Thursday, April 23, 2009

Barn wood, afterall

A co-worker bought some property in Kooskia that had some old barn wood on it and she offered it to us for FREE if we'd come get it. We ended up with almost 2 pick-up loads!

Although we talked about doing much of the interior with it, I decided that would be too dark, too messy, and too time-consuming (all varying lengths and thickness). So we're still planning to paint the 3 walls on the north end of the house and we'll have barn wood accents. Bookshelves, window sills, etc.

See: crude mock-up.
A shelf will run at the same height on all the 3 walls on that end of the house. For books, plants, etc. With barn wood above it, cut out for the rafters. Keith assures me this won't be a pain in the ass. ?? That's a bookshelf on the left, still in the R&D stage.

The barn wood pile included some gems like this.

Bonus find: some baby mice we under the first pile of wood we sorted. We relocated them to a safe place where they wouldn't get squished or stepped on but they didn't look like they would make it on their own. A little bit later we found their mama and tried to catch her but she ran under the new pile we'd made. So I retrieved the baby mice and stuck them under the edge of the new pile. When we came back for the second load of wood they were gone so I am filling in the ending where the mouse family is living together happily ever after.

They were trying very hard not to be noticed.

Keith found a local place that sells rainwater barrels for less than $30 each, so he was supposed to get two of those today. I am inspired by Missoula blogger, Dig This Chick, and her fancy set-up. Our former Portland neighbors have a good set-up in their new place, too. Plenty of ideas floating around out there.

Last night Keith asked me about the next "outside project" and I answered, predictably: "chicken coop." I've been begging him for one since I got the go-ahead from the homeowners (mom and dad) and today he surprised me by telling me he decided to get me chickens for my birthday!!!

Of course, not exactly on my birthday (Saturday) since we still have to build the coop, but it's in the works. He talked to the guy at Kooskia Feed and he buys his chicks from a family farm in southern Idaho (I was worried they came from a factory farm) and they're getting a shipment of chicks that will lay green eggs! So, the word is I will have about half a dozen chickens as soon as next month! I am so excited I can barely contain myself.

In other news: the stone path is laid, but Keith's not satisfied.
He says they're too uneven.
I say it's got character.
Also, I was tired of digging.

Pear and apple trees are blooming now and the flowers are out all over the place. Show me someone who doesn't like spring and I'll show you a cold, shriveled, black heart.

The veggie sprouts got wilted in the greenhouse last week, but we moved them onto the inside back porch of my parents' and they seem to be doing well there. Peppers are still late coming up, but everything else is growing. Still too much of a threat of frost to be planting in the garden.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Low-Water Lochsa

Met some nice people, saw our friends, ate well, had a great time tagging along while they did the 2009 inaugural run of the Lochsa River. They said the water was pretty low. Nothing as gnarly as this. Looks like we should definitely head up there to watch the action over Memorial Day.

I would definitely needs one of these:

It would have been fun to float, but we weren't equipped (raft-wise or clothing-wise). Someone at camp told us we should buy a raft, that they're "only $800" or so on craigslist. We didn't tell him how long $800 would last us in real life, the life where we can't afford things like HOBBIES that require sizable expenditures. We do things that are free or VERY cheap. Like camping.

We might get a cheap canoe from someone we know. We could practice in the slackwater down at the river.

But no Lochsa runs for us. Maybe some time when there's fewer people and the water is warmer. We had fun tagging along, though.

Had to give the standard answers to "what do you do," and while it sounds great and romantic, working PT and the garden and house and all, there are also times when it's hard. But most of the time it's pretty great and we were/are reminded of that.

dinner: grilled portabellas, pasta salad, sweet potato cubes

Keith pointing to a rainbow that didn't show up in the photo.

There was a TON of moose poop in the campground...
maybe we should have scooped it up for additional income.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New planters and greenhouse update

I thought I was going to finish laying the rock for the path to the house today.

But that didn't really sound all that fun. So when Keith suggested we tarp the garden (to kill what's growing there--grass and weeds), I abandoned the idea of digging scores of shallow holes for rocks rather quickly.

Instead we made planters out of some old car fenders and bricks we bought at the recycled building materials place in Moscow. They're from a remodel at the University of Idaho, probably from the 60s, judging by their orange color. The car fenders were surplus that my dad had and I thought they'd look neat. I like rusty things and car parts, so why not?

the inside of one of the fenders

Keith cut the fenders to be half-circles with the plasma cutter.

There was a big patch of variegated grass growing in the middle of the garden, so we dug it up and cut it in half, one for each planter. The bricks went between the fenders and the steps to preserve the cedar siding Keith spent so much time on.

We filled the fenders and the bricks with compost from last year's pile and I planted a variety of flower seeds (mixed 5 packages) in the top of the bricks, so we'll see what comes up.

The cherry tree outside our bedroom window finally has a few blooms on it. It should be in full force by next weekend. Can't wait.

Most everything in the greenhouse is growing strong. We still haven't seen any pepper sprouts, or the red kind of carrot, or round eggplant, but there's enough that going right to give me hope for this year's bounty.

Tomorrow we're headed up to Wilderness Gateway to meet up with our Big Sky Solar-Wind friends (did you see the product placement in the video??) for a quickie camping trip. Sans dogs!! (Thanks for dog sitting, mom and dad.)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It really feels like spring now.

tulips in the flower beds

cherry tree getting ready to bloom outside our bedroom window

veggies sprouting in the greenhouse

It was also my dad's 67th birthday today. His mom, sister and niece, friends and neighbors were here this morning for coffee and doughnuts around the fire pit.

Mia must have gotten to close to the fire pit at some point. She has some singed whiskers.
Lazlo enjoyed the sun, too. And some belly rubs.

Keith finished the siding on the tiny house today!! Milestone!

Now I'm even more excited to get him working on the inside. All we need is the necessary funds to buy materials. (crickets chirping)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Out with the old, in with the new

The broken bathroom window nearly widowed me today.

Keith removed the trim that was holding it in and fished some (subpar) rope through some eyehooks on either side of it to lower it slowly into the back of the mule. Only, about 10% into the lowering, the rope broke and Keith had to barrel roll out of the back of the mule, over the pile of firewood, and landed safely in the grass with only a strained neck/shoulder while the window crashed and broke into a million pieces.

It could have cut him in HALF. But it didn't.

We did have to vacuum the grass below the window for slivers of glass, though. Hopefully the doggies don't find any pieces we missed.

We replaced the (free) broken window with a $20 slightly smaller window Keith picked up at the second hand store on Hill St. and Hwy. 12 a couple weeks ago.

Keith's task this week is to finish the deck and siding on that end of the house.

But he's injured. After cutting the trim down to size for the new window, he was wheeling the radial arm saw back into the shed and the head of the saw rolled back and smashed his finger. You can click here to see the damage, but it's not for the squeamish (Amanda, don't click). Basically, best-case scenario, he will lose his fingernail. It took about 2 hours for it to stop bleeding. From under his fingernail. OW. Since we don't have insurance his treatment plan is to keep his hand above his heart to reduce the throbbing.

But the window is in and that's another project scratched off the list. Back to work for me tomorrow. Dad's birthday is next Sunday so we're planning a BBQ for next weekend. If the weather is anything like it was this weekend, it'll be a good time.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Today was the kind of day that gives one hope. It's amazing what some Vitamin D3 therapy can do for one's outlook on life.

It was a perfect day to sow some seeds for the garden. It was so warm I started thinking, Oh, I hope I'm not late starting these. But then I remembered it's only the first of April. And we didn't plant the garden last year until mid-June. I think we'll be fine.

I used a strawberry container from Costco for the herbs. The lid snaps down and will keep warmth and moisture in. Dill, basil, parsley, and cilantro. We have cumin seeds, too, but they're direct sow (in the ground, no transplanting).

I also started a bunch of seeds to transplant once the danger of frost is gone. Broccoflower, orange cauliflower, peppers, two kinds of tomatoes, Italian zucchini, red and purple carrots, golden beets, mini purplette onions, and even some okra!

It might be a greenhouse-only plant since it likes warm weather... we'll see. I had never seen okra seeds before and they were, by far, the most interesting of the bunch. The herbs and this flat of veggies went into the greenhouse straightaway.

I was pretty productive today. Woke up at a decent time, made it to the gym, planted seeds, took a nap, sat on the porch in the sun with my husband, watched the dogs enjoy the sunshine, which they do just as much or more than we do. What a great Saturday.

According to Keith, we're going to replace the broken bathroom window tomorrow so we can finish the siding on that end of the house. Also, we need to get a gutter up and that will take some planning.

Rainwater collection will be a serious undertaking after the gutter goes up. Like Keith said, there are a million projects and more are added each day.

One good development is Keith has been asked about building an addition onto someone's house in town. If that happens, it will give us the cash to do more on our own house. My paychecks are eaten up by the few small bills we have and everyday life.

My mom and I went to Lewiston this week and I coveted, among other things, this wire shelving unit. It's what they use in commercial kitchens and Keith and I have talked about how much we like the look since, well, years. And they're on sale at Costco, $79.99!

The biggest drawback would be flooring. When we laid the laminate flooring, we cut out where we were planning on building cabinets, so we'd have to find some other kind of flooring to fill in that space. It's doable, just a change of plans. We should be used to that by now, eh?