Making

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Orange Horned Poppy

Hummingbird Moth

Moon Carrot

Wabbit

This and the one above – Apache Plume

Colorado Springs – home of my dreams…

Well, we did it! We hosted our cousin’s birthday party Saturday (and took not one photo of the actual festivities, only the frosting, which was Y U M) and yesterday, a little afternoon garden party for our ever curious neighbors (What on earth are you doing??). What fun! And what a great relief, too, to have all that work behind us and everyone enjoying the beautiful fruits of our labor. There was much laughter, lots and lots of cake, and hummingbirds zooming about. WooT!

To treat ourselves, we’ve pulled not one weed, nor put one plant in the ground (though there are three echinacea waiting). This weekend maybe, but for now we are enjoying long walks to breakfast with the girl (thank you Good Neighbors!), book reading, game playing, and home improvement show watching, because that, my friends, is our JAM.

Happy Wednesday!

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p.s.

Look at that little river flow!!

Homemade kombucha in the house! That’s what’s happening to-day. Way back in our Portland days (we’ve been gone three and a half years! WOW!), we made heaps and tons of kombucha. As we didn’t feel like schlepping a SCOBY or two or three across the country to Pennsylvania, we left all means of production behind. Curiously enough, when we had our pre-move garage sale, the people who bought all the gear were getting ready to start their own brew operation. Great minds think alike, eh?

This time around, we are adding flavors, upping our game a bit. Or so I hope. I made these this morning and thusly have no clue if they will actually be worth drinking. Fingers crossed! Since my memory isn’t what it used to be, AND I bought a cool chalk board pen, I made my notes right on the bottle.

Also what’s happening – much, much planting! Over the past week, we’ve put in five trees, two shrubs, and thirty-eight plants, with about fifty more to go. I kid you not. Most of the labor done by yours truly because the hubster has been earning our bread AND busting up a hideous monstrosity of a patio, sledge hammer chain-gang style, while I dig, dig, dig. “What we have here is a failure to communicate…” Not really. We are ace communicators, the two of us, mind readers even. I just think of Cool Hand Luke at times of day-long outdoor labor is all.

Anyhoo, hopefully all will flourish and our yard won’t look so very, very brown.

Happy Friday!

Appreciating the efforts of the labor movement by showing my own work – I made soap! Clockwise, starting at the top left – chai pumpkin (with actual tea and pumpkin puree), ginger calendula, goat milk & oatmeal (which the hubster suggested I call goatmeal, but I worried it would sound a little Sweeny Todd-ish), juniper forest, minty-mint, and avocado (with avocado puree). What an education I’m receiving, and part of the reason I am getting schooled! Soap making is one part dreaming, two parts science. So, as one would imagine, the dreamer in me is having to hold back on my “What if I…” questions a little while I figure out the nitty-gritty of the rest.

For instance, the color of the soap. I honestly have no idea what each batch will be. Take the avocado – my blend of oils was quite yellow with a very green avocado puree, and it turns out that beautiful creamy color. It also has an avocado shaped spot in the center where the soap turned to jelly while it was saponifying.

Saponifying! Where you mix room temperature water and lye to get a 180 degree chemical reaction (then cool), to which you add oil and whatever else strikes your fancy (well, almost), which gets crotch pot cooking hot, yet again, before turning into soap. It’s science! It is also crazy caustic in the nascent stages, so I wear an actual lab coat and safety goggles and gloves, oh, and garden clogs to keep the tootsies safe, too. The hubster loves my costume. Science is cute! Who knew?

And the results? Toot-tooting my own horn here, pretty damn snazzy! Of the seven I’ve made, only one batch turned out less than stellar, a lemon coconut milk, because I didn’t know (and the recipe didn’t specify) that milks need to be frozen because they are super-heated by the lye and can burn. Like I said, I’m getting schooled.

Fragrances fade or don’t come out at all as expected. The juniper forest (a nod to our sweet girl) was supposed be reminiscent of a forest hike but smells like something else entirely. I don’t know what, exactly, but I like it. Fresh! Colors are unpredictable and also fade. Texture can be tricky, too. Next time I make mint, I will puree the leaves, so that everything is super fine. No clumpy clumps of mint to drop in the sink. But goll-ee it smells delish (yeah Grandma, that’s a nod to you), and they all feel lovely from head to toe. So far so good! Closest friends and relations, get ready for the gift of soap.

And my other bit of schooling? I got a job! Who knew it was even possible after the hundreds of rejections I’ve received over the years. I caption calls for the deaf and hearing impaired. We call ourselves professional eavesdroppers and basically repeat, word for word, everything that the person (or machine) says to the hearing impaired into voice recognition software. It pops out on a nice little screen in the homes of countless thousands. It is super challenging and equally satisfying. Without our service, our clients would be drastically cut off from the outside world. I just need to sharpen my speed talking skills. Wowie, do people, myself included, talk nineteen to the dozen.

Hello! Welcome to our tiny bathroom. It’s been done for a while but I am just getting around to taking pictures. At 5′ x 6.5′, there isn’t a whole lot to show, at least space wise, and, as a result, we have kept it very minimalist, no cabinets, no shelving. Luckily, should you be worried about where we store all of our toiletries and whatnot, there’s a very snazzy collection of drawers and cabinets in the hallway just outside the bathroom door.

To keep everything simple, we used the same lights, flooring, and tile as the kitchen. The dark border is a Schluter edge (also in the kitchen), a look I had to fight our tile guy over(words not fists). I won the battle and his opinion. Everyone thinks it looks awesome!

And this horror is the before photo. I told you we bought a dump! The space was overwhelmed by bulky cabinetry that had outrun its useful life. The sides were rotting out, the door didn’t close, and the drawer no longer fit. The sink, when both taps were turned on FULL blast, only let a trickle of water escape. The awful vinyl floor (a match to the old kitchen) was curling up on itself, badly stained, and impossible to clean. The hubster, tall guy that he is (6’1″) splashed water everywhere when showering because the doors were way too short. A right mess. Seriously.

But now, jeepers, it is lovely and fine: a nice toilet that you can’t see, a great sink, a cool faucet that works, a splash proof shower door, and a REALLY deep tub. Ahhhhh….

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Boom! It is ON, and we are in the thick of it. The house is rocking and rolling, literally. It is loud, with five people moving and shaking, putting in new doors (top shot) grinding the metal of old windows (third) to put in the new (fourth). There is a shit ton of plastic and barriers because our house is sixty years old, and the paint tested positive for lead. There’s wood dust and dirt, and who knows what, with more to come.

The hubster passed his rough electrical inspection with flying colors, the plumber, too. I installed insulation Wednesday, and the drywall gets installed over it all today. A new kitchen floor happens next Wednesday, kitchen cabinets the Monday after that. Then a counter top, followed by pretty lights,  snazzy tile, a dishwasher, sink, range and hood.

Meanwhile, I make every attempt to maintain my sanity, trying to carve out a space, trying to keep schedules and everything on track. I succeed. I fail. I cry because I can’t find what I am looking for (door hardware, tools, paper, a pen). I cry even harder because Prince died too damn young. I listen to his music and feel a tad better. That which lasts, that which we can keep.

It’s gonna get better, surely, slowly. We’re on our way.

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