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Farm

May Flowers

May 4, 2018

The weather is starting to turn here, and it’s feeling like spring. We’ve had several days of 75+ weather, followed by rainy days, which is making everything grow like crazy. I especially love the periwinkle bluebells that’ve been sprouting up around the big trees. Aaron’s been working hard at the farm, putting in a couple hours each day before or after work. It’s amazing how much better things look around the yard with the grass mowed and trees getting trimmed. The farm had been vacant for 10 years before we bought it, so everything was in pretty run down condition. We’ve been able to chip away at it, bit by bit, and have probably taken 50+ tractor loads to the dump. One of the most frustrating things has been an old car that was abandoned and left on the property. It has all the windows punched out, mold inside, etc., and is worthless. We saw a number posted that said they take junk cars, so we called the number. They said we had to have a police person come out and sign a junk slip and then they would come remove it. So we called the non-emergency police line, and they said they’d have someone come out. That never happened, so we called again and finally were able to schedule someone to visit. They signed the slip, and we found out it had to be notarized. So we went to a UPS store that was listed online as having a notary; they said they didn’t have one but to go to any bank and they would do it for us. We went to a bank in Bonney Lake, but they said they only do that for their customers. They referred us to a nearby auto center. The auto center said they had a notary, but that because this was related to a vehicle, it was a conflict of interest (what?). So finally we had to drive all the way up to Auburn, where our nearest bank is, and then they said we had to bring an original copy of our marriage license – the photocopied one we had wasn’t enough. This is the kind of runaround that’s driving us nuts! It seems like nothing is simple in this process.

In other news, we had a fun recent trip to Washington DC for a work event. I volunteer with the Washington Association of Marriage & Family Therapy, and they asked me to go DC to help lobby for inclusion of MFTs on several bills expanding Medicare providers. They had a lobbyist that accompanied me to visit Patty Murray and Dave Reichert’s offices. It wasn’t as stressful as I thought it might be – the lobbyist helped with the details, and I shared more of the “on the ground” knowledge of how not being covered by Medicare impacts our community here. We spent several days after the lobbying touring DC. My favorite museums were the Museum of American History and the Museum of African-American History.

Museum of American History Favorites:

  • A centuries-old house that they transplanted into the museum and told detailed stories of the families who lived there.
  • The women’s rights movement memerobilia
  • Julia Child’s cooking school certificate
  • Mr. Roger’s sweater
  • Mary Todd Lincoln’s dress
  • Michelle Obama’s inauguration gown
  • Abraham Lincoln’s hat

Museum of African American History Favorites:

  • Harriet Tubman’s shawl
  • Emmett Till memorial
  • Rosa Park’s dress
  • Rucksack poem
  • Nat Turner’s Bible
  • Point of Pines cabin

I’m so glad it’s the weekend, and am looking forward to relaxing some with Aaron. We made a rhubarb-strawberry crisp yesterday with some fresh rhubarb we bought at a new farmer’s market near the farm. Can’t wait until we get our own produce up and going! Also, I had to include a picture of the most amazing omelette Aaron made – he makes these regularly from our chickens’ eggs and includes fresh spinach, tomatoes, quinoa, and a bunch of other good stuff!

We are coming up on our one-year wedding anniversary later this month, and I have a list going of some of the fun things I’d like to do together in the area:

  • Visit my favorite brunch restaurant, Portage Bay Cafe in Seattle for their migas and French toast.
  • Visit the new Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle.
  • Drive up to see the flowers at Floret, a family farm specializing in unique and heirloom flowers.

Happy May to you all!

Family, Farm

Modern Farmhouse

March 29, 2018

It’s been a much-needed catch-up week on my release from jury duty! Aaron and I have spent a bunch of time out at the farm doing miscellaneous projects. It’s so cute to see the three chickens scratching and pecking around the farm. I’ve been telling Aaron I want some chickens that lay different colored eggs – blue, green, speckled, brown, etc. Today he ordered some baby chicks to arrive in July – 15 of them! They are mostly Ameraucanas, which lay the blue and green eggs. There are also some Welsummer, who will lay dark brown speckled eggs. He’s still looking to find us some Olive Eggers, which lay beautiful olive-colored eggs, and some Marans, which lay dark chocolate colored eggs. Because we ordered so many, we get a free “mystery” chicken with them! Ha!

Today we drove out to Auburn, which is only 15 minutes or so away now that we are in Bonney Lake. We needed to run to the bank and do some other errands, and I convinced Aaron to swing by Nordstrom Rack for a quick stop. 🙂 I found a beautiful periwinkle colored Eileen Fisher sweater that used to be $249 (gasp!) and was marked down to $30. Fun! Aaron waited patient for me to try things on, and when I came out, he greeted me with a happy “hi sweetie!” A few minutes later as we were getting ready to check out, a lady walked up to us and said “I just had to tell you – the way he greeted you coming out of the dressing room was so sweet. He’s a keeper.” 🙂 I thought, yep. He is!

On the way back home, we passed by a house that I hadn’t noticed before, but was done in a beautiful modern farmhouse style. I loved it so much I asked Aaron to pull over and I went up to knock on the door to see if anyone was home – I wanted to ask them who their builder was, as we are still trying to get that nailed down for the farm. No one was home, so I left a note telling them who we were and that we loved the style of their home and wondered if they would share the name of their contractor with us. We’ll see if they get back to us! Here’s a photo of the house. I love the white, vertical siding, the black gooseneck lamp above the garage door, and the black framed windows.

Family, Farm

Burn Piles

March 26, 2018

There was a small window of sunshine yesterday in the last week of rain, and Aaron and I put it to good use! We spent all day burning four huge piles of brush/brambles/wood from the trees we had to trim to get temporary construction power out to the farm. It felt really good to get rid of all that, and the drive in to the house now looks so much better. I tried to find a photo of the piles from before, but wasn’t able to – so just imagine four piles of yard waste at about six feet tall each! All of the brown, patchy areas in the picture are where the piles were – all the way up to the branches of the trees! The chickens loved scratching around in the newly-unearthed dirt and found lots of grubs and things to eat. There’s also a picture of us at the end of the day – unshowered and haggard! But happy. As you can see, Aaron’s mission to grow his hair out into a man-bun is coming along nicely. 🙂

Other recent happenings:

  • Rachel, Gavin, and kiddos surprised us a few weekends ago with a visit! They hadn’t seen our farm yet, so it was fun to show them around. We have little Aaron coming up to stay with us for a week during his spring break, and are looking forward to going to NW Trek, visiting the Tacoma vintage car museum, and taking a trip to Seattle if we have time.
  • This week is my spring break. Several months ago, I was summoned to federal jury duty and tried to get out of it – no one else is available to teach my classes in our program. They said that wasn’t sufficient, and all they could do was postpone it. So I scheduled it for the week of this break, BUT got the best surprise when I was dismissed before even having to show up. So I am using this unexpected week off to get a lot of other things done!
  • I’m teaching a new class this summer for the DNP – doctorate in nursing practice – program at PLU. It’s been so fun to collaborate with the nursing department on this. Students in the program have to take one class on family therapy for the psychiatric component of their degree, and that’s the one I’ll be teaching! I just finished up the syllabus for it, and am excited to see how it goes. It will only be four students this first round, so I’ll get plenty of time with each of them.
  • Aaron and I are going to Washington DC in a few weeks for a work event – I am going for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapist’s to lobby for MFTs to be included under Medicare coverage. MFTs are one of five federally recognized mental health disciplines, and the other four are already included – so we hope to be on it soon too. After the event on Friday, we are taking the weekend to explore. High on our list is the new Museum of African-American History. Happy to hear other recommendations too!

 

Family

Sunday Funday

March 5, 2018

Aaron is truly the guy I’ve dreamed of – he is just the best partner and friend. He regularly does things for me that totally make my day. We were really tired this last weekend from a stressful week, and Aaron told me he had something fun planned for Sunday. He surprised me by taking me to an early morning trip to a new Home Goods store in University Place – he knew I’d been trolling it for weeks waiting to see when it would open! To put this into context – Aaron’s likes shopping about as much as my dad does, i.e. he’d rather wait in a car than go in and look around (I introduced him to recreational browsing! Ha.). He patiently wandered the isles with me and carted around a huge Mason Cash forest mixing bowl I found for $11. It was so fun. As if that wasn’t enough, he took me to the Sew Expo at the Puyallup fairgrounds – I’ve been wanting to do that for several years and just haven’t had time before. Some of my favorite things from the Expo were the modern quilt designs, apparel fabrics from my favorite Seattle fabric store: Drygoods Design, and a WA-famous Fisher raspberry scone. I can’t wait to get into quilting and sewing more when we get settled.

Farm

Lady’s Eggs

March 5, 2018

We have three chickens now at the farm: Lady, Tweet Tweet, and Gardener. They’ve settled in to their new home and Lady is laying the BIGGEST eggs for us – they’re huge! Here’s one and a regular sized one for comparison. This one was a double-yolk too!

Family, Farm

February Freeze

March 5, 2018

After weeks and weeks of rain, we had a funny cold patch in February where it snowed almost every day for a week! It was fun to look out of the big bay window in our house and see a blanket of white across the yard. We closed the sale on our house last week and are happy to have that behind us, although it’s kind of bittersweet as we’ll always remember it as the first house we shared! We made another big life choice last week and decided to move into an apartment – it’s been difficult to be in the RV with very unreliable functioning of all kinds of things – water pumps, ceiling leaks, no real insulation, etc. All of this together has felt kind of emotional for us – we’ve been really trying over the last year or so to make decisions that will, in the long run, save us money that we can put towards our house. It’s hard when those things don’t seem to be working out well, and we have to backtrack. It’s felt like one step forward and two back at times. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about all of the work we’ve done trying to get things going with the farmhouse and how many dead-ends we’ve hit – I don’t have the energy tonight to write about all of that, so I’ve put Aaron on that task for another post. 🙂 Anyway – we are now in an apartment in Bonney Lake, which is only 10 minutes or so from the farm. It’s wonderful to be so much closer, and that’s given us some needed encouragement.

Family

Aunt Evelynn’s Birthday Bonanza

March 5, 2018

In February, we took a fun trip down to Woodland, CA for my great-aunt-Evelynn’s 90th birthday party. Because it fell on a three-day holiday weekend, lots of us were able to make it – my parents, Casey and Jenn, Reed and Linda, Grandma, and a lot of Evelynn’s friends from church and the community there. We used the church’s fellowship hall for a brunch birthday party – we made egg dishes, potato dishes, fruit salad, punch, cinnamon rolls, coffee cake, etc. and had photos of her up around the room. It was fun to see people from so many different areas of Evelynn’s life all gathered together to celebrate her.

Aunt Evelynn called me a few days ago to tell me a story about growing up with Grandma that’d been on her mind. She and Grandma were young – I think 12 and 14, and Grandma decided to skip school with some friends. They climbed up something (I can’t remember now what it was – a lookout of some kind) and were then too scared to come down. Day turned into evening, and a search party was out looking for all of them. Finally they were found, and taken home – all of them hungry and tired and cold. Aunt Evelynn said the story kind of typified their personalities: even though she was older than Grandma, she was always a rule follower while Grandma was a rule breaker. 🙂 Grandma has pretty late-stage Alzheimer’s now, and so she isn’t able to remember these stories herself. It made me think about how we should be writing these down or recording them in some way so that they aren’t lost.

One of my favorite stories about my Grandpa Crawford on the other side of the family was of him growing up as a boy in Eastern Canada. His father was a baker, and Grandpa began working in the coal mines at a really young age to help contribute to the family. He also did deliveries for his father, and one day, he was out with two cakes when he slipped on a patch of ice. As he was falling, he knew he would either lose both cakes, or he could slap them together in an attempt to save them both. He chose the latter, but was then afraid as he made his way back to the bakery that his father would be angry with him – the cakes were no longer deliverable in that state! When he got there, his father surprised him by going to the cupboard, taking out a knife, and carving two big pieces of (now) six-layer cake. They sat and ate the cake together and had a good laugh.

Family

Whidbey Island

February 4, 2018

Aaron is turning 33 on Tuesday! I love these months while we are the same age. 🙂 I’m a tiny bit older than he.

We took a fun surprise trip to Whidbey Island this weekend. I didn’t tell Aaron where we were going – I just told him to pack for two days on Friday and we were gettin’ out of dodge! It was a beautiful drive up – we took the ferry and had hot chocolate and saw seals in the water next to the ferry.

Some of our favorite things about the trip:

  • We had dinner (twice!) at a little place called “Christopher’s” that was so good! Really amazing, local, fresh food.
  • We went to a drive-in movie theater and watched “Ferdinand” and “Jumanji.” It was so fun to relax in the car with the seat heaters on and listen to the movie through the radio!
  • Cinnamon rolls and coffee at “Knead and Feed” in Coupeville.
  • Greenbank Farm – they have a bunch of little art galleries, gardens, etc. and an on-site cafe with tasty soups and sandwiches.
  • Deception Pass – we drive home by going north instead of south across the ferry. It was grey and cloudy so I didn’t get a good picture, but it was such a pretty drive. We want to go back in summer when we can see more of the sights across the pass.
  • We stopped by a new Restoration Hardware Outlet on the way home – Aaron likes shopping as much as my dad does (he would rather sit in the car than shop), so I always appreciate it when he takes these little detours with me! 🙂
Farm

RV Troubles…

February 4, 2018

I feel like Aaron and I have been trying so hard to make things work getting out to the farm, and it seems like we keep making mistakes! We joke that at least we picked the right partner, even if we’re making lots of other mistakes along the way. 🙂

I had this sort-of-romanticized idea about living in an RV. I thought it would be fun to downsize, have a mobile home that we could take with us wherever, etc. And this might be the case if we were in a new, expensive RV! But we are in Honey, our lil’ 1987 oldie. It seems like every which way we go, there are new problems, each one that takes a day or two to fix! Among the issues we are currently dealing with:

  • The water pump in the RV is not working, so we don’t currently have water.
  • There is a little leak that we became aware of in the living area, which dripped water down onto a duvet while we were out.
  • The battery died from being parked too long and it took us several hours to get it going again.

Ugh.