Sunday, March 28, 2010

My husband, the carpenter

The Pacific Northwest rain seems to wreak havoc on our wooden fences and gates. We've had to replace several pieces in our fence, and our gate was completely destroyed a few weeks ago.

It began with a huge windstorm that battered it, and it was finished off by a friend of Christopher's, who apparently was practicing his tae kwon do on it...encouraged by Chris, I guess? He felt horrible about kicking it to its he left $3 on Mike's pillow, thinking that this would help pay for its repair.

Mike spent about 4 hours yesterday working to repair it. I asked him why he didn't just use all new wood, but he said that he didn't want to be wasteful. I'm okay with that!

He also repaired the gate on the other side of the backyard, which wasn't in quite as bad of condition but needed some TLC.

Kieran was very helpful in helping Daddy to hang the gate. It's nice to have kids who like to help outdoors.

The oldest, of course, was inside the whole day, doing homework, reading, and watching video clips of Survivor. He's always been more of an indoor kid, which I can remember about myself...

After cleaning the kitchen and working in the yard, I made halibut tacos for dinner, with homemade refried beans and guacomole. They were delicious! Leftovers for dinner tonight.

This afternoon I'm going to work on the main level of the house, and this evening while watching my guilty pleasure, "The Celebrity Apprentice," I'll continue on the family room.

My little gardeners

This weekend was a rare treat: we had nothing at all scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. From now through mid-May, we have commitments every single weekend. Of course, I always have much greater aspirations than I actually get accomplished...but oh well. A mother's (and organizer's) work is never done!

I spent most of the day cleaning the kitchen and working in the garden. I finally deadheaded the roses (only a month late) and weeded around them--our apple trees seem to be shooting out volunteers. Then I started in on the raised beds.

Since we just put them in last year and purchased high-quality soil and mulch to fill them, the weeds were pretty easy to pull out (helped by our wet spring, too). The kids really got into the act as well!

The biggest challenge was getting him to keep the dirt within the boxes! But he enjoyed digging around with his shovel. Kieran helped me by using the claw to loosen the dirt, and I pulled out the weeds.

Look at all those dandelions!! It's because we refuse to use herbicide on our lawn...we kind of let it grow wild. But it definitely could use a good mow, and some more grass seed.

Kieran brought out his scarecrow from storage. At this point, we're only scaring the crows away from some chives and herbs that wintered over--and the strawberries seem to have popped up again. Last year we only had a couple of tiny strawberries...wonder if they'll do better this year?
I really want to plant some organic blueberries and raspberries--anyone know where I could get ahold of those?

It's a good thing we tackled the beds yesterday, because it's raining today. I did go buy some lettuce and snap pea starts today, so we can start our planting when the rain stops! Next tomatoes and other veggies--the starts aren't available yet, but we might try out some seeds.
Last year we tried growing corn, and it looked gorgeous for awhile, but then it all died. I think it needs a huge amount of water. And of course, we continue to be complete zucchini failures. Neither we nor my parents are able to grow zucchini effectively.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More guilt...

So remember the great photo organization project? Well, I have been merrily going through my photos, consigning bunches of them to "recycling." However, I am going to follow Regina Leeds' sage advice to put away my photo and cookbook projects for now and concentrate on the rest of my house (I guess I was too close to things to come to this conclusion myself...I can see myself offering the same kind of advice to someone else!). So I was putting away the photo boxes, containers of photos yet to sort, etc., and decided I'd better make sure that it is possible to recycle photos.

Guess what? It isn't. And I live in one of the most recycling-friendly cities in the U.S.!

According to Metro, the government agency in Portland responsible for recycling, photographs cannot be recycled because of the chemicals in the paper. So I've got one more thing to feel guilty about as I continue on my merry purging ways.

I've got one piece of good news, though. Portland has a place called SCRAP (the School and Community Reuse Action Project), to which I have yet to venture...since the last thing I need is more scraps!!! (My very crafty coworker/friend Amy told me about SCRAP! She likes exclamation points too!) It sounds like a very cool, fun place. One of these days I'm going to take a class there and perhaps use up some of my craft supplies! Anyway, I e-mailed SCRAP to see if they would be interested in old photos, on a whim.

The "creative reuse center manager" (wouldn't you love to have a title like that?) responded that they would take photos of animals, scenery, nature, art, etc. "Our customers aren't as interested in photos of people, houses, cars, and other more personal images." I think I'm going to take the lazy way out and not go through all the photos again, separating out the animals/scenery/nature ones, but I feel guilty about that too. From now on, though, I will start sorting. And will donate any upcoming purged photos to SCRAP. I've also developed a pile of photos to give away (to people who are in them), but I should probably do more of that now that I know I can't recycle them.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Not doing very well on my vow to stop multi-tasking!

Here are the projects that are still ongoing in my household at the moment:
  • Finishing off the dresser transition (clearing off the top of my "new" dresser and finishing the organization of my clothes)
  • Finishing the great cookbook project (indexing all the recipes in the cookbook I made of family recipes and the ones I've clipped out of magazines and newspapers)
  • Moving stuff around in the dining room cabinets and the one that's now in the living room--many of the shelves are still empty
  • Completing the great photo project (I have photo boxes and have begun organizing decades' worth of photos into sections by time...but right now the family room is cluttered with photos, boxes, and photo albums--I started this during the Olympics but have a ways to go to finish)
  • Finishing the cleanup of the study (which got messed up during the holidays)

Not to mention...getting back into the groove of finishing the recleaning and organizing of the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom...

In preparation to move on to the new worst room in the house--the family room! And the kids rooms, etc.

But we have houseguests coming from the UK in April, so we have a new deadline to get the house in some semblance of order. Mike told me the other day that he is beginning to panic. We haven't been home much recently, and that doesn't help either.

Feeling overwhelmed and tired just thinking about all this!