Tuesday, July 24, 2012

oh how she grows!

evolution of our backyard garden...

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welcome to my garden!

clockwise from top: tomato, tomato, brussel sprout,
spinach, carrots, onions, broccoli, brussel sprout. 
clockwise from wall-o-water: pepper, mini cantaloupe, (dragonfly light from AuntK), kale,
tomato, cucumber, potato, zuch, tomato.
unlike last year, my broccoli is rocking. this head is about 9" across.

potato cages in progress. 
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all 8 hens. only the larger ones in the back are laying at this point.
cumin, ginger, & frankie. 
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i am not a big fan of annuals, but these little flame plants have looked good since early june.
the lobelia on the other hand, is too finicky. 
our house as of july 20, 2012.
this is my little strawberry patch. it doesn't compare to the patch i recall grandma & grandpa few having in sisters, but it is a start. i have eaten two delicious berries out of there thus far. hopefully the rhubarb (far back) is hearty enough to harvest next year. strawberry rhubarb pie is calling my name...

Friday, July 20, 2012

for comparison's sake

i have put off taking photos of most of our house with the intention of making things "perfect" (& clean). i decided tonight that most folks who care about what our house looks like really don't care if it is photo shoot worthy. (i shared living room photos back in november.)

so this is what the kitchen looked like last august, during our home inspection:

i feel like we really haven't done much to the kitchen, but in contrast to the photos above, this place looks a whole lot different today:

while i have all kinds of plans a brewing for our kitchen remodel, i thought it would be good to document the current look. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

never a dull moment

a few, how shall i say... "odd" things have happened in recent days:

  1. i became ordained. it feels absolutely blasphemous to write that, but it is true. 

    i have been asked to officiate a friend's wedding, so i pursued online ordination. (a la joey on friends.) after i completed the lengthy 2 minute process, the website told me i should be very proud of this accomplishment (i am basking in pride at the moment, let me tell you! ha.) & that i could now be called reverend, minister, teacher, or healer. i'm debating, but "reverend overstreet" has its charms.

    i have some ambivalence about this ordination. i feel absolutely honored that friends desire me to preside over their wedding ceremony. but i also feel illegitimate as a representative of a church & this life-long connection i will now have to universal life church. perhaps it is my SPU indoctrination teachings & my catholic leanings, but it doesn't feel quite right. i don't plan to use this ordination for any church planting or the like, just to perform this wedding (& possibly future weddings if friends so desire--provided they can pony up with some gluten-free wedding cake).
  2. i became an assistant lecturer. i have been waiting for this for a while (which i lamented here) & partially believed it would never actually happen. turns out it happened july 1 & no one thought to fill me in. because clearly this doesn't impact me at all. 

    i am truly thrilled about this status change & wanting desperately to celebrate this long-awaited promotion with the other person in the world who is as excited as me. i guess that will have to wait.
  3. that other person i referenced above, he flew on a C130 to greenland this week. the town they are based out of is experiencing the highest river levels in recorded history. in fact, the town lost their only bridge due to massive flooding. luckily brandon & the crew he is working with out of UCLA have multiple choppers at their disposal so their research can proceed.
  4. lastly, i rode my cruiser bike around town with my nutcase dog running along side. this may seem minor, but let me tell you, this is a huge accomplishment. there are three required elements that i systematically included (retractable leash, spiky choke collar, & a pre-ride doggy exhaustion session at the park). we didn't crash once. squirrels & sticks were to blame for two near crashes, but those don't count, right? i'm pretty excited to continue to enjoy this canine-bike combination this summer.

Monday, July 9, 2012

last is better than DNF, right?

friday was one of those days where everything i touched fell apart--literally & figuratively. i couldn't get a project at work to go as i wanted, i got a call that harvey had jumped the fence,  i had to leave work early with tasks unfinished (due to said dog issue), & my bike broke on my urgent ride home (to collect said dog). i was huffing & puffing & ... irritated.

today has been one of those days too. i came home to change clothes to run to a meeting at the hospital i had forgotten about only to discover that the pesky nuisance of a dog had once again escaped our yard, my bike broke yet again (& more drastically) on my frantic ride home--to the point that i had to push it--the water pump went out in our van & had to be replaced to the tune of lots of money.

the weekend between friday & monday was lovely, but in the midst of the chaos i have not spent much time reliving the pleasant moments. brandon & i spent the weekend in the black hills, attended our friends' beautiful wedding, made a new friend at the trailhead, & took in mt rushmore. 

i sure wish that when chaos strikes i would be the type of person that calmly carries on. the person who has a clean car, an organized purse, & a routine for my day. in reality, i am the person who gets frustrated when the first thing doesn't go as planned, carelessly leaves things in the last place they were dropped, curses a lot under my breath, & generally makes the whole situation exponentially worse with my crabbiness. i have been a "crabby pattie" a lot lately.

the last time i raced in the local bike series i took last in my division. i wanted so badly to DNF because i was having major issues with my bike, but i decided i had come too far (& spent too much energy) to quit after the first lap. so i grit my teeth & pedaled it out in the one granny gear my bike would actually stay in. i was pretty bummed about my last place finish, although i jokingly consoled myself with the reality that someone has to be last. today i saw this little quote & it helped me get some perspective on my finish. 
from here.
so there you have it. i may not be my ideal version of myself that gracefully crosses the finish line or has a slick organization system for keeping all my bike stuff ready in our van, but i am the person that grits her teeth & finishes. sometimes you just have to embrace who you are. (although, i am working on cussing under my breath less often...)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

stenciled rain barrel tutorial

i've been itching to have a rain barrel collection system in place for a few years. since heath & emily moved this past month, they got rid of one of the extra barrels they had sitting around. heath's dad works for a refinery, so i guess he comes by these barrels frequently. i'm not sure where one would buy something similar or how much it would cost.
my blank blue slate
i knew i wanted some sort of fun design so i spray painted one
third of the barrel green to serve as the base for my stencil.
then we went on vacation, so i didn't touch the barrel for about a week.
i set up our projector to make the stencil.
(stencil design originally from here.)
the "bones" of the stencil are frog tape, which i placed (not perfectly)
where the tree image projected onto the barrel.
i used an exacto knife to carve out the tree
from the projected image.
i was working on another project simultaneously
 (hence the scraper in my hand--which i did NOT use for this project).
i did, however, employ the glasses & mask combo.
i picked a 90 degree day to do this, so that mask was not comfortable,
but i managed to avoid a contact high from the spray paint. 
my first coat of brown. you can barely see the tree pattern under there.

all painted up & drying in the heat.
to prevent the caps from getting painted shut, i slipped rubber gloves over them.
worked like a charm!
pulling off the stencil was an exciting & terrifying moment.
for the most part, the stencil worked. (yah!)
there are a few bands around the barrel, which created bulges
under the stencil, so those areas are a wee bit fuzzy.
brandon ordered a diverter from amazon.
this will allow the water to flow into the barrel until the barrel is full,
at which point it will flow through the remainder of the gutter
(not attached in this picture) & out away from the house. 

here she is in front of our house.
ignore the crispy brown grass--we are slowly bringing that back to life.
hopefully the rain barrel will assist with that.
the only thing missing in this photo is the spigot, which we installed yesterday.
brandon just picked up a basic spigot at home depot,
used the appropriate drill-bit, & caulked the spigot before shoving it in. 
we finished this project up just in time, because last night we had a great rainstorm. we are all grateful for the rain, as it allowed crews to get an edge on the wildfire blazing west of town. perhaps it was an if-you-build-it-they-will-come thing?