Sunday, September 28, 2008

A long short road trip and a combine demolition derby

make for a busy weekend with not much accomplished.

We started out the weekend on Friday night going to a HS football game. We lost to Lewiston's JV. We heard the fight song (I can't remember all the words to my own fight song!), sat/stood out in the cold, and cheered for the home team. Not all that exciting, but something to do. I can't imagine the people who take this uberseriously---like Keith says they do in his hometown.
Saturday morning we drove down to Boise to help my grandma celebrate her 88th birthday. I hadn't seen her in several years, so it was a good visit. A lot of people showed up and she was really happy to see all of us.

my grandma in the middle
her 91-year old sister-in-law on the left
(they're best friends)
my uncle on the right

We left home around 9:00 a.m. and we got back at almost midnight. It was a little chilly in the morning and I knew it would cool off at night, so I dressed skinny Mia Pia in a jack-o-lantern sweatshirt---so adorable.

Surprisingly it wasn't shredded when we got home and she was toasty warm. The dogs were glad to find out we hadn't abandoned them and they got to sleep inside.

Today we drove to Nezperce for the Lewis Co. Fair----and the combine demolition derby! Lawnmower races were held between heats/repair sessions. There was a lot of smashing going on and a couple of good wrecks, including one tipping over (no injuries).

We cruised through the food entries at the fair,too.

Video from the demolition derby:

As soon as the windows come in we're ready to start on the Tiny House. More than ready! It's getting cold and sleeping in the tent is becoming much less attractive.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

♥♥♥Dog love♥♥♥

Tennis balls:our dogs::crack:Amy Winehouse

resting aka The Comedown

Poor Mia. She had a great time fetching and chewing, but she's been having a hard time with her hips/back legs. She is SO high energy. She runs around like a greyhound on speed, happy to play and get exercise and not wanting to stop and you'd never guess there's anything wrong with her. Then at night she can barely move.

We might have overdone it with the Chuck-It this evening. She's not putting any weight at all on her back legs tonight. I'll have to carry her to bed. Time for some doggy chondroitin and a trip to the vet. Apparently hip problems are common in dalmatians. Ibuprofen doesn't seem to be helping tonight. Poor girl.

Fall is coming on strong. And I am so grateful, you might be able to guess, that... it's NOT RAINING! Is it raining in Portland? Probably! Not here! Although it is pretty cold. We'll be moving in from the tent soon. Until the tiny house is up!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Get your inner pre-schooler ready...

[Shawn, this post is for you!]

People don't generally like to talk about poop. But it's something we have to deal with, w/r/t the Tiny House plans, and honestly, life. We don't want a septic system and we've I've kinda latched onto the idea of a composting toilet. [Keith is trusting that I've done the necessary research.]

What are our options?

Obviously we can't afford a fancy schmancy chemical toilet---and I mean, seriously, that's a ridiculous amount of money to spend on something you poop in! That's as much as ALL THE LUMBER to build our house. And besides: chemicals. The less, the better.

So, the $25 sawdust toilet is closer to our price range.
But it involves dumping buckets of poop.
In the winter, I can see where that might be a less-than-ideal wedge on the chore wheel.
I am, however, willing to suck it up (figuratively) for the planet.

Intrigued by internet research suggesting a sawdust toilet might be the answer, I requested from the library: The Humanure Handbook ("...provides detailed scientific information on how humanure can be hygienically recycled, without fancy technological do-dads, a large bank account, toxic chemicals, or environmental pollution.") Yes, yes, it's all safe and you won't die or contract terrible diseases from composting your poop.

I know you're wondering: WHY?!?! would we even consider this?

Why you should compost your poop instead of flushing it into the sewer or septic system:
  • to prevent water pollution (almost 4 trillion gallons of sewage effluent are dumped into our coastal waterways each year);
  • to fertilize the soil (rich in soil nutrients, humanure can be safely recycled by thermophilic composting);
  • to protect our dwindling drinking water supplies (nearly 1/3 of all household drinking water is used to flush toilets) ;
  • to enhance our health. Fertile soil not only grows great veggies, but nourishes our health and community's well-being.
I found this great blog about some people living a low-impact lifestyle in France. Here's their instructions to build a composting toilet, or loo, as they say en franรงais. Endearing, those frenchies.

Other countries are all about the composting toilet. Not everyone worldwide (in fact, surprisingly few people) has access to indoor plumbing. And others who do have indoor plumbing, have figured out what a massive waste flush toilets actually are.

Here in the US we're a little more puritanical about poop and other bodily functions. I am guilty of this as well. It will take a shift in mindset, I know. But it makes sense. If you can be just a little open-minded. I can give you a pep talk if you need one. Poop PowerPoint?!

I want to print out this for the Tiny House---hilarious!

Also, slightly related: Urban composting in a Rubbermaid container.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Are we making progress?

Sometimes it doesn't really feel like it.

Yes, we're close to getting started.
But you know what that means is: we haven't started.
It's binary, Yes or No.
And we're still at No.

Now Keith's gone for another week to work at catering gig in Hamilton, Mont.

I'm going to order windows next week. And we think we know of someone to hire to dig the trenches for the stem wall... We'll order plywood and have it delivered with the windows. Logistics. Oy. Let's just start building already, huh?

We did start on the doors.
I am awesome with a screw gun.

Time for a GARDEN UPDATE. (yawn)

And the garden has been threatening to become UN-fun. As in, Are We Done Yet, I Mean Come On Already. Although I am happy to report that some of the things we thought wouldn't grow---they're growing.
heirloom tomato!
the only one that's turned red
(and split from overwatering Dad said)
heirloom tomatoes FAIL
(burned plant, so sad)
Mia in the cantaloupe patch portion of the garden.

Today I got really excited when Keith said my Mercedes book came in the mail! And he said my photo was on the cover!

Well, it turns out my photo IS on the cover.
With 24 other photos. No wait, 49! (The cover uses lenticular printing so each square has two images in it and depending on how you tilt the book they swap back and forth...)
And it's NOT inside the book and it's NOT credited and it's NOT paid for.
So this is almost more of a bummer than anything.
I mean, cool, I got a free book. my dad says, "It really chaps my hide!"

my photo is in the 4th row and 4th column
and can be seen HERE, full size, on flickr

With all that's going on in the world right now, though, honestly--this is a first world problem, and a very minor one at that. So enough complaining already.

Next weekend (when Keith gets back, oh I can't wait) we're traveling to Boise on Saturday to help my paternal grandma celebrate her 88th birthday.
And on Sunday we plan on going to the Combine Demolition Derby at the Lewis County Fair.
We're all about the county fair here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Domingo Gigante!

aka Big Sunday
only you say it like a monster truck rally announcer

First things first. Let's talk about my our shiny wood cookstove. Dad and Keith have put a lot of sweat into refurbishing this and it shows! Beautiful, eh? Can't wait to fire it up! We're on the lookout for cast iron EVERYTHING. And a newspaper roller, still.

On the agenda for Big Sunday Domingo Gigante: berrypicking @ the neighbors'...again! Oh darn. Dad was supposed to come help us, but had some hokey story about the battery on the Mule dying...yada yada yada. Sure, whatever dad!! Anyway, Keith and I had an awesome time in the early morning sun (and 9ish is early for Sundays).
This is how good the boysendberries are!
Also we got more peppers.

Then we drove the Catalina to Lumberjack Days.

Keith demonstrates the art of the farm truck wave.

We spent some time at the log show, even though we were OVER THREE HOURS LATE. Shoulda checked the schedule somewhere instead of listening to Mom's wild guess about when it bad.

We walked through the exhibits. All fairly underwhelming. Get it? Fairly?!
And the midway. She is a cruel temptress.
The ferris wheel was stuck and the carnies were helping scared little kids off of it one-by-one. Keith and I were glad we weren't on it or I would have been bugging out. Panic attack city, people. Plus it was HOT.

The bartering networking thing is picking up. I've had several responses in the last few days (from the ad I put on craigslist) and someone forwarded me the address to a local bartering website where you can post what you want and need. On which I found someone who wants to trade blackberries for 12 bottles of wine. Amen! (I asked her if boysenberries were acceptable.) So I'm going to start advertising that in the paper. And maybe organize a quarterly meeting, especially for people who don't/can't get online.

And speaking of paper, I have another article coming out in this week's paper--on the front page even. About the meeting we went to up in Woodland.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

BUMMED. so bummed.

David Foster Wallace, one of my favorite authors, died.

Brilliant writing.

I'm about halfway through my second reading of his massive Infinite Jest.
Chapter One excerpt on Powell's / on TIME Magazine's Top 100 Novels of All Time list

More cult-ish goodies: a scene-by-scene guide to Infinite Jest, alphabetic index to Infinite Jest, notes and speculation, The Infinite Jest Challenge.

A set of photos from reading in 2006
On Charlie Rose in 1997

Seriously, a big loss to American literature.

House plans, again...still...(hope you're not bored yet because I'm just getting more excited...)

Tiny house on the brain---getting so close to groundbreaking.

The lumber we bought at the mill where my mom works...they sold it. Yeah, so we have to wait for more to be cut. And Keith goes on a 1-wk catering gig next week, I think, over in Hamilton, Mont. Probably looking at starting the stem walls when he gets back.

But we're getting more specific on specifics. [General Specific.]

I'm glad Keith didn't let me buy the double concrete sink in Moscow because WE DON'T HAVE ROOM.

Here's a new sketchy sketch of the house plans as of this minute, subject to change at all times. Fairly accurate, square footage-wise. See: no room for 5' sink.

Click on it for a LARGER SIZE, yo.
I have several favorite parts of the house, even though it only exists in my brain. Keith's signed on to this sketch.
1) The toilet. This is going to be hard for some people to accept (hi Mom, Dad), but I want to have a composting toilet and I am 98% sure I can convince Keith. The Humanure Handbook basically lays it all out. So our toilet will be a (tiled?) box over a 5 gal bucket that gets dumped in a compost pile. With probably sawdust as a cover material. Yep. That's the simplest composting toilet there is. And this guy Jenkins who wrote the book has been using this system for 20+ years. THE TOILET is in the corner of the shower room, just a tile box in the corner. And looking straight ahead there's a 2-way mirror so you can look out in the goat field/up the hill as sit there. Calming, you know? (With a half wall on the left, with sliding doors for bucket storage. Shelves backed with glass above the half wall for storage on the kitchen side.)
2) The reading area. An L-shaped bookcase, 12" deep on the bottom shelf, 6" deep up the wall, around the short, wide window in that corner. Also, on the more western wall there's the front door, a set of French doors with the one closes to the corner being stationary (except in summer, or whatever). A lot of light, I hope.
3) Trap door under the sink! I forgot to include it on the sketch. We're going to box in a space under the subfloor (when we pour the stem walls) to have a trap door root-cellar-type thing. Since we won't have a fridge we can keep things that need to kept cool down there.
4) Slat headboard. Taking up most of the wall that the bed is on. We don't have a lot of room over on the bed end. Small block storage on either side, probably 1'x1'. Also, storage under the bed, of course. Anyway, headboard: horizontal wood slats that can hold adjustable cantilevered shelves. Also could be great space to hang art--since we don't have many other whole walls. Also, I like this idea for a night table. Maybe I can get Keith to build me a small one. 5) Fold-down table. We want the floor to be as open as possible since we're working with such a small space. So we decided a fold-down table would be the most efficient. I saw this space with chairs hanging on the wall on dwell (guilty pleasure, though I can't bring myself to buy the print version) and thought, with only 2 people, we could get away with that. So the table folds up against the wall and the chairs hang on it. We can't quite decide what is an acceptable material for a table. Also, I really liked the kitchen shelves in the same space on dwell.
6) Hanging windows. A wall of small, old, chipped sash windows hanging from the roof joist, between the bed and the fold-down table.

The guys have been doing a GREAT job on revamping the stove. They completely disassembled it, made some new parts, ground all the years of soot and grease off of it, washed it, painted the base,and now it's almost reassembled. I hope it works as good as it looks!

Goats love cantaloupe!

Tomorrow: LUMBERJACK DAYS! (in conjunction with the Clearwater County fair)
Birling, springboard chop, axe throwing, horizontal chop, speed climbing, jack and jill bucking?! Tell me that doesn't sound like fun.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Gathering and gathering

Successful day scavenging for the Blankenships.

We spent $232 at the recycled building place.

  • French doors---for the front door; in better condition than the ones we originally picked. One door needs glass and we'll make both match (remove the mullions on the one). Then sand them and paint them red.
  • PVC shower basin/insert. We'll pour concrete around it and lay redwood slats over the top.
  • Glass dividers for shower -- we'll build a half wall with these two glass pieces as the top half (this will make more sense when you see my new sketch of the house) shower basin behind the glass panels
(Okay, here's a pic of a facsimile of what I'm thinking, minus the "modern"stuff---but see: glass separating shower from rest of the room, wood slats in floor)
  • Hearth! We got these 6 orange clay blocks to lay on their sides (like the one in the middle) to put the wood cookstove on. If that makes it too high, we'll use them as a heat sink between the wall and stove. They came from a University of Idaho building. $1.50 each
  • Toilet tank lid as bathroom shelf (cantilevered style) and a "safety light" from a grain elevator (might stay a light, might become a wall-mounted vase)
Didn't buy, but WANTED:
  • Concrete sink. I LOVED this sink. The design, the size. Even though it's cracked (I say that side could be dry storage with a wood panel/cutting board over the top of it...). But Keith would not budge. Only $50.
  • Rusty dented pale blue catwalk wire rack, to hang as an overhead pots/pans rack---only $20! I also LOVED this but Keith was Meh so we passed.
Decided we want:
  • Truck mirrors mounted in the bathroom.
  • Ceramic tile floor instead of concrete (cheaper, still a good heat sink)
  • Fold-down table
Saw, but didn't want:
  • Cage?!
Confused by:
  • Random weird note
After 3 hours poking around the salvage yard: lunch at the grocery co-op.