Tuesday, September 02, 2014

One of Our Cats

While we were on the Oregon trail, my mother-in-law left me a message about Mister Washburn Foo. He's misbehaving, she shared, with concern. He's actually getting on the counter! I tried to sound shocked. I tried to convey a tone of disbelief. I tried to imagine that Foo would put on his company manners, demonstrate a little decorum. But. No. Let's face it, Mister Foo is a mischievous Foo. He is an undisciplined Foo, a do as I may Foo.


Ruth, we apologize. Delia, Rebekah, Janece, Paul M, Eunice, we apologize to you as well. And we thank you for jobs well done, for service under pressure. House sitters and pet sitters are wondrous brave and generous. We at the Bird House are forever indebted to our family and friends, without whom we could not be farmers who travel. Not one cat, but two, and ten chickens, two goats, the fish, and there have been bunnies, rats, and parakeets, too. It's a wonder you all still talk to us!

Monday, September 01, 2014

Five Good Things

Do we ever get ahead, catch up? I was going to delve into more of our domestic perils, as though it were unbelievable that we are still up to our chins in projects and endeavors to get our Bird House into working order. But it can't be surprising, not for most folks, right? Life gives us leaky pipes, and broken washers, dust, dirty laundry, and like my friend Warren reminds me, "recurrent domestic perils!" The good news is, the most maligned and loathed room in the house is looking better and better everyday! And we are, at long last, back in the business of cleaning our dirty laundry!

After the valves were replaced, and the drywall got repaired, it came to me to sand the plastery stuff, and add texture.

Texture comes in a can, in case you didn't know. I didn't know. While the texture dried, I taped all the base boards and sills, and trim bits that were not going to be Thai Teal.

Then, came the paint. Faint! I just cannot find the easy going way when it comes to choosing paint colors, but this time I am really quite pleased. At the hardware store, the kind woman taking orders, seeing my distress, said, "Take the chips you like outside, into the natural light, and you'll see what you're really getting." It was the best advice ever! Choices I thought were good in the store looked nothing like what I hoped for when I looked at them outside. And the one I was least attracted to under the store lights became my favorite, in the sunlight. All of this paint and light business makes me defensive of even trying to share these pictures, because Thai Teal looks good, but it doesn't translate in the photos... especially not with that fluorescent lighting. But never mind! It's pretty. Trust me!

The list of obstacles and setbacks got longer, but never mind! Our washer is installed, and adored. It has pretty chimes, and spins quietly, like a contend domestic goddess. It's been the main attraction for most of our weekend.

Mister Foo, though slightly wary, is quite attracted to the newest member of the work force. He's crouched attentively through several cycles.

Maria and I made our way to Ikea, in search of storage solutions. Lovely, attractive, Swedish solutions. We are trying to compensate for the loss of the narrow bookcase we had crammed in front of the old washer... now the door opens in the front, we need that area clear. We found two wall shelves, and a Fintorp. Oh, I love our Fintorp! We also brought home three jars of lingonberry preserves, and a stuffed panda.

It's a small room, once a dingy beige, haphazardly stashed with whatever we had on hand, and it was the room I least liked in the whole house. It's still small. Too small, and not pictured: the rest of the painting that needs to be done, and the stuff that needs storing-stashing-purging, but! But it's oh-so much nicer, now. It's a cheerful color, that feels welcoming and bright. The Ikea additions make the room look thoughtfully appointed, and will {forever and ever, I hope} inspire order and calm, inner peace, and laundered bliss.

Oh, Fintorp, you are so Swedish, and tidy, so inspiring.

Good Things...

1. Because sometimes we need a big ol' break from our "real lives..." Maria and I indulged our make-believe fantasies, and went to an absolutely marvelous doll house and miniatures shop. Ms Peggie's Place. It was most gratifying.

2. All the ways you can top and improve frozen pizzas!

3. Making new friends who share our admiration {and adulation?} of Tasha Tudor.

4. It's September. Anything that brings us closer to fall is good with me.

5. Mom's Night Out, aka LMNOP, because an evening with friends is good for the body and soul.

This long weekend has about worn us out. Wish we could have another, just to recover from this one, but stuff is getting accomplished, and that feels good. I cannot complain. Nope. Are you enjoying the long weekend? Are you bidding summer a fond farewell, or counting down to the new season, embracing all that lies before us? What's good? Please, share!

Friday, August 29, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

Max and Maria, and a breakfast treat, with a view. Southern California~

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Domestic Perils Is What I Call Them

I love our home. Our big blue house, with the leaky roof, and backcountry views. Our Bird House, where quail, gold finches, orioles, blue birds, cedar waxwings, and yes, even scissor-tailed flycatchers visit. Our home with the projects, parts, bits, and bikes, chickens, and people, our very own dust, and rooms, and spaces. Our shelter and nest, our wide open space where friends come to call, and sometimes stay awhile longer.

And every nest, any bird house, will get dusty. Sometimes, it's sawdust, like you see on the heart. Sometimes it's the laundry, that somehow piles up. We make messes. Everyday messes. Living and breathing messes. We make things, and messes come in the making. And some messes come without warning... like the broken water main beneath the driveway, the broken water heater, the broken window. Oh, I suppose we could have seen that coming! These are the occurrences, the entropy, if you will, the matter out of order, that I call Domestic Perils.

Sunday morning... {What? Only three days ago? My, but we have been busy.} Earlier this week I made waffles. A triple batch! This was a bold act of domestic prowess, which is meant to forfeit the powers of domestic perils, by curtailing the consequences of not having weekday breakfast plans. You see, I wanted to make waffles ahead, freeze them, and have those ready to toast for hurried mornings. And I was feeling quite like a domestic goddess for even thinking of doing this, let alone getting the thing done. Waffles. Breakfast. Planning ahead. I believed I had the dread domestic peril of unpreparedness stopped in its sneaky tracks.

This really did go quite nicely. Just slightly undercooked, then layered between waxed paper, sealed and into the freezer! Voila!

And labeled, too? Oh, sure. Why not?

Please note, at this point in the narrative, I am feeling quite swell. I can foresee a really lovely week of out-the-door-to-school mornings with well-fed children, fairly skipping with happy tummies, and me their loving mother, fully dressed, in something other than my pajamas.

Then. This. Happened. The plug wouldn't leave the socket, and was in fact pulling out of the cord, and dangling and hot, and a full board electrical domestic peril was happening. Frack. Frackity, feckity, feh.

This is a domestic peril of the fatal variety. Our darling waffle maker, the one revered in song and poem, is no more. Rest in peace, dear waffle dragon.

Moment of silence.

We returned from two weeks of camping, and travel, August 10, and on that very day, during the very first load of home-from-camping laundry, our washer quit. I tried all the tricks... unplug, reboot, kick, coddle, prayer, walking away, imploring on bended knee, but the washer only snickered, and locked itself down. A total walk-out. This is a compounding domestic peril, when you have both the dread laundry, which must be cleaned, and a dead machine, which must be repaired. And this can also be a moment to reassess perceptions about a dread domestic peril, because the only thing I like less than doing laundry is not being able to do laundry. This is a compounding domestic peril with paradox! Really yucky.

Fast forward to August 19th: Trusted repairman comes, makes diagnosis, orders part, and informs me we own one of the worst washers ever made. Ever. This is a domestic peril of consumer fate. Fortunately, the washer came with the house, so we feel slightly less pain on hearing this assessment of its worthlessness. {At least we aren't the poor chumps that went out and bought the darn thing. Small comforts, denial, ignorance, and high pain thresholds are paramount to enduring all domestic perils.}

Fast forward to August 21st: My Mom and Dad send a link to a washer they insist on having delivered to the Bird House. This is no kind of domestic peril at all, but the highest kind of love and caring, and we accept this offer, thrilled, elated, and thankful.

Fast forward to yesterday, August 26th: The washer is coming! And William and I clear the space, and I am separating whites and colors, and joy is ringing through my heart and hands, because I can undertake the ginormous task of smiting the foe, dirty laundry! But. No. Seems our valves, especially the hot water valve are too corroded, and will likely break and flood the interior wall if turned, and so appliance delivery and installer guy drives away, until we can fix that. Domestic peril of the aging home variety. Stuff gets old.

A little bit I wanted to cry, or drink a Margarita. Neither felt like a good option, so I went to FB and poured my heart out, whined a bit, and took consoling messages from caring friends. It's like therapy for First World problems, social media is.

Fast forward, again, and Geoff is sweating copper on our dining table. Also on the dining table: sewing machine, because William is learning how to sew a waistcoat, and Maria and I are making clothes for her little dolls, wood working tools from William's flintlock pistol project, as well as cutlass parts. Homework, and back to school papers... etc.

The valves really were corroded, and I am super glad Geoff knows a thing or two about replacing valves, cutting out dry-wall, removing drains... etc. And hardly an eye batted when he said, Dang it, burned the table. Somehow these little remarks, the collateral damage variety of domestic perils, barely register. Did I call it a "dining table?" It's more of a workbench. In the kitchen. Where we take meals.

I asked Geoff if he and I could sweat copper, together, our next date.

The soonest I can get the delivery guys back here is Thursday. The water is turned off, so we had to order pizza for dinner. I think the children would call this a domestic peril twist benefit. But, we have new valves!

And it's all shiny and clean, and good. Oh. Yeah... I will be looking at paint colors, inspired by the new drywall section... because I think a new color is in order... a happy to be in the laundry room shade. {What color would that be, I wonder?}

So. Yeah. There are all kinds of domestic perils and messes, and mishaps. I didn't even get to the other domestic peril chain of misfortunes that is our upstairs deck and living room ceiling. This one involves water leaking, termites, rotting wood, and hoped-for new flooring.

One of the worst perils of the home? Uh, being a blogger may be one of the most detrimental domestic perils we face, because anyone more keen on writing about housework than actually doing housework is gonna be a bit of a problem.

I have compulsive blogging domestic peril avoidance disorder. I got it bad.

I love our home. We have a beautiful view... many lovely, good, and happy views.

{By the way... the children ate all of the frozen waffles. A comforting snack. Sunday night. Domestic perils of internal sabotage.}

Monday, August 25, 2014

Five Good Things

What I would really love is to paint this moment, in oils, on a large canvas. In all seriousness, it should be called Man With Guacamole, and it would be an art sensation... in New York. Or London. Here, at home.

We like to goof. We like to play.

Uncle Paul, and his nephews, Max and Alex and Nick~

And after we goof over dinner, we like to go outside and draw art cars, and think about making really fantastic things, and talk about making really fantastic things. We did this before Paul continued his motorcycle trip... which began Wisconsin to California, then north to Washington, and across the Great Plains, home.

Dinner was Ruth's treat, and it was fun being altogether, no one cooking, no one doing dishes. It left more time for goofing and playing and talking.

James, Izzy, Uncle Rich~


Lots of playing and talking.

And goofing.

Good things...

1. Family and friends hanging out.

2. Summer nights when the heat has settled, the sun has set, and it's still light out.

3. Geoff is repairing our dear waffle iron, and my mommy is sending us a new washer: Blessings abound!

4. Geoff bought a new shower head, and it has a hose, so we can easily clean the shower walls! No more silly splashes of buckets tossed against the walls.

5. "Maybe we should just get a new one." Geoff told me the waffle cord overheated and fried everything. Is this a good thing?? Good thing I didn't burn the house down!

Summer is winding down, right? Maybe that's just me. I realize, once I've had my vacation, and the scholars are back at desks, I am ready for FALL! Autumn daydreams, cool nights, misty days, leaves strewn across mossy paths. Hot cider, wool socks, deep quilts heaped upon soft beds! {Yes. Yes, I do get carried away.} Gosh, there's still a solid week of August left! I shouldn't rush the days, they hurtle by as it is.

Are you enjoying good things, or daydreaming of good things? Had some goofiness, lately? I hope you'll share, please~

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Happy Weekending, Here is Our Foo Kitty

1. One Foo.

2. Two Foo.

3. Three Foo.

4. Four Foo.

5. Five Foo.

Our Mister Washburn Cookies-n-Cream Ninja Polka Spotted Floppy Booty Foo.
Foot seeking sleep missile, with a kink at the end of his tail.
Fastidiously clean, impishly bad, the chatty cat, so clumsy he trips over his own shadow, and could fall off the floor.
The motor cat, that runs to Maria's side, to nuzzle and snuggle, and knead his way into her open heart. Such a Foo.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Lavender Sachets Smell Like Summer

While William works on sewing his waistcoat, I've been playing with fabric scraps, and dabbling in small projects to share with Maria. I settled on an idea that brought several crafts and projects into one activity. I cut small muslin panels... 2.5" x 4", so we could sew sachets. Then I found the two stamps that Maria and I learned to make at Maker Faire.

Maria's is a flower, and mine a... can you guess? Yeah, a chicken!

We stamped our muslin pieces. We're talking home-grown and folksy, here.

This is the part that got Maria really excited, because we were using our own stamps, and now we were collecting the lavender from our very own garden, and we tried to remember the first time we dried lavender. It was two summers ago, when we started our CandleLight tradition! So, now our own garden, and our own preserving, were helping us to do a new activity. All of our earlier efforts were coming together to make sachets all our very own.

The lavender smells lovely, warm, soothing, like a summer afternoon.

Maria filled the small pouches, and we thought how ideal it was that our black ink pad had faded to a lovely lavender shade.

And just to make the circle complete... leftovers went to our compost aids, the goats! The goats are regular contributors to enrich our garden soil.

Ada and Tasha love dried herbs. We brought them pine needles, and dried leaves, too. We call it trail-mix. Those two are so funny. Any leftover herbs, like Rosemary and lavender can also go in the nest boxes, where they help ward off pests, and give the hens a lovely fragrance to nestle in.

Besides sachets, Maria and I have been making other things with fabric scraps, like the snack bags we use around here all the time. Those are not just handy, but easy to make. And they are a fun way to make use of small and pretty bits of leftover fabric. We have a vision... we are working up to hosting a craft~lemonade~bakery sale to benefit the Little Free Library. The Library is doing very well, our neighbors are terrific contributors, the pups love the water dish, and enjoy the biscuits we leave out. Only one thing is missing... a reading bench! Since some families cannot wait to read their books, we think it would be great to have a sturdy and comfortable spot, beneath the pines, where a person could enjoy reading a chapter, or two. Our sale would be fun, and perhaps interactive, and all the proceeds would go toward the purchase of an outdoor bench. {Only "one thing missing?" Well, actually, I have more plans in mind, so maybe if our little sale makes big sales, we can see about a deck and shade, too. It never hurts to dream, right?}