Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Spring 2013

Sorry for no blogs in April. We've been busy. SUPER busy. It's not just owning a house and having to make all sorts of improvements; it's also because, thankfully, I'm working almost full time on three different consulting jobs.

Crawl space readyWe've cut bamboo, we've mowed our massive lawn a million times, Stefan has put in ceiling fans in four rooms and fixed the bathroom sink, he's painted the garage - but the big project that's eaten up so much of his time is cleaning out the crawl space and then putting in insulation, including around all the water pipes.

I helped by cutting the insulation as needed. It was a horrible job, but my part of it wasn't nearly as bad as Stefan's - he's had to crawl over and under all these ducts and have everything fall on his face as he works. He made roller boards for us, so that we could keep crawling to a minimal. He's brilliant.

And, as I've said, I'm consulting a lot - but I talk about that on my professional blog. Which I'm sure you all read regularly. Right?

Amid all this consulting and house work, I've been squeezing in motorcycle riding and gardening. I've ridden only 636 miles (1023.5 kilometers) since September 2012. That's not even 100 miles a month. And more than half of those miles happened in the last six weeks! The only thing we've done of significance as far as riding has all been:
  • Twisties to Vernon: we went the backroads to Vernonia to Scappoose to North Plains & back to Forest Grove. It was 96 miles, including 16 miles of gravel.
The gravel part of that route - the Dixie Mountain Highway - is relatively near us, so we spent a whole day on it one Saturday. I'm determined to get comfortable riding on gravel.

It's been sad to miss out on so much great motorcycle riding, because the weather has been FANTASTIC. Not good for farmers and water tables, but awesome for us. It's been unseasonably warm and beautiful for April and May. Sad that we haven't been able to take advantage of it.

Green house and strawberriesI've also managed to squeeze in some gardening. We don't have the time nor the money to do all we want to eventually. But Stefan decided that getting a greenhouse for me was a priority, and so - I have one at last! It's a dream come true. Stefan bought it from Harbor Freight Tools and put it together for me (I helped a *little*). If you buy such, check online for construction tips from other owners - you will need such, as the directions that come with this are woefully inadequate. Since I don't have a way to heat it at night, I wasn't able to start seedlings in February, which is when I need to in order to have a garden by June. We're going to try water jugs for heating next Fall. The raised beds in this photo are filled with strawberries that I had back in Canby; I was able to bring more than half of them to Forest Grove and keep almost all of them alive until I could get them in these beds.

I have five more beds in the front lawn, and am growing everything from seed - various kinds of lettuce, some radishes (for Stefan - I don't like them), squash and, of course, tomatoes - two heirloom varieties, Boxcar Willie and Abraham Lincoln. But to be honest, I'm not anticipating half of it to make it - our growing season isn't long enough to grow all this from seed. Hence why I need to get a heating solution for the green house, so I can start seeds in it in February.

Ravi and AlbiAlbi has done really well with the move, better than we ever hoped. She's doing well mapping the house in her mind and remembering where things are - yes, blind dogs can do that. We walk every morning and evening, though just around a block, maybe two, each time. Almost every morning, we are greeted by a cat that comes bounding off his porch or out of a bush to say hello. I sing "soft kitty" to him as he rubs up against my legs and purrs. He usually throws himself down and wants a belly rub as a result. He is the friendliest cat ever and has no fear of dogs at all. Albi, being blind, doesn't know he's there - she sometimes knows something is happening, but isn't exactly sure what. If Albi knew, the cat would come no where near us, as she'd be at the end of her lead, barking and snapping! Recently, I found at the cat is named Ravi Shankar. LOVE IT.


Photos of the house and our progress

Photos of our neighborhood

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