Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Don't know the story behind these bones. I found a few of them on my walk yesterday. They seem pretty big to me, 8"-12" long. Whatever left these behind would eat my cats like cheese and crackers and probably just swallow their bones.

Come for a visit

Everyone is welcome. You will know you are almost to our drive when you see this beautiful avenue of trees. We are surmising that we have maybe 20 years before they get logged (*SOB*) so I make sure to appreciate them every day. If you come to visit before the house is built you will be roughing it in a pretty posh trailer. If you wait until the house is built we can put you up in high (if small) style.

American Dream

Look! It's our first "traditional" roadside mailbox. (would you like an order of 2.5 children and a side of dog w/ that?). The Postmaster came out personally to make sure we placed the box in the correct location.

Yesterday Matt got older

Thanks to everyone who sent birthday greetings. Much as he would prefer to ignore the day, it is still nice to feel the love.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Moon over St. Helens - sort of

Ok - so I had to help my photo out a little bit. Mt. St. Helens is really back there - I swear. I just haven't figured out all the ho-has on my camera yet to take a proper evening photo.


Matt found this in the yard yesterday. We googled it and found that even though it looks like the most fearsome spider in the world it is a harmless garden spider. Of course the spider itself may be harmless but that doesn't mean I won't knock myself out running into a tree if one lands on me. This grand dame is approx 2.5" from leg end to leg end.
Her web is in a tuft of grass out in the yard. Matt found her while mowing and left her habitat intact. While he was mowing he also came across a settlement of praying mantises and relocated them to a new home before mowing down theirs. Isn't he sweet?

Monday, August 27, 2007

More Bees and Demolition

The bees just keep on coming. We thought we had all the bees taken care of but every time we open a wall or ceiling we find more. We can't find any beekeepers who will take bees now. They say it is too late in the season to move the bees. The bee keeper would have to feed them honey to try and keep them alive and even so they probably wouldn't survive the winter. So, our brilliant plan was to not-so-gently encourage them to move elsewhere by pulling the wall in which they live down. Seems to have worked. When Tom went back the day after he and Matt pulled the bee wall down, the bees were gone and all that remained were some really angry yellow jackets. Seems the yellow jackets were freeloading off the bees and they lost their meal ticket.

Sweet Morning Fog

Our limited experience up here as led us to believe that when the morning starts off foggy like this we are in for one heck-of-a spectacular day once it burns off. I will let you know if this holds true once winter kicks in.

Porland part II

Matt and I went back to Portland on Saturday. No reason, just wanted to get out and see something new. We went back to Food Fight for some groceries. This time I was smart and brought along a cooler bag w/ ice packs so we could buy perishables.

After Food Fight we weren't sure where to go. Someone mentioned the Hawthorne area and we passed Hawthorne on the way to Food Fight so we headed in that direction.

Hawthorne in general seemed a bit too hippy dippy for our tastes but a closer inspection led us to some places we will certainly revisit. First up: a gem of an Indian market. It is called India 4 You but I can't find a link or address to post. Matt bough a can of Petha (a pureed white pumpkin dessert) and I bought some frozen Rasmanlai (milk based dumpling-like pillows of goodness). Further along down the street we stopped in at Powell's bookstore for some browsing and then hit Pastaworks next door where Matt did some damage in the wine department and I bought a book to help us figure out where to go on our next visit to Portland ( After Pastworks we stopped in at Bridgeport Ale House where Matt had a few beers and I read the local weekly. Our last stop was Pho Van Hawthorne, a very noisy place for some very hungry vegetarians to eat some very tasty Vietnamese food. We started w/ crispy veggie egg rolls w/ ginger soy sauce, followed w/ more egg rolls (plus noodles) for Matt and curried tofu & rice for me. The picture above is of my Ginger creme brulee and Matt's Vietnamese coffee. Delish and Pretty all at the same time.

Cats in Bed

Lily ponders

Uh, according to the four princesses (yes, I mean the boys too) I guess Matt and I will be sleeping on the floor tonight.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Precious - AKA "Good fences make good neighbors"

Meet Precious (not her/his/it's real name if he has one). Every time we come near the fence he charges and sends all the horses scattering. He then struts and huffs so we know who is boss and he seems to have quite an air of satisfaction when we walk away ("another foe vanquished, a ha ha ha). Audrey has had the pleasure of meeting Precious. She can attest to his utter unpreciousness. Whenever I need a belly laugh I head for the western property line. Here is what I see. Enjoy.

The Demo Begins!

Before we move the Sister House to it's new location some demolition must occur. First step is to remove the lean-to on the back of the house. Here are some pictures of the smash up. We were able to save some windows and a bunch of wood. We will use the wood for trim inside the remodel.


A moment of silence for the bees.

There are/were multiple swarms of bees in the walls of the Sister House - mostly in the wall between the old pump house and the pantry. A bee keeper came and took 2 queens away. We thought that was all of them. After the queens and what bees they could get went away masses of bees got trapped in the main part of the house and died. We are not 100% sure what happened. It's like they got confused without the queen, flew into the house, couldn't get out, and died. I went into the house and there was a path of bees 1" thick (2" in the corners and by windows). Crunchy. I went back later with my camera to take pictures but somebody had already swept the dead bees out. the only pic I have is of the bees in the sink. Trust me - this is nothing compared to the piles of bees on the floor.

During the demo yesterday Matt and Tom found more hives. It looks like we need to call the bee keeper again. I meant to take a photo of the new hive but I had my camera set on movie and then my battery died so all I have is 2 seconds of beehive movie madness.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Southwest Washington Fair

Yesterday we went to the fair. We also got our first real Washington rain. I have a few pictures here and if you want to see more I have posted all the pictures on Flickr. If you go to Flickr you will see tons of goats, chickens, pigs and cows. I think they are all so beautiful and funny.

Here is what we ate. We have done much worse things to ourselves in fairs past. Witness the damage we did at the 2005 Los Angeles County fair. I must say that I was a little disappointed in the SW WA fair food. I could not find one deep fried snickers, oreo or avocado. I ended up eating a biscuit and jam for my treat. It seemed almost healthy.

All together now: Aaaaaa!!! How Cute!!!! FYI - this little guy is LOUD!!!


In the interest of fair play I must wipe my first Portland adventure from the slate. Portland just got it's first Ikea about a month ago. I needed to go there to price kitchen cabinets. FYI - Ikea cabinets are cheap to purchase but are very highly rated on quality by Consumer Reports. Now, as a reference point, we lived in San Diego when the first Ikea opened there and I don't remember any madness of the sort I encountered at the Portland Ikea. And as Los Angeles resident I used to enjoy a bit of minor complaining about what a pain in the ass it was to drive out to the Burbank Ikea and shop it's maze. Anyway, turns out I knew nothing of the true bottleneck potential of a visit to the Swedish Big Box.

First clue was the time it took to park. Second clue was the throngs of people heading in the door. Third clue - and I kid you not - was the man standing in the midst of his wife and kids who spread his arms wide and stated, "OK, now lets just ENJOY the EXPERIENCE". Dude, it's a STORE! This isn't Disneyland for cryin' out loud.

Trying to get to the kitchen department reminded me of trying to get to the front of the stage at a concert. Elbows were required.

Once I reached the cabinets I had the great fortune of stumbling upon an employee who was not with a customer!!! She took me to a computer and we began assembling my kitchen. She told me not to make eye contact with any of the number of people coming up trying to steal her from me. One lady even waved her estimate in front of us hollering that she was, "actually READY to PURCHASE her products, not just design". Sigh. I made it out fairly unscathed but I dread returning to make the final purchase.

I suspected that the Ikea errand would be bad, although I hadn't anticipated just how bad, and had planned a more enjoyable errand afterwards. Matt and I have, on occasion purchased goods from Food Fight Vegan Grocery. Not so much out of necessity because we had access to all sorts of stuff in Los Angeles, but more because we like what they do. Anyway, I Google mapped myself from Ikea to Food Fight for a bit of grocery shopping (because where we are living now is most certainly not as well stocked as LA) and a slice of coconut cake. After Food Fight I clumsily found my way to a Trader Joe's (Oh how I miss Trader Joe's!!!!) and then I headed home.

Portland part II

On Friday night Tom and I went to PDX to pick Matt up from his LA trip. Matt and I had planned to go out to eat after his arrival and we chose Pirate's Tavern as our destination. Then, on Thursday, Tom came by and asked if I wanted to go to Grandma & Grandpa's for the night, stay the day on Friday, and then pick Matt up. I said sure but we would need to take two cars unless he wanted to join us for dinner - and not just any dinner - a vegan dinner. (Tom's an elk hunter and this vegan business isn't really his thing). Anyway he said he would be happy to go to the Pirate's Tavern for some non meat deliciousness so that's what we did. The food was tasty and Walker, Tom's black lab, was able to join us at the table (on the patio) because the Pirate's Tavern is animal friendly.

So thumbs down to the Portland Ikea and thumbs up for the rest of my very limited Portland experience. I am looking forward to more exploration in the city.

Sorry for the bad pic. I didn't take the time to set it up. What's that in Matt's hand? It's a hammer from his co-worker, Tait. A very suitable gift. Also, Matt's annoyed with me for posting all sorts of dorky pictures of him. If he would ever grab the camera and take some pictures I would post those too but he doesn't so he is stuck w/ silly pictures of him on the web for all to see.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pictures from this morning

A view from South Military on my walk this morning. Pretty, ain't it?

Una taking a moment to mentally prepare for the great butterfly hunt of '07

Lily - already on the hunt

Lily and Una eating greens - later to be puked up in the house.

Russell taking stock of things from the comfort of my lap.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Spectacularly inefficient

I don't seem to be getting anything done. I have so much work to do: costing the house out, selecting EVERYTHING that needs to go in/on the house; continuing to make the current space livable; continuing to work for clients. Every day I work on some or all of those things but I don't feel like I am making progress on any front. If only I could check just one thing off my list I would feel better. Tomorrow I will not go to bed until I have curtains hanging in my windows. I don't think that is too much to ask of myself.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Limbing trees

Tom and Matt limbing some of our trees to get a better view for staking out the house perimeter.

It's 3pm. Do you know where your toilet is?

This is the 3rd trip to the backyard for our toilet in one weekend. We knew we needed to replace the seal and bolts. There was an awful smell coming from the bathroom and some leakage (sorry for the grossness). We figured the seal should take care of it. We figured wrong. After replacing the seal once we waited for the stink to go away. And waited and waited. Still smelly. Then we removed the toilet again and ripped up the faux tile flooring in the bathroom and entryway assuming some yuks had seeped underneath. Sure enough there was water under the tile. I cleaned until my back ached. We replaced the toilet and waited for the stink to go away. And waited, and waited. But still the accursed stink. Argh!!!! We took the toilet out again and added another wax ring to the seal thinking that maybe there was a gap. But still the stink! Now we think that we might need to pull out the pressboard cabinets in the bathroom as they might also be contaminated. Matt has gone back to Los Angeles for the week so it is up to me to monitor the STINK. Aren't I a lucky girl?

Friday, August 10, 2007

The cats

Lily and Russell head toward uncharted territory...
while Una and Quinten chill inside.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Matt and the Brush Hog

Tom brought over his brush hog and 4-wheeler so we can get a handle on all the dry grass on our land and also see the topography better so we can determine the best place for the Sister House. Kathy says that mowing seems to put Tom in a Zenlike trance. I asked Matt if it was meditative for him. He just grinned and said it was fun.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The living space in progress

Some before and during photos of the paint job in the living quarters. I am not going to post "after" shots until we get some furniture put in. Right now we are still sleeping on the air mattress. Matt and Tom fixed our bed on Sunday and we will go to Tom and Kathy's tonight to pick it up.

The garage bay filled w/ all our stuff.

A few pictures

Here we have some signs in the windows of vacant Winlock storefronts. These people take their egginess seriously.

In the same little park as the egg there is a sign announcing the presence if World Champion Women Log Rollers. Here is Matt w/ Audrey, our first houseguest!! She is visiting from NYC and had to see the egg.

While we were taking pictures and laughing about it some guys in a pick-up truck at the gas station across the street started yelling at us. One guy said, "Hey, you think that's big, you should see the chicken!" He also hollered that we had to stop by Frank's Hideaway before we left town. Then they drove away snorting "tourists" at us. Hey buddy, I'm from Hollywood. You don't know nothin' about tourists. Please. Plus, you best be callin' me a local now.

After paying our respects to the Egg, we went to Centralia and had dinner at the Olympic Club. It was tasty but I am nearing my limit on fried breads and cheese. That is generally what is available around here for vegetarians. Good thing I'm not vegan. I forgot to mention that for lunch Audrey and I went over to Toledo and had fried mac and cheese at Betty's. To counteract the effects of the fried mac and cheese I ordered a spinach salad for dinner at the Olympic Club. I didn't think to ask for the dressing on the side. Too bad. The salad was swimming in oil. I'm not really a healthy eater but yesterday really did me in. I decided to just succumb to it and ended up ordering a caramel brownie w/ ice cream for dessert.

Saturday, August 4, 2007


Just after the truck pulled away yesterday I decided to go into Winlock for something - I can't remember what. My car is in the shop so I had the spare keys to Matt's car in my hand. As soon as I shut the door I realized my mistake. The house keys were in the shed on the table. I was locked out. Doh! I called Kathy to see if they had a spare set. She thought they did and I went over to pick them up but they turned out to be keys to the trailer, not the shop. The other spare set they had was in Tom's truck and Tom's truck was parked at the Portland airport waiting for Matt and Tom to come home. I couldn't find a locksmith in Winlock and I didn't feel like slicing into the screen and I didn't have a ladder to help me crawl into the window anyway so I just spent the day tagging along w/ Kathy on her errands.

Matt got home late last night w/ Tom and I finally got back into my home. No longer a woman w/ out a country.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Moving day part II

The truck w/ all our material possessions should be arriving momentarily. I have my fingers crossed that nothing I love arrives cracked and broken. We don't have too many things that are sentimental or irreplaceable so things should be OK. The only thing that would bring tears would be if Matt's lovely and large television arrived broken. We have moving insurance though so even if that happens it won't be the end of the world.

I am painting today trying to make the place seem homier. Hope to finish by the time Matt gets back from Los Angeles tonight. Don't know if I mentioned he was there. We got to WA on Saturday and he had to turn around and go back on Tuesday for work. He will be home for a week and then go back down for another week. Hopefully after that he won't have to go more than twice a year at the most. At least when he goes back down to LA he has family and friends to visit, although he didn't visit anyone this time around. He was swamped, working extra long hours. He gets into Portland tonight shortly before Tom gets in from Alaska so they will be riding up to the Toledo/Winlock area together. I am excited for Tom's return home. We haven't seen him since we arrived. He has been away working on a house for some friends in Alaska.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

About face

So Qwest called Matt today and told him to retry hooking up the DSL. Matt is in Los Angeles so I tried to do it. I made a few mistakes but after he talked me through what wires go where we held our breath and all of a sudden, ta da! DSL on our new property. Why the Qwest tech couldn't make it work when he was at our house on Monday and why it works now are mysteries that may never be solved. I have been trolling the net for the last 3ish hours to make sure that it isn't a fluke and that the connection is solid. Looks like we won't have to rent an office after all. What a relief! I am going to bed a happy woman tonight - except that tomorrow I have to take my car into a mechanic b/c the "check engine" light just went on. Hope it is nothing serious.

Quick update

It looks like we can rent an office in town for about $125 a month. Not a monthly expenditure we were expecting but at least it is super reasonable. Only trouble is it is a ground floor store front and we don't want all our stuff so visible. I am still looking for an upstairs unit that isn't such an advertisement to steal our computers.

Today I hope to start painting the finished room in the shed. It is so institutional with the white paint and the buzzing, glaring flourescent lights that if I don't do something quick I feel I might go mad.