Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Lately I've been really into reading about how to live a more natural, sustainable life.  We've just started drinking raw milk (definitely more creamy, leaves a fat film on the roof of your mouth), we're getting half a side of beef from a grass-fed cow, and now we're talking about getting chickens this coming spring.

For the past couple years we've been trying to figure out what to do with the backyard.  It's basically a dirt pit at this time, but I was looking at a homesteading blog, and this family dug up their grassy backyard and turned the entire yard into a vegetable, fruit, and flower-filled garden.  Seriously.  The entire thing was a garden...AND IT WAS AWESOME!  I hate to weed, and that is a fact.  However, I'm thinking that maybe weeding wouldn't be such a big deal if we fill all the space with stuff that we want.  I mean, we'll have to weed at first, but then perhaps once the desirable plants start to grow, they would have a leg up on the competition.

We will probably get rid of the koi pond and either fill it back in with earth, or we've kicked around the idea of turning it into a sub-terrain fire pit.  Kind of terrace it out.  Not sure about that yet, either.  The problem is where the money will come from.  Jesse's going to school and was laid off from his job, so we're trying to be more frugal until he can find some other kind of work that is compatible with his school schedule.  So for now these plans are just that, plans.

But back to the homesteading idea.  There are tons of little blogs out there about other folks' homesteading adventures, from raising chicken, to milking goats, even keeping bees.  Bees freak me out, but they are wonderful for gardens, so I might have to revisit that idea.  *sigh*  Sometimes I wish we lived on a property that had many acres of land.  Maybe some day.  So be prepared, I may soon be blogging about our mishaps with chickens, bees, and gardens.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Year, 2011

So, it was one heck of a yeah, huh? Problem is, I blog so unregularly that I can't really remember much of what happened, and it's been about 8 months since I posted. That's right, 8 months!

I'm still plugging along at eBay and Jesse is still at his place, although he will start at Western Governor's Univerity in February to finish his Bachelor degree. Fingers crossed he can get a lot done in a timely fashion. It's online Uni where it's up to you on how many courses you can finish within 6 months. Some dedicated folks can get through an entire 4-year degree in just over a year. I'm thinking those people don't have a life.

Still no kids for us as yet. We're hoping this will be the year. In the meantime we have two cats, Joline and Mister. They are siblings and are the best, craziest, pain-in-the-rear kitties, ever! I'm proud that they are both such good hunters but really, if they never brought in another live/almost alive/dead, bird/rodent/worm, it would be just fine with me. Really.

Our soap company, Sympathetic Soap, is starting out much slower than I thought it would. We did some farmer's market type events last summer that did pretty well for us, and I would like to do it again this year, but who knows if I will be able to get the time off to do it? We have a small fan following, and a small following is better than no following at all. We've expanded our inventory and I work on different items and formulas when I have the time.

This September my aunt gave me my grandmother's manuscipt; my aunt has had it for 15 years and finally turned it over to me. I was thinking that it would need a full-on editing done to it because my grandma bounced all over the place in her life story that she wrote, but upon talking with grandma, it turns out she just wants it transcribed and bound into a book format!

So Velvet, Carl, and I are now working on this book, transcribing pieces here and there, and then Carl will work his magic and make it a book, with an ISBN number and everything. We keep getting questioned on how the book is coming along and I'm like, listen, you had it for 15 years. I think taking a couple months to get it out is just fine! But, we are hoping to get it out sooner rather than later, because grandma is close to 90, after all.

We are very eager for spring to get here already. I keep looking at flower gardening sites and picturing what our yard will look like once it's all put together. Right now it's basically a dirt pit with a koi pond. Once thing I miss about living in the Oregon valley is that we won't be able to have a lush, green yard like those who live in humid regions. I see these photos with tons of green vegetation and think, "I want that!" But then I have to remember that we have almost no moisture and then I start to check out xeriscaping. I am totally going to have a ton of planters and those huge ceramic vases are the yard. And I've been looking into mini rose bushes, because I hear they have some really hardy ones. Jesse hates the care roses need, but I love the scent of roses...we'll see who wins.

It sounds like the cats are going crazy, so that's got to be all for now.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

We're getting there!

We went yesterday to fill out our new loan paperwork for the house, and it's a bit of paperwork, let me tell you. Because Dad and Dani helped us with the down payment, they now have to fill out a form and give a copy of *their* bank account and a host of other things. It's a frickin' mess. So that's a good time. We're still hoping for a closing date of the 15th, though, and the date is getting closer and closer. We are so eager to get into our new home, it's insane.

Work has been getting me down lately. I applied for a different position within the company and while others have been accepted into the varying positions, I still have not heard anything. It's frustrating to me because while I'm sure they are all worthy, I know for sure that my stats are better than a couple and the position is about $2 more an hour than I'm currently making. It's frustrating to work for a company that I feel doesn't really value me as an employee. It's frustrating that I used to have a job where I made $5 more an hour and had more responsibility. It's frustrating that the company keeps making all these changes but they don't communicate the changes well so our members are really confused and then have to attempt to explain to them the new rules, when we ourselves are not getting adequate training on the new policies. It's frustrating in general.

I've been looking around at other companies, but I'm unwilling to remove my nose stud, so that does limit where I can go. I could have applied for an asst manager position at a bank, and while my wrist tattoos would have been fine, the nose stud would not. WTF. Most people don't even notice I have it. But *I* know it's there. I only got it pierced again last November and it's finally gotten to the point where I can move it around without hurting. There is no way I will take it out.

It's frustrating to live in a conservative state where that kind of thing apparently matters. I mean, a tasteful piercing is not a detractor, nor does it mean I cannot do just as good a job, if not better, than somebody else. *sigh*

I've been in that restless state again, where I want things to be different, but I don't know what, nor do I know what I want to change. I mean, we're buying a house, which is a huge change, so maybe I should just try to wait until that's all over and done with, and we're all moved it.

Really though, I want a job I can do from home. I have a friend in Oregon who does freelance work from her house, and let me tell you, that sounds stellar. How awesome would it be to work your own hours, as long as you got the project done on time? We're hoping the Sympathetic Soap company of ours will take off in the next year or so. We really need to start doing the craft fairs and getting the word out. It'll be nice once we're in the house because then we can apply for the business license and I can start marketing like I want to.

Also, I've been eating like crap. It's like I've been compelled to just eat and eat, regardless of what it is or whether or not I'm full. And I'm all temperamental and I'm an emotional eater. I wouldn't say I've gained any weight from this latest go-round, but I probably will shortly if I can't get a handle on it.

It's kind of frightening, really. Too much change, and not enough change.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bump in the road

The house we really wanted to buy turns out that it's not eligible for either a conventional or FHA loan until 4/30, which just happens to be the last day one can sign a contract and be eligible for the $8k house credit. So, we will be signing a contract with the seller this Monday stating that they agree to sign an FHA contract on 4/30; if they fail to do so, they would owe us $8k (since we wouldn't be able to claim it if we had to start looking for other houses) and if we don't sign with them they get to keep the $1k we've already put down for the earnest money.

It worked out better than we thought it would, since we both really like the house and were totally bummed thinking we'd have to start looking all over again. At this point, we will extend the formal offer on 4/30 (and they will accept the terms since it's already been agreed to) and then we'll close on 5/15. It feels like it's such a long way away, but hopefully the time will fly by.

The house still needed some work done, in that almost none of the outlets worked, a downstairs bedroom light didn't work, and some windows need to be replaced. The seller knew about most of the stuff, but some things were brought to his attention by our inspection report we had done. He seems to be really motivated because he agreed to fix everything.

The shop is moving more slowly than I'd hoped it would, but all in all I'd say it's doing well. I have more marketing plans, but still need the business license to be completely on the up and up, and to feel secure in putting forth said plans. Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Oh the joys of buying a home

Jesse and I decided it was high time we bought a house, so we went house hunting again. On our second trip out with the realtor, he took us to a house that just been put on the market that day. We liked it well enough that we put an offer in that night, they sent a counter-offer back within hours, we verbally accepted it, then signed the counter-offer the next day.

We are VERY excited about this house. It's a split-level entry that has been repainted on the inside and new carpet and both bathrooms have been redone. The yards (both front and back) need quite a bit of work, and there is a railroad literally maybe a couple feet from our back fence. However, we've been told the train only comes through once a day at 2pm and it slows to a crawl, so we can handle that.

We've been planning out what we want to do with the yard and have decided that we want to dig a koi pond to the left, have a food garden to the right, and then a flower garden against the back fence. We've been watching a lot of YouTube videos about pond construction and we've been getting a lot of ideas about the shape and styles we like.

We have decided to sell our aquariums. Jesse is the one who maintains them, and with all the yard work needing to be done this spring and summer he just won't have the time for it (we also want to install a sprinkler system). So, if you know of anyone who wants to buy a 180-gallon system for about $2500, you let me know. Otherwise we're having people over on Wednesday to start piecing this stuff out and just selling it rock by rock, fish by fish, coral by coral.

As much as we like our fish, this isn't a terribly sad thing. We were going to have a fish room in one of the downstairs bedrooms, and now I get to have another spare room! Yay! We already have the rooms planned out, and the downstairs family room will be the entertainment area, with our computers and tv. We also need to buy a couch.

The upstairs family room will be just a chill-out area, where we'll have all our bookcases, chairs, musical instruments, and maybe a stereo. I have it all planned out in my head.

The inspecter went out yesterday to do his thing and found severel inches of standing water in the downstairs hallway, coming from the downstairs bathroom. Isn't that just lovely? So I guess the disaster cleanup crew was sent out immediately, and a plumber is supposed to come out, hopefully today sometime.

If it's just a little problem that is easily fixed (as it should be since the bathrooms have all-new plumbing) then we will still go through with the sale. However, if it's something big that's going to need a lot of effort, we may feel mort comfortable looking elsewhere. It all just depends on what the plumber says. Fingers crossed that it's nothing big.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sympathetic Soap is live!

Come help us celebrate our new business, Sympathetic Soap! We have a great Grand Opening sale on our CloveM soap, with more awesome products and sales to come!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Nori chips!

I just tried making nori chips this afternoon, and they were delicious! Jesse would not try them, but they were seriously good. You can find the recipe here.

And I was reading on Gluten-Free Girl's blop today and she has done a kale chip recipe. Apparently her toddler love them, and they look darn tasty to me, so whenever I go to market next, I will look for some kale. You can find that recipe here.

Alas, the house I was so excited about already had a bajillion offers on it, so we did not go to see it. However, we decided to hire on one of Jesse's friend's dad to be our realtor, so I think we will be meeting up with him next week to go check out some homes. Some of them I'm kind of excited about, some of them just middle of the road. We decided to not look at short-sale homes for now, only when the other houses have been exhausted.