Friday, June 27, 2014

New Home, New Coop, New Garden.

The new (to us) house is littered with boxes. There are various utensils on the counter, furniture in various states of disassemble. There's a litter box in the closet- no, it doesn't belong there- but we're too afraid to move it lest the cat gets confused.

Bodies ache. Feet hurt. I've got cuts, scratches, bruises that I don't remember getting. Val has cracked his head an innumerable amount of times in the last 4 days. I'm not sure how he doesn't have a concussion by now.

But, we're getting close. Rio, the unfinished sailboat, will be making her journey south in three days. After that, we'll be entirely moved in.

The past few weekends have been a blur. We've been racing to build a chicken coop. Our salmon Faverolles hens have been laying religiously for us, and we've grown attached to their silly little fluffy butts, so we decided to make our grand migration along with them. (Let me tell you, a three hour car ride with stinky chickens is.. um.. quite an adventure).

Chickens were moved in yesterday. They're adjusting- the first egg was laid within 5 hours of arriving 'home.' And while we have a bunch of boxes that have yet to be unpacked, I can't stand the thought of being completely garden-less this year, so I started a small square foot garden bed.

Just a little one, mind you. 4x8. I had some leftover lumber lounging around- I think it was from cutting apart stringers for the boat. They needed a purpose.

Enough talk. Let's see the photos already!

The new coop + freshly planted garden.

(The coop design we used is called the Garden Coop- plans can be found here)

Here's the square foot garden bed layout:

And another view of the garden: 

The tarp you see in the photos is used to kill off the grass. I'll be installing more garden beds in the future (once we actually unpack, sell the other house, and really move in!).

Grow garden, grow! Curious to know what it'll be like to have a garden with actual sunlight..

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Packing Up and Moving On.

We're renting a 14' U-Haul today.

It has been 11 years since I've moved to the Seattle area. As someone who grew up in a small town on the western side of the Puget Sound, I have a hard time believing that I ended up on 'this side of the water' for so long.

I remember distinctly a conversation that I had with a friend in high school. I asked her what her plans were after graduating. "I want to move to Seattle." I was floored. Seattle? Why? Why on earth would you want to move to such a densely populated area? And yet, here I am, 11 years later, wondering where the time went and how I could have survived being here this long.

(Seattle is a lovely city. But still a city. And therein lies the problem. When you've been raised on 7 acres against the Olympic National Forest, you may have an adverse reaction to all cities and suburban scapes, too.)

I was at the dentist on Tuesday and the hygienist tried booking me for another appointment 6 months from now. I told her I won't be in the area, and when I told her I was moving to live in the outskirts of a town of 2400 people, she was shocked that anyone would consider leaving the lovely suburban sprawl of the Seattle area. "Why?! What's out there?!" With much of the same incredulous revulsion I had to the idea of moving to Seattle in the first place.

For those of you who have never lived outside of suburbia and the city, let me assure you, many of the same things that you enjoy here can be found in a smaller town. Yes, there's running water. And electricity.

But there's also clean air. Enough land to grow a significant amount of your own food. You can see the stars at night. And there's less people, which usually means less traffic. And we'll be close to family. I've forgotten what it's like to have a clan. To feel like I belong somewhere.

I can't explain how excited I am to have this opportunity. It marks an important transition in our lives. We're moving. This is actually happening. 

And I'm also being hit with a wave of nostalgia. While I haven't exactly loved being here, I have met many wonderful people, expanded my education, and have become a better person because of it. I will miss Seattle's warm liberal ideological embrace. I will miss seeing the Cascades on a clear day. I will miss having close proximity to all of the cultural benefits that come from living in a densely populated area- and the food. I'm not sure what I'm going to do without my favorite Thai restaurant. Or dim sum. Or pho. 

Seattle, you'll always be part of my heart. Rest assured that it's not you. It's me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

First Weekend at New House

My husband escaped from work on Thursday, and we high-tailed it down to our new home in SW Washington.

I can't even begin to tell you how much we love it.

When we bought it, we knew it was nice. It had good bones, a little, erm.. retro.. in some (most) areas, but that it was clean and well loved.

We weren't prepared to love it as much as we do. The space is magnificent.

And no, that isn't just from a small-house dweller moving to a larger home standpoint- we're going from 680sq/ft to 2116, so there's bound to be some shock involved, but really- the house is full of light- at any given point during the day there is some sort of sunlight streaming into the windows.

And the storage. We're going to have to really work hard to fill this home up. And by work, I mean it- I plan on building as much as I can for this home.

The views from the windows are breathtaking. You can see Oregon on a clear morning. The fruit trees were in bloom, and our two acres of pasture is lush and green.

There are lilac trees- just on the verge of blooming- rose bushes, hydrangeas, rhododendrons- it's a beautiful piece of land.

I guess most of the shock comes from putting in the offer before seeing this home- then spending a paltry hour in it while the inspection was occurring. We didn't have a chance to really soak in the property or the house in that time.

Enough with the sentiments, you want to see what we did, right?

Well, a nuclear yellow room was toned down with a gallon of 'Lamp Room Gray' paint.

The 'Lamp Room Gray' turned out a bit bluer than I anticipated- we have the shade in our current house and it's lovely, but it could be the contrast between the wood trim. That'll all change, including the curtains. 

Oh, remember the stars and bald eagle wallpaper that was on the wall in the kitchen?  


It's gone.

And by 'gone' I mean that the face was peeled off- next weekend I'm attacking the glue layer that has been left behind. 

I did save some of the paper- it's really quite epic and I couldn't bear to throw it out. Stars & Stripes forever, yo, but not in my kitchen! (I think having a Rosie the Riveter themed workshop would be amazing, no? And the stars and stripes motif would be pretty cute in there!)

So my life has been packing, planning, drooling at paint swatches, ordering laminate samples- basically awesome. Or at least awesome for me. I'm having a blast.

Oh, you'll get a huge kick out of this. Want to see the luxurious master bedroom?

Yup, sleeping on the floor on a twin-sized memory foam. It's oddly comfortable for being on the floor. We're too cheap to buy a 'real bed' until we move down permanently, so that's our luxurious sleeping arrangement until then.

Anyway, that's the new house update. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Closing on a New House!

See this 1976 delight?

It's located in a town of 2300 people, somewhere along the Columbia river.

And it's our new house.

Pending on 4/14/14.  All the papers have been signed, we're just waiting until the current residents (who have lived there for 27 years) move out.

My heart hurts for them. It's obvious that they loved their home, as it is incredibly well maintained. It's a house of love- it has such a wonderful vibe to it that it felt like home the second we stepped foot in it.

2.5 acres. 3 bedrooms, 2 bath, a dedicated laundry room... AND 576 SQ/FT OF GARAGE.

That, my friends, is 100 sq/ft less than the size of our current house. All garage. Actually, cancel that. It's not a garage, people. It's a shop. It's MY workshop. Trespassers will be forced to help move lumber and sharpen hand tools. 

OMG, I can smell the sawdust. THE THINGS I COULD BUILD.

I can't even tell you how excited I am. 

And bonus? We'll be 4 houses down from family! FOUR.

Additional photos of the technicolor delight can be found here.

Investors, purchase stock in paint, because holy moly, we're going to be buying truckloads. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Land Search: Nothing Yet

So.  (blows dust off of computer)

How have you been?

Me? I've been fine. Surviving the cold winter weather we're currently having. 25F currently. It was a balmy 16F when I walked out the door this morning- so cold that it nearly knocked the wind out of me.

Our little house is such a delight in the winter- it's so small that one little wall heater will heat up our little 680 square feet with no issue. I love living in a small house, some of the time.

As you may know, we were looking to buy some property in southern Washington, somewhere near the Columbia River. Well, the land we were looking at fell through- while the property was beautiful, the seller was kind, the bank was willing, the land itself, as it stood, wouldn't support a septic system- and we weren't willing to spend the money or the time waiting until we could build.

So, we're back to square one.

We still love Casa Crustante- the house itself is wonderful. I have little to fault it for what it has. It's very functional, and personally I think it's adorable- but there are some issues with the situation that we're in that makes it very clear that it's not quite working.

I had no idea I'd be such an avid creator- builder, sewer, baker, gardener. The land, a scant 1/5 acre- just isn't enough for all that I'd like to do. We want a garden that gets sunlight (ours is in the shadow of a beautiful maple tree). We'd like another room or two in the house- the husband needs an office, I would like a craft room. Oh, and the boat building thing. I definitely need a shop- or, at the bare minimum, a garage I can build in. And with the addition of our beautiful Westfalia, that garage is now a necessity.

We contemplated renovating our house so it'd fit our evolving criteria. It doesn't solve the lack-of-land issue. And, as it turns out, we're just not invested in this area. Our neighborhood is decent, but we're adjusting to some suburban culture shock that I wasn't quite prepared for- perhaps one of the biggest hurdles of suburbia is the concept of no property lines. Many people in this neighborhood feel that it is their right to welcome themselves to your property if you're not home- to check out your cars, to invite themselves into your chicken run and then not latch it on their way out (also true story- I deadbolt it closed now), to examine anything or everything that you don't have tied down.

I know people are just being people, and they're just curious. But when you're from 7 acres in the middle of the sticks and descendant of a line of people who are rightfully territorial, I get very, very angry when people assume that I won't mind.

So, we're looking for another modest house with land, or perhaps a piece of land that's perfect for building on. Perhaps in the sticks. Keep your fingers crossed that we'll find something soon!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Jiggling for Gillio: Update #1


Check out my weight loss graph:

As you can see, it's been a rocky ride but the proof is in the progress.

If you recall, I had started a Dietbet in September.  I won $40.44, then turned around and placed that money into two bets- one bet for $25, another for $15.

I won, but by the skin of my teeth.  I made the goal, but only after doing two hours of cardio and basically sweating out 1/5 of a pound.  I won $34.45 on a $15 bet, and $44.64 on a $25 bet.

So in happy news,  the Gillio Fund has been updated!

My $25 I had invested in the first bet has grown into $79.09.
Guess what I'm going to do with it?  Yup.  I'm rolling this train right into healthy BMI town.  I joined someone's $25 bet, and started my very own $15 dietbet based upon my current love affair with a particular tasty sauce.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you: The Sriracha SlimDown! 

If you've got a little additional ballast to lose, consider joining me.  The game starts on Tuesday (but you'll have two weeks after that date to join), and it'll run until December 3rd.  The goal is to lose 4% of your body weight in that time.

Can you do it?

It's only a $15 bet, too. So if you change your dietary habits in that time frame and avoid eating out as much as you're currently doing so, just think of how much money you could save.  $15 is a cheap price to pay for a powerful motivator. 

Click here to sign up! The Sriracha SlimDown

I'm hoping that this dietbet will be the one to move me from the 'Obese' category of the BMI scale to the 'Overweight.'  Small steps, but they're all adding up!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

We made an offer..

We put down an offer on 2 1/4 acres of raw land near my husband's family.  Please, please, please- if you know of some super-secret dance to appease the land gods, please perform it now.