Grandmas’ Takes on The Great Depression

GrandmaK Recently my family was over for a little get-together, and I sat at the dinner table with my two grandmas, both are in their nineties. The conversation turned to the current economy, and the possibility that we‚Äôre entering (or already in) something akin to the Great Depression. I asked them both what their memories were of that time. They were in their teens when it started, and getting married and starting families when times finally were improved. Continue reading “Grandmas‚Äô Takes on The Great Depression”

Snow Day!

snowdayToday we had a short and intense¬†snow storm. We’ve had a lot of warm weather recently, too,¬†but March is always squirrely! It was bright and sunny when I took this picture at home after work. We’re hoping for more warm days, now that we can enjoy the extra hour of daylight to get stuff done in the evenings!

House Sale Prep Weekend

Phew, we got a lot of work done this weekend! We spent the whole weekend working on Kirk’s house, getting it ready for sale. We are really hoping to have it on the market by the end of the month. This weekend, I painted the entry, stair, and upstairs hallway; those areas had really dirty yellow paint that HAD to be fixed. Kirk refinished the bathtub in the upstairs bathroom. Now we are both tired!

I did manage to squeeze in some baking tonight-snicker doodles! But, most of my other weekend chores were left undone-vacuuming, cleaning the dog’s fenced area, and the like. It’s just hard to fit everything in sometimes.

A Little Play, a Little Work

We went out to breakfast today, took in an antique car show in town, then worked on Kirk’s house some more. I cleaned out most of the kitchen cabinets, the microwave and the stove top. Kirk reseeded the grass, and packed up some things.

Later at home, I put metal roofing on¬†top of the sheep shelter in the field (pic coming soon) and then we tackled trying to fix the pocket doors in the living room. We’d really like to get these working, so we can shut the dogs out of the room with the future-nice-furniture! The pocket doors are beautiful, but unfortunately, one has lost one of its sets of rollers so does not travel well on the track. We took a lot of molding off, and got it half re-attached once, but it later got stuck and came off again. We are¬† having trouble understanding exactly how it goes together and works, it’s too hard to see in there. I think we may need to remove¬† yet more molding and find a way to take the entire door out, so we can see what we’re doing in re-attaching the roller. I would have thought I’d find some great blog or website somewhere with detailed advice on this subject, but the Web hasn’t helped me today!

Elope Isn’t Really the Right Term

Well, I said I’d explain later why we went to Orcas Island, so here it is: we got married! We opted not to tell anyone (well, almost anyone) in advance, or include anyone we knew in the ceremony. There were a variety of reasons for this, here’s a few that come to mind:

  • I’m not just a bride kind of person, I’m not into girlishness and all the things that come with that stereotype.
  • We didn’t like those figures thrown around that claim the average wedding costs around $20,000. We could think of a million better things to do with that kind of money.
  • We didn’t want the planning stress, the requisite family weirdness that has to crop up at almost every wedding, the pressure of putting on a good show, manging out-of-town guests, the awkwardness of feeling like we’re on display, worrying over the guest list, and all that jazz.
  • Most of the people we could think of whom we know who¬†have done a “big” wedding have later outright said, or at least implied, that they regretted doing it that way.
Mr. & Mrs.
Mr. & Mrs.

With all due respect to people who love “big white weddings”, they’re just not my¬† thing, and fortunately Kirk concurs, so our decision was easy. We just wanted to be¬†married, without all the complication and fuss. We considered different options: Vegas has kind of a stereotype of a marriage that’s possibly done on a drunken whim and without much forethought or seriousness, so we opted not to go that route.

We thought it would be really cool to do an Alaskan cruise and have a quick ceremony in some port. But, the ol’ US government makes that overly complicated, getting the license sorted out etc (I WISH we did not have to get authorization from the government–that’s what our license said, was¬†“authorization”–¬†to marry in the first place). We found several cruise ship services that will set it up for you, but they charge a LOT of money for the service– over $2K!

We found that Rosario Resort on Ocas Island has a little “elopement package” where they will set you up with a nice suite, a “wedding officiant,” the two witnesses you need to sign the legal papers, a little cake and a bottle of champagne. The price was reasonable, and they had a good weekend open at the end of the summer.

We had a great time, the ferry ride to get there is beautiful, we drove the Porsche all over the island (and fortunately did not hit any mutant deer), we ate a lot, enjoyed the pool, sauna, hot tub, jacuzzi tub, and the great weather. Our “wedding officiant” was great, her husband played a few guitar tunes, she had a succinct but meaningful delivery, and it was all very easy. There were big weddings happening on the grounds while we were there, and we felt so thankful we chose to just relax and enjoy our weekend by ourselves while observing those big-dollar events from afar. I guess we are both introverts, so it seems pretty fitting; most of our friends and family were not too surprised. All we¬†had to do was get the license, the rings, and show up!

A lot of people have commented that we “eloped”; but I think I have to disagree with the term. Dictionary definitions of elopement give it a negative spin- marrying without parental consent (from the days when culture dictated parents should have consent), running away in a hurry, or married people escaping¬†with a lover. We got married in an official, pre-planned way; we just chose not to include family or friends in the ceremony. I don’t think there is really a term for that.

A little review on Rosario: we were intrigued by the place as it has an interesting history, and the owners do a good job of educating visitors on that. But, the place is, in general, a little rundown, the service is mediocre, and the food not-so-hot. So, anyone who is thinking of eloping on Orcas, I’d recommend checking out a different place to stay, and finding¬†the wedding officiant on your own. It probably would not have been that much more work to do this extra web research. But, we were happy to have the easy route, and it was still pretty great, so I don’t regret it. (Besides, I would have been tempted to make a big spreadsheet of all¬† the options, and make the planning way too complicated if I had gone that route, defeating the goal of “simple.”)

The picture above is a snapshot taken of us; Kirk doesn’t like it, so I made it tiny- I wanted to post something! I’m hoping we can schedule some time with a portrait photographer soon, so that at least we have some nice photos of each other. I don’t have any good photos of Kirk, so all that’s on my desk at work are dog pictures, which is a little too “dog lady-ish” :-} I hope to remedy this soon!

Sunsets and Weekend Work

Sunset View from the House

August is the time for sunsets, and we’ve been getting a lot of fabulous ones lately. But, I’ve struggled to capture them in their full magnitude on camera. These modern day digital cameras–even¬†with their special “sunset” and “night” settings–just don’t do them justice. This is the best one I came up with, and I admit, I digitally altered the colors a little bit to bring it closer to what it looked like in person.

I have a four-day weekend ahead of me, with hopes of high productivity (as always). I came to realize that the tractor’s brush cutter is just fine and needs no adjustment– the blades I thought were “loose” actually are supposed to spin on their¬†bolt axes. It took me a while to think that through, and then of course when I re-read the manual, it confirmed this. I just didn’t interpret the instructions correctly the first time. So, I’m good to go, I can mow again. And I have the $75 socket set ready for the time when I do need to remove the blades to sharpen them!
Other to-do wishes for the weekend: smooth the driveway by the house and order gravel. Machete the blackberries around the duck pen. Build a sheep shelter in the pasture. Get ready for our weekend away next weekend-we’re going to Orcas Island.
And, of course, the fair– I need to go there Fri, Sat and Sun to finish up press releases, state fair entries and anything else that needs doing. Sunday we plan to visit the Wensleydale sheep flock.

Saturday Plans

Ah, Saturday! I love the weekends, it’s so nice to be able to sleep in a bit (only til 7am today though!) and have two whole days ahead to get things done at home. This morning, I’m going to finish the ridge cap on the Duck Tractor and put all the tools away from building that. I like that step of a project, of putting everything away when it’s done.

Next, I am going to assemble a wood picnic table kit I bought at Home Depot. I debated on this one, the design is very simple, and the cost for the kit is about double the raw materials- $70 instead of maybe $35. But, it would take me several more hours to build one from scratch than to put this one together, and I have other things I want to get done. So, the kit it shall be today.

Kirk is hoping I’ll¬†disposition¬†one last pile of spare lumber, that’s covered in a very pathetic looking, and no longer waterproof, blue tarp. So, I’ll try to get that done to make him happy. (Well, it’ll make me happy too, to say goodbye to the last of the necessary, but tacky-looking, tarps that were in use during the phase of putting this place together. But, I have a higher tolerance for putting up with such things while I’m getting other things done, I might have left it there another year, who knows?)¬†And, I want to squeeze in setting a wood fence post or two. And, clean¬†house. Oh dear, you can see how that is slipping in priority (again)! ūüėģ

This evening, my parents, siblings and sister’s kids are coming over for dinner. My parents both had birthdays last week, and tomorrow is Fathers’ Day. This will be the first time I’ve offered to host a family gathering here. The accommodations are still very spartan, to say the least. But for my family, I think they’ve concluded “beggars can’t be choosers”- my brother is currently between houses and¬†“shacking” with the sis, and my sister and mom get weary of always hosting family events. So,¬† they’ll be glad to delegate to me, regardless of my lack of a formal parlour for house guests! ūüėČ And, as I’d hoped, the weather is supposed to be nice, so we can spill outside, my favorite place to be, enjoying the view and maybe a campfire of rotten barn wood.

On the menu: Appetizers shall be¬† tortilla chips & made-from-scratch fruit salsa, also crackers with a cream cheese covered with raspberry chipotle sauce (from a jar). Dinner is marinated¬†flank steak on the BBQ, green beans and/or a green salad (I’ll see what looks best at the store today). My dad wanted to bring a Walleye fish they caught last weekend, but said there isn’t enough for a whole meal. To complement that, I’ll make basmati rice cooked in coconut milk, and use more of the fruit salsa-that’s¬†my favorite combination for fish. For dessert, I ordered a cake <sigh>- I knew there wouldn’t be time to bake today; and I’ll serve it up with ice cream for good measure.

Wardeh’s “Use Less Plastic” Challenge

One of my favorite bloggers, Wardeh Harmon, has issued us a challenge: use less plastic. Check out her blog post to read all of her great reasons why. I don’t like plastic either: I worry about it leaching into my food, I don’t like that it increases demand for fossil fuels, or that even recycling it uses a lot of energy. It’s an amazing invention, and it has its place, for sure. But, it just doesn’t have a great score in the “carbon footprint” scale. So I have been trying to say “no” to it more, too.

And, I’m starting to reflect that many “old school” materials are just a lot more appealing: wood, glass, ceramic, brick, basket materials, cotton, hemp, wool, metal, stone- they look more pleasing, and feel nicer. I am trying to erradicate plastic in lots of places,¬†especially from the yard, animal equipment,¬†and food storage containers.

How can you give plastic the boot in your life? Take the challenge!