Tuesday, February 27, 2007

crafty recap

The tea party of crafty goodness was a lot of fun. Vikki worked on embroidery, while helping her apprentice with the construction of a new Norse apron-dress, in a lovely spring green wool. Rafny brought her needle-felting tools and multicolor wool bits, and while working on some of her charming little creatures, also had the patience to help Ivan (son of Vikki) to create a mouse as his first needle-felted project. Aelflaed worked on a beautiful and challenging bead weaving project, while her husband put in some time working on a new sword. Elfreda came to visit for most of the afternoon, and a pleasant time was had by all…

After spending my entire adult life living in other peoples houses, (and while some of those houses were plenty of fun, others were not conducive to having friends over at all) I'm really enjoying being able to indulge in the Noble Virtue of hospitality. Smokey loves having guests over as well, if it was up to her, we'd probably have a party every day; once a month is about what I am up for…

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

springtime, and adventures in homeownership

As I was walking around the yard this morning before work I decided to take some pictures… Spring is definitely on the way, the bulbs that were planted somewhat randomly, in the walkway bed and in pots on the front deck, and a whole box not till the middle of the winter, 'cos they were lost in the workroom, have all begun to show leafage aboveground.

The snowdrops have been blooming for several weeks, and just two days ago, these little spiky bits unfolded to become tiny indigo iris. Woo hoo! The chives that I thought were dead have sprouted again, and the tarragon pot has new little leaves as well. And the rhubarb root, which traveled down from Olympia in the back of the truck a few weeks ago, and was planted in the side yard next to the rosemary bush, is already showing pink nubbins.

At some point I must plant strawberries, on account of the wonderful goodness of strawberry rhubarb pie.
Yesterday, after acquiring the worlds tiniest pry bar, I pried away the trim around the bathtub enclosure, which had started turning brown and soft! Not a good thing for what was supposed to be white-painted wood, and on close inspection seemed to be some kind of soggy cardboard (grumble) It looked perfectly okay when we had the house inspected… When I spoke with the really cute man at the hardware store, who had asked why I needed the worlds tiniest pry bar, he said that the trim was probably something called MDF, which is basically made from sawdust and glue, and never intended for use in damp areas… (yet another example of the incredible ineptitude of the previous owners of Acorn Cottage) The trim crumbled away in pieces when I pried it away from the wall, as did a very modest amount of the adjacent wallboard. Fortunately there does not appear to be a mold farm in there, so I will spray some bleach and let things dry out well before attempting repairs, which will probably include re-caulking the bathtub, which I am guessing is where the excess water came from in the first place. Ahh…adventures in homeownership…

Friday, February 9, 2007


Well, the hens have been showing signs of impending changes...eating more, digging large "nesty" divots in their pen, crouching down when I come over to feed them...today there were two nice brown eggs in the henhouse. I would think that it is still too dark, but nature says otherwise.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

a hennish introduction

These are my hens, for those of you who haven't met them in real-time. The gold one in front is Henrietta, she is a Buff Orpington and came here as a gift from my old friend Sharon in Olympia; and the red one barely visible in the background is Hennypenny, she is a Rhode Island Red, and is the lost hen who came to live here...

Once upon a time (last year), not too long after I moved in, I was in the front yard, planting the sage plant that Bill gave me (which I had been carting around in a big pot for many a year), when I heard an odd sound. As I looked around, there was a little red chicken walking across the yard towards me. As I have neighbors that let their hens "free range", I thought she was one of those
...it turned out that they were not missing any chickens, and as I had intended to keep some hens "someday" she ended up living with me... after a number of months she had another hen for company, and a beautiful henhouse, built with wonderful helpfulness by my friend Chance, helped by his wife Rois, myself, and their two sons.

Later this year, I intend to paint the henhouse... as the idea this past autumn was to get the hens solid walls and a roof before the winter rain and snow. Their previous shelters were cobbled together with zip-ties from chicken wire, tarps, and discarded wood scraps from old political signs, not the most weathertight (or predator-proof) of abodes.

My friend Heidi, (who, with her husband Dan are the blacksmiths of White Hart Forge,) made the forged iron weight for the sliding henhouse door.

Friday, February 2, 2007

recovering slowly

(sigh) I am not well enough to travel to Midwinters, though I did go to work today for a half day. I am now really tired, and will probably fall asleep after dinner, but almost a whole week without work is bad for the piggybank. I like being self-employed, never handled the whole subordinate thing very well, but it sure would be nice to have a few "sick-days" that did not automatically mean no income.

Well, enough grousing, at least I will hopefully continue to feel better, and can visit Adiantum sometime later in the year...

This morning the folks from the Downspout Disconnection program came to my house (as I had requested last month) and talked with me about which downspouts they could re-route. I will be getting two re-routes complete with new gutters; one along the front walkway (roof drainage over the former garage), and one along the north side of the house( drainage from the north half of the house roof). The gutters and downspouts will be blue, similar to the trim already on the house.

The one downspout that I already disconnected qualifies, so once the work is done, probably next week, I can apply for the "Clean River Rewards" program, though not for the full discount, since the downspout from the north garage roof is, as I suspected, too weirdly located to re-route. But...if I can route it into a water-barrel setup that also meets the criteria of both programs, I will be eligible for the full discount, though the inspector this morning said that the difference between full and partial would be less that $2 per month, so I don't have to do it ASAP.

I am arranging this not only because sending clean rainwater through the sewers is a stupid idea, but because the water/sewer bill is my most expensive utility, and anything that will help lower it is good, and this will lower my bill a little bit for at least the next ten years.

Anyway the library is closing soon, so I'll sign off

Thursday, February 1, 2007

still sick...bleah!

The dread rhinovirus has invited several friends with spikey tap shoes to dance around inside my poor head, and copious applications of tea and soup have not discouraged them...I've been sick since late Monday, haven't gone to work for the last three days, and I fear that I will be in no condition to drive south for Midwinters, not to mention that I have no intention of sharing this crud with any of my friends. (Mayhap I can plan a later trip down to Adiantum, but I will have to miss the wonderful feast...)

When I looked out the window to the backyard this morning, Henrietta and Hennypenny were doing their "dustbath" thing, and were a red-and-gold patch of feathers flat on the ground in the sunny spot next to the shed. I still find it amusing/weird that chickens "bathe" in dirt, mostly because they look so funny when they do. But I had never seen them bathing together before.