Sunday, June 29, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

by far the cutest of my neighbors

S/he's apparently the last of a lineage of escaped/released easter gift rabbits from several years back; they used to terrorize the whole street in gangs, and no garden was safe. This is the toughest and wiliest survivor of the lot. Who was enjoying some sheep sorrel at the edge of my driveway when I got home this evening.

notes to self

Some things to study and work on implementing as time and seasons allow: and (and really probably just browse the "water catchment" tag in that whole blog) and - that second one especially, tho it will need to be translated to PNW climate needs

I threw out my back this last weekend trying to lift too many bricks at once, so of course this is a good time to ponder building earthworks. Our seasonal rainfall pattern, though, it is a menace.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

home comfort

It's amazing what literally tiny things can be so uplifting. This morning I sat on the patio and watched the clover patch, while three different kinds of bees buzzed around in it and sampled the flowers. Sunlight, warmth, living things going about their business: what a solid, simple pleasure.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

one down

The energy upgrade project is done! I've signed the final paperwork, had the electrical inspection, the works. The house is now fully insulated -- walls, attic, crawlspace, pipes and ductwork -- and the oil furnace is gone, replaced by a heat pump. That's one major goal accomplished!

Now comes the part where I pay for it, of course, which is less exciting. I did this whole thing through a local incentive program, Community Power Works, that hooks homeowners up with rebates and financial incentives for reducing their energy usage. The whole rebate/incentive package knocked about $6,000 off the cost of the upgrades, and they got me a low-rate loan for the rest. But it's still debt, which I hate carrying (I had been completely debt-free for a few years before I got a mortgage to buy the house) -- the early part of a big loan, where your payments are more interest than principal, is the worst. Obviously I need to write some popular novels so I have a second income stream that I can just pour into loan payoff.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


It turns out I can only keep up with about 2/3 of my life at any given time. I have an unpleasant suspicion that this is how adulthood works for everyone. Anyway, this past week I have been keeping up with the writing part, and not so much with the gardenblogging part. So here, have a few instances of photos from the last week!

 My potato plants love life! I am looking forward to the treasure hunt part of the season.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

That's the north wall of the house. Even parked right up against it, there's enough light for this little guy to make a brave showing of it. What a nice thing to come home to!

Monday, June 2, 2014


Spent most of the weekend at Mother Earth News Fair, down at the state fairgrounds in Puyallup. Attended some cool workshops (and parts of some less-impressive ones), petted some very fluffy llamas, studied a variety of chicken breeds up close, and bought a pot of comfrey since I've had terrible luck getting it to start from seed (future me, if you're reading this: be less darwinian about starting new plants! it's okay to coddle them a little at the starting line) and a set of plug spawn for shiitakes. And just generally soaked in the weird all weekend. The fair brings out an interesting cross-section of people, including small farmers who are happy to have a market for their rare breeds of pigs, hippies who want to discuss their global herbalism tradition, historical reenactors demonstrating 19th-century crafts, libertarians who want government out of the liquor-tax business, and white people who are all about "primitive" survival skills. Very much a place where you need to take what works for you and ignore the rest.

So I feel really pleased and really lucky that the one book I came home with was Sandor Katz's Wild Fermentation, because that was a pretty darn perfect match. Not only is the subject fascinating to me, but Katz's take on the fermented-food revival is refreshingly reasonable (we did have someone literally try to sell us a "miracle" soda at the fair)—and he interweaves the recipes themselves with enough background on where they developed, the group of DIY Radical Faerie communards with whom he lives, that the sense of shared experience and joy is contagious. I've read the whole thing cover to cover already.

Also I have a batch of plum vinegar started on top of the refrigerator now. Perfect timing to "recycle" a couple of plums that were getting a little too squishy to eat.