21 March 2007

Ni raibh am agam scriobh go dti seo*

I celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day at KnitMoka’s farm (Eric had to work), where we let Finn run free with Achilles and Libby. We all pitched in on some farm chores (moving the wood pile, digging a basin for the earth oven and addressing the next phase of the chicken coop) before a delicious dinner of corned beef (both smoked and traditional), crabby potatoes, cabbage and soda bread. We played Trivial Pursuit, where Kevin, Ethan and I (as Team Black Dragon) were the winners! And I think there was some beer in there too.


Running dogs


Achilles


KnitMoka selecting the location for her earth oven....







...and Frank and Matt doing the work....



...with a little "help" from Finn.

*translation from Gaelic: I haven't had time to write until now

15 March 2007

sunrise

We all know that photos of sunrises and sunsets hardly ever do the subject justice, but I still wanted to share with you what the sunrise over the Cascades looked like as I stepped out of my house this morning....




Now remember that the colors were more intense, the light was brighter, and the ambient air temperature was colder. Not a shabby way to start a Thursday.

14 March 2007

money maker

While working on the new garden area yesterday, Eric found a quarter buried in the soil -- dated 1942.





The garden plot is just about ready, size and shape-wise. All the concrete that's going to come out this year has done so. We still have to add a bunch of topsoil and soil amendments to it, and build up the brick wall a little, but this is pretty close! We've about doubled the size of the garden and we have some nice plans for the rest of this upper area of the yard. (I'm having trouble getting a drawing of our ultimate plan to upload to this site, but I'll keep working on it).





And you may have noticed, Eric is not wearing his glasses because he got contact lenses! So far, so good, but I think he looks pretty dashing with the spectacles, myself. But then again, he is really enjoying not having to deal with raindrops on his glasses.

12 March 2007

concrete gone

Well, most of the concrete has gone off to a better place. We hauled most of it to Knitmoka's farm in Snohomish, about 30 minutes north of Seattle. We had three vehicles and we made two trips. And we still had to leave some behind. As I knelt to take a picture of what our patio looks like now, the dog -- Achilles -- ran by....



and then Matt ran after him....




And here's what the backyard looks like now:






And an action shot (where my photography skills prove lacking, but you get the idea). Rather than having to haul each piece across the remaining portion of the patio, down the steps, then out the gate, we removed some of the fence slats and passed the concrete through.


09 March 2007

so this is why the carrots wouldn't grow!

Eric removed the last of the soil yesterday -- now there's just a bit more concrete to remove (from the wooden containers are to the right) before it's time to remove the rose bushes, rebuild the retaining wall and till the soil for garden prep...

08 March 2007

walking and riding

It's time again for Eric and I to participate in the March of Dimes Walk America event here in Seattle. If you would like to make a contribution, here's my website: http://www.walkamerica.org/andrea_slusser

Also, I am still taking contributions for my cousin Laura, and her goal of raising $4,ooo in order to ride in the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes next year. She's accepting contributions all year, but the sooner the better! Thanks!

07 March 2007

i miss zoe

a couple of new Zoe pics that I just got my hands on....





As I get these new pictures (and in general, anyway), it pains me to not be able to just hop in the car and go see Emily, Zoe and Miles. Zoe is getting so big, so fast, and while I know I'll see them all in June, that will be a short trip, and I just know it'll be a long time before the next trip. Solution: Emily and Miles move to Seattle! (Portland would work too).

chain gang

Matt and Frank (usually of beer brewing get togethers) lent us their muscles and life's frustrations yesterday as we made some serious progress on the demolition project in the backyard. My photos didn't adequately capture the amount of work we got done, but I'd estimate that they broke up some 50 square feet.

05 March 2007

first "real" house project

It became apparent last summer that if we want to keep gardening in our yard (and we do), that we have to expand the space. Which means removing about 200 square feet of four-inch thick concrete. We shopped around for the biggest, badest sledgehammer we could find (a twenty pounder), then got to work. Eric has done nearly all of the work so far (I tried my hand last weekend, to see what it was like. It was hard.). We don’t expect to demolish enough concrete to meet our ultimate goal in time for this growing season, so we’ve made a two-phase plan (drawing coming soon!).

The first bit of concrete wallopin’ yielded some mesh reinforcement, but after a little while, the mesh stopped, making it much easier to pull out chunks of concrete, and before long, we had a decent sized hole:






Before we started, we tested the original garden space to see if the concrete ended at the wall, or if the garden topsoil had been placed directly on the concrete slab. We thought our test indicated that the slab did stop at the retaining wall, but when Eric moved some of the bricks and soil to make sure, we found that the old garden space consisted simply of a cell filled in with topsoil:






Hoo boy. Lots more concrete to work on. The upshot of this is that a friend-of-a-friend is coincidentally in need of a mass of concrete chunks for a project at her farm. Perfect timing! Hauling the concrete out to Snohomish will be part of this weekend’s work.




Also, it seems that spring is....springing here in the PacNW (though we did see a few inches of snow last week). These crocuses were planted by some previous homeowners and had long faded by the time we ever saw the house, so they were a pleasant surpise to us!