Thursday, May 28, 2009

A whole different animal

I was an editor of my high school yearbook. Aren't you impressed? I only mention this because that year (1996-97!) I learned how to operate a film camera, how to load and develop film, and how to make prints in the darkroom. Really invaluable skills. Seriously. For someone like me.

Now, in the digital age, which I have belonged to since, eh, the mid-90s, those skills have recessed in my brain. Along with other things.

But I am re-learning how a manual camera works and I feel a bit like a senior citizen trying to navigate the internets.

A family member generously gave two classic film cameras to me and I am afraid excited they will become my new obsession.

From what I've been able to find online, they're from the 60s and 70s and they are in mint condition. I am a lucky girl.

Instead of snapping 50 photos and deciding which one of the bunch I can sufficiently manipulate in PhotoShop, I have to think carefully about each shot. This is a good thing.

I have to play with the depth of focus and stop to think about what f/stop I need. I love it.

I have to wind the film to the next exposure and then I get to hear the shutter....CLICK. Awesome.

If my photos eventually turn out anything like these, I will be happy.

I know it will come more naturally as I get used to using them, but right now I am just enjoying learning a new gig.

The end product is slow. Like slow food. So I am making notes on the settings I use and trying to shoot different things, seeing what works. Once I get a few rolls finished I will send them off and inspect the results.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Drip tape installation

No more watering by hand for us!

Tonight we put down the drip tape kit we ordered. Every foot there's an emitter and we'll only be watering where the plants are. There's a timer you can get, too, to help automate it. We're lazy efficient like that.

Straw will go everywhere else to help the soil retain moisture and keep the weeds in check.

gardening in yoga pants and chacos

It's fun seeing plants already. Broccoflower is performing well so far.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Garden is a go.

Keith did the hard work-- tilling the garden. About 4 hours total Friday and Saturday at a slow pace, back and forth, up and down, across. He did an excellent job.

This morning we started planting.

We set out all of the starts we had in the greenhouse so we could get an idea of what we had room for, etc. Turns out we had a LOT of tomatoes. We planted 18 plants, I think. Six varieties.

Here's what we ended up with. Except I forgot to put the sugar peas on here. They're between the watermelon and then carrots/eggplant/cumin.

Click for a larger view.

We put wildflowers in the middle to attract insects. Hopefully that works. I planted one packet today, but I'm going to scatter more this week.

Our drip tape kit is supposed to be here Tuesday. And once we get that down we'll put straw everywhere there's NOT something planted, to keep the weeds under control and to help the soil retain moisture.

We're both very excited about this year's garden. A lot of variety. A different layout. And we're in charge (say my parents), so it's all on us---boom or bust. I think we'll do ok.

Friday, May 22, 2009

First aid, au natural

Using some advice gleaned from our nature walk with the Two Ravens Herbals folks, I decided to try some downhome first aid.

I got this scrape on my knee at the gym the other day. It's very superficial, but sore and inflamed.

So, per their advice, I picked a plantain leaf, rinsed it (you know, in case of dog or cat pee contamination) and chewed it up. They said saliva helps activate it. It tasted like a leaf.

Put a band-aid over it and left it on all day.

I'd say the healing process has definitely been helped. And I'm going to put more on today and see what happens. My skin heals very slowly, so I can use all the help I can get.

See these very worn jeans, with convenient easy access for first aid? My only pair of jeans. My most comfortable pair of pants. Keith says they're on their last leg. I think they're just hitting their stride. Bought them a couple years ago at the Goodwill in Portland, already broke in. How do you throw away something like these?! I'll wear them until they fall off.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nature everywhere

We went to a "nature walk" on Saturday that consisted of sitting in the shade for 2 hours and then about an hour out in the sun and it's a good thing because it was too HOT to be walking anywhere. The owners of Two Ravens Herbals (Jim & Meryl-Jim in the orange hat above) are offering a series of walks this summer to help people identify local edible, medicinal, and poisonous plants.

We learned a lot, don't know how much of it we retained (didn't take notes). I do remember: Ferns at the fiddlehead stage (before they open up) are edible...sautee in garlic and butter or olive oil. Plantains are found in nearly every lawn in a temperate climate and can be used to soothe bug bites, abrasions, minor cuts. And some other pretty random things about different area plants.

The meeting was at the Heart of the Monster, the legendary birthplace of the local natives, the Nez Perce. (It's less than 1/2 a mile from our house, which was convenient.) The field next to the Heart of the Monster is full of camas, which is in full bloom right now.

Jim & Meryl joined some native friends in a camas harvest last year and had some for the group to sample. They said if was roasted in a paper bag in a hole in the ground for several hours and then hot packed (canned). Beware of the Death Camas! Anyway, very educational. The next walk is in 2 weeks and may be somewhere up the Selway?

It's definitely summering up here. The tomatoes we planted from seed are finally hitting their stride. We may get some fruit off of them after all.

If the weather cooperates we're FINALLY planting the garden this weekend. Good thing because some of the plants are growing out of their containers!

The lilacs are in bloom and smell totally amazing.

Keith picked up the paint we ordered (low VOC, had to pay freight, $70+ for TWO GALLONS! grrr small towns) for the inside of the tiny house today, so after we plant the garden this weekend we may start painting. If it's warm enough. Most exciting. We've also figured out how to do the counters/kitchen so that will probably be next, after painting. So much to do, so little time.
Our Portland trip (mid-June) is sneaking up and we're both very ready for a break. It will be nice to get to the city and see some friends and have some time alone, without dogs even. I wanted to stay at the hostel in our old neighborhood, but it seems too expensive at $80+/night for the two of us (we're cheap, you know), so I was checking out other options.

Right now I'm leaning toward the White Eagle Hotel. A McMenamins joint (that's good and bad) and only $40/night! (only bunk rooms available-photo!) Apparently it's haunted?! We're going to play tourists and find some places we didn't know about when we lived there, in addition to visiting some old haunts (Wimpy's, Vegetarian House, Voodoo...).

Can't. Wait.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Make a little birdhouse in your soul

Saturday was a hard day. I woke up in a funk and tried, unsuccessfully, to shake it all day. But when Keith got home from working down the road at the neighbors, we worked outside and that helped.

Today was better. We made a Project List and marked them off one by one.

#1: Hang up the key/mail holder we scored at a yard sale for ONE DOLLAR.

#2: Decide if we want the theater seats we a yard sale...(3 for $5!!!!) inside the tiny house. The only place they will fit is at the bottom of the bed, looking out the big plate glass window. We decided the 3 bolted together wouldn't fit comfortably. (I ask, Is it going to be too crowded? Keith and I laugh---Yes, it's a tiny house. It's always going to be crowded.) So we took them apart and put two there. If they stay, we'll make a drink holder that fits between them and probably eat our meals there. We've never really used a table anyhow--they always just ended up being a place we pile things.

We've always talked about having seats like this in our house (before we decided on a tiny house even) and we couldn't believe these were only $5. So we were compelled to buy them. We figured we'd put them somewhere. We're still trying to decide if this will really work before we bolt them to the floor, but I can picture us sitting in them, looking out the window, eating breakfast or dinner... Keith's still mulling it/them over.

#3: Bird feeder. I was looking at decals on etsy for the bathroom window to prevent bird strikes. But Keith wasn't so hot on the idea and so we decided to build a bird feeder to hang outside and break up the reflection. We used materials we had on hand, including a glass chotchkie, some leftover cedar, and a license plate we scavenged at the dump a while back.

Also, notice the very nice gutter work Keith finished. We still have to build a platform for the rain barrels before we can hook them up, but we have buckets to catch rain to water our plants until that happens. Good thing the mosquitoes aren't out yet.

I transplanted more tomatoes into individual containers. I don't think they'll grow big enough, fast enough, to produce fruit, though... Next weekend I think we'll hit the farmers market and buy some larger tomato plants from the people who heat their greenhouses with propane over the winter.

The baby robins in the spruce tree outside our bedroom window (perfect viewing spot in the theater seats) are growing so big. There are FOUR of them in the tiny nest. It's just a matter of time before they start falling on the ground, trying to fly. I will feel compelled to try to rescue them, but I know that's probably not the best idea. I think we will just try to keep the cats away from them and hope for the best.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

And now for something completely different...

Sorry for the morose entry before this. Sometimes it just needs to be written down/said/acknowledged.

Moving on: I had a great 30th birthday. Spent the morning going to various yard sales around town and scored some great stuff without breaking the bank. Will be posting photos of said items as they find their permanent homes in our tiny house.

One thing I didn't get that I REALLY wanted was a taxidermied raven. I am mortified of taxidermied animals, but this one spoke to me in an Edgar Allen Poe kind of way. I wanted it for the bookshelf that's going to run along the ceiling. It would have been great. But it belonged to the kid of the woman having the yard sale. Damn little whipper snapper!

But we still found quite a few treasures, including some cool books (for keeping, diplaying, and cutting up into art projects), a mail/keys holder, more little glass jars (collecting as flower vases)...

3 new plants, total cost: less than $5

A French-English dictionary from the 50s,
some classics, an encyclopedic dictionary,
and some McGuffy readers containing great art like this
The moral of the story is, kids: mind your parents.
Or you'll drown.

flower vases and new curtains I made out of a vintage sheet

more glass chotchkies

some great art in the encyclopedic dictionary

After we spent all the money we'd budgeted for yard sales we came home unloaded the booty and then spent a few hours working on the gutter on the tiny house.

Well, Keith worked on it.
In the rain.
I watched.

It looks fantastic, but there was a small hitch in the installation and it has to be fixed and/or reinstalled. Not to worry, I have my best man on the job!

seeing things in the clouds

As I handed him a piece of drip edge, I saw this little guy sitting there.
I didn't hear him strike the window, but he must have (judging by his little poop and his dazed look for a few minutes). I shoved my camera in his face and he just sat there. Then I let him be; he sat there for a couple of minutes, shook his feathers, and flew off to the pear tree. Which is probably where he thought he was going before he hit the window.

This isn't the first bird strike we've had, with all of our windows, so I'm on a mission to find something to prevent the little buggers from flying into the glass. I printed out some predator bird silhouettes (I read that would work) and taped them to the window, but I'm not all that happy with how they look, so I am looking for something better. Maybe something like this.

We also have a robin's nest in the spruce tree outside our bedroom window and it's full of baby birds.
Keith held the camera at arm's length to get it, hence the blurry. Look at how many there are! They must have just hatched in the last day or so - they hardly have any feathers.

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day...mayday...m'aider

I saw it coming and still couldn't get out of the way.

I told Keith, I thought I was better than that.
He said, No, we're not.
He's right.

I saw the signs and explained them away. Or ignored them. Or wallowed in them.
I'm not sure.
But Keith ...

I wonder if I felt compelled to leave Idaho and go to Kansas City to find Keith. I was compelled by something. And I found Keith, rather easily.

Maybe I was looking for someone I knew would understand and support me and be willing to walk with me to the ER late at night when all other options seemed exhausted. That's really all you can ask for in a partner.