Workshop

?????????????????????????????Did I say handyman?  Au contraire – I meant Master Carpenter.

So, we have a new window in the workroom and now we need a massive workbench.  You might be looking at the bench legs. Wouldn’t that be fabulous to have them from our very own trees?  They belong here.

Now to the gutters.  First off, when you build a home, it’s too bad you don’t know everything there is to know on the planet.  So, our gutters have issues.  The nails holding them into the house were too short.  How the heck would we know that until the dang thing failed?

So Mr. Fabulous, or Master Carpenter, explained all and will fix.  Additional goober-traps will be placed along the gutters to help with the clogging.  And I wish you could have been at Home Depot today to see Mr. Wizard planning the soon-to-be-built, power-washing gutter thingamajigger.  There has to be upcoming video.  The new contraption will either work, break all the windows or be a totally hilarious experience.

More frogs were moved today.  The tadpoles are hanging in there.  Life is mysterious and wonderful.  Slugs were hand-picked from the flower beds.  We had been warned that once they knew we were here, they’d crawl in from the forest.  True dat.  Hummingbird babies are out and getting to know the feeders.

Go outside for pete’s sake!

 

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Forest Management

SONY DSCHow can this be okay?  How can people own a beautiful section of woods, ravage it and then leave the mess behind?  I do not get it.  I think this pile, in full view of our home, is in direct response to our carefully watching the destruction.  And this massive pile is precarious.  One shake and it all comes down.  Someone could be under it.  I would like to suggest who….

Meanwhile, we plant lilacs, poppies, and so much more.  The frog migration continues.  We have a few more polliwogs and we watch them closely.

Our house won an award for best project of the year.  Nice.  Now, I need an interior decorator.  Or, maybe not.

Today, our #1 handyman extraordinaire, added a new window in the garage – soon to be the studio/workspace.  He also cleaned gutters and offered up copious amounts of advice, humor and wisdom.  The hardest workers rock this world!

Today, I spent some time on beach trails with our grandson.  Special places and special times.  We have an amazing array of folks who do their utmost to protect the water that surrounds us.  Thank you to them.  Thank you WSU.  Thank you Calyx.

 

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Metamorphosis

frogmomOne of my favorite reads.

Three tadpoles are now ensconced in the borrowed aquarium.  We will watch as metamorphosis takes place.  We continue to relocate frogs; fifty at a time.  It is amazing.

How do we deal with the heated floor in the summer?  We have had some warm days and the house has been delightful, with loads of windows open.  The floor acts as a heater and a cooler.  Stinking miraculous.

The sun’s path continues to whirl around and we are astonished at the attention to detail for our home’s design.  Thank you!  The porch has a nicely shaded section.  The overhang keeps the sun from blasting through to heat the floor, when it does not need to be heated.

This morning, the sun peeked through the North windows of the bedroom for a few precious moments.  It was very cool.  It reminded us of the circle of sun in the far North.

The logging next door has ceased.  They left a massive pile of slash – massive.  How can they do that in good conscience?  It is ugly, dangerous, ugly and certainly not the “best practice” for sustaining a healthy forest.

 

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Feeding the Barred Owl

azeleaThe displaced Barred Owl from next door seems to have adopted our trees as a fly-through and we are thrilled.  We had the oddest bird call happening the past few days and finally found that it was the call of a female Barred Owl.

The frog migration continues as we relocate loads of frogs.  There are literally hundreds of them around the house foundation.  It is not a good place for them and so we have moved them on to the wetlands, the stream and such.

Hummingbird feeders (3) are up and being refilled on a daily basis.  We have Rufous and Anna’s.  The slugs have discovered the plants on the deck and that battle is on.

We are playing with opening and closing windows as the weather warms.  What to do with the thermostats?  Up and down, but it is all good thus far.  The solar panels are cranking up some serious energy and I would be more specific, but I just know it is good!  Zero-energy – bring it on!

Today, we both realized that we need to slow down and just enjoy this wonderful place.  There is, and will always be, something to get done.  But at this point in our lives, it is time to slow down and really, really smell the forest and the flowers and the ocean.

 

 

 

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Moving On

?????????????????????????????Nearly a month has passed and so much has been going on.  The property that surrounds us is being logged and we have been fighting the good fight.  We have met some marvelous neighbors who are concerned about their wells, the beach erosion, loss of habitat and such.  We have met with some wonderful Forestry and Fish and Game state experts as we all try to protect what we can.

The frog population has grown by leaps and bounds and I wonder from whence they came and where they should be.  Obviously, the dirt around our building site has been moved, pushed, trampled on, heaped and then moved again.  The frogs resiliency befuddles me.  There are masses of small frogs around the foundation of our house.  As Spring marches on, the dirt around the house is drying out.  Where will these frogs breed?  After a bit of research and days of thinking, I gathered up a bucket of frogs and relocated them to the wetlands on our property.  At least they have a chance to complete their cycle of life.  A day or so later, I gathered another bucket of frogs and took them to the stream.  As I set them loose, I watched as they swam across the shallow water, landed on a bit of wood and just sat and took it all in.  It was mesmerizing.

There is an owl who traverses through the property twice a day.  He hoots and stays for a bit and then travels on.  Well, his territory has been ravished.  It has been cut and plundered.  He came by the day it was happening, flew to our side of the trees, stayed a moment and left.  He did not return for a day.  Then he came back.  I have not heard or seen him for the past two days.  How many other birds, squirrels, chipmunks, deer, and frogs have been affected.  We watched as one Raven flew in completely unaware of the destruction.  He absolutely stopped mid-flight.  Stunned.  It was heart-breaking.

Am I guilt-free?  Absolutely not.  We cleared a little over an acre to build this house.  There was already a cleared meadow area and we added to that.  I was only here to see one tree come down and it broke my heart.  Tree-hugger – oh yeah.  Big time.  There are 3 or 4 trees we could take down to up the ante on the solar panels – well, it is not going to happen on my watch.  We left 9 1/2 acres untouched.

I wish I had the money to hire an interior decorator.  I know what I like, but I have no clear plan on how to make it all work.  And isn’t that just nonsense in the bigger picture?

I want the garage to be a massive art studio/work room.  That needs to happen soon.  I need to hammer and bend and dye and create.

Speaking of creation – My darling made some fabulous cedar planters for the deck.  They are filling up quickly.  Flowers, tomatoes and herbs and slugs!  Ha – the slug war is on.  And I wonder what creatures I need to encourage to eat the slugs?  So much new stuff to learn.

The heat pump noise will be interesting to deal with in the summer.  We both enjoy a cool house and especially a quiet house.  We turn off the heater in the evening’s and that solves the noise problem, but how efficient is that?  Beats me.  We are also dealing with putting in a water softener.  The water is good, good, good, but it leaves a yellow ring and my better half has skin issues.  Where is that headed?  We’ll see.  This is the never-ending-story.

Has anyone ever owned a house that was done and done?  How boring would that be?

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Froggie Boogie

stuckThrift stores rock.  A few weeks ago, we got a game entitled Froggie Boogie and it is fun!

Now, we have frogs out in the yard singing and talking to each other.  Carefully, we look for them.

Sometimes, during the hunt, boots becomes mired in the mud!  The best.

Speaking of the best – that was today.  The temperature was a balmy 60-something.  We stained some wood trim for use as frames.  I bought the wood quite awhile back and I’ve been waiting for the perfect day.  Today was it.  Well, there were billowing gusts of yellow pollen!  Seriously, it was amazing.

Then we gathered yet another load of slash.  We are clearing the debris from both sides of the driveway and it looks so much better.  We have many more loads to go.  This load went to the recycle center.  We wanted to see how much it cost.

Then we turned on the hose and sprayed off the solar panels.  They are covered in pollen!  We need to get a stronger fixture for the hose.

If you live in Washington and you were inside today – shame on you!

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Metal Head

canRandom daffodils, crocus and hyacinth are blooming around the house.  Yesterday, we tossed around thousands of wildflowers seeds.  We were going to wait until we had moved dirt in preparation for a vegetable garden space, a path, a shed and a greenhouse.  The seed packets were gathering dust on the counter.  We decided to toss them around and see what happens.  A field of California poppies would be spectacular.

The heather plants are still blooming, but the bumblebees have vanished.  I need to research their lives and patterns.  Did they move on to the other plants now at bloom in the forest?

The bird patterns are also puzzling.  We had loads of robins raking through the open areas.  Now, there are less of them.  I permanently took down the bird feeder.  I don’t think these birds need any help from me foraging.  Although, when I think of the impending clearing next door, I worry about what will be lost.  I will have that feeder up in a nanosecond, if need be.  Which brings me to the hummingbirds that have been flitting about.  Do I have a feeder for them or not?  Eventually, I would like to have such an abundance of flowers, that the feeder would be a moot point.

The house has not yet reached the comfortable old shoe stage, nor do I expect it to for quite some time.  The other day I did open another packed box and it was a dandy.  It held carefully wrapped, rusted pieces of metal.  Treasures for me.  An ancient bike chain, assorted tools, a tin can and more.  I have several of them in the windowsill.  I hesitated for a moment, knowing the metal  might scratch the paint.  It is high time I got over that nonsense.  The only way this house will reach “well worn shoe” status is for us to live in it, scratch it, bump into things, move things, and pound more nails into the walls.  So, the bits of metal are still in the windowsill.  A few more nails have been pounded into the walls.

With the changing of seasons, we have opened windows regularly.  This involves adjusting the floor heat so that the heat pump takes a break while the windows are open.  That business is all a learning curve, as we navigate the desired comfort level.

Frogs sing, owls hoot, eagles titter and Spring crawls through the forest.

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Color Wheel

springToday, we went to an estate sale.  What a melancholy occasion.  Someone’s precious belongings carefully laid out with price tags stuck on.  Dresses, hats, a lone color wheel; dishes, jewelry, sheets and blankets and all of the accoutrements of daily life.

We have sent comments to the ‘powers that be’, regarding the logging permit on the adjoining property.  I look at those trees and it breaks my heart.  Yes, we cleared land for our house, but we tried to be very respectful of the forest.

Our driveway would be a perfect example of the care taken during the building process.  We could easily have bulldozed a straight path up to the house.  How boring and pathetic.  Instead, the builder’s vision of a meandering path to the house, embracing the gentle rises, falls and curves of the land became our path to the house.  I love our driveway.

 

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Damage

11-24The other day, I noticed bit of pink surveyor’s tape out in the forest.  I was quite sure we had taken most of it down.

Sure enough, upon inspection, there were new lines of tape all along the edge of the property.  We went out and walked the entirety of the property and the tape was interspersed with pink and blue tape in certain areas.

Recently on the Island, there have appeared a swath of clear-cut properties.  It is heartbreaking.  They clear-cut and then place the property up for sale.  Who would buy it?  Damaged goods for sure.  Could this clear-cutting be in response to the newly enforced forest management policies?  These people owe significant sums in back taxes because they were not following the letter of the law and to forestall financial disaster, they clear-cut, sell the timber, pay their taxes and place a for sale sign out front.  Talk about good intentions gone awry.

We received notice 75% of the surrounding trees are doomed.  This is not good news.

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Spring

It is the first day of Spring and it has been spectacular.  This morning we spent a lot of time dragging tree slash to the trailer in anticipation of a weekend burn.  There is quite a bit of logging debris left hither and yon.  But, we have to be careful.  The errant log will be a comfortable home for a salamander.  Those logs and bits of wood will go nowhere.  The sky has been full of white fluff.  The sun has been shining.  The air temperature varied between 43 and 50 and we are amazed at how perfect that temperature is.

skyAnd so, we move forward with garden hopes and chores to be done.  Our home is comfortable.  It still needs our personal touches.  I am still looking forward to that comfortable old shoe feeling when I enter the house.  Seriously – that’s going to take awhile and that’s okay.  We have solid bones and now we need the ambiance.

I hope you are enjoying this strengthening season.

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