Tasty garlic in my belly

We planted six varieties of garlic last year and somehow they managed to survive. I think I weeded them twice and watered and side dressed them once with fertilizer.

Garlic drying

The six varieties we grew were Elephant, German Red, Blanak, Duganski, Susanville, and Chinese Early Pink. The Chinese Early Pink was the most disappointing of the bunch as they never thrived and grew small heads. Maybe they would have liked more pampering than we provide.

We’ve grown garlic lots of times before, but lost our two nameless varieties to weeds and rodents in the spring of 2013. (We were busy with a different project.) The six varieties this year were an attempt to find some new favorites. We’ll probably scale up a couple these in the fall and try a few more varieties for good measure. Anyone have recommendations?

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Kitchen progress

Work has been steady over here and projects are starting to get close to wrapping up. The kitchen is nearly complete. The counter tops and window sills were installed last Friday. They are Silestone composite quartz.

silestone composite quartz marengo

The pulls and knobs were attached on Saturday. I have no idea why our builder was there on a Saturday.


The tile back splash was installed Tuesday.

Liquid marble tiles

We went with “liquid marble” subway tiles to continue the monotone theme for the kitchen.

Pulls and knobs

After cooking on a wood stove and hotplates (balanced on a washing machine) for six years, we are beyond excited to finally have a usable kitchen.

Interior wall of kitchen

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Misadventures in water

They came. They drilled. They left a huge mess.


But sadly, they did not find the water we were looking for. The whole point of this exercise was to find rust free water. All of our neighbors have clean water, but apparently our whole property is sitting on a slightly deeper bedroock which is criss-crossed with rust deposits. At 80 feet, we were getting 7-8 gallons per minute of green-brown slurry. It seems far worse than our existing water, so we are just going to replumb our current well rather than use the new one. I’ve been looking into backwashing iron filters. Anyone have any recommendations?


There were two further insults after we finished drilling. The first was that the rock was so crumbly we had to add a liner or it might have collapsed upon itself and become completely unusable. It’s rusty, but I’d still like to keep my options open. Maybe a hand pump? The second insult was a letter from the Oregon Water Resources Department. It turns out that there is a separate “well recording fee” in Oregon, added in 2009, to be paid after the well is drilled. That’s a total of $525 in fees to put a hole in the ground. Yay! At least we get to keep the pools of rock slurry.


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Work in progress

Kitchen outer wall

Kitchen inner wall





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Upstairs floor

The upstairs flooring is done. Trim work, tiling, cabinets, and staining is happening this week.

Flooring down

Upstairs half bath

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Looking for water

On Friday the well diggers came and went down 20 feet without finding bedrock. They also didn’t find much surface water, which is surprising as the river is about 400 feet away from where we are drilling.

Looking for water

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Insulation details

With all the remodeling going on we haven’t given up on our super insulated goal. All the downstairs 2×4 walls were furred out to 6.25″ thick. Each bay was filled in with a layer of 0.75″ foil-coated EPS foam board, followed by 2″ foil-faced R-max foam board, followed by 3.5″ high density fiber glass insulation (total: R31). We attempted to maintain the air seal (which is basically perfect on the second floor), by spray foaming the edge of every foam panel and between studs and gaps. The band joists received a similar treatment of layered foam inserts and spray foam.

Foam panel cut-to-fit

We hired out all the fiberglass work including R30 batts under the house. The ceiling bays had twenty inches of blown-in insulation, for a minimum of R60. Most windows were spray foamed into place or tucked with insulation scraps. Lee needs to spray foam the light fixture boxes in the top attic before it’s blown with loose insulation, but otherwise we are nearing the end of the endless insulation.


We also sound insulated with fiberglass batts between the two floors and added rock wool batts to the laundry room, office, bathroom and master bedroom walls. The laundry room is in the center of the house, so we insulated there to reduce the echoiness of the whole house. The office insulation was particularly important, since Lee works from home. Now Sidney and all her friends can practice playing the drums and bagpipes and it won’t disturb him.

Sound deadening

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Paint chips

The whole house has a coat of primer and the ceilings in most rooms were painted today.

Ceiling painted

Tomorrow they will start painting the walls. We are going to paint the upstairs bedrooms and bath ourselves this weekend. We would have done more, but our builder said we would slow down the project. (We aren’t that slow at painting, but then again his guys primed a whole house in 5 hours, including taping.) We also hope to find time to paint Lee’s office. The bright green never grew on us and we want something more Arts and Crafts feeling.

Paint chips

We spent a lot of time agonizing over paint chips. When we had finally settled on colors for each room, Robin pasted them all onto one sheet and we were happy to see that they were (seemingly) cohesive. The picture above may or may not be what our house will look like. Computer screens are notoriously bad at rendering color in a consistent manner.

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Plaster was finished today

Plaster downstairs

Plaster texture

Dining looking into the kitchen

Plaster upstairs

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12 new raspberry canes

A friend gave us some new raspberry canes and we planted them tonight. We had three plants already but they never did anything. Hopefully, with more attention we will be feasting on berries this summer.

Raspberries ready to plant

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