Monday, December 29, 2014

Now the cold comes

So we've had a couple of snowy days, and today a wicked cold wind moved in. Brrrrrr.

I've been sitting on my butt reading and slurping tea since Christmas. Today I decided to get a few things done, starting with the chicken-yard roof, which collapsed overnight under the snow and ice. It's set up like a circus tent with heavy wires running up to a center pole, and chicken wire and bird netting draped over that. The wires popped loose on the west half, and C. helped me stretch them back into place.

C. went inside and banged the snow loose. At least now the birds can booble around in the fresh air without worrying about hawks or owls. They decided it was too cold for boobling, though, and went in to bed early.

That was it for outside work on this cold day (supposed to get down to zero tonight).

I've decided to work on improving the kitchen, something we've been thinking about for a long time. Basically, there's a nine-foot-long island of three cabinets with sink and dishwasher. The wall space is taken up with our giant fridge, our vintage pink stove (also huge), our big countertop microwave/convection oven and two old wheeled cabinets from a home-ec classroom. And an old china cabinet from the church near our Ancestral Home. Our baking is done on an eight-foot stretch of 1890s-era cupboard on the back side of the island, so any time you are baking and need the fridge or sink or stove you have to walk all the way around the island. Every time I bake something I get all pissed off. (And I like to bake. It leads to eating baked goods.) So the plan is to move the china cabinet out into the dining room, which means moving the shelf of craft-supplies-that-must-not-freeze out of there. So I'm making a tall cupboard from a stack of scrounged upper kitchen cabinets in a corner of the dining room for the art supplies. That's Step 1. (They will be so ugly that I am confident C. will be driven to paint them. Step 2.) Moving the china cabinet and contents (mostly canned and dried food) is Step 3. Thinking about all this has made me tired. Better find another book and put the kettle on.

I made another experimental chocolate-and-peanut-butter thing, but bought puffed rice instead of crispy rice so it's soggy instead of crispy. Idiot! But it's chocolatey and peanut-buttery, and tolerable with tea. And I'm experimenting with herbed dough in the bread machine, hoping to come up with rolls that are delicious under the broiler with bubbly cheese. (That's not hard, as anything, probably even cardboard, is delicious with bubbly cheese.) I used fresh basil from the plants C. brought in from the garden, and some crumbled dried tomatoes.

We're broke until payday, Wednesday, so we're making do with whatever is in the cupboards – lots of canned goods, not so much butter, eggs and milk.

C. is obsessed with gathering tiny, tiny guinea feathers from the chicken house. I think it's weird, unlike my obsessions, which are brilliant and compelling.

The feathers are kind of cool, actually, with their tiny polka dots.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Snow day

We got over three inches today. I braved the roads to Spokane for C.'s favorite kind of beer (Labatts, in case you want to send us a few cases:) and here are some miscellaneous snow photos, including a minor wreck on Highway 2 and Westmoreland Road. Yes, I know they're not great, but I was driving!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Recovering from Christmas

It's warm in here, and quiet. The kids were all up for the Christmas thing yesterday, and we overdosed on Telli's fudge and took turns opening presents. It was good. Everyone was here, and everyone was gracious – even about their weird, handmade, grandma presents. We have a nice bunch of people in our family.

Of course I rushed around and made presents madly in the two days preceding the event. In posh years C. and I make and buy presents. In tight years, we make everything. Those poor children. :) We're all just lucky the kids are past the age of requiring fancy electronics or sports gear now that we have a giant house payment and animals to support.

So C. made K. a philosopher's scarf, grey and black wool fashioned into a rude-gesture motif. It was cool. I made KC a Man Necklace from parts ripped from a car at the junkyard. C. made Em a felted anatomical heart pin with beaded arteries and veins. I made R. a fishing charm out of a vintage brass lure. I cleaned up and waxed some old tin ceiling tiles for folks to hang on the wall. And C. made me a Flat Earl floor cloth that looks just like Earl laying frog-legged on the floor. It's awesome.

It's always fun to see what the kids get each other, and the thought they put into the presents. No, they don't make the presents, but that's OK.

There was apple pie and baklava and fudge and soup. And fake mustaches and general silliness. It was good.

We're worn out. And I have a hell of a mess to clean up on the dining room table where craft supplies have been dragged out, and failed experiments are piled up. Like the 22 shells I tried to drill for more Man Jewelry (don't try it without a drill press!) and the buttons sticky with expired epoxy. Maybe I'll tackle that tomorrow.

I'm working up to consuming more fudge.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Playing catch up

Merry Christmas!

Haven't posted for ages. What has happened over the last three weeks? C. dug up all the sun chokes, and they're packed in sand in the hall. Um… Em and Richard came up and hauled firewood several times. I went to work. Oh, yeah, the rabbits chewed a water supply line and flooded their room, and had to be moved in the middle of the night to our bathroom, where they stayed for a week. And what a week! Cheeky little bastards. But after we dried out the rabbit room, we put Smokey in first and now he is the Rabbit MAN. No more beatings from his uppity sons. Or his uppity daughter. He seems happy to be with his fellows, but I miss him a little. So our bathroom is now rabbit-free, and litter-box free, and rabbit-den free. AND LEAK FREE, because I poked my head up into the attic, mapped the leaks, traced them to cracks or popped nails on the roof and patched them. We've only had minor rains, but it's holding so far. Huzzah! And tonight, just a little while ago, there came a booming crash. Now part of the bathroom is ceiling-free. A whole section of sheetrock, tired of being dripped on, came right down. How weird is that? And the roofer showed up. That's pretty weird, too. He put some magical sticky rubber stuff on the leaking drainpipe in my studio, and measured and contemplated the extremely porous drain by the back door. He also suggested we put another dry well in the west dog yard to take the load off the main dry well, wherever they put it in 1936.

Here are some misc. photos, including Earl being froggy, and the bathroom former ceiling.