saw Hank 3 in concert 
We took Mia to The Island for some exercise a couple weeks ago on a gorgeous day
a few more photos on flickr

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Kitchen Remodel: Part Two

First off, the flooring pay off  - BEFORE. AND. AFTER.
Finishing the kitchen morphed into New Flooring for The Whole House. And for the first time in almost 5 years, it feels like an actual house. Not seeing subfloor, having a consistent plane to navigate in the middle of the night. Definite bonuses.
a piece of dirty old flooring on top of clean beautiful new flooring to show color
After realizing we didn't have enough of the old laminate flooring to cover the house corner to corner, I coerced Keith into letting me order new flooring. His criteria was that it be under $1/square foot and I scored with a certain orange big box store selling us 8 boxes for $192 (plus tax and underlayment). Keith's working on staining some moulding to go along the bottom and we have about 35 square feet of dark blue ceramic tile to lay at the entry way, but other than that the flooring is completed.
south end of the house - before
After realizing we didn't have enough of the old laminate flooring to cover the house corner to corner, I coerced Keith into letting me order new flooring. His criteria was that it be under $1/square foot and through a certain orange big box store, we ordered 8  boxes for $192 (plus tax and underlayment) and we have almost a full box leftover just in case.
Lazlo update: his failing back legs means he needs help scratching hard-to-reach places now.
a few rows of flooring down on the north end of the house
site supervisors were glad to have a warm & comfy place to watch the action
yoga mats under the box springs to protect new flooring from getting scratched
One of the even bigger benefits to the flooring project was having to take everything out of the house and that brought Keith and I both to a minimalist mind set. Having more space, open space and not clutter, is what's going to get us through the winter inside. So we're being very selective about what we bring back into the house. More on how we're downsizing/reducing clutter later.

My hammock came in the mail today so sometime this week or weekend we'll be giving that a try - hoping that it will spare us some more floor space. If it works okay (isn't crippling or super inconvenient), we'll eventually get rid of our mattress/box springs.

Some people have commented that our house is undergoing evolution. And that's true. This is our first house-building experience and our circumstances and choices make it even that much trickier to find out what does and doesn't work for us. I love the freedom we have to make those changes - adapt and overcome!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Kitchen Remodel: Part One

We had no choice but to tackle the southern window problem. The second window in that place to crack = no more windows. Our luck is just not good enough to press the issue. So we decided to frame it in and use the interior space differently for a kitchen remodel.

Our dishes cabinet/folding table/bench concept (pic here) was nice in theory, but it wasn't practical for us. I think I used the table/bench twice for breakfast alone and that's it. We're obviously not afraid of adapting/revising as we go and we've been griping about how our kitchen set-up is not the most user friendly. Therefore, we are turning the whole corner behind where the window was into better kitchen storage.

quick sketch of shelving attachment idea
south end of the house with cracked window removed and plywood/framing in place
it's good to know someone who can do carpentry - for free
with the window out and cabinet removed, this is what we had...
we're using some leftover tin to go behind the cabinet and at the top of the east wall - OSB was the cheapest material to cover the wall where the cabinet used to be so we did that - we had some white paint and the dark blue left over from trim on the big windows - then I realized, while laying on the bed looking at the space at the other end of our house, that red is our unofficial accent color so I found a can of glossy red paint and added a stripe of that, too and I'm stoked with how it turned out - chalkboard moved from bedroom wall to top of the cabinet for grocery/pantry lists, much more useful there
after dealing with some snafus (installing vertical pipe to a sloped roof), we got it
still have some trim pieces to paint and put up, doors back on the cabinet, etc. but we're getting close
necessary tools (beer not pictured)
second streaming location - if the sun is still hitting the porch, we move everything to the yard
 my favorite new pizza (and Bob's Burgers, hilarious): balsamic vinegar drizzled on the pita bread crust + chopped dates + cheese (Gorgonzola if you're brave). Honey drizzle & cracked black pepper when it comes out of the oven.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Buck up, girl

Ever feel like life is handing you one shit sandwich after another? Yeah, that's me lately. Legal troubles are bringing me down, man. Things catching up with me, other things rearing up as a result of inattention. Trying to keep a very honeybadger approach to life right now (my natural outlook) is the only thing keeping me from walking on down the road with what I can carry - a fantasy that I play out in my mind too often. Like the late great Levon Helm advises, "There's no running from your troubles / Or you're sure to make them double."

I am thinking more and more about how - after dogs aren't part of our lives - we can get out of here and become tramps/hobos/wanderers (Jules: "You know, like Caine in Kung Fu: walk from place to place, meet people, get into adventures."). Migrant work, web-based work, whatever. I am just ready to un-tie and become part of the underground economy. Being childfree we will have that luxury after we no longer have dogs. And that time is probably drawing near. Lazlo blew out his ACL on his rear left leg so he's on indefinite restricted activity (as the $3,00 surgery to repair it is obviously not an option) and I tried to convince Keith to make a doggy wheelchair but Lazlo seems to be doing better since we've cabled him to a tree in the yard when we're all outside + put him on a diet. Both dogs are about 9, so while we of course love them, we're kind of also counting down to freedom. 

Going back to PT work is awesome - such a relief, less responsibility, more time to myself/at home. I actually finished a book - maybe the first of the year? and continue to find a plethora of amazing articles via Longreads. Here a few that really stood out to me recently:

Scandals of Classic Hollywood: The Ecstasy of Hedy Lamarr (sex + brains in early Hollywood)
Wildcatting: A Stripper’s Guide to the Modern American Boomtown (the stripper circuit, who knew?)
The Boy Who Heard Too Much (phone hackers - fascinating)
Sinkholes: When the Earth Opens Up (environmental warning tale)
Natural Born Tourists (hilarious passive-agressive guestbook entries)
Superchief Interviews Zeb From POPO (never heard of this guy, but love the interview style)
Riding the rails: A report from the National Hobo Convention ("hobos were the first migrant workers and that they helped to build America")

Friday, August 9, 2013

Summer here

Going for short morning jogs, taking in the beauty of the world, listening to the neighborhood

Coming home to collapse in the hammock in the shade

Sitting in the yard with Lazlo, torn ACL means limited activity from here on out (8 weeks at least - hoping the other doesn't go)

Making plans to go camping and then, for various reasons, cancelling plans

Making hay while the sun shines, Keith has been busy lately with outside projects. which is good for the bank but we haven't done any house projects in over a year, 'bout time to see some hammering'

Grilling sweet corn, wishing we had garden produce, watering my container tomatillo and peppers, pick a hot Thai pepper to go in chili lime noodles

Streaming movies and tv shows on the porch - The Killing, Sunny in Philadelphia, Breaking Bad (re-watching), Queen in concert

Watching the pear tree's limbs bend hard full of fruit, someone needs to prune them, like a professional


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Beat Dat Heat

Summer montage
The window on the south end of the house broke - for the second time. Well, this window for the first time. Considering converting this to a wall since windows don't seem to last here. Need more kitchen shelving/storage anyway. We have a piece of rigid insulation in there to help keep the temp down. Standing outside one day, the sun was out, we heard POP. Was that the window just breaking? DAMN! It.
A couple of Sundays ago I sat down and made curtains for our tiny house with sailcloth from Mexico. More color, but less light/heat. Win.

Had a 2-day yard sale with my parents and all together pulled in over $600. Downsized A LOT, including a dark room set I bought for $10 and never used (sold for $6), tons of camping stuff, a bunch of wooden sash windows Keith got for free. Getting rid of stuff feels gooooooood!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Slipping into summer

It's already the beginning of summer. This time last year we were getting ready to spend the summer apart. This summer we have too many projects...already! I I did break out my sewing machine and make 3 sets of curtains from some rad sailcloth I bought from Mexico via etsy. Pics will be posted once the curtain rods are up. And even though we didn't plant a garden, I have a small herd of potted plants on the porch.

It's been at least 2 months since I've downloaded any photos from my DSLR (smartphones are wonderfully and horrifically convenient) but I'm including a few below --- in color. I shot some film when we went to visit my sister and her boyfriend (and celebrate our 12th anniversary) earlier this month, but not a whole roll. They took us to a great park and showed us one place where they rock climb. We went to Elkfest (drinking + music) where I had a delicious plate of jerk tofu from a food truck. We had awesome wood fired pizza and I've been trying to to recreate The Gordy ever since: dates,  gorgonzola, balsamic. It was amazing. Plus we had a lot of fun visiting and spending time with them. Definitely scheduling another trip up north soon.

We're spending plenty of time in the hammock in the evening and on weekends. In between rain storms. I'm hoping to pull back at work and return to part-time and start logging even more hammock time. Life is too short - I don't need to work full-time and the money is definitely not a motivator (a pittance, really, even at full-time). I miss having extra time to myself.

Longform + Kindle Fire HD = no book reading for quite a while now. This isn't necessarily bad, just different. I enjoy the wide variety of topics from quite a spectrum of magazines...from Playboy to Vice to The Atlantic to Wired.  Readability favorites of late:

The Pedal-to-the-Metal, Totally Illegal, Cross-Country Sprint for Glory About drivers trying to beat the cross-country driving record

Some of My Best Friends Are Germs Micahel Pollen writes about humans being vehicles for bacteria. Super. Fascinating.

Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind? Brings up questions about consciousness and everything we don't know about ourselves, anatomy-wise and more.

Dragon noodles (equal parts Sriracha, brown sugar, & soy sauce on noodles with egg)







Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday vacay

Got out of town for a Monday concert. Beautiful drive over to Missoula -tons of whitewater and logs, the river was rushing. We remembered what hot springs we want to visit.

I've been having the urge to be a seasonal itinerant worker. Not possible while we have dogs, though. So we'll focus on improvement projects like solar hot water and indoor "plumbing", shelves, a clothesline ... This is our 5th summer in Idaho.