Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Roof Repair in the Blazing Heat

While this roof doesn't look that bad, it definitely needed to be replaced.  The underpinnings of it had rotted (probably from moisture from the huge hot tub in the basement after 20+ years), and although it didn't leak (yet), our contractor son, Tony, had let us know when he did a minor repair on it last year that it was "Squishy" when he walked on it.
So Tony made time for us in his busy summer building season to replace the roof.  Our grandson, Jesse, is following in his dad's footsteps, and is the hardest working 21 year old man I know.  They do amazing work in a real short time. Tony stripped the old roof, resheeted it, and put new metal on, while Jesse hauled debris away, lugged plywood to hand up to Tony on the roof, and counselled all the sightseers who dropped by.  They did all this in one and a half days including driving over from Eastern Washington to do the job.
I'm pretty sure a good mother wouldn't put her son on a dangerous roof to work in 90 degree (in the shade) weather, but I'm always proud of him and his excellent work and willingness to drop everything to come to our rescue.  
All done and it looks so good - enjoyed admiring it from the lake as I swam today!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Summer in the Garden

Many years ago, we planted several thousand Noble fir and Douglas fir trees with the intention of selling Christmas trees.  The thing we didn't factor in was that we have been spending winters at our Georgia house and wouldn't be here to actually sell the trees when they were big enough.  To make matters worse, we planted a couple of thousand trees in pots, and put three rows of them inside the garden fence.
The trees continued to grow, and I continued to ignore them as I had plenty of garden space.  However, they had finally gotten tall enough to seriously shade the raspberries, and about half of the garden.  So Ron has been removing them with the trackhoe.
The fence is gone, the trees are gone, but we still have a major job ahead cleaning out all the roots and parts and pieces of the pots we planted them in.  By next spring, we should have reclaimed garden area.  For now, we've eliminated some serious rabbit and slug habitat, and the raspberries are already looking better.
My jam making season begins!
The peas that I planted in the raised bed with a chicken wire fence to keep out the bunnies are doing great.
So is the cabbage that's inside the fence in the raised bed.
We're enjoying new potatoes nearly every day.
We should have lots of zucchini soon.
and beets are nearly ready to thin and harvest.
You can see the netting over the strawberries - it doesn't totally keep the bunnies and birds out, but it does allow me to get a few strawberries too.  Sometimes I find it all balled up at the end of the garden, so I know something got tangled up in it.  I nearly get myself enmeshed if I'm not careful.
We had a family day last weekend, and the weather cooperated so Grandpa was able to give thrill rides to the kiddos and I was able to swim with them for the first time this year.
It was a perfect day - not too hot, not too cold.  Just right for enjoying family time outdoors.
We enjoyed a full day, ending with the kids making smores, 
And we watched the Mariners win, so we all had a good day.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Trinity Hot Springs Trip

Our grandson, Jesse, is a music student at EWU in Cheney, WA, and has been performing in a series of concerts.  We decided to go to his last concert at Sutton Park on Friday.  Both Ron and I have been working pretty hard for the past month, so we decided to make a mini-vacation out of the trip across the state.
First stop:
There are hundreds of hot springs in Idaho - but many are located way up in the mountains with marginal (some 4-wheel drive) roads, and many are primitive with no place to stay, or are owned by corporations and not open to the public. Trinity/Paradise Hot Springs is a club with lodge rooms and cabins and camping spaces for rent as well as a beautiful large pool.  
The water is lovely - about 100 degrees in the large part of the pool, with areas of much hotter water where the water enters the pool.  I was able to swim laps in the main pool, and we soaked in the hotter pools too.  The air temperature was around 95 degrees, but there was a variety of chairs in both sunny and shaded areas, so it was very pleasant - not too hot, not too cool - just perfect!
The lodge room was pretty basic ($100 per night) - clean, but small with two double beds and an attic feel to it.  There was one small window, a very small bathroom with shower but no tub, and no TV.  It wasn't light enough for reading, and the stairs to the guest rooms are steep and scary. I would recommend renting the cabin instead of the rooms in the lodge. However, we didn't spend much time in the room as the area around the pool was very comfortable and open 24 hours a day.  There is no restaurant, but they will rent a large kitchen for $15.  Lots of space for RV 's and tents, but we had the pool pretty much to ourselves most of the time.  According to their web site the water is the most ancient on earth, and is completely untreated and unfiltered.  It was one of the nicest hot springs of the many, many, that we have visited over the years. 
The drive from I-84 at Mountain Home to the spring is about 35 beautiful scenic miles on mostly good roads in spite of a detour of about 5 miles.  Surprisingly, there were thousands of camp sites and both tenters and RV campers, many vacation homes, and boat ramps all along the water.  However, there were only two eating establishments that we saw:  a small cafe, and a bar/tavern, so it's advisable to bring your own food if you go. 
Second stop:  Moscow Idaho - where I was born and the farm where I lived for the first 8 years of my life.
The house is long gone, but the barn where we jumped from the hayloft into the hay when we were kids is still standing. There is something about that area that still tugs at my heartstrings even though I only lived there as a child.
3rd stop:  Sutton Park in Cheney where we met Jesse, his other grandparents, and my son and daughter-in-law to enjoy an afternoon in the sun listening to the amazingly talented student musicians of EWU perform.
This morning my beautiful daughter-in-law, Tina, gave me a raindrop massage - It was unlike any massage I have ever had - if you ever get a chance to have one, jump on it!  The combination of massage techniques and essential oils was the most relaxing and rejuvenating experience ever!
We stopped for a quick visit to our granddaughter, Sara, and our two cute and cuddly great grandchildren on our way home.
Then we came home to a nicely hydrated garden - so it rained enough in our absence to do my daily watering for me.
Back to the grind tomorrow! 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Collage Art

Thinking of my Mom on Mother's Day - she loved flowers and taught me when I was very young to press and dry flowers.
So we usually had all the phone books full of drying flowers.  This used to be a problem when my husband actually used the phone book to find a number.  But now that we use the internet to find phone numbers, I can use all the old phone books exclusively for drying flowers.
When my sister introduced me to collage several years ago, I finally found a use for all those dried flowers!
 Start with art paper - if doing birthday or Christmas cards, I start by cutting the paper into approximately 5" squares.
The first layer is tissue paper - I paint white tissue paper if I'm looking for a particular color.  For Christmas cards, there are tons of Christmas themed tissue papers available.  I cut the tissue into approximately the same size as the art paper - a bit larger to completely cover the art paper.
The key ingredient is the medium - using a paintbrush, paint the art paper with it, then lay the tissue on top and paint again.
Then add accent paper, dried flowers, and anything your imagination can provide, adding a layer of medium after each element is added.  At the end, I use a paint brush and paint to highlight as needed.
This is from a photo I took of my sister-in-law that made a perfect scene for collage.  But, you don't have to be an artist - collage is the most forgiving of art projects.  When my mother was nearly blind with macular degeneration and 92 years old, we were still doing collage together.  Sometimes I found flowers glued to the table or the floor, but she made some stunning greeting cards too.  If you are an artist, of course, you can do amazing things with collage - like this one that my cousin, who is an accomplished artist, did for me.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Spring - Our busy time of year!

So I started our busy time of year by stupidly charging through the woods and tripping, falling, and badly breaking my left arm.  Thankfully, it was my left arm as I'm totally right handed - but that being said, even brushing my hair or my teeth seems to take two hands - who knew?  I was sent home from the ER with a displaced fracture to wait a week for an orthopedic surgeon who had time to fix me.  I won't even discuss the pain - but it was unlike anything I've ever experienced before.  Fortunately, after a month I'm starting to get back to normal.
 The cherry trees are in full bloom,
I've moved most of the plants I started in the greenhouse into the garden or into their tubs in the greenhouse.
Ron is getting really good with his new machine and is busily clearing a spot for a barn building.
And yesterday we had an 80 degree day where we took the motorcycle for a ride to look at the tulip fields of Mt. Vernon.

Saturday, March 10, 2018


While it may not be Spring yet on the calendar, we are definitely feeling Springlike around here.
Ron's new machine arrives just in time for Spring projects! The side benefit for me is I will have nearly exclusive use of the Kubota and will be able to leave the rotovator on all summer!
Snow is gone, grass is green, trees are beginning to have leaves, sun is shining, and the plants in the greenhouse survived the winter.
Life is good!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

What a Difference a Day Makes!

Snow in the Pacific Northwest in February isn't totally rare, but usually by February, signs of Spring start popping up, and we get some sunny warm days where I can plant peas.
This year, we had a two week cold front that came through the last two weeks of February, where the temperature dropped, the ice began to advance on the lake, and we were dumped on with snow two separate times.
After the second snow storm, we had accumulated about 8" of snow.
Ron took the tractor out and cleared the driveway so that we could all get out, as the snow seemed to be concentrated at the 500' level where we are located.  Once we got out on the main roads, there was little or no snow.
The gravel is going to need some rearranging when this is all over, but we weren't stuck at home.
Since it was time to plant my garden, I dug out the plastic containers I've been hoarding and started some seeds on my dining room table.
The apple containers are perfect for the larger seeds.  I can label them with a magic marker.
The peas are already popping up - I planted them on February 25, so it took just 4 days for them to get started.  When they get too tall for the container to be closed, I'll cut the top off and discard it and let the peas continue to grow until the ground is ready for them to be planted outside. Before planting them in the ground, I will move them outside to harden them off on sunny days. The roots become more and more visible through the plastic, and they come out of the container easily when it's time to plant. I'm always looking for ways to extend my growing season, and these containers are the best. (And they're free!)
March 1 - the only snow remaining is what we shoveled off the patio and the snow that slid off the roof.  It feels and smells like Spring outside and we're ready!