Thursday, July 31, 2008

Salvage Yard Excursion

Today we went to see what was available at Donaldson's in the way of recycled wood.

Keith and dad looked at the wood. They talked about board feet blah blah blah. I was too busy looking at rusty things to be worried about what they were saying. I can't wrap my head around the math to figure board feet anyway.

me and my dad

Mr. Sexy measuring wood
with his new tape measure

It's U-Sort and it's crazy hot and there's bees everywhere and maybe rattlesnakes... and I don't know if it's any cheaper than wood from the mill (where my mom works and gets a discount). I definitely like the idea of recycling materials and the quality and aesthetics of this old wood is better---- but it's not up to me, necessarily. We have to get out the abacus and see what the better deal is.

Everything BUT the wood was more interesting to me. I let the men handle it while I snapped photos of:

Rural excitement of late:
1) Last night we were all sitting on the porch and one of the neighbor boys (10 yrs old maybe) from the end of the road rode a 4-wheeler up to the highway and back, like he sometimes does. But on the return trip he was looking over his shoulder for just a second and he plowed into the mailboxes across the street. The 4-wheeler went end over end, flew through the air and he landed up against the fence. Talk about scary!! We ran down to the site of the crash (about 20 yards from our house) and checked to see if he was still in one piece. He was so lucky he didn't get killed. He walked away with no broken bones, only some road rash and a banged up 4-wheeler. I can't believe his parents let him ride that thing alone. Apparently, they're not too bright. Understatement.
2) My dad and Keith told me this afternoon that a guy who lives about 1 block from here (not that we have blocks, but that distance) saw a COUGAR in his driveway late at night 2 days ago. A COUGAR!! Sleeping in a tent is not sounding all that attractive after hearing that. Laying in bed we can hear apples falling out of the tree, twigs snapping from the outside kitties (or maybe not!) walking around, geese flying into the field next to us... but I would mess my pants if I heard a cougar scream. Come to think of it, we've been hearing some weird sounds very much like these. I am so NOT joking. Time to reconsider our sleeping arrangements.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fruits of our labor

Okay, mostly Keith's labor.

He thinned the carrots this morning. We planted some heirloom type variety or something---anyway they are all sorts of colors: orange, yellow, white, red, purple. I am a sucker for nature novelty (and I'm told I come by it honestly--that my dad's dad loved to plant anything offbeat or weird-colored) and actually I'm not all that fond of carrots, but I am excited about these. Keith said these little ones weren't too tasty (not that he picked them for eating, just to allow the others to grow larger) but we ate a larger one that was very sweet. (Sidenote: I found another siamese raspberry the other night!! but I didn't take any photos.)

My sunflowers are coming up great--surprisingly. Keith counted 43 sprouts this morning!

sunflowers in the fore/
watermelon in the back

The squash families (watermelon, cantaloupe, zucchini) were taking over more than their allotted corner of the garden so Keith chopped out a couple of the plants...we're still going to have more than we can handle once they start coming on.

The wood ash/garden lime treatment we've been putting around the squash and tomatoes have really helped keep the bugs down. Definitely recommend that if you're having pest trouble. Equal parts wood ash and garden lime, spread a circle of it around the base of each plant. You can also sprinkle it directly on the leaves of the plants, but it's pretty alkaline so be careful not to burn the plants. That's totally SWAG, as my dad says. Scientific Wild Ass Guess. Pretty much how we operate around here.

The raspberries are really overstaying their welcome. And I try to be grateful for all of the food that we get, but it's really hard to pick raspberries every other day and not get sick of it. Complainy Complainerton! The freezer is full of them and we have enough jam to last at least this year if not next year as well. We've been eating them on cereal. And I've been giving them away to friends, too... including Mia. She loves her some raspberries! What a funny dog. Sometimes if you're not looking she sneaks them out of the bucket. But usually I hand feed them to her.

Keith finished the larger shelf for the greenhouse and we moved all of the heirloom tomato plants in there as well as the herbs. Keith said the dill grew about 4" today! There was a really interesting and disgusting article in the local paper last week(end?) about a nearby maggot farm. I didn't even know there was such a thing as a maggot farm!! They sell them for bait, but also to raise to maturity and sell the bluebottle flies that they turn into because they are great for pollinating plants in greenhouses. Apparently bees do not always like the confines of a greenhouse, but flies do just fine. Good thing to keep in mind, I guess.

The other shelves will be a bit lower so the tomatoes will have room to grow. But several of the plants have blossoms already. Don't know how that will work out---if the plants are big enough to support fruit or what. Again, SWAG rules. Amateurs!

The butcher block wouldn't fit in the greenhouse so we posted it outside. We hauled it to Missoula five or so years ago and then back here to put in storage while we lived in Portland and now it's out in circulation again. It was on my great-grandfather's ranch in southern Idaho way back when. I think I rescued it from my grandma who wasn't sure anyone would want it? Maybe because it weighs 3 tons. Her dad was a cattle rancher and spent all but about 18 months of his life on the ranch. There's a newspaper article on the wall of my parents' house that says the family's brand, an "X," holds the state record for the brand remaining in the same family for the longest period of time. It was registered by my great-great-grandfather in 1896. Last time I asked my mom she said she thought it was still somewhere in the family---this is something I should track down, I think. Very interesting: I just found there is a resevoir named for him in southern Idaho: Adin Hall Resevoir. (My mom's middle name is the feminized version of his name--Adine--and so is mine.) This concludes Family History Minute.

another panorama of the garden

I'm almost finished with my work week---just Wednesday to go. And I found out today that I get to place classifieds FOR FREE. W00t. This means my bartering ad is definitely going in next week and Roxanne even encouraged me to put some graphics on it and make it bigger if we need to fill some space. Can do! We usually have to put some stock/"house" ads in for fillers, so instead I'll use mine. I am very excited about that. But she also told me that they are probably going to want me to start taking on some of the real estate guide layout work and that I should stick up for myself re: wages. She said she has worked there three years and is only making $.25/hour more than when she started. Which is, frankly, bullshit. I mean, this is not just a job that your average Joe off the street can do well---it takes a lot of organization and attention to detail and apparently the Powers That Be think they can get away with paying slave wages. What're they going to do if someone puts up a fight? It's not like there's exactly a plethora of uber-qualified people in this town---most of them already have jobs. Of course I didn't move here or take the job to get rich--that isnt' the point. But I do think if you're going to increase someone's work load and responsibility you should acknowledge that it means they're a good worker who deserves a little more pay. But tomorrow is Free Lunch Wednesday (the last Wednesday of every month the paper buys us lunch), so I will wait and air my grievances at a later date. Hey, it's free lunch.

One thing about Having A Job that I am not too terribly fond of: having to wear a watch again. But at least I don't have to wake up to alarm clock...Keith wakes me up if I'm not up by 7 a.m. Really, the only reason I need the watch is to make sure I come back from lunch on time. Wah wah wah.

Check out this psychedelic shirt!

On a semi-related note I found this really neat interactive design website ("public interactive art project") called Type Is Art. You choose different parts of characters to enlarge, rotate, etc. and you make a design out of it. The possibilities are endless. I would love to hand something like this (oversize) in our house. Or maybe even sell them---if that's legal/not prohibited by some smalltype I haven't seen.

This was my first attempt.
I can see how it could be addictive.

Thursday we're taking a trip to the edge of town. There's a place that sells used lumber and we're going to get some quotes on what we'll need for the tiny house. I think I've already said we changed plans a little and decided to make it all one level, but we also increased the size a little. Instead of 8'x12' we're going 12'x20'--which is quite a big jump. But still pretty tiny. There's just no way we could fit our bed inside a house that's only 8' wide at the outside. Yesterday Keith got home from work and put pencil to paper for about 3 hours and laid out a detailed plan of dimensions and what lumber/plywood we will need to get started. We're hoping to have it built (well, winterized and habitable but not necessarily finished) by this fall/winter. Nothing against my parents, but I don't think all 4 of us could live in their house all winter and not go berserk. So----that means we have to get serious about our house plans. Which we are---getting serious. We also decided to look for a wood stove for heat...and if we do it right we can hook it up so our water (in the tanks on the roof) are also heated by the wood stove. If we find a flat top stove we could do some cooking on top of it. Plus run pipes to the bathroom end of the house to heat it (like radiant heat floors, kinda, only extremely simplified). Needless to say, with harvesting the garden and preserving the food and house plans and Farmers Market shenanigans, we are going to be plenty busy for the rest of the summer. Time to get crackin!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Gone Done and Ate Up All My Profits

Yesterday I decided, oh-so-last-minute (this is something you should know about me), to sell my wares at the 55th Annual Kooskia Days instead of at the Farmers Market at Long Camp. Thinking higher traffic/exposure...

I called the woman in charge (Molly) yesterday afternoon to ask about getting a vendor space. She said she'd let me have one for half price ($20) since I didn't need electricity (and I sounded like a poor pitiful novice, too, I'm sure). She told me everyone would start setting up around 7 a.m. So, when we got a late start and didn't get to Kooskia (only 8 miles away) until about 7:30, I was worried. But Molly was nowhere to be found! And I didn't know where to set up my table. So we wandered around. One of our favorite pasttimes, wandering around.

Kooskia has a lot of character.
I need to go back for a photo safari.

Then we decided to get caffeinated. So we drove to Stites (pop. <250) to The Chatterbox.

But it was closed. Dammit, don't you people want my business on a Saturday morning?!

So we went back to Kooskia and I had a which was good (and delicious!) because I saw my friend Heidi working at the Sunset Mart. She's moved back to the area and she invited us to her wedding at The Branding Iron Saloon on August 9th! Par-tay!

So then we walked around Kooskia for a while more until we found Molly, prolly around 8:30 .

I ended up getting a spot between a saloon and a cafe.

And it was in the shade! Which was good because it was HOT.

Keith polished up a piece of angle iron from
my dad's scrap pile to use as a magnet display.
I also had a sign-up sheet for forming
a bartering network. No takers. So far.

the cards I had for sale

So I only sold 1 card and half a dozen magnets (not enough to cover my $20 vendor space fee), but I had a LOT of compliments and "interested persons," which was very encouraging. Seriously. Good advertising. Now I feel a little more confident about setting up a table at the Farmers Market, perhaps next weekend?

I also had a good view of the parade

and Keith even brough Lazlo for a while. He was a very very good dog. As per usual.

But by the time 1:30p.m. rolled around I was hungry and cranky and so we packed it up and went home. But we stopped for lunch at Jilinda's on the way home and I filled my belly with a grilled cheese and fries and spent any revenue I'd generated. Not so good at this business accounting. Oh well, it's not all about profit, right? I have to build my customer base.

I'm excited to go back to work next week which is WEIRD and kinda crazy. I haven't felt that way since I worked at The Poverello. I really miss that place sometimes, the community, the people. Checking out their latest newsletter, I saw quite a few faces I remembered. Time to get a card in the mail, I guess! One of the many I didn't sell---it's good to keep in touch with the people who really matter. And people I met and worked with at The Poverello were some of the most inspiring, caring, intelligent people I ever met. Homelessness is a real problem and although it might be easiest to blame the individuals for their situation, once you actually get to know people who are struggling on a daily basis and you realize that anyone of us could be in that situation in a heartbeat... well, it changes your outlook. And that's a good thing. I think about the people at "The Pov" pretty often and I will definitely make a point of going back to visit when we go to Missoula.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tune In Thursday

As previously mentioned, there is a serious dearth of good music in this area... one count against moving to rural Idaho. Although Keith was able to help me find a local station that carries NPR programming. (On our trip to Lewiston a few weeks ago, my mom asks, "What's NPR?" Oy vey. Not that NPR is the end-all-be-all, but for cryin'out loud. This is what rural radio does to people.)

Also, the live music scene here is non-existent outside of Karaoke Night at the Branding Iron Saloon and I am just not ready to go there. (Except for during BBQ Days, of course, when there are no rules--much like 'Nam.)

So, (hopefully) understandably, I have some serious anxiety about not having access to my digital music stash in case of End Times/SHTF/TEOTWAWKI/extended power outage. I mean, music is pretty important to me. But I would rather go without (or hum in my head) than listen to what's available over the local airwaves here: Christian talk/news/music or Top 40 Country.

Therefore, I have been downloading like crazy--- and periodically saving to the hard drive--- songs that only the internet has, around here I mean.

[So, before we get started with all the musical goodness, I just want to say that if you use Firefox there is an Add-on that will help you when you browse pages with embedded mp3s: Foxy Tunes. Once you download it and restart Firefox you will get a pop-up thingy on the side of any page you go to that has music embedded and also a toolbar at the bottom of all internet windows that will allow you to skip to the next song, pause, all that. So you don't have to worry about finding the exact window that's playing the song... Anyway, handy.]

One of my favorite sites for music 'splorin' is the aggregator The Hype Machine. It gathers songs posted on blogs all over the internet and you can search by song, artist, or keyword or listen to what's popular on the whole site or what's popular in certain geographic areas. Sometimes the songs/links are expired, so the library is always changing, but such is life/the internets. And I have my banner over there on the right, which shows my favorite songs of the moment that I find on The Hype Machine. And not that I condone doing so, but if you go to the site and click on Read Full Post you can usually download the song you're playing for free. Ahem. Like I said, not something I condone, but I've heard it's possible.

Neat Music Blogs, But What Do I Know?
The Rising Storm --lost gems in the genres of garage, country rock, psych folk, psychedelic rock, and other overlooked classics
Soul Sides--"something you can feel"
Funky 16 Corners--focus on funk and soul vinyl
LaGrange --good country-ish/rock podcasts from a guy in the UK? or with a Brit accent at least
Deep Soul Heaven
The Leather Canary
The Thrill Factory>--internet peep DJMark runs this site and it's very good
Lonesome Music>--"Keeping you melancholy all day"

And I've also made a new Muxtape. The last one was for 4th of July and you can only have one at a time, so I deleted and started over. There's no theme this time, just songs I enjoy over and over again.

Click here to listen
(open in a new tab or window)

Playlist is as follows:
♥ Lightspeed Champion-Dry Lips (I would have NEVER guessed this guy looked like this.)
♥ Bikini-1234 (Okay this is a Feist cover by a Hungarian rock band? Hmmm...maybe? Related: Feist singing this as a counting song on Sesame Street on YouTube--it's AWESOME. "Chickens just back from the shore" are the best part!!)

♥ Wakey! Wakey!- Apology Song (This song cracks me up because it mentions a ton of Missoula landmarks. It was written by Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, he's from MT.)
♥ The Dresden Dolls-Mandy Goes to Med School (Another absolutely impressive song, lyrics-wise. Pay careful attention! "the lights are staying out but no sweat I've got aim like a mack truck/guess how many fingers ok guess how many more i can fit there")
♥ Nick Cave-Cannibal's Hymn (Who doesn't love this guy?? With lyrics like this, you MUST. And that voice...ah.)
♥ The Pretty Things-The Good Mr. Square (an older UK band, this one really reminds me of Portland for various secret reasons)
♥ Manu Chao-Bongo Bongo (I dare you to listen to this song and not want to dance. We were introduced to Manu Chao by Ted Lowe [brother of the late Alex Lowe, world's best climber] back in Missoula and his music remains in our regular rotation.)
♥ Louis Armstrong/Radiohead mashup-What a Wonderful Surprise (It's so natural when you hear me.)
♥ Bon Iver-Skinny Love (As much as I try not to like this song, I just love it--a lot.)
♥ Ben Sollee-A Change Is Gonna Come (classic Sam Cooke cover, very well done)
♥ Black Rebel Motorcycle Club-Shuffle Your Feet (Not the sound I was AT ALL expecting from a band with this name, but I think I'm onto something with these guys.)
♥ Warren Zevon-Carmelita (Ah, Warren. RIP. Very few people can make heroin addiction sound this romantic. We worship at the Altar of Warren, here at Casa Blankenship. The love was handed down to Keith by his dad and I adopted Warren soon after I met Keith. This is a Dutch bootleg recording and Jackson Browne is playing the piano and singing backup vocals.)


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

First, thanks for all the great comments on the last post. The title was more rhetorical than anything else, but I was really interested to read what everyone had to say---and thanks for your visits, even if you don't comment. It's nice to know I'm not shouting into a black hole.

I survived my first full (well, half) week of work at the newspaper. I'm feeling more comfortable about all of the things I have to remember to do, which is a lot!, and next week will be even easier. The woman I am replacing will still be there next week in case of emergency, but I'm going to try to do it like a big girl all by my very own self.

It's so convenient to work downtown and be able to run errands during the day. There's a tiny (no, TINY) "health food store" (in quotes because they have such a limited selection) just a couple of doors down--I bought some banana chips and soap there. And I got my watch battery replaced at Johnson's Jewelry across the street. And sometimes I eat lunch with my friend Laura who works at the clinic about 2 blocks away. What I should be doing on my lunch hour is taking a nice brisk walk so I don't get Giant Chair Ass. Anyway, my point is: I'll be kicking ass in no time. I got my own desk set up today and I'll take some dog photos in next week to spruce up the place.

Until I remember to take a picture of it myself, here's a stock photo from the newspaper's website.

Kamiah's gimmick is that all of Main Street (or most, anyway) is decorated with old-timey storefronts. The paper is on the right and the left side is for rent if you're interested.

We harvested our first produce out of the garden this weekend---lettuce!! We cut both baskets, although the spinach went to seed. We're going to see if it's salvageable.

This is how we rinse the lettuce. And, yeah, it's kinda redneck. Don't worry, we put it in a salad spinner and the ziploc'd it. Then we ate it. (Almost all of it.)

It was hot this weekend, too, so after breakfast on Sunday morning we took the dogs down to the river. It's dropped a lot since we were down there last... we were able to walk out onto the rocks and sandbars and the dogs went swimming.

Well, Lazlo and Itchy went swimming and Mia kinda stood on the bank and tried to be brave. She's getting better every time we go. Keith threw a couple of sticks into the shallow water for her so she's starting to figure out it's safe. It's really pretty impressive she's willing to go in the water at all considering she survived a hurricane!

Lazlo dives for a stick that sunk to the bottom. Hilarious!
(My auto focus is broken. Apologies.)

Neighbor Pam gave us a jar of her homemade jalapeƱo-raspberry jam. I was a little leery of that combination, but she said to try it on cream cheese and Ritz crackers. We did just that and we scarfed it down. Great, like I need another excuse to eat cream cheese. I am really going to have to get out in the garden to work it off.

Someone told her to skip the County Fair and go directly to the State Fair and I'm inclined to agree! Delicious!! We're definitely going to have to barter for some more of it!

And this weekend we also got the greenhouse out onto (and attached to) the foundation.

Keith is building shelves for it. We'll be putting our heirloom tomatoes out there this fall so they can keep growing. Off-season tomatoes should be very popular---maybe we can sell or barter them. If we even get any. I guess I shouldn't count my chickens before they hatch.

And because I love trivia, here's the origin of that phrase, courtesy of the internets (so you know it's true!):

Who Said It: Aesop
When: c. 570 B.C.
The Story behind It: This saying occurs in the fable "The Milkmaid and Her Pail." Patty, a farmer's daughter, is daydreaming as she walks to town with a pail of milk balanced on her head. Her thoughts: "The milk in this pail will provide me with cream, which I will make into butter, which I will sell in the market, and buy a dozen eggs, which will hatch into chickens, which will lay more eggs, and soon I shall have a large poultry yard. I'll sell some of the fowls and buy myself a handsome new gown and go to the fair, and when the young fellows try to make love to me, I'll toss my head and pass them by." At that moment, Patty tossed her head and lost the pailful of milk. Her mother admonished, "Do not count your chickens before they are hatched."

I bet that little harlot learned her lesson! She must have or it wouldn't be in Aesop's Fables. Right?

And because I've been enjoying re-reading the behemoth Infinite Jest, I'll end with one of the several smarty lines I read last night, in the section of the book in which David Foster Wallace outlines the many "exotic new facts" you might learn "[i]f, by the virtue of charity of the circumstance of desperation, you ever chance to spend a little time around a Substance-recovery halfway facility like Enfield MA's state-funded Ennet House:"

That everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else. That this isn't necessarily perverse.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Why are you here?

I've been getting a lot of traffic from various blogs that I read and make comments on (including SHTFblog), so I thought I would take a second to re-iterate what kind of life we're trying to lead in this New Plan that we've established (and continue to modify). Our choice to abandon The System As We Formerly Knew It was based on several wishes. We chose to come back to my hometown because we wanted to live (in no particular order):
  • somewhere our dogs can be happy
  • somewhere we can build a house, a tiny house (under 200 sq ft, with recycled/salvaged materials, a composting toilet, and solar heat)
  • somewhere we can grow our own food
  • somewhere we can appreciate our friends and family
  • Somewhere we can enjoy nature
  • Somewhere we can reduce our costs enough so that we only have to work part-time
I've also been getting increasingly worried about the economic situation we are facing and increasingly frustrated that the mainstream media refuses to acknowledge what people can do to survive in the near future. I try not to consume much from the mainstream media because it's so depressing. Instead of disseminating information on how to make do with less, we are constantly bombarded with the messages of "Buy More!" and "Go about your business--everything's fine!" Only more and more people are catching on that No, everything is NOT fine. It's so distressing to me that so many people are not prepared to do without certain things, or have no knowledge of basic survival. I include myself in this category. Living a relatively cush life has made me weaker. But I am trying to change that.

These days I have a hard time balancing between being a really novice Buddhist (everything is impermanent, practice compassion for humanity) and a freakout survivalist (stock up on MREs and curl up in the basement with guns and ammo). These are two paths that can not be reconciled. So every day I make an effort to find The Middle Path.

When I was picking raspberries last night with my mom, I was trying to be grateful for the food that was there just waiting to be gathered, the opportunity to spend time with the people I love and care about, the opportunity to spend time in a place that is safe and clean...

But the other part of my brain works in a way that tells me instead of offering to let people come and glean the remaining raspberries this season, we should be selling them and saving the money in case shit goes down.

My heart tells me I need to err on the side of compassion. After all, I truly believe that cultivating alliances is more productive than putting up walls. I know that I have a lot to learn from other people and that by making small gestures such as sharing food with people who have less, I can learn more about myself and, hopefully, learn from those I help. And, really, would $10 or $20 or $30 really be that much of an advantage for me?

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
Without them humanity cannot survive.

~Dalai Lama

The past week or so I have been trying to outline a plan to establish a bartering network. I think that we will need this in the near future and it will be easier to establish if people are in a more comfortable psychological space than if we're all struggling to survive (which we are every day, but, you know...).

Instead of paying over $3/dozen for eggs because I refuse to buy battery-hen eggs, I would be grateful to buy eggs that come from someone local--someone that has a chicken coop and actually cares about the quality of the chickens' lives. Sites like localharvest are a good start, but not everyone with products to sell has internet access. If you know of/have belonged to/are interested in joining a local bartering network, I would love to hear your ideas. I'm going to put up a flyer at various bulletin boards around town and I'll put an ad in the paper, but I want to have some idea of where to go and how to get there... My mom and dad predict that there will be more interest than I am anticipating. Which is fine by me! I hope that's the case. The more people that want to participate, the greater likelihood of success.

So my point is this: instead of being divisive and political and combative, we should all strive to remember each other as human beings who can accomplish great things with cooperation, compassion, and love. We're going to need each other if we're going to survive.

As long as we live in this world we are bound
to encounter problems.
If, at such times, we lose hope
and become discouraged,
we diminish our ability to face difficulties.
If, on the other hand,
we remember that it is not just ourselves
but every one who has to undergo suffering,
this more realistic perspective
will increase our determination
and capacity to overcome troubles.
Indeed, with this attitude, each new obstacle
can be seen as yet another valuable
opportunity to improve our mind!

~Dalai Lama

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wordle cloud

"Wordle is a toy for generating 'word clouds' from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text."

make your own

Reminding me to expand my vocabulary.

Click on it for the large view.

Keith's happy his name is so big---but that's the way it should be. I'm lucky to have someone so supportive, someone who is on the same page as me (most of the time), someone who makes me laugh, and someone who lets it slide when I get cranky, someone who helped rescue me when I thought I would drown. I couldn't ask for a better partner.

All domesticated-like

I've never been very good at being a wife in a 1950s sort of way: cooking, cleaning, making babies... good thing I married someone who is fine without all that!

But lately I have been climbing the domesticity scale like The Price Is Right cliffhanger yodeling guy.

Case in point: banana bread.

The consensus was:
1 loaf plain banana bread (Dad, 1 vote)
1 loaf chocolate chip banana bread (Mom, April 1 vote each)
Keith abstained by default since he was at work.

Now, I've been talking about making banana bread out of the VERY ripe bananas on the counter for about a week. Let's just say I was waiting for them to reach optimal brownness. Which they did.

I can see where banana slugs get their name.

This looks disgusting, but it will get better.

What, you thought I was making this by hand??

Sifting is my favorite part of any baking project.

I could really use a laminated cookbook.

Eggshells can go in the compost bin
as long as you crunch them up.
Strangely satisfying--the crushing--, but pointy.

Okay, I lied.
Sifting is not my favorite part.
Chocolate chips are my favorite part!
Some for the banana bread, some for me...

This is the part where I wish Scratch-n-Sniff
was included as an internets add-on.
Someone make that app, ok?

Wife cred increases exponentially with baked goods. Even if you're not a baker--like me, give it a try. If something goes horribly wrong your pets might eat it.

And now Keith's home from work so we're going to sit on the porch and have some couple time. In plain view of the neighbors! Fully clothed, though. He needs a shower.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobics vs. Pagans

I was living in a Devil Town
Didn't know it was a Devil Town
Oh, Lord, it really brings me down
About the Devil Town

And all my friend were vampires
Didn't know they were vampires
Turns out I was a vampire myself
In the Devil Town

I was living in a Devil Town
Didn't know it was a Devil Town
Oh Lord it really brings me down
About the Devil Town
~Daniel Johnston

Click here to listen to it---it's worth it.

You'll see where I'm headed here in a minute. It's called SUSPENSE.

Keith and I went to Nez Perce today to get tags for The Little Brown Turd (still working on a better name). They have the closest county courthouse. We tried to get licenses, too, but we were turned away because we didn't have a lease or a utility bill in our names. Fascists! So we have to return with a notarized statement from my parents saying we do indeed live in Idaho. Good thing Mom's a notary. Crimeny.

A few miles this side of Nez Perce we saw a woman walking her bike down the highway and a man riding his (he'd stopped) a ways up the road. So, figuring she was having bike trouble, we turned around and offered her a lift into town. She was grateful---especially since people 'round these parts aren't exactly sympathetic to bicyclists. Her name was Erin. I didn't take a picture of her because I didn't want to freak her out.

where we turned around
to pick up the bicyclist

Nez Perce is a quiet little town. I think I would go crazy if I lived there.

Main Street Nez Perce, Idaho

And apparently they are quite religious. No surprise: small farming town in rural Idaho. Anyhow, we were offered plates that had been returned several times, according to the lady at the assessor's office.

Here's Keith outside the courthouse holding our new tags:
3L 11666

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia: the fear of the number 666. I mean, seriously? What do you suppose would happen if your plates had 666 on them? You'd be smote? Ok, sure we'll take them. We're almost pagans anyway. Damn hippie treehugging dirt worshipers! (Seriously though, that bumper sticker would match my car perfectly!)

We asked how much personalized plates are---you have to send off for those. We came up with several options we thought we might be able to get away with: MERDE, RUNS, CACAW... but the more I think about it the more I think that we'll keep the 11666 tags.

We hauled out the shopvac yesterday and gave the car a good cleaning, cutting out the back seat cover and emptying the trunk (there was about 3" of rusty water under the spare tire). And I bought some Febreeze and a New Car smell air freshener. I'll check it today and see if it still smells like Ol Dirty Car or if it smells like Ol' Dirty Car Masked By Air Freshener. I have to take it to town to gas it up so maybe I'll be posting more pictures.

Tuesday's agenda:
--transplant heirloom tomatoes...they're crowding each other in the busket they're in
--wash fabric for new shirts I'mma gonna make
--make chocolate chip banana bread
--keep reading my daytime book, Infinite Jest (it's too hefty to read with a booklight)

The "regular" tomatoes are coming on strong. We counted half a dozen or so last night.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

One month in

We've survived one month working The New Plan. Some bumps, mostly mental. But we're surviving. And we're not in it full-bore. I mean, I'm sitting inside using my parents' internet connection--it's not like we're running totally off the grid. Yet.

This weekend we assembled the greenhouse. And no fights!!

First we had to sweep out the garage---my dad didn't get to use it that much this winter due to health problems, so it was a little messy. I tried to take a panorama, but the far side was cut off (user error).

cloning like Iranian missiles in the lower left

Keith made me work almost the whole time so I didn't get to document much but the start and the finish. I know, right?! Actually I had fun putting it together with him. It was definitely a 2-person project. Mom and Dad came out at first to "see"but they figured out we work better without an audience.

starting with the frame
everything we needed came in 2 flat packages

Giant Keith finishing the door

vented window passing Mom Inspection

We're building a base for it out of pressure-treated 2"x10"s turned on their sides and we can secure it to the ground with rebar and plumber's tape. And that will also to raise it up since once we put wood chips in the bottom it will be even shorter... And tonight I was wielding power tools, helping to construct shelves for it. I'll try to get pictures of that tomorrow (hi, Shawn!). Dangerous! I am learning a lot. But I get bored whenKeith starts telling me how he figures to the math to make sure the shelves are spaced evenly...blah blah blah. Practice for tiny house building, Keith says. I say Yeah yeah whatever give me the drill!

Of course we had a couple of good shop dogs to oversee the whole project.

In Also Accomplished News: I made magnets to sell with my cards (whenever I get them printed...) at the Saturday Market. The rocks are a little iridescent for my liking. I'll be switching to a different kind for the next round. Anyway, they're low overhead and low profit but they're something cheap people can buy---a way to lure them to my table. And they're fun to make.

$.75/each, $5.25/set