Week in Pictures

Our girl is settling in pretty well. Still has to be on-leash to go outside, but for the most part she doesn’t try to crawl into bed with us in the middle of the night. We’ve  learned that she absolutely HATES the rain, she loves napping in the spot of sun in the late mornings, she does well meeting other dogs while out on walks, that she loves how our new sectional makes it easier for her to watch me when I go outside without her, and… she made it clear that her terrier roots as a pitbull are too strong, and that our ducks will never be safe if she’s off-leash while they are free-ranging. It sucks, but we have committed to both parties, so we will adjust. Besides, who could say no to a dog who likes to fall asleep cuddled up in the crook of your legs as you lie on the sofa? I know I can’t. She’s in her retirement years and we’re happy to be her soft place to spend them until her time is up on this earth 🙂

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The past couple of weeks have been focused extensively on the career coaching side of my business. It is something that is so close to my heart that I have done for 10 of my 20 year career in HR/Recruiting and I feel really blessed to be able to use my background as a recruiter to help job seekers create a strategy, a targeted resume, and all the other things (cover letters, LinkedIn, interview skills) that help empower and strengthen oneself when preparing look for work. I love dispelling the myths about resumes and cover letters and social media, I love opening doors and introducing people to companies and individuals who can help them in their journey, and I love the renewed sense of confidence that I help to bring out in folks who came to me either frustrated from their past experiences as a job seeker, clueless about how to go about a search because they hadn’t looked for a job in years, or simply needed the push to broaden their perspectives when pursuing their career goals.

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And while I’m not a big talk radio fan, I will say that since moving to the North Coast, my husband and I are obsessed with Coast Community Radio’s Ship Report, and even more close  to my heart, I have found tremendous connection with The Bioneers and the speakers who bring up topics one rarely gets to hear about in traditional media. This morning’s discussion of ecopsychology and ecospirituality was

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So one of the first things I did when we moved to the area was look up the county’s soil & water efforts, and was happy to find the Public Works department offers a “no spray” program to keep them from spraying herbicides along the roadside in front of our property, which we requested right away. Along with this, we got to know a couple of folks at Clatsop Soil & Water Conservation District recently. Their website is a bit out of date, but I emailed them about our whole cars-in-stream-bank situation and sure enough, they were curious and sent someone out to check it out. What’s even cooler? She’s going to apply for a grant to not only remove it but help us with restoration which we were thinking would be purely our responsibility, so that’s awesome! It’ll probably be 6 months before anything happens, but I’m so glad I reached out! Along with that, they do a Native Plant Sale each year (North Coast folks – plant pickup day is April 13th and you can reserve plants now through CSWCD!) which I am stoked for, and have already put our order together for tons of low-cost native goodies like flowering currant, mock orange, huckleberry, mallow, red osier dogwood, and more.  Woo hoo!

DIY still goes on at home of course, it’s just not always the sexy before-and-after stuff that one likes to show off. After removing the yucky cracked pink bricks from the old hearth, we were planning to fork out a lot of $ to have a new flue installed in our chimney and pretty up the hearth (this dropcloth stuff is covering the old brickwork that we can’t fully take out ourselves) so we could finally get a wood stove, as let me tell you, freezing temps and heat pumps do NOT go hand in hand. In PDX with gas heat the most I *ever* spent on a heating bill was $75 and that was to keep a toasty 68-72 degrees going (that’s toasty for me) during an exceptionally cold winter…but here? We were glad to go on vacation because our bill was $248 in Dec/Jan! I nearly choked when I saw it because we have never had the heat over 65 in mornings/eves and it’s at 60 in the overnight/daytime. Basically with heat pumps they’re awesome in mild climates but when it’s too cold to suck heat out of the air it reverts to old school electric furnace and your bills go through the roof. So, long story short, ChimCare (who we had do a sweep in July and told us our woodstove was unusable and to get rid of it, which we obediently did, giving it away on Craigslist) was a no-show to our appointment and had the nerve to tell us we’d have to wait a couple MONTHS for them to make time for us even though it was their fault, so I told them to take a short walk off a long pier, and called another chimney guy who came by that DAY. And he looked at the chimney and told us 2 things: 1) Our chimney is fine and doesn’t need a flue, and 2) ChimCare never did the sweep – several buckets of ash came pouring out when the guy opened the outlet thingy. Needless to say I was pissed and made an even bigger stink to ChimCare and while they did not apologize or respond to my message one bit, within days they’d refunded the $269 I’d paid for the bullshit “sweep” their “master sweep” had claimed to have done. We then started looking at pellet stoves only to learn we’d be forking out a good $4-5K for both the stove and install/permitting/etc., and there’s no way in hell we’ve got the funds for that, so we’re back to saving up for the Chinook 20 that we originally were sweet on. While we could get a cheap woodstove at Home Depot or similar, none of them have the low emissions and long burn times of the Chinook and, to be honest, after driving down to a fireplace shop in Tillamook we knew we liked the more modern style. Then..our car broke down in Manzanita! Subarus are I learned notorious for sensor issues and when our started lurching forward just before reaching the no-cell-reception area of 101, we called for a tow. UGH. $500 later (new battery AND new sensor required), the stove savings plan is on hold and I’m focusing on refacing the old hearth. If you’re still reading this(!), I’d painted the base gray and while it was “okay”, at this point in my life I know when that’s just not good enough, and even if it takes months, I’d rather do it right than half-ass it. So with that, my neighbor had a bunch of 2x4s she didn’t need and so I’m in the midst of creating a frame over the base, then eventually will do the same on the wall going up to the ceiling, with the goal of our hearth looking hopefully as groovy as the googled photo on the right (but with a modern style stove). And yeah, I’m learning all my DIY from Pinterest searches – build frame, cover with hardieboard, tile over it, etc. This way though I can work on the project slowly but surely, and hey, it’s almost spring and the memory of shitty electric bills should be fading soon enough, right? Right.

Lots of other projects as well. LEFT – finally sourced some PVC-free clear(ish) stair treads! With it feeling quite scary to race down stairs in socks and watching the dog slip and slide her old self down them, we got these for like $20 and they’re worth their weight in gold. When we moved in the former owner had left these gross country-blue carpet pieces and let’s just say that went into the dumpster pronto, and this? So much better. TOP RIGHT: The horrific yet necessary task of skim coating the grossly-textured master bedroom walls has begun. Most of our walls at home are textured and I said okay, if we’re going to completely redo our master bedroom, there will be NO texturing if I can help it! Basically you’re using oodles of drywall mud to goop it all over the walls then skim over it with a long drywall blade thingy, then you have to sand and then you, if you haven’t given up yet because your shoulders are so tired, ideally go for a second coat. Husband gets to do the ladder portion of it and the sanding, as this definitely wiped me out. MIDDLE RIGHT: Just two months til we go pic up our nucs! We are doing two hives this year and after losing our Italians a couple months after moving in, we decided this time we’re going to do two hives and go back to basics, caring for them like we did in the first two years and not trying out any recommendations from others which we think did us in before (if it ain’t broke, don’t let anyone tell you to fix it!). So with that, I built these two new hive stands out of scrap wood, yay! BOTTOM RIGHT: And last but not least, I built & stained a new shelf for the stairwell wall above the water heater to store things like dog supplies and laundry detergent. Yay for scrap wood!

This set of pictures is a bit late in posting but is where things look like today in our hothouse. Well, “warmhouse” might be better since it’s not like we have heat in there, but we’re pretty stoked to have it. It was originally a “hot tub room” we were told, and when we bought the house it consisted of a pallet, a bunch of lawn chemicals (let me tell you, the affection for RoundUp out here in the country is frightening…), and a few scary plants she decided to leave behind without asking. I used some leftover paint from a failed living room project (periwinkle is nice but not in my living room) to cover up the bare wood in most of it (I’m too cheap to buy any more) and liven it up, then repurposed some old shelving that had been in the garage, brought in our summer patio set and an old utility shelf donated to us a few years back and…voila! A little place to get our seed starting on and for the more sensitive plants (i.e., the Meyer lemon in our living room!) to move into after the temps go up a bit. Plus when we make those oh-so-predictably rash garden purchases of goodies that really should not be going into the ground quite yet, this can be their temporary digs 🙂

And finally, our garden is beginning to take shape!  Top left photo is what I took of Dan when he was building the duck run last July, and the right hand photo is what things look like right now! I’ve built 5 1/2 beds from repurposed wood and we are slowly deconstructing the upstairs deck so I can get a couple more done before we have a mega load of soil delivered. These are 24″ tall, 4’x12′ beds, tall enough this time around to keep certain quacking creatures from eating our onion and garlic tops off not to mention prevent their jumping into the shell & snap pea beds to fill themselves up, and we dump all our yard waste and poopy duck straw from the coop in them so that we won’t have to buy as much soil to fill them up. Dan already emptied out the compost tumbler into one of the beds which I’ve covered with unusable scrap lumber to keep out the bigger critters and allow it to finish degrading in peace. We’ve also planted 6 or 7 ceanothus (California Lilac) bushes in front of where the fencing will be to attract the bees and will be putting a few fruit trees in there as well (after we figure out how to protect them from the “deer highway” that seems to go across the back part of our property…). So much going on my brain is spinning, y’all!

 

 

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