Monday, June 8, 2015

media Monday and extreme siesta

in which our plucky heroine, sodden with the heat, sleeps away the afternoon and plans on working all night* instead...

This last weekend my pal Ursel and I traded days helping each other with cleaning/ organizing projects. Sunday we removed the center set of shelves from in front of the larger workroom window. This will allow me to open and shut the window while keeping my back happy. The contents of said shelves are in process of being sorted and relocated. This window faces west, so in the afternoon, is temporarily covered with mylar bubblepack, to help ameliorate the heat gain; the solar glare still leaks through around the edges... Of course now I am going to eventually need to reconfigure the storage on either side of the window, so that it works more effectively... but that is an entirely different task... sufficient to each weekend the housey-tasks chosen for working on... This one makes access of the window much easier (and my back is grateful), which makes running that fan in the early morning while working much easier.

The shelving from the workroom has a new home in the hallway, facing the bookcase and on the reverse side of the computer. This will allow me to have the most frequently used tools and hardware in a more central location, as well as giving me the chance to organise that category into more "findable" configurations.

When something in the house shifts position, the shakeup allows new ideas for both how to make life here more functional and what can be let go of.  One of the two Ikea entryway box of drawers will fit neatly atop the new hallway shelves, and there are two vintage chests of tiny tooldrawers on the kitchen windowsill that are not being used well either; the flat tops of both larger and smaller drawers are clutter-catchers. I'd like to return the entryway surface to just holding the key bowl, and some decorative bit of the natural world like yard flowers and some pretty rocks...

The thing that helps me the most with sorting and decluttering is having a friend keep me company. They don't have to even do anything, just having someone there in the same room helps me stay on task. The other thing I do, when I can't get a friend to hang out with me, is to set a timer and do 20/10's: twenty minutes on task and ten minutes doing something that is a reward. I have several online cartoons I like to watch that come in about 10 minute episodes, so that works well for me; there is quite a lot that can be done in an hour or two of 20/10's... I learned about that concept from "Unfuck Your Habitat", and it has been very helpful...

This is one of the clearest burn test charts I've ever seen, for those of us who sometimes end up acquiring "mystery fabric"... Ursel and I burn tested some ostensibly silk fabric she found at Goodwill, and were quite pleased to find out that it was, in fact just as labeled... I plan on laminating the chart and storing it in the bathroom along with the burn test birdy** and the matches. I usually do burn tests in the cottage bathroom, because there is both an exhaust fan and a sink.

This morning I stood within sight of the hen food dispenser while they ate, making "choooook chook chook" noises. Eventually they will accept my presence and associate that sound with food. Eventually I will be able to phase out the feeder and simply feed them once a day, as I have done in the past with other chickens
Wrote this a week ago, and now when I walk into the backyard the first thing the hens do is come over to see if I am bringing them something tasty... Yesterday suppertime it was 92 on the front porch in the shade. 79 in the house. Ditto today. Went outside quickly to check on the hens, who were in the shade and appear to be okay, they have plenty of water and are moving around normally.

Fans are what I use for cooling down the house a bit, which keeps the house about ten degrees cooler than outdoors: I run them late in the evening, and very early in the morning. I can definitely feel a difference between the workroom, which is the only room with wall insulation (well, and it doesn't get full sun until the afternoon), and the main portion of the cottage. Morning is the time for house chores, and often either a walk or a bike ride is combined with errand running; it is a challenge to fit in physical activity on the days we get hammered by the hot yellow cloud in the sky.

And here is a bit of video fun... my friend Eulalia recently reminded me about Kacey Musgraves, and I've been enjoying some new-to-me music:
I have a real weakness for stop motion animation...

Not all of us did what we were supposed to do...

... did I today ? :
write pages walk 20 minutes make something declutter excess
no yes ? yes

June SMART goals
1 Jen jumper thinned apples bag to Goodwill
2 - pruned pear bin of twigs
3 - access to window bag to Goodwill
4 - hallway shelf -
5 - - -
6 - - -
7 - - -

* I do have some enameling that needs to be done, but I will probably wait til the middle of next week when it is a little less oven-like, and set the alarm so I can work in the middle of the night/earliest morning when it is the coolest. Instead for most of this week it will be other sorts of workroom projects, like soldering settings with my new torch!

** this is my "burn test birdy", yes it is a vintage street fair item, and yes I know what it's intended use was, but here at Acorn Cottage it has had a second life helping me identify thrifted mystery fabrics


  1. Thank you for the burn chart; it looks more comprehensive than any other I've seen.

    Congratulations on configuring your house to be the way that works best for you and on having buddies to work with you and you with them on that effort.

    I sympathize with you in the heat; it is a real energy-sapper. I once read, and follow, the advice to open wide all the windows when it is coolest, use fans to suck in the cool air and encourage the hot air to exit, then shut the house up tight when it begins to warm up. That helps a great deal to keep my house comfortable. Keeping sunlight off the windows helps too. I made some insulated panels to hang from nails to keep out the sun on the inside, east side of the house. Both Warm Windows and Thinsulate work well for that, but Thinsulate has the advantage of being less bulky.

  2. Glad to know that the burn chart is helpful... it sure made it easy to tell just what the mystery fabric Ursel found at Goodwill this weekend was. I wish I could keep my windows open all night and run the fans, but it isn't safe, so I only run them when I am awake. I might see if someplace local carries Thinsulate... I made Roman shades from Warm WIndows for my kitchen, and after several years they now look both shabby and dirty, but the Warm Window insulation is not washable!! I never thought to check that beforehand.

  3. Had you ever considered shutters? Wooden ones keep the heat out, and if you get louvred ones you could lock them shut and still get a breeze through the open window behind.

  4. I have thought about making solid internal folding shutters, that I could line with the mylar bubblepack but keep it less visible, since it isn't very pretty. I've not seen louvered shutters that would keep out a prowler, which is why the windows here are never left open all night.