Sunday late morning and listening to Mavis Staples, Blind Boys of Alabama, Mahalia Jackson and so many other greats on the Gospel Train show here on Coast Community Radio. Reggae. Old school jazz. Banjo twangin’ folksy stuff. And even some good stuff to boogie to here and there, plus news courtesy of the best journalists out there, NPR. All on ONE station. Sadly missing hip hop and R&B, but I gotta say beyond that, this radio kicks the shit out of just about everything in Portland.
Our 1,000 gallon rain tank is fully functional, from collecting water from the gutters we had installed shortly after moving in, to the overflow that Dan put up, to the hoses that now allow us to fill up the ducks’ drinking AND swimming water without buckets or city water. And it’s placed so that it acts as a giant wind break for our hive (which we did not harvest from this year as we decided with the stress of the move that we’d let them enjoy their honey stores over the winter). I’ve just started painting it with leftover plastic paint I had brought over in the move, kicking things off with the official name of our piece of land – Beloved Farms. Why beloved? It’s a special word for us – 1) my name means “beloved” in French, 2) my favorite rose is a red one by that name, and 3) the inscription on the inside of my husband’s wedding ring says “I call you my beloved” inspired by a poem from one of his favorite writers, Raymond Carver (who was born in Clatskanie, OR, and when we were first writing each other across the deep blue sea, my sweetheart sent me one of his books). Woo hoo! PS – after 3 days of rain, with one gutter on the barn? The tank is full. Needless to say I’m aching for another giant tank…or two!
While the former owner did a lot of damage to the house in the way she neglected it and used way, way too many chemicals and a crap load of the environmental scourge that is Miracle Gro (click HERE for a good overview of why this company is evil and their products are so so bad for your garden…let’s just say there were NO earthworms to be found in any of her plantings when we were bringing our potted items over…very eerie), she did leave this gorgeous patch of cosmos on the side of the garage that have been thriving – and keeping our bees happy. So Dan brought in compost and we got it cleaned up and it’s definitely thriving! Slowly but surely! And speaking of, we found out that Clatsop County sprays herbicide along the roads but offers a “no spray program” for homeowners as long as they keep the weeds down so they aren’t blocking any road signs, etc., so we’re totally all over that, y’all.
Our kitchen evolution continues. After realizing our salvage wood slabs for our kitchen work table and island were not quite ready for primetime, we learned about Jason of JB Custom Woodworks and brought them out to his monstrous woodshop in Olney and he planed and jointed them for us (i.e. ran them through that big machine you see there on the left so that they’ll stick together all nice and lay all flat). So because of that, I ended up having to re-stain/topcoat all the wood, and because the weather cooled off in a hurry, guess what our empty living room is serving as? Yep, my staining & topcoating palace! This my friends is another benefit of using water-based, low/no-VOC products – you can do this indoors without dying from fumes (we still had a couple windows open for the breeze, but if you work with wood you know that shit doesn’t dry when it’s 50 degrees out). This week I also put together the second base which will hold the sink, enclose the dishwasher, and provide a bit more shelving as well. Dan cut up the plywood top for me and we are going to be repurposing our old (also salvage) bookshelves to create the second countertop, so I’ve got more sanding and prettying up to do. I have no IDEA why people use their attached garages for cars – it’s totally shop central for us!! 🙂 Anyhow, as you can see, our painted floors are done, and while it’s not the sexiest project, husband is honed his drywall skills and patched the 2’x3′ hole over where our island will sit (amen for our great electrician, who finished up the wiring for our two large pendants along with wired three spots in the ceiling for mini-pendants along the windows). We’ve ordered some inexpensive ceiling tiles for the room, as we realized it’s going to be MUCH smarter to just cover up the half textured, half painted disaster ceiling than try to pull down potentially asbestos-laden drywall – especially after our last nightmare contractor. And so that we can at least do a wee bit of indoor, non-microwave cooking, I’ve got wood from the barn as a makeshift countertop. In 2 days we will have our gorgeous range hood vented and installed and by month end we are dead set that this kitchen will be DONE! Whew…because there are other rooms waiting!
So as I write this, my first breadmaking in the new house is under way, yayyyyy!! Eight ciabatta rolls with lots of olive oil, talk about YUM! It’s no easy endeavor to cook here because, as you’ll see in the top right photo, the cooking utensils and bulk jars and bowls and such are jammed into the “pantry” (I use quotes until it’s actually done…winter project…). We’ve also decided to start repurposing our eggshells into grit to add to the ducks’ feed. While they free range about half the day now (this will be increased as soon as we have a safer enclosure for them around the garden, but right now our little adventurers are attempting to walk down to the stream bed, our neighbors’ yard, and a bit too close to the street so it’s only when I’m home and when the one idiot neighbor’s untrained golden retriever pup is not going after our girls), their eggshells still aren’t as strong as they were in PDX, and this is way cheaper than oyster shell in the bag! And finally, after being in remodel hell for two solid months and freaking out about how I was going to do this unfitted kitchen design and yet have a drawer for silverware? My mind funk was rescued by Pinterest when I finally thought, “there’s got to be a way to store silverware without a drawer”, and…duh…a million ideas came up. Bam. Problem solved. (FYI thinks like dish towels and cloth napkins – we don’t use paper napkins or paper towels btw – will all be in wire baskets under the island.
And while the autumn equinox is a week away, when we rented an auger a couple weeks ago I insisted we also use it to do two holes for the future clothesline posts, and Dan put this baby together. Gorgeous, no? This is our second clothesline build using the DIY Diva plan and this time I gotta say we did it SO much quicker than in our Portland house because: a) 2-person augers make a deep hole in <10 seconds, b) spent $2 more per bag for the quikrete that dries in like 20 minutes, and c) Dan’s new miter saw to make perfect angle cuts and cut the posts down? So we may have only a few more opportunities to put out clothes but you know what? I don’t care. It’s rad. And these kind beat the shit out of those umbrella ones that take off in the wind or break with heavy clothes.