Walls galore

I will admit it, I cried just a little when we walked through the house today after the drywall crew had been through. They are supposed to be finished Monday and then the plaster people will start.

Dining room

Posted in General, Renovation | 5 Comments

I’m still not feeling warm

The insulation is in and drywall starts on Friday.

Fuzzy warm insulation

Why is picking paint colors so hard?


Posted in Renovation | 7 Comments

Starting the new year with a BOOM

If it’s been quiet on the blog there is a reason. This past spring, we finally decided that the house would never be finished at our current pace. There were just too many other demands on our time and too many projects more enjoyable than remodeling. We were fortunate to find a really good builder, one who mostly works on projects far nicer than ours, and set about planning a whole house renovation.

Downstairs overview

The bathroom was gutted and a new layout designed with a separate tub and shower. It was made bigger by incorporating the closet which formerly attached to Lee’s office.


The kitchen grew several feet in each direction, with a new layout and four larger windows. Cabinet construction starts next week.


We stripped off the first 9′ of exterior siding and sheathing was added for shear. This complements the shear upgrades we already added to the second floor.

New trim and kitchen windows

Gutters were finally installed–a long overdue upgrade, given Oregon’s rainy weather.


New windows and door were added to the back. Our builder suggested that we open up the rear first-floor bedroom as a new dining area, a decision which refocuses the best views from the house out into the backyard. We spent the last six years puzzling over the floor plan and never considered this as a solution to our lack of dining space.

New door, windows, and gutters

The whole house has been re-plumbed and the first floor re-wired as well.

Can lights and plumbing

The living room gets two new half-height windows to bring in light without messing up the furniture layout.

Living room

The whole process has been overwhelming, time consuming, and very exciting.

Posted in Renovation | 13 Comments

Kitchen makeover

We decided to do some remodeling in our kitchen. I’m really digging the new open floor plan, although it is short on counter space.

Kitchen ripped out

Posted in Renovation | 12 Comments

Tiny bottle gourds

A basket of Tiny Bottle gourds from our garden has been drying inside for the last couple weeks. I am planning some messy kid crafts soon.

Small bottle gourds

Posted in Gardening | 1 Comment

Corn pile of geese

We harvested Lee’s field corn a few weeks ago. I raked up all the corn stalks afterward and made piles for the geese. At the end of every day the geese had devoured almost every bit of it. Next year I want to herd them into the corn patch to make my clean up job easier.

Goose pile

Posted in Livestock | 1 Comment

Marina di Chioggia squash

I grew two Marina di Chioggia squash plants this summer and harvested a total of three squash from them. The culinary descriptions of this variety made me want to grow it. Surely there must be more uses for pumpkin flavor than just pies and lattes?

Marina di Chioggia squash in the front

I was shocked by how dense the pulp was from the first “Marina” that I cooked. It’s unlike any pumpkin or squash we’ve tried before. I have plans to make pumpkin soup, gnocchi, cake, and maybe a casserole or two. Is there a must-make pumpkin recipe I should know about? I’ve already tried roasting it and of course pumpkin pie is a given. :)

In addition to the pulp, I dug almost two cups of seeds from the guts which we promptly roasted. We always use this recipe from Simply Recipes. Roasted pumpkin seeds never survive more than an hour at our house.

Seeds from a Marina di Chioggia squash

Posted in Gardening | 1 Comment

Candied jalapeño peppers

Twenty two half-pints of candied jalapeño peppers later and I’m still not sure we have enough. They are a favorite staple in our pantry. Does anyone have a favorite way to use their jalapeños?

Candied jalapeño peppers

Posted in Skillset | 5 Comments

Crash, down came the shack shed

The rotting shed behind our house finally came down. All it took was a chainsaw, a tow cable and a truck to pull it over.

Shack shed

There was so much dry rot that I’m not sure how it lasted this long. We are still working on picking up all the pieces, but we are really liking the new open space in the backyard.

Down for the count

Posted in Cleanup | 4 Comments

Goodbye old friend

Jasper quietly went to sleep at the vets office on Monday. He was 20 years old.

We adopted him in 2004 at an animal rescue in Phoenix, AZ. We were there to help a friend pick out a cat. I was adamant that we already had one cat at home and didn’t need another, but within minutes of arriving this big orange cat jumped onto my lap and refused to leave. He was the first pet that was truly mine and he took his role seriously. If it was 2AM and he needed to stand on my back and purr in my ear, no amount of setting him on the floor could dissuade him. There will be other pets in my future, but none will be so endlessly and singularly devoted as Jasper.

By the time we moved to Oregon, he had grown from tolerating Robin to liking her, and eventually he loved anybody who came to the house. Life in the country introduced him to the outdoors, but he was much happier sleeping on our bed when he wasn’t sleeping on someone’s lap. He was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2012 and given two months to live. Robin and I talked about how Sidney would never meet him. Instead, for the last year he’s been a model of feline tolerance. Sidney was obsessed with him and no amount of slobbery and often painful toddler love was too much. He had finally met his match and it was the best year of his life.

Jasper - Dec 2005

Jasper, December 2005

Posted in Pets | 4 Comments