Thursday, April 25, 2013

Annie, Jack and I went for a ramble - at least Jack and I did. Annie said there was a creature in this hole, and she was going after it.

Maltipoozoo or rabbit? Jack on the move.

 The place to the northeast.

 Kewpie waits for us, her white gloves daintily posed.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mid-April in the garden
As you can see, we're mulchers. C. has been working away at the garden during the week, and I chip in on the weekends. Those are trenches for asparagus roots there in the middle ground. Got those in and mulched. C. started kohlrabi and basil inside. I know it's weird to see a farm garden in place of the usual lawn in front of a school, but I think it'll be less jarring as everything greens up and grows tall. I hate lawns and the American obsession for lawns, anyway. Don't get me started. 

We've got a bed prepared for peas and C. has them soaking. The variety is "telephone" so she cut some taller brush for them to climb, below. Optimist.

Willie had a haircut, which makes him happy. It's turned colder, though, so he's in his manly sweater.

We got the cold frame set up, below. It works beautifully, with all that masonry to soak up the heat. Three recycled patio sliders, plastic and bricks.

C. has tracked down the diabolical flat burrs, below,  that have plagued us since we came here. They stick tenaciously, especially to fabric and dog fur. That's probably a wisp of poor Jack's hair at upper left. I'll look them up as soon as we see what the green plant looks like. They're cleverly designed, aren't they? Perfect for the task.

There's a cold wind blowing up from the valley tonight - supposed to get down to 29F. The day started overcast and cold, turned sunny in late afternoon, then chilly when the sun started down. Capricious place.

We got some more boxes moved out of the gym today, working to make room for the last (?) load of stuff from the basement and yard of the ancestral home, set to arrive Wednesday. This was a pretty good weekend, got some stuff done. Left plenty for next weekend.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ferns in the rock wall. Below, the overgrown old front steps.

We keep working at the garden. C. has planted spuds, onions and some Russian peas, and continues to clear quack grass and knapweed out of the roughed-in beds. I helped a bit today. We'll plant asparagus tomorrow.

We have a farm truck! Bought it from a fellow down the road. Its face is a bit melty from being near a burning barn a while back. I've driven it to town twice and it seems solid. Soon we'll be making trips to the dump, and to the goat-compost place.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Going walkabout
We do a little exploring in the evenings sometimes. That's one-eyed Jack there in front, then his momma Jazzbert, and then Kewpie's rear in the rear. They love it here. You don't see Annie, who is on a leash because she is sneaky.

That weird hummock is an anthill in the lower field. (Note: Willie, the world's largest Pomeranian, is providing scale.) They're big red ants. I hope they are friendly. Are any red ants friendly?

Bought about 1,700 square feet of maple gym flooring from a guy who got it from a guy who was the BIL of a demolition guy. It came out of an old elementary school, so it'll be right at home here. It's an inch thick and really heavy. Richard and Dave and Greg know how heavy. It's going into a couple of classrooms/future studios.

RIP little Jeep
He was a good boy, and a good sport. He was good in the garden, except for stealing green beans out of the basket. He was sensitive to certain foods, as you can see in the third photo, and he did a pretty good impersonation of a corgi, last photo. We miss him.

Garden time
C. has been out digging garden beds in the old school lawn since the snow melted. It isn't easy rooting the knapweed and quack grass out, but the soil seems pretty good and the rocks are just occasional. We figure they must have hauled soil in when the school was built in 1936, as a hole dug anywhere else yields granite cobbles and boulders. It's slow work, but our favorite SIL came up with the ancestral rototiller – originally his granddad's – and now we've got a garden bigger than at the old bungalow, and it'll get bigger next year. Still have to rake out the quack roots, but it's shaping up nicely.
A lot has happened since I posted last. I am a bad blogger.

We've been working on getting the basic systems up and running.

Um... We've decided to do the roofing repairs ourselves. We've always been DIY hippie types, but middle-classitude must have rubbed off during all the years of the university job. Yep, hire it done! Take out a loan and hire everything done.

So we snapped out of it. I'm cutting out the big wrinkles, nailing the edges and covering the area with black sticky goop and mesh. Thanks to my friend Tom the Handyman and Craig the Roofer for getting me started. I may need help on the four really bad spots, but can certainly do the many, many wrinkles.

We had pressure at the well, and next to none at the house. The top element (new, installed by Tom) in the water heater burned out as water was coming into the tank too slowly. Tom tried cleaning sediment  out of a bunch of faucet valves and replacing some faucets and it was better, but he was convinced that there was a big leak in the line from the well to the building. So we called in the pump guy (Gady Pumps in Colbert, Wash.) and Phil checked everything out and said the well was good, the pump good, but Tom was right, there was a leak someplace in the line. So we called American Leak Detection (great name!) and a fellow came out and listened closely to the ground. What a specialized line of work. Anyway, he found a big leak on the far side of the building (not where the water line was supposed to be), borrowed a shovel and exposed the problem – some doof had highjacked an irrigation line to supply the caretaker's trailer with water. And when the trailer was removed in 2006 (?) the wrong side of the pipe was capped, leaving water gushing into the sandy soil for years. We're lucky the well and pump held up. So I capped the line and now we have plenty of water, hot and cold.

We had some issues with the drains, including some backing up into the shower drain, so we rented a big rooter snake and I sat there for a few hours feeding the cable into four of the many (11 or 12, I think) toilet flanges in this big weird place. It wasn't horrible, just boring, and the drains are working pretty well now.