Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mel, is this some cruel joke? (aka marshmello fondant)

Oh boy, did i make a mess today?! But i think it worked. What do you think Madam Cake Goddess???

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Another Birthday Outing

There are sure a lot of birthday in April! In our family there are at least 7 (3 of my b-i-l- are born within days of each other.)

Yesterday was another very special birthday--my mom's.

We took her to the little town we wish to move to, had lunch that the "Rome Away From Rome" cafe and visited the gardening store. This is their picture with Don Dirt, the "Master Gardener" at the store. :o)

I hope she had a fun day!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Laundry Room remodel is Underway

Our family is not a household of do-it-yourselfers. I love painting, furniture shopping (what girl doesn't) and dreaming. No idea is too big (well, maybe plumbing and electrical would be, but anything else i figure i can try. I mean, i took chem labs in hs and college and figure since i didn't blow anything up, that i could lay tile.) My hubbie?? Not so much. I am more of a "hey, what do we have to lose" kinda girl too. You can always change it, right? Unless you're dealing with a wall, or expensive materials, eh? ;O) My hubbie?? Not so much. Our trouble is, i am not the technical type. My hubbie?? Very much so! So i tell Hubbie (the one of us who passed physics and uses it on some what of a daily basis) that i am more like the architect or venture capitalist, and he is the engineer who makes sure everything's all is safe and sound. :O)

Today, we completed part of a do-it-yourself project. Our diy's never seem to be one single project. One project's hinged on another and so on. This time, it all started with a new refrigerator.

Back in July, we replaced the fridge that had been in our home easily since the mid 80's (maybe early 90's.) Of course, the only fridges they make these days that fit into a home like ours are the old reproductions of the Frigidaire's (which, if i was going to stay in this home, i would totally have got one) or the apartment sized fridges. That was just not going to cut it, so we got one of those big honkin' Samsung's with the double door action and pull out freezer. You know the kind that you have to break up into 3 pieces and rip down part of your deck just so the delivery gents can get it in your home?

Once it was delivered, our diy projects started. We had this cabinet that was located above our fridge--good for nothing because you couldn't really reach it on a day in, day out basis. And the new fridge wouldn't fit under it by just a little under an inch clearance, so Hubbie ripped it out. Our cabinets aren't the fanciest, but they are functional. The original owners, who built the place, made them of plywood, applied a veneer on top and put some swanky doors on them. So i encouraged Hubbie to save them, figuring we could use it somehow else in the house. Maybe convert it to a bench cabinet or something.

Well, it's time has come today--it's new home? The laundry room.

We have a closet of a laundry room. The best thing about it is the laundry chute from the bathroom upstairs. :o) Above my w/d, were two red plywood shelves, and exposed were all my unattractive plastic bottles of various laundry cleaners and sundries.

So we decided to hang the cabinet here and the bonus was that Hubbie engineered it so i got to keep one of the shelves for more storage/display purposes. Hooray! Love that calculating Hubbie o'mine!!

Now you see 'em...

now you only see the ones that are cute!

Much, much, much nicer looking from the hallway (and from the guest bedroom just across the hall!)

Now for part deux of my laundry remodel...
do i paint it:

celedon pottery? or vintage map??

Friday, April 24, 2009

Spring Is Officially Here (even though its only 37 degrees out!)

Cherry Blossoms at dawn
Cherry blossoms at dusk

Cherry, apple, pear, plum--
hooray for those cheery blossoms,
each and every one!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Beauty of a 1950's Home

There isn't much i like about my 50's home, but this i do....

see that brick planter? At first i loathed it, because it makes it impossible for us to have a nice landing. If you built a six foot tall wooden box from one side to the other and put a door on it, you'd have a small closet. :o\ I especially didn't like it the night (a few years ago) when we had to call 9-1-1 thinking Hubbie was having a heartattack or a ruptured appendix. The firefighters and medics couldn't even get Hubbie in a fabric stretcher past this thing, because the angles are too tight.

Then again, it provides nice planting space for things that you'd like to keep virtually slug free.

Like chives and pansies,

some oregano and lots of parsley, which is totally handy to have on hand when you are making just have to walk down the stairs and out the front door at waist height you can be picky about the leaves you'll choose!

and some thyme.

This is also where, in the next few weeks you'll see pictures of the cascading sweet peas.

Adventures in Enumcluw

Yesterday, i headed out toward Mt. Rainier to a little town called Enumclaw. It's almost like one of those towns near our coast here, where at some time not too long after the 1940's, time stopped. Like with this Mutual of Enumclaw building. It's the kinds that the facade is made of pebbles. Brought back a childhood memory of a bank we used to go to Tucson. This building here is by far the tallest building in the area. This town is already my kinda town. :o)

Initially, i headed out this way to assess the local meat shop out there. They're said to have great bangers (British sausages), so we wanted to test them out for the meal at Hubbie's b/d party. Of course, if i'm gonna drive 30 miles out of my way for bangers, especially on Earth Day, i need to make the trip worth my while. So i looked up some homes for sale out there that we had been looking at and i took a little tour of the city. Unfortunately, yesterday's weather wasn't the best, so i couldn't get a lot of nice pictures--not even one of Mt. Rainier because she was shrouded in cloud cover.

With bangers purchased and not needing to be anywhere for a good 3 hours, i explored. In between Auburn, Enumclaw, and Black Diamond. LOTS of farmland out there. And let me tell you, LOTS OF COWS and of course that means LOTS of Moo Doo. It's beautiful though! Rolling green hills of fir trees, cows, and sheep. Unfortunately bordered by the Muckleshoot Tribe, which would normally be a good thing, but they're allowed to sell fireworks twice a year. I couldn't even keep track of the number of fireworks huts erected in the yards of the people along the highway. It was crazy!

Here's one of the houses i did see that interested me:

Now, if only it would go on the market. :o) Being out there made me realise how much we lost to this last housing boom. There are so many new Gargantuan McMansions (you know the ones that would take up all the lots of a new neighbourhood full of the regular sized McMansions? And then they add a two story garage to boot!) Sadly, the land is being sold off, chunk by chunk. Here and there are dotted this sweet and charming old craftsmen or even the few and far between Victorian farmhouses, separated by the horrid modular homes of the 80's and 90's and the GMM's of this century.

And the cost of the GMM's has really pushed up the prices of the nostalgic old houses--which can't even compete in size. There is no way a family can afford $550K-7ooK for a house. And the ones that do, their children suffer for it because usually it takes 2 incomes to pay for those kinds of bills.

And lastly, the thing that is area had going against it was the distance from Hubbie's work. It's one thing to make a trip out there once a year or so, but entirely different to have to drive it everyday.

I did see some interesting things though: like rows and rows of these?

Wondering what they were, i had to double and triple back a few times. Upon repeated viewing i noticed a few eyes popping out....

But of course they couldn't pop out when i tried taking their pictures 3 times. :o) The entire row of them was full of baby cows!! Brown ones (see that snout up there?), black ones, black and white ones. So adorable!! Anyone know the what these housing things are called? Cow-gloos? Moo-gloos? I am presuming they are to keep the babies warm on chilly days?
Here's a picture of some of the dairy cows nearby.
This just makes me want to have a farm of our own even more now. So many signs littering the roadways with "Fresh Raw Milk" or "Eggs" or "Lavender", what have you. So cool!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

If Every Garden Tells A Story...

i have a feeling my flower garden would fall into the black comedy genre. :o)

Wikipedia defines black comedy as "a sub-genre of comedy and satire in which topics and events that are usually regarded as taboo are treated in a satirical or humorous manner while retaining its seriousness."

Taboo, in my cutting garden, relates to the invasive Kentucky Bluegrass (and not the kind that has a good beat and you can dance to), dandelions, some vine type weeds that stick to you like double sided Duct tape, and various wetland type plants.

I've been battling these things since the first day i moved in 7.5 years ago, and the comical thing is that i am still battling them. Or maybe it's comical that i think i can still put a stop to them?

I did make some headway this week. We decided our new Pope John Paul II rose bush would be a great addition here, since this is where all the other roses are located. And the bush will be located in front of the main entrance to our home and the guest bedroom window, so it can be thoroughly appreciated more than the bare spot of dirt that was there before. Although, after planting my 'Kent' climbing rose in this bed, i am not sure more roses in this area are going to help matters any. The grass is just so invasive and now i've made a mess of trying to get rid of it without being prickled like a pincushion while you're trying to weed around them.

Pope John Paul II rose bush

Another spot i devoted some time to this week was the end of the garden that has the wetland type plants. Also, someone years ago planted one of those yucca type plants here that were popular in the 50-60's. We whacked it down because it was growing so close to the foundation of the house, that we didn't want any problems. But now, it's tubers still live on. To the point of sprouting through the 15 layers of cardboard and river rock i placed over them. Would that be more comedy, or more satire? Oy!
Now i have a hollyhock, a carnation by the name of "Fancy Knickers", my Lenten Rose, and an Iceland poppy in the spot. I also broke up pieces of my California Flame calla lily and installed it here. I think it will all look nice when July rolls around.
So just like any "authour" of a story, i've got a good beginning and an end, but this is the part i need help with:

The middle. This part of the garden is a sort of "no-plants land". The lavender will help fill in a few years, there's a primrose or two and a balsam thyme, but other than that, nothing that isn't grass or dandelions. I am wondering what would be a good addition here? Any suggestions? I do have some crocosmia that are waiting to be planted...wondering if they would be a welcomed plant?

(another shot of the middle of the garden from the yard)

Our Big Backyard

Yesterday i noticed this little guy on the chicken run (and i am happy to report my chickens are true "chickanitarians", because they didn't eat him.) :o)
Once the fuzzy catapillers show up, its a good indication that the backyard is alive.

Our "backyard", if you can call it that, is basically the variance required now by code between the gorge behind our house and the back of our home. So, with my hubbie being the head Environmental Engineer for the city in which we live, i don't have to tell you that not much can go on in this part of the yard. We don't even mow it but once a year. There are huge 50+ year old Doug Fir trees and a couple of native species we planted when i moved in, but other than that, i lovingly refer to it as the Wild.
Yesterday, i spotted a maple tree in bloom

This springy green "shrub" here is a native species called Indian Plum.
and it throws off these beautiful flowers

Unfortunately, most of our neighbours dump their yard waste down the hillside. Sadly, in doing so, they wiped out the trail down to the bottom of the gorge (one of the trailheads is located in our backyard.) Here is a great example of why not to do that and futhermore, why never to plant English Ivy.

These two trees were killed in a wind storm we had several years back, however now they have become spewing ivy covered columns on the bank of the gorge. Soon the entire gorge could be covered in this stuff snuffing out beautiful plants like this:

Oregon grape

It will eventually kill the trees here too, as it will wind around the trees and choke them.
This now is what our view in the backyard is like today. It's beautiful.
Maybe i should have saved this message for Earth Day, eh? But tomorrow is my hubbie's birthday, so i'll celebrate the Earth a day early, eh?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Party Invites...

You remember the Easter Egg Hunt (aka candy grab), from last Saturday, eh?

I had been anxious about what i would design for Hubbie's invites...he's interested in so many things--sailing, sports, name it. Plus, he's turning 40. :o) Without getting too corny about it, i wanted to do something to honor his years here on Earth. No tombstone invitations here!

Well, being on that football field inspired Hubbie's birthday invites:

During our conversations about the party, he had mentioned he might not want people to bring gifts. But since there are always going to be generous people who love to buy for special occasions, we came up with the idea to request if people wanted to buy something, they could buy items to benefit the local pregnancy aid

"so that one good birthday could benefit the other", like Hubbie said.

Here's how they turned out...

Whew! That was easy!

Now, onto the menu....traditional Irish has been requested.

Working in the Yard

Yesterday, we couldn't have asked for better weather. Sunny most of the day, highs in the low 60's. We spent two great chunks of time out in the yard with the chickens. Grass in need mowing, garden in need of a flame thrower, yet we choose to hand dig the weeds. hee hee Seeds yearning to be planted.

We have a riding mower for our 17,000sf yard of grass. I have to wonder what the neighbours think when i'm starting the thing up and driving it all over our lot--most of them only have 8K-9K lots. We've also doctors our mower with some bumperstickers--the country codes for Germany, Ireland, and Norway. We must provide a few giggles for the nosy neighbours. It gets the job done so much faster than a self propelled jobby, hoping that we save a little exhaust that way.

The yard looks pretty good when she's all dolled up. Hubbie's birthday party is in a couple weeks, and we're hoping we'll be able to enjoy the yard and some nice weather. You never know though, one year we had a Memorial Day party and we had to "party" in our carport, for it was so windy and rainy.

In other efforts to clean up the place, i scrubbed part of the deck and freecycled some of the pots, BBQ, and things that had accumulated there. It's looking pretty decent now, if i can just get the rest of the moss/jet fuel fallout scrubbed off of it, it'll look pretty swanky for the party.

The raspberry canes are amazing this year! When we first moved in there were canes out in our front yard that seemed to be languishing in the sun all day. My parents gave us some of their raspberries, and we had them in partial shade, hoping that it would control their shoots and help with h2o control. That didn't work so well, cause we'd get about a handful of berries every year while my parents would get gallons and gallons of them. So we moved the canes last year and this is what we have now

that's my rhubarb right next to it.

While i was cleaning the deck, Hubbie, Ri, and the chickens helped weed part of the veggie garden. Ri ended up digging a hole to Australia

Later in the day, we got the Russian Banana fingerling potatoes planted. Today i'll get some more work done for the birthday party and theYukon Gold's planted. Hubbie and Ri are going to a Rainier's baseball game after Mass. Hopefully i'll be able to get some veggies started too. Tomorrow's weather is supposed to turn rainy and by mid week we'll be facing temps in thelow 50's again. Ugh!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Daughters Can Be So Adorable

Yesterday, my girl had a fish hatchery field trip to Issaquah, WA. It's about 30 miles away from where we live. Because the 3 highways we'd have to use to get there are usually a nightmare clogged roadway by p.m. rush hour, i take all the back roads...which makes our trip probably more like 40 or 45 miles long. :o)

We went on our own yesterday instead of carpooling; figurin' if we're going to drive all that way, we'll do a little exploring too. Issaquah is a nice town, but it's been so over built that it's just crazy trying to get around there. Hence, there was lots of u-turns during our exploring, but ample opportunity to listen to Ri new favourite CD "The Essential Johnny Cash".

On our way home, driving through the city-fied countryside between the 'quah and Renton, Ri sighs really hard and gets that look that kids get when they are truly perplexed about something. "Mom," she said so sadly, "i wish i could have married Johnny Cash." When i asked why, she said, "Well, i just love him, Mom. Well, i love his songs, and i mean, i love his voice. I just wish i could have married him, Mom." Then i asked her if she would like to marry a good singer someday so he could serenade her all the time, and she said, "Yeah, just like Johnny Cash." :O)

When i shared this with Hubbie, of course his typical male response was "then I'd have to kill him." But as i pointed out, he should be glad his girl has fallen for a respectable gentleman--a manly man (much like my infatuation with Bono.) It could be worse, she could have said, "Mom, i wish i could marry...(insert Elton John, Justin Timberlake, any one of the Backstreet Boys.)"

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Not So Wordy Wednesday...

It's rainy and cold. It's miserable. When will Mother Nature get the memo that she's killing us here with all this wet and wild (and sometimes frozen) weather?
Few things are cheering me up.
Our new rose bush is giving me hope of Summer yet to come...
however, if i plant it outside now, i might just kill it. This morning it was 35 outside at 7:45.
these daffodils are about the prettiest thing i've seen all "Sprinter" (aka Spring + Winter)

course, so, too, is my daughter...

and her cute pictures she draws on the windows with dry erase markers.
this one is of a Flicker woodpecker on our birdfeeder. :o)
and monsterous eggs!
this is our first double yolker.
which one of these things is not like the other, eh??!
Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday and that it is sunny somewhere!