Sunday, April 26, 2015

Every Day I'm Hustlin'

OK, so we're not hustlin' as hard as Rick Ross, but making that "To Do" list on the last post really made us accountable for our actions. I highly suggest stating publicly (or on Facebook, because that's practically the same thing) what you're going to do, because wow, is it motivating. 

I'm still learning how to do new things with the remodel, and on this particular day, it was electrical wiring of our outlets. My boss, who is an electrician, told me it'd be simple - just pull out the old outlet and look at how things are wired, then just pull out the wires and plug them into the new receptacle the same way. Sounds easy enough...

I pulled out the outlets (after turning off the breaker - that is the most important step!), and there were yucky cobwebs in some, the wires require some muscle to get out and push in, and there would be any number of wires, from 3 to 7, that might be connected to any particular outlet. I managed, with a lot of help from Mike, to figure out how to do it, but it took me about 2 hours to finish six receptacles. I also electrocuted myself because I forgot to test the outlet before touching it, and it was wired to a different breaker. I am officially the worst electrician ever.

My electrical outlet progress and Mike installing the trim.

Mike worked on the trim all afternoon, and got the living room mostly completed (minus wood putty and paint). It got difficult around the bullnose corners, but we'll figure that out another day. For now, it's enough that we're making progress.

I also got some seeds started for our "garden" this summer. Our yard looks like...well, it looks like the yard of a house that's been a rental for 25 years. So it needs a lot of back-breaking work. Since we're already toiling away on the interior, with a guest bathroom, roof, and siding to finish this summer, we're putting off the yard until next spring (which, if climate change continues on this path, may be even earlier next year). This year, I'm growing food in pots, which will give me an opportunity to work on my atrocious gardening skills. 

you can see my successful regrown green onions at the end of the sill.

I repurposed some old egg cartons for the seeds and planted lettuces, mâche, yellow strawberries, eggplants, and little Mexican cucumbers. Everything is specifically for this climate and ordered from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. We'll see what sprouts and what I can keep alive! If all goes well, I'll be able to transplant these babies into pots in a few weeks.

In preparation for our DIY landscaping, we've been checking out garden centers around town. This one, Tumalo Garden Market, was so unbelievably cute! They had greenhouse kits, beehives, tons of fruit trees, and even a mini "canyon" you could walk through, to get ideas for your yard.

this place was like a garden amusement center - loved it!

I'm hoping we'll keep up the hustlin' into this upcoming week. But today, we're headed to the movies! Fast and Furious 7...and I'm bringing a box of tissues.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A New Tradition

On April 10th, we were reminded that it had been one year since we first set foot in Bend. I was so excited about our new hometown that I took this picture and posted it:

April 10, 2014

We decided to start a new tradition for our new town, and we went back down to Drake Park and took the exact same picture:

April 10, 2015

While it was a bit overcast, and the pond looks a little murky without all that gorgeous blue sky reflected in it, it was still a crisp spring day, and a great way to mark the passage of one sporadically frenzied, life-changing year. And thus, a new tradition is born!

We've definitely been doing a lot more wandering since it's been warm lately. It's just so refreshing and beautiful outside. Everyone seems to have fruit trees, and the streets are popping with color.

our plum tree in full bloom

We took Morty out for a little spin, down some farm roads, with no particular destination in mind. The sun was shining, we passed sheep and cows, horses and goats, a few llamas, and finally ended up at Tumalo Reservoir. You can just barely see the Cascade mountains peeking out in the background. They're still completely snow covered, but this year our snow pack was only about 30% as deep as normal. This means it will melt off too quickly - the trout and salmon will suffer, because the rivers won't be as cold, which equals less oxygen. A hot, dry summer is in the forecast.

Morty at Tumalo Reservoir

Note to self - shooting into the sun sucks.

It's getting harder and harder to stay inside and finish fixing up the house, but like homework, it hangs over our heads every day. Some days, I just unpack a box or two (we're close to done, only about 10 boxes left) and consider that "remodeling." It does help, though! This day, we got two art boxes unpacked and hung up some of our Audrey Kawasaki favorites on the living room wall.

maybe the art will distract from the fact the trim's not done...

And while the kitchen cabinets are still a pain to open since I didn't put the handles on yet, the kitchen is fully functional and I've been cooking up a storm! I made butter poached, local wild caught rockfish with saffron sauce, a deconstructed pastichio (it's sort of a Greek eggplant lasagna), consommé, and completely-from-scratch-pierogis. I also made stuff Mike could eat, like chili. Ha! 

not all cooking goes right! eggplant explosion on the grill.

Life has been quieter these last couple weeks, as we've gotten into a groove of just living here in Bend. It's a nice thing to enjoy, since looking down the summer pipeline, we've got a lot of plans. Time to get motivated to finish our list! While there's tons more to do, if we could only get this stuff done, we could relax for a bit. Let's see if writing it here helps us get it done before the next post (wishful thinking...).

Things to Do:

finish replacing all electric receptacles
finish trim
hook up kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans
reframe all windows and kitchen sliding glass door
hook up hallway pendant light
hook up office light
install bathroom door
paint office
finish unpacking/storing away all boxes

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Our First Visitor!

Having a visitor was one of the best things to happen to our house, because we now have a mostly completed guest...bed. I hesitate to say the bedroom itself is done, because it's still pretty bare. We didn't get to put up any art or decor yet, and we still need window treatments. But the window is framed out, and believe me, that was a pretty big accomplishment.

we did gouge the paint a bit while putting up that window...add that to the punch list.

The first day in town, it was too warm to go snowboarding, so we took a walk along the river, and saw a group of deer having breakfast! This is one thing that Mike and I miss from our old rental. There are a lot more deer on the west side of town, because there's less fencing between properties. Fences suck!

We christened the new kitchen and I taught Mike's niece to cook a few things. We made steak, teriyaki salmon, baked potatoes, brussels sprouts with pancetta, and a creamy mushroom sauce (with our foraged chanterelles from last fall).

cooking in the new kitchen!

caramelizing the brussels sprouts with pancetta

It got up to 73 degrees here in Bend! So the next day, we headed to Tumalo Falls, where we discovered that the road was closed. What would normally be a half mile hike to the falls, ended up being an 8 mile hike, but at least it was a gorgeous day. 

Still a tiny bit of snow on the ground.

Since we weren't planning on a long hike, we didn't bring water or snacks with us. But we made it there and back without too much trouble, and it was nice to know that we're not entirely out of shape - we weren't even sore the next day.

Tumalo Falls

After our visitor left, we got sort of lazy around the house. I mean, it's livable, although a little chaotic and haphazard. So after about 10 days of not remodeling a thing, we got back into the groove. 

Our new resolution is to do one remodel activity every day, even if it's a small thing. This way, we'll keep moving forward, even if it's sloooowly.

Got a door handle put on...still need to fill those nail holes in the trim, though!

Mike putting on the kitchen receptacle covers. No chore is too small!

Sometimes it seems endless, but we're just going to keep chugging along, and little by little, we'll get it done!