Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rainbow, you do not amuse me.

I would gladly trade you for sunshine.

(Yes, I understand how rainbows work. Needing sunshine and all, in order to appear.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Inside vs. Outside

Keith's been focusing on the outside of the house (deck, siding) but I am ready to move to inside projects. I am tired of staring at visqueen and having pieces of the floor move around because we don't have inside walls built. But I haven't really been doing anything about it.

I found something.
A really cool vinyl sticker of a typewriter.
Comes in sizes small to large. 26"x22" is $48.
Not that we have any space that large that isn't already spoken for.
The only open space of wall is above the bed and countryneal's box painting is going there.

new living room color
(the box painting in Portland)

You can also get custom silhouettes from that place.

I'm also ready to get some storage/shelves built. Right now everything is sitting in the windowsills or hanging from a screw in the wall.
I read this blog called IKEA Hacker where people modify IKEA furniture.
And I really like this shelving/sink set-up. I asked Keith to look at it and see if we could modify it for our kitchen.

The one inside thing we do have is an AWESOME pot rack that my dad and Keith made of of metal. It will bolt to the rafters above the wood stove.

We also started working on a rock path from the driveway to the house so we don't have to muck through the mud.

We placed the rocks last weekend to try to get a feel for spacing. Now there's a million worms under each of them and I am as fascinated with worms as an 8-year-old boy, Keith says. During the last big several-day-rainstorm we could stand on the deck or the path and HEAR the worms doing their thing.

Yesterday we started digging so the rocks will be flush with the ground. About 10 rocks in and four arguments later, we finally figured out a system.

I think the next big project is garden-related. Germination time!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Day trip to Winchester

Felt like a good day to get out of town and play tourist somewhere even more rural than we live. Spent less than $17 in diesel, $20 on lunch, $4 at the car wash when we got home, and about $40 on treasures.

First up, we stopped at a second-hand/antiques/hardware store in Craigmont. I found so many treasures. And I put back several things that I thought were a good deal, but that Keith wasn't 100% in love with.

Exhibit C: a $12 meat slicer that is hand cranking.

And I don't even eat meat! But I wanted it.
In times of no electricity, this is something that could be very useful!

Treasures I did bring home:

three small clear bottles for flower vases ($1 each)
a semi-scummy rad tin? soap dish for the shower ($2, I think)
red gas lantern ($4) - might replace the jar and lampshade outside the door
a blue Ball jar ($2)
a neat apron ($5) - I don't even remember to wear aprons, but I like them

a set of three graters that will look rad hanging on the wall ($2 for the set)
2 crooked old wrenches ($1 each)
an old Band-Aid tin (was marked $.50 but she "threw it in free")
not pictured: 2 old metal ice cube trays ($1 each) and an embroidered pale yellow heavy cloth (maybe kitchen curtains?)

Someone at work told me there was a good place to eat in Winchester and we wanted to check out the yurts at Winchester State Park.

the former Cadillac Ranch (sign's still up and lit)

Once we realized the restaurant only took cash or checks, we had to flip a U and go back to the highway convenience store (formerly Cadillac Ranch) to get cash. (After I told off the lady at the other convenience store who told me there was a $5 minimum purchase AND a $1.50 fee to get cash back. I wasn't rude, but I told her it was illegal and she couldn't do that. She said, "Sorry," but she didn't say she'd change it. Keith was embarrassed and waited in the parking lot.)

Even after all of the hassle, we were glad we went back to Calamity's. Keith said it was the best chicken fried steak he'd ever had (fresh not frozen meat grilled not fried, real mashed potatoes, green beans, real cream of tomato soup) and my grilled cheese was deeeeelicious.

The bar next to the restaurant had a limo.

We sat at the counter (choice spot) about 8 feet from the cook.

We were the only people in there for a bit, then 2 older people came in and ordered the special (chicken fried). Maybe it picks up a little in the summer when people come to the lake.

Also, the lake was still/barely frozen over. There were signs everywhere saying Unsafe Ice.
We're thinking of going up there once it's unfrozen to rent a canoe and stay in a yurt.

Saving the best for last, Winchester takes its namesake seriously.
Hanging over Main Street of this tiny little town (pop. 308):

We went to the museum, but it's only open from 10a-noon on Mondays. Seriously.

Tomorrow is my parents' 33rd anniversary and Keith and I are cooking them dinner. Other than that, I think my Sunday's open.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chickens are a go.

Apparently I have a reputation around here as being a good opener, but a poor closer. I disagree. Also, I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing. Really. It's worked for thus far.

My parents are on board with us trying chicken ranching. Just a few at first, keeping startup costs to a minimum, seeing where it goes, if it's worth the trouble. I already know the answer. Yes. Yes, it will be worth the trouble.

Keith says he's going to make a schedule so that I am bound (legally?) to do at least half the work. I mean, seriously. His own wife. The audacity!

I admit, I'm in love with the idea of chickens.

We're going to not buy chicks. I didn't call the feed store advertising "Chicks are here!" because I just assume they come in a box from the midwest. I'd rather get a local chicken. I think. So we're waiting until the county fairs this summer (3 or 4 nearby) to try to buy a variety of young chickens who can lay eggs. No roosters. Which is fine. Although I think a rooster would be fun. Although that's probably what everyone thinks pre-rooster and no one thinks post-rooster.

So in the meantime we have to build a shelter. We're going to modify the dog pen to make it critter-proof (raccons and skunks, pit bulls, etc.) and look for a solar panel to run the coop's heat/light. A lot of work and research. I am interested in finding out what kinds of things we can grow/have on hand (e.g. compost scraps) that we can use to supplement grain feed.

Lazlo would love him some chicken.

I have a couple of good leads on chicken blogs and of course, HenPower is so inspirational. Good Portland folks. They run an chicken co-op in Portland and have a super informative blog.

And Patia told me about Dig This Chick, an urban chicken farmer in Missoula.

Backyard Chickens
Backyard Chicken Forum
A Flock of Your Own

Me and internet research are TIGHT. It's a known fact.

Today I was on assignment at work, covering an assembly at the elementary school where the principal had to kiss a pig. Quite entertaining.

Saturday is my parents' 33rd anniversary and we're giving them a free day by borrowing their truck and driving up to the prairie to explore some thrift stores, etc. (And then cooking them dinner Sunday night.) You know, kitschty rural Americana. Like I hear there's a huge rifle hanging over Main St. in a nearby town called Winchester. Seriously, I'm taking a photo of that.

Another photo op coming up: there are cranes or herons? nesting down on the island. Our neighbors say they've been watching them through a spotting scope and they all take off at the same time in the morning........And an eagle comes in and eats some of the eggs!! Harsh!
Anyway, might see something neat. Or horrifying.

We sure enjoying the warm weather here. Germination of garden seeds will commence shortly. Keith is logging the outside and greenhouse temps.

Mom hanging up a new bird feeder.

Naps are important.

If not uncomfortable.

And of course, we have a ton of "projects" in the pipe. Painting the interior, making bookshelves, making a counter/kitchen, finishing the bathroom, hanging the hammock chair (also, we've decided: we're putting hardware on the deck to hang a hammock), replacing the broken window (Keith found 2 smaller ones at the local 2nd hand store). Not to mention water.

paint for the bedroom (not the darker one)

While we discuss what we're doing for a countertop, etc. I am totally coveting this kitchen.

I mean, yes. Right?

Only a woodstove means during the colder months everything would likely be covered in ash.
Still, it's an idea. Not that we're having a shortage of those around here, ever.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

From my point of view

The deck looks great.

Sickness has moved from its host, Keith, and is now laying waste to me. (Although I really blame my co-worker(s) for infecting me. It's going around.) Good thing I have a lot of reading material and some firewood to keep me warm...'cause I've been spending a majority of my hours in bed. Keith was hammering away and sawing boards and I slept soundly less than 20 feet away.


There's some more work to do down the side (under the broken window), but it's really a nice addition. There's been a huge full moon and we've stood out on the porch looking for shooting stars. There is a plethora of shooting stars. Well, at least a lot of sky to search for them.

An email from a friend said she imagined this was a place where the sky is wide open. But this is last on my list of places where I stare at the sky. It must be because we're in a valley. I was a big sky watcher in Portland, there was usually something happening in the weather to make a great sunrise or sunset.

Here I don't notice it as much. Unless it's spectacular. Or at night, because even with many close neighbors (within a couple of square miles), there's not a whole lot of light pollution here. We keep fantasizing about watching the stars from the green roof this summer. Ahh.....

Sunday, March 8, 2009

“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” ~ Bertrand Russell
That pretty much sums up this weekend. We had big plans.

The weather didn't really cooperate so our outside project (deck/stairs) was suspended. Too muddy for digging.

We went to the hardware store to check on plywood, OSB, and bead board prices for inside projects, but decided to finish our seed order instead of buying house materials.

So we placed an order with richters, cutting our original order and saving about $30. It's the shipping that kills--almost half of the total cost. But we did get BBQ rosemary, Alpine strawberries, some other herbs, and some Amish Paste tomato seeds.
We're going halvsies with mom and dad on drip tape.

You know there's something great about sitting in the sun on your own deck at your own house.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Photo Safari and Deck

I've been telling Keith I want to go on a photo safari. Today it happened.
(These were all taken within 15 miles of where we live.)

It was rainy and stormy all day. Not deck-building weather. Good driving around weather.
We decided "deck" was more appropriate than "porch."
Keith's done a bang-up job so far. As always.

We might face it with tin instead of cedar. Still under discussion.
The stairs will come off the nearest corner at a 45ยบ angle, low rise.
And it will continue down the side without siding.
Once we figure out what we're doing with our broken window.

If it's raining again tomorrow we'll probably work on the bedroom walls.

We got our first seeds in the mail today!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

NewWest featured photo

Not sure why (it's rather ordinary), but someone picked this to be the featured photo for today on NewWest. Sweetie Mia Pia. She's been favoring one of her back legs for the past few days so she's on house arrest and receiving pain meds. We're going to have to build her a cart!

Photos of the new deck coming soon! Very exciting.
We still have Visqueen walls, but we have a deck!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Best New Channel EVER

"Rural America's Most Important Network"

Schedule here. Notice Imus in the Morning, Mon-Fri.


This morning I found this captivating channel, scanning through hundreds of channels on my parents' dish.

I watched American Rancher, which was a 30-minute commercial for Holden Herefords in northern Montana. (They could use some website pizzaz.) Apparently these are the best kind of cows to breed with your Angus (America's new #1 breed). And darn good people, you know.

Then there was a commercial for Purina cattle food.
And the brand name was AccuRation. I totally need that.

Commercials for cow antibiotics and vaccines.
This one drug "treats a wide range of diseases."
Did you know "carcas trimming" can cost $40/head?

And what do you think are the risks of using these antibiotics on humans? Like in case of the apocalypse? Will these drugs protect me from zombies? Note to self: Figure out who nearby might have animal antibiotics.

All kidding aside, this website might actually have some useful info.
Maybe not:
5:00 PM Ken McNabb
"Do You Trust Your Horse?" Developing a long-term relationship with your horse, episode 202.
But perhaps:
8:00 PM America's Heartland
MO agri-tourism helps farm family; AZ ranch income from tourists and tree harvests; RI dairy; MN hops and barley, episode 405.
2:00 PM Brazil Ag Report
Agriculture news, markets, and stories from Brazil
and Hee-Haw re-runs.