Week in Pictures

Lucky’s first trip to the beach (with us, at least)! It was a lovely weekday so we headed down to Short Sands where we thought it’d be a good safe place to let her offleash due to there being less people, it being a cove, and stuff like that. Well, shoot. Our girl definitely needed vertical cliffs to keep her in because she was at top speed climbing up the most precarious spots, with little interest in running along the beach and much more excitement about sniffing things on shore (that terrier nose!) and randomly gnawing on barnacles…oy! And of course being a pit bull owner there’s just no explaining to a parent that your old goofy sweet dog won’t eat their child’s face off, so when we saw kiddos we ended up putting her on the leash and that was that, since Lucky does NOT come when called unless you’ve got a piece of chicken in your hand or similar (we’ve been working on this for months but she is an old dog whose former owners clearly did not train her to come when called, ugh, and outdoors is the ultimate sensory distraction for a sniffer like her). Not as fun as we’d hoped but while it lasted it was good…and as you can see she’s a very independent girl who was not bothered by the water (unlike our last girl Ruby who thought the ocean clearly was the devil’s bathtub!).

astoriawalk

And oh my, what a gorgeous day for a walk along the Mighty Columbia! Check out all the ships awaiting their turn to head out to the Pacific. We had an amazing stretch of spring weather in the upper 70’s (actually hit 83 one day here in the country, what the…!) and the Oregonians responded accordingly, getting out in droves to enjoy it all, wearing clothing that should probably wait til June, and of course getting us farmstead folks working like mad in our gardens!

Indoors, the Meyer lemon has finished it’s blossoming and I see tiny fruits, and for the first time the over 3 years since we got it, one of our orchids has decided to flower! We have an enclosed entryway that traps all the heat and has a window, a perfect little hothouse for orchids we’ve discovered. Yay!

The rear view of our farmhouse continues to evolve! Top left photo is from the real estate listing, and the top right is from when we had the tear-off roof replacement done. This is how it looks today, with new Energy Star windows and completely rebuilt frames, and most of the second floor deck removed (husband gets to crawl on top of the part that attaches from the hothouse to the back patio overhang to the house and remove the last pieces this week before he can remove that last long horizontal framing piece that cuts our house in half, lucky him!). It also became apparent that our house is definitely not white as it first appeared, but rather a grayish-pale-bluish-bleah kind of drab tone, as you can see from where we painted the new frames and the replacement shingles that there is a color differentiation! But no matter, we will be painting the house deep blue eventually (cedar shingles means painting by BRUSH, yikes! but it’s still cheaper than redoing all the siding (including DIY)). I gotta say it’s SO exciting to have all new windows up top – the former owner had done NOTHING to take care of them or the dryrot in the trim even though she was there 14 years so we are learning a LOT…but for the most part  not minding it too much! PS – the green blob in front of the garage area is the old pee-stained carpet marking off where our eventual BBQ deck area will be.  YAY!

windowreplacesdoor

Ah yes, and if you look at the before-and-after pictures of the back of the house, you’ll also see one big thing (well, big to us) which is that we removed the upstairs DOOR and replaced it with a WINDOW! With exception of nailing in the window itself and doing the interior frame cutting (husband has a steadier hand), I did this whole thing myself…and it wasn’t nearly as terrifying as I thought it would be! Literally repurposed 2×4’s my neighbor gave us to frame it up thanks to a tutorial on This Old House, and shit yeah it was DONE! Looking at this interior photo above, you wouldn’t know which window is where the door was (it’s the one on the left – I reused the old door trim cutting-to-size for the window so it matches perfectly). I’m stoked because this is at the top of the staircase and now can be a cool area for a windowseat or bookshelf or who knows what…just NOT a “door to nowhere” that would randomly fly open during windstorms in the middle of the night and scare the crap outta me. Obviously we timed this with after we got most of the deck boards removed so there wasn’t much ladder climbing needed 🙂

gardenbeeswatercoop

And while it might not be the sexiest set of raised beds on the planet, we do now have all nine, 4’x12′, raised beds completed, made from 100% repurposed cedar deck and fence 2×6’s!!!!  Six of them now have hoops on them (these are super cheap 1/2″ PVC pipes cut to 7′ lengths and screwed in via galvanized tube clamps… they’re not going anywhere!) with row covers on three where I have spinach/peas (both growing happily!), strawberries/garlic (lookin’ good!), and just-planted carrots/leeks/onions (hurry up and germinate!) staying a wee bit warmer until they are big enough to remove the covers and move over to where the eventual tomatoes and peppers will get planted (must get to the hothouse to get those seeds started!). Nine beds (432 s.f.) didn’t initially seem all that big but in actuality it’s 300 square feet more than we had in Portland – nothing like buying land to change our whole perception when it comes to scale ! Along with the 9 beds there are also 5 fruit trees (apples, pears, and one sour cherry for kicks), 2 beautyberries, 4 lilacs, a snowball bush and a flowering quince, PLUS in front of the fence we have eight California lilacs planted especially for our honeybees.  Ultimately I’m going to also be adding a huge row of borage along another side (tons of seedlings of those coming up in the hothouse as we speak as I don’t trust the ducks not to eat them while they’re still young and don’t have their spikes!), and nearly all of our veggies of course are being companion planted with herbs (did you know that you can plant bee balm with tomatoes? now ya do! hopefully our wind doesn’t blow the seeds away….). As I told my husband, this is what makes me feel whole. This garden. Ahhh…

 

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