Well, the bear on our property is persistent! We were out of town for several days and it broke in again; this time ripping off the lock to the area where the chickens were and tearing out a chunk of the wooden door. Miraculously, the chickens survived! They may have PTSD, but they are apocalypse-ready! The three of them were just hanging out by the coop – clucking away and looking for food.
It’s a bummer that the bear came back – we feel like we need to call Fish & Wildlife now and see if they can re-locate it. Hopefully they can do that without hurting the bear. We want it to live a long life – just without our chickens.
Aaron reinforced the door with a new lock – unfortunately the bear can probably get past most anything we put up at this point. All of Aaron’s hard work constructing the feeding and watering system needs to be re-done – I guess this is farm life!
We had a great Thanksgiving visiting my parents on the coast! Casey and Jenn were there, and we had lots of good family time – eating tacos, seeing a play at the Newport community theater, watching the new “Murder On the Orient Express,” and taking many naps. We drove home on Sunday and went out to the farm to check on the chickens, and found a big surprise! A bear had gotten past the sliding barn door and into the big plastic bin holding the chicken feed. The empty bin was in the yard with some big bite marks on it! The door had some scratches as well. Aaron even used a “peppery” feed that’s supposed to repel animals. But all the chickens were safe in their coop next door, so we were thankful for that!
We adopted three chickens from the B&B – Lady, Gardener, and Tweet Tweet – names courtesy of our nephew Little Aaron. They are very sweet! Aaron and I have a history with one of them – about a year ago, a possum broke into their pen in the middle of the night at the B&B and was munching on the tail of Lady! She was in shock – it was the strangest sight, seeing her (by flashlight) standing in total stillness while this possum, face covered in blood, was attacking her! While Aaron ran to get a shovel, the possum jetted off. Lady recovered, and she’s now happily living her best life at the farm, shortened tail and all!
Aaron’s going to do a blog post at some point about this (he’s working so hard right now – got up at 3:30 this morning to do Cyber Monday sales for The Fruit Company) but I wanted to post a few pictures of his handiwork. He constructed an amazing feed and watering system for the chickens. For the water, they peck in the little orange bowls, and water comes out. He rigged it up with a weight that comes through the mesh windows of their coop and goes up/down based on how much water is in the PVC pipes, so we can see how empty or full it is without going in, unscrewing the cap, etc. Handy!
Another hiccup on our way – after setting up our mailbox at the top of the driveway where there was already an existing mailbox post and newspaper box, we were told the mail lady doesn’t drive down one-lane roads (which ours is) and we would need to put one up at the top of the hill in front of our neighbor’s house. So after meeting our neighbors and asking their permission, we put together a new mailbox post. Aaron did most of the work on this, and it turned out great! My do-it-right-and-by-the-rules hubby looked up all the USPS specifications for our specific location and built an apocalypse-ready mailbox post. Here’s a photo of him and his handiwork!
We are now living full-time at the farm! It’s been a big transition, but we are glad to be in one place and not having to drive back-and-forth so often. The last haul in getting the RV ready was a long one. In summary, we ripped all of the old carpet out, put down Pergo floors (we so appreciated Aaron’s dad’s help on the trim – he had all the right cutting tools to make it easy!) and tiled the tiny bathroom. We cleaned everything top to bottom and then moved in on a Friday afternoon a few weeks ago.
The tiny space hasn’t actually been the hardest part of the move – it’s been all the problems we’ve run into along the way! The little refrigerator stopped working, so we bought a used full-sized one on Craigslist for $150. It took us most of a day to go look at that, get it loaded, unloaded, take the doors off to get it into the farmhouse, and then get everything moved over from the old fridge into the new one. Then we were having problems with the heater, so we bought a space heater. Then we had problems with the water pump, so Aaron’s working on replacing that. Each of these issues has taken a day or two, and when we are trying to work on these on Sundays on the weekends, it’s taken quite a while.
Since we moved in, I’ve been trying to make everything feel more homey. I added some little bulb lights to the bedroom, and put a bunch of peel-and-stick hooks around for towels, keys, etc.
I can’t believe it’s almost September. It feels like summer flew by! I start another school year at PLU tomorrow, and can’t wait. We have a fun new cohort, and I get to teach them their first class – always a good time. If there’s anything I wish I’d known four years ago when I started here, it would be to trust that IT WILL GET EASIER. I thought I’d drown in my first year of teaching… I remember working 10-12 hour days every weekend trying to get my lesson plans ready. My goal was to stay two weeks ahead of the class! Now I’ve taught some classes 7 or 8 times, and others 4 times… it’s so much easier now that I’m tweaking the material I’ve already worked on for several years.
Aaron and I have been working hard on the RV over the last few weeks. We’ve been driving out to Buckley after work and putting in several hours before the sun goes down and we lose the light. We are only a few boards away from finishing the Pergo floors we put down after ripping out all the old carpet. It wasn’t until after we’d made quite a bit of headway that we realized the RV was constructed by nailing down all the fixtures on TOP of the carpet. So pulling it out with pliers, boxcutters, etc. was a task. We are thankful for my parents who came up and spent a long weekend helping us! We were also surprised at how long it’s taken us to put the flooring down… pretty much every board (with the exception of a select few down the center) has custom cuts. For reference, it’s taken us about 50-60 hours to do the flooring. But we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel now! The bathroom was also carpeted (ew!) and we’ll put down some white penny tile in there. Then I want to deep clean, maybe paint if we have any energy left, and then move in! I’m hoping we can do that and get the Tacoma house listed within a month. It will be so good to be out at the farm – I don’t think I’m going to mind being in the RV… I’m kind of looking forward to being a minimalist and having less to clean/maintain. Let’s see if I change my tune in 6 months. 🙂
Other happenings over the summer:
- My mom and I got rear-ended in a pretty bad car accident that totaled my mom’s SUV. We were waiting to turn left and the driver in the truck behind us was distracted – he rammed in to us without any breaks at about 45 MPH. Thankfully, no one was hurt, although it was pretty scary.
- My mom got diagnosed with shingles the same day we were in the car accident. It’s been really painful for her – she has chronic pain from the car accident that crushed her foot about 8 or so years ago, and she doesn’t complain about that – so I know when she says she’s hurting, she’s really hurting. She’s on Neurontin now, and says that’s made a lot of difference. We are praying for a quick recovery.
- Aaron and I watched the eclipse from the farm. We were in about the 98% zone, and it was so fun to see if get dark enough that the outside lights came on.
- We found an amazing heritage blueberry bush on the farm that is still producing delicious little berries, even without any maintain for the last 10+ years!
- Today we came back from a great long weekend in Sunriver with my parents, Casey and Jenn, and Jenn’s parents George and Becky. Casey and Jenn are thinking of moving to Bend area, and we had fun driving around and looking at property with them, visiting Sparks Lake, throwing the ball way out into the water for the pups (my parents brought Sadie too), having peaches and ice cream, and staying up late playing Balderdash.
I’m so excited for fall. The hot weather here has me down! PLU is very connected to it’s Scandinavian Lutheran heritage, and one of the things they celebrate is “hygge” – trounced “hoo-gah.” It’s a Danish word that means “cozy,” “connected,” “content,” etc. There are 10 principles to hygge:
- Atmosphere – turn down the lights, use candles and lamps, etc.
- Be here now – turn off your phone.
- Pleasure – bake cookies, have a piece of chocolate, etc.
- “We over me” – share the tasks and air time.
- Gratitude – take joy in daily life.
- Harmony – no need to brag, it’s not a competition.
- Comfort – put on sweatpants, curl up in a quilt.
- Truce – strive for peace and no drama.
- Togetherness – build close relationships and narratives. “Do you remember the time we…?”
- Shelter – this is your tribe and place of safety.
Isn’t that a good manifesto for the end of 2017?
Our sweet friend Bethany drove down from Seattle (braving Friday traffic – with her two month old, Ireland!) yesterday evening to take some pictures of Aaron and me at the farm! Bethany is one of the most creative, talented people I know – do you know anyone else who is piecing together a new quilt two weeks after having a baby? She throws floral arranging classes, does all kinds of sewing projects for her kiddos, bakes fancy things, photographs people, etc. – all while having a three year old and an infant! She is amazing.
For any of you looking for a florist or photographer for your wedding or special event, feel free to contact me for Bethany’s contact info!
Here are some of the beautiful photographs she took – ones we will love forever. Thank you, Bethany!
Last weekend, Aaron and I went out to the farm to trim all the brush and brambles from around the electrical cables. We are working to get electricity back on, and the company said they would be happy to come do the yard work for us – for $2500 extra dollars! We said no thanks – we can do it ourselves. 🙂 So we spent most of Sunday trying out our new buzzsaw on the end of a big stick (I’m sure there’s a more technical name for this tool). It worked great! Aaron worked hard cutting down limbs and branches, and I was the “hauler-away” person. He was impressed by my brute strength and said I am like Paul Bunyan. He is my Babe the Big Blue Ox. 🙂 Fen was “helping” by playing tug-of-war on the branches as I was trying to haul them to the pile. She LOVES life on the farm. I can’t wait to have her there full time.
Connie and Dave came up to visit us several weeks ago, and were helpful with things at our house (next steps in repairing the bathroom ceiling that fell through during the winter storms) and at the farm (trimming back branches around electrical cables). Connie took these beautiful macro photos around the property and I thought we had to share them!
We drove out to the farm this morning to check on things, and knew something was wrong as soon as we saw the gate to the driveway open. Someone cut the chain and lock with boltcutters, and kicked open the tool shed and the barn. Luckily, they didn’t seem to get into the house, and we didn’t actually see anything missing (there is so much junk there right now – nothing much of value to take!). It was strange that they likely drove in (why else break the gate – you can slip around it on the sides) but didn’t take anything that could’ve had SOME value – like the Crane sink, or the barbecue, or the riding lawnmower. We are grateful for that! We spent some time walking around to make sure everything was ok, and picked some spring flowers to take home before locking everything up again. We’ll be driving out more often to check on things – looking forward to having more happening there soon, so that it isn’t so empty!