Saturday, October 24, 2009

Field Report

The trip coming back from Missoula was like The Song That Never Ends. Or a rainy, slippery, shiny highway with a top-heavy load. We stopped at Lolo Hot Springs to check the straps on the range. Everything rode fine. BECAUSE WE WERE ONLY GOING 35mph.

But we made it home safe and unrolled.

We set everything all we've got for the restaurant on the back porch to take inventory and gets pics. My mom bought the mixer online (with the money from a quilt she sold that she won at a raffle!), but everything else came from Big Sky Restaurant Supply and we were in way under budget. We rock, my mom told us. We're hoping this will also show the employees how serious we are about doing this. Jim @ Big Sky gave us a great deal.

(The neighbors rode their 4-wheelers over to help try to figure out how to unload the range. We didn't hear any KA-BLAMs and no one rushed in to tell us to call 9-1-1 so they managed to do it, I think.)

We also went to Michael's and found a lot of great materials/ideas that we can incorporate into the ever-evolving decor --rocks, sticks, natural stuff.

Found this cactus planter at Home Depot. It's the inspiration for the basic colors when we change it over to the new restaurant. I want to go desert-y with the colors (tying into a southern Idaho look), but still use local plants/found things, too (sticks, reeds). Cheesy plastic holiday decorations and silk flowers are banished!!

Looking for cowboy pulp /dime-store novel kind of things for the bathrooms. Actual books. Is ebay the best place to look for that kind of thing? Suggestions?

Stopped @ Lochsa Lodge for a restroom break. I want to rent a cabin here sometime.

I met up with a new friend to go down to the island with the pups. I left Mia at home because I didn't think her hips could take it. But Lazlo had fun meeting Maggie and running loose with all the new things to smell and pee on. That fat bastard needs some exercise (so do I since my gym closed/moved).

The weather was perfect.
The leaves are really falling.
Time for a fall portrait!

We're one week from taking over at the restaurant! We have a font and weight chosen for the logo, business cards are next. Thursday we're headed to Clarkston to do grocery shopping. Friday we'll do the food prep for Sunday (aka Our First Day!). Saturday we're doing inventory. Sunday after closing we're trading out the flat top grill for the new range and deep cleaning/organizing. Then we're off to the races.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Movin' movin' movin'

T minus 2 weeks! We sat down to have a restaurant meeting and the hours flew by. There is a lot to do. Keith and I are boning up/psyching ourselves up by watching the Food Network. Especially Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. That guy, the host, looks like a tool, but the places he visits are top-notch in what they do. (Including Portland's Pok Pok!)

Viral marketing does work in rural Idaho! I posted our news on Facebook and it's spreading around town like wildfire. I can hardly talk to anyone in town without them chatting me up about the restaurant. I hope we can live up to the hype. (Nah, I know we can.)

This weekend Keith and I are headed to Missoula to get a stove/oven combo for the restaurant, which is uber-exciting. Our first really big purchase -- and under the budget we originally allotted for a convection oven. Turns out we need something with burners and ovens more than a convection oven. Good to know! (Right now they're cooking everything on a flat top grill.) Getting a good deal from Jim at Big Sky Restaurant Supply.

I haven't had the time or inclination to pick up a camera. I will try to work on that. I met someone new (female) through this very blog, which is about how I have to meet people because I'm an introverted homebody. Anyway, we may get together this weekend to take her dog and Lazlo down to the island and I plan to shoot some photos down there, with the fall colors and all. Would be a good exercise, mental and physical.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The News

My mom is one of the last ones working out at the mill and her last day is at the end of the month. She's been the HR person there for over 20 years. Her options in town for another job were slim to none (pop. of our town less than 1,300). And she didn't particularly want to drive to any of the neighboring towns, the closest of which is 25 miles, especially in the winter.

So, thinking about what she/we could do to stay here, she and my dad approached Keith (and me) with a completely different idea.

Long story short (more details as this fleshes out): we're going into the restaurant business. We're leasing an established local restaurant starting November 1 and we'll get in there and learn the ropes and make some small changes and then somewhere around the beginning of the year we'll re-open under a new name with a new menu focusing on local, fresh ingredients.

We're very excited. It's a big leap in the dark, so it seems apropos to add updates on this new venture to the blog. (Mixed in with tiny house updates, which might be lean for a bit due to time constraints.)

It's a family affair and we've put a lot of thought into how we can be successful with this. We had a meeting tonight with the employees and the response was overwhelmingly positive, which is encouraging. Here's to new things!

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Lolo Hot Springs, on the way home

An uneventful trip over the pass to Missoula and an emotionally draining visit to the Pulitzer photo exhibition on campus. I knew it would be visceral, but I didn't expect it to be that difficult to see. Many made me teary-eyed and some made me feel punched in the guts.

Many of the early photos (from the 40s and 50s) were on-the-spot news shots, from people who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. The later ones were more heavily weighted toward feature news and world news.

I also realized how much I miss going to school. Or maybe I was just romanticizing my college days in Missoula. I felt like I was back somewhere I belonged. Maybe that's just what places like Missoula and Portland bring up for me. I still feel like I'm trying to find a way to be myself here...

My last appearance as an undergrad.

Toward the end of the exhibit there was a display of a few of the photographs from the Dallas Morning News photographers covering Hurricane Katrina. I could just imagine Mia in that, trying to survive. I saw photos of people in a natural disaster and I thought of our dog. Crazy. I know people who were affected by the hurricane, so I'm not trivializing the human toll. But not many days go by that I don't think about where Mia has been and what she's seen. If only we had a doggie-brain cam!

The pass was just a bit icy going over and it was colder than a well-digger's butt (the G-rated version of one of my dad's sayings re: cold weather) in Missoula. Kind of a freak cold snap. But the roads were entirely clear on the way back and once we got down over the pass on this side it started to warm up. This is what I like about fall. We do live in a beautiful part of the country.

stretching our legs, enjoying the weather on the way home

Saturday evening Keith started ripping out the remainder of the tomato plants and we continued to say Vaya con Dios to the garden.

We had an embarrassing amount of waste in the tomato portion of the garden, but we (the royal "we") canned/processed all we wanted/needed and couldn't muster the energy to deal with the rest. I suppose 16 plants was overkill. (Quite an understatement.)

I don't think we'll be growing a garden next year (related to the Big News tomorrow night), so once the thing is tilled up we'll probably just bed it for winter and let the wildflowers take over next year. Which wouldn't be a bad thing.

Anyway, they didn't exactly go to waste since we fed them to the neighbor goats. They were thrilled. Well, they gobbled them down, so I just assumed they were thrilled. Maybe they were just hungry. Goats are rather hard to read, with their devil eyes.

I was pretty happy with our potato harvest, for our first attempt. My boss gave me some fingerling potatoes to plant this spring and then I took a store-bought sweet potato that sprouted eyes, quartered it and planted it. We didn't get that many, but potatoes are pretty low maintenance, so who's complaining?

We got some of both kinds. Although all of the ones I could dig up were fairly small due to the high clay content in the soil. Some of the fingerlings were crazy shapes, too. I mean round, but knobby.

Keith thinks these little ones would be good for a potato soup or stew and I can't say I disagree. I was thinking of throwing some of the sweet potatoes in a black bean soup. With some ginger-lime sour cream? Drooooooool.

In addition to the Big News we're sharing tomorrow, this week also marks the 1 year anniversary of our tiny house. Last October we took a leap and broke ground.
Happy anniversary, Tiny House!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Strawberries in October

I ate that little red one and it was sweet. Waiting for that big one on the left to fully ripen. If the frost doesn't kill them off first. (They're up against my parents' house for warmth.)

This afternoon I tried laying down with (sick) Keith to read The Sun, but the dogs were going crazy in there because they knew it was nice outside and why are we inside, dammit!! So we compromised. I parked a lounge chair on the deck and they played outside. Tilt of the pic is due to the camera being perched in the crotch of the apple tree as a set the timer and scrambled back to the chair...all nonchalant-like, eh?

We harvested our popcorn last night and got quite a haul. (There were about a gazillion lady bugs all over the corn. I think they might have been laying their eggs there? Do lady bugs lay eggs?) I schucked husked it and then Keith helped me tie it into bunches and it's hanging in the pantry drying. Can't wait to stick one in the microwave and see if it works. If not, at least it's cool fall decoration.

We're heading over the pass to Missoula in the morning and hoping we don't end up stranded in a snowstorm. The main reason to go is to see an exhibition of Pulitzer-winning photographs, the largest collection ever shown in the United States.
I am so stoked.

We're also doing some shopping for things related to the big announcement next week, so that will be fun, too.
If we don't get stranded in a snowstorm.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ok, so maybe fall isn't so bad.

This sickness that's been floating around is trying to take me down, so I laid low today. Cleaning our house was about all I could accomplish. That and guzzling Airborne-infused orange juice.

I found a frame for Lauren's photo and hung it under the Pepsi motivational chalkboard. I'm not crazy about the gray mat, I would prefer a white one, but it will do for now. Maybe on our trip to Missoula in the next couple of weeks.

The curtains don't slide well on the conduit curtain rod Keith put up for me, so I decided tie-backs would be better than struggling on my toes to pull the curtains open and closed. And when I opened the curtains I saw this:

On the outside of the house.

This fat girl tries to come visit us when she gets shut out of my parents' house at night. Which is fine, until she wants out at 4 a.m.

The dogs snuggled down on the bed with me for a bit while I read.

We threw another quilt on the bed, this one my grandma made for me. Perfect for fall!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Not on board with this whole FALL thing...

It frosted last night, for reals. Our wood stove is not quite ready for the cold weather (maintenance-wise), so we're suffering through the cold by wearing pj's to bed (plus the dogs help keep us warm, like cavemen, yeah?) and snuggling down under millions of blankets and quilts.
Although we've been neglecting/ignoring the garden, this is really the end of it. We still have some tomatoes on the vine (that we might try to salvage and pawn off on the neighbors). And the popcorn, we're going to cut that down and dry it and hopefully have movie night with homegrown popcorn.

Keith FINALLY got the Renger up and running, back to normal health (for a 20 year old truck). Turns out it was the spark plugs coil packs ignition module fuel pump fuel regulator!!

Many, many oil changes later, the Renger has some new parts it didn't necessarily need and Keith has a lot of knowledge about the innermost workings of our truck, though he was quite frustrated by WEEK TWO when it still wasn't running and he had no idea why.

(As usual I was trying to take photos while Keith was asking me to help him.)

My job has been keeping me really busy, not that that's a bad thing, and Keith has been equally busy (hence the neglect of the garden, blog, etc.). And he's even roped me into working for/with him.

Installing a chain link fence.
A) Keith's never installed a chain link fence and B) neither have I.
But we're doing a pretty good job! (per the guy who asked Keith to build it, anyway)
It involves many steps that are, in themselves, pretty simple.

1) dig holes (Keith did with a rented tractor thingamajig)

2) make sure the poles are plumb and pour concrete in the hole (that's where I came in)
3) measure the poles so the chainlink is even from the top (harder than it sounds)

4+) I'm not quite sure; we're not that far yet.

BUT! For the concrete-pouring part (by the wheelbarrow), we needed a supply of water and the 5-gal bucket just wasn't cutting it. So we decided to assemble one of our rain barrels for the job. Since we were going to put a faucet on it anyway.

And it worked magnificently.
Of course!!

And now it's ready to hook up to the gutter. (But that's not happening any time soon.)

Big things are brewing around here (not at all involving reproduction, I recently assured a friend, so don't get any ideas--that seems to be the conclusion people jump to when you say you have a big announcement) and we'll hopefully be making it public in the next couple of weeks. Things are about to get even busier. And I didn't even know that was possible.