Friday, May 17, 2019

Otter Fun Run 2019

Every year, the girls' Elementary School puts on a fun run... it's a 3k, and has been going on for YEARS. Charlotte has participated since 3rd grade, but this year, she wanted to sit it out (her and I did a 5k the day after). Marley on the other hand, was beyond PUMPED for it. She's been training during her recess runners program for the last few weeks... and when start time came, it was evident that her hard work paid off. She took off with Daddy, and never stopped. She got 1st place for girls in her age group and declared it "the best day ever!"

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Monday, May 13, 2019

Guest House { weeks 38-44 }

So much goodness has happened in these last few weeks... finally, it feels like we're getting somewhere... and as much as that feels like a relief for me, I imagine it's 100x that for my husband whose worked so hard to get it to where it is.

We passed inspections... electrical, plumbing and mechanical... and that alone, is huge... HUGE.

The hubby rented a skid steer, to celebrate passing those inspections, to cover up all the trenches, holes, lines dug into our ground. Man oh man, is our yard destroyed... I still remember hearing, "Mama... hellllllllp!" from the backyard... only to not find my little Mable, because she was stuck down in one of those huge holes, with a diaper full of dirt. Thankful to have the earth, semi back to normal... I'll be really thankful when we have grass again (which won't be for awhile). We moved some of the big rock that was delivered to the back, to start building a retaining wall beside the guest house. 2 drop offs of 7 ton rock, to be exact.

We ordered our tiles for the floor in the bathroom... hexagon (slate color)... and they arrived, after waiting quite a few weeks for them. They're even prettier in person, all together.

When you build a house to code, one of the final tests you must pass is a blower door test. That measures how “tight” the building is - and by “tight” they mean leaky. Tight buildings are much more energy efficient, require significantly less heating or cooling, and repel water much better. If your build quality is poor, the less tight it will be…but if you seal the seams, insulate with foam, and tape the exposures - generally your building will be tight enough to pass the blower door test. During that test - they hook a blower to a rubber dam that spans a door and they pressurize the house. By using pressure gauges inside the house they can tell how much air is leaking out per hour. That measurement is called Air Changes per Hour (ACH)…and generally, a tight house is less than 5 ACH. A leaky house would be anything above that. The blower door test usually comes at the end of the building phase, right before the final inspection…and if you don’t pass - you have to pay an insulator to go find all the leaks and seal them up with caulk. This can take a long time - and it’s usually pretty expensive.

Nowadays, there’s another option. Some one figured out how to atomize the caulk so it can be sprayed in the house while it’s pressurized, called AeroBarrier. As the air is being forced out of the house through those leaky holes - it rides the air through the gaps…and the caulk begins to build up at the seams of the hole. Over time (about an hour or two), it slowly builds up to the point where it seals the house. It's envelope sealing technology... so cool, and definitely worth a YOUTUBE video watch, if you haven't heard of it before. With the help of a local company, Cascade Aero Barrier, we were able to get our house well within a passing grade - specifically all the way down to 1.6 ACH... when we started at a 12 ACH... I know, appalling.…It's a good thing, because we definitely would have failed the final inspection without it.

Now that we're all sealed up, insulation has begun...

We also spied our first guests staying at the guest house... a mama and papa finch created a nest, right under the little roofing for the hot water heater. 4 little eggs. Happy to report, that the hatchlings are here, and growing bigger each day.

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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Motherhood 2019

I serve these 5 littles day in and day out... and love them beyond measure... what a joy it is to be their Mama...

Dear Charlotte...
You made me Mama, and for that, I am FOREVER changed... Life looks so different now, with lots of little siblings, but I still remember when it was just YOU and ME... and it was the most precious time. You keep getting bigger and bigger on me. You're pretty close to being just a head away from being eye to eye with me... don't grow up too quickly, lets savor this time a little longer.

Dear Marley,
Mars, life is just colorful with you in it, and bright... very, very bright. You make yourself known, and never back down... you are bold. You question everything these days, as you seek answers, and righteousness. I love how you adore life around you... and that everything that crosses paths with you, knows how wonderful they are, because you tell them...

Dear Finn,
We are at a difficult stage with you right now, as you try and push boundaries and limits, to test us. You never did this, when you were younger (like most do)... so I guess, this is your time. You still have the BIGGEST heart... caring for everyone around you. You've become sensitive and tender in a matter of months... you love so deeply.

Dear Josephine,
It is certain, that we have a feeler on our hands, with you... you feel EVERYTHING and boy do you let us know. You are extreme... extremely happy or extremely sad... extremely patient or extremely careful, etc. When you love... it's extreme... and done with your whole being... and that is beautiful.

Dear Mable,
The amount of sweetness that pours out of you... is overwhelming, in the good way... it just flows and flows. Your "I love you's" are said with such sincerity and heart, they melt us... You naturally follow, and let others take the lead... the one and only in our family to do so.

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Friday, April 26, 2019


When we first pulled up to our house (just about 3 years ago), to view it ahead of seeing it with the realtor... we were a little skeptical of what we were going to find. You see, had AWFUL photos of the brand new built house on nearly 3 acres of land... dark and dingy photos, nothing about the land... and yet, it was a gift... it probably kept LOTS of people away from looking at this house.

Pulling in, right at golden hour, as the sun was setting, we nearly drove passed it, because it's tucked into the woods so sweetly. When we parked, we noticed all the blackberries... growing EVERYWHERE. They weren't ripe at the time, but they were plentiful. The birds were chirping, you couldn't hear a car... and the sun was setting right behind the house, which made the house glow. We didn't even look at the house, our eyes were fixated on the property that surrounded it. It didn't have a view of the water... it didn't need the view of the water, it had already captivated us.

That house became our home... no others contended. We settled in 3 years ago (this summer), and we haven't thought twice about that decision.

So many projects have been on our mind. One of those, has always been a garden/shed/chicken coop area in our sunniest spot on our property. I've dreamt of keeping a cut flower garden for many many years... with chickens roaming, and bees doing their thing. There's SO much work involved with creating such a space, and that can become extremely overwhelming. I'm trying to compartmentalize, and tackle it one thing at a time.

First up, was testing the soil with spring bulbs... I planted some tulips, narcissus, and ranunculus... and they all have done well. To keep this going, through all the seasons, I brought in 15 yards of organic compost, topsoil, and volcanic sand for added minerals. This is just to get us started and to begin experimenting... next year, I'll get a more thorough soil test done to prepare the garden a bit more.

We had to move all that soil, and thankfully at the same time it was delivered, our inspections for the guest house were approved, so we could cover up our trenches. The hubby rented a skid steer and got to work. He brought all the soil up to the garden area, carved out the retaining rock wall area that was going to run alongside the garden and in the back by the guest house, covered up all the trenches, dug out old tree stumps... he used every penny that we threw into that piece of machinery!

A few Father's Days ago, we gifted Daddy a promise of cherry trees... this spring, we delivered. We found a Van cherry tree in our favorite store. From there, we learned all about the fact that it wasn't a self pollinating fruit tree... and it needed a partner. We found a partner for it, a Stella cherry tree... planted them a little over 25 feet apart from one another. We wait and see what's to come of them... hopefully buckets full of the yummiest cherries.

We cut down most of the tulips and narcissus, and that was the HARDEST part so far. I love bringing flowers inside, no doubt. There's just something about that first cut... so I handed the scissors over to Marley, showed her how to cut one, and then let her go to town. Seeing the joy it brought her, totally was a bandaid to the whole cutting process... and I'm sure it'll just get easier from here on out. We let the greens from these spring flowers sit a little more, soaking up nutrients, before we dig them out and store them until the fall planting.

Planting the dahlias up in the garden area, will be a test run this year, and same with gladiolus bulbs and other seeds. I'm learning as I go, and I'm excited for all this trial and error. I dug up my dahlias last year, split them and stored them all winter long. Yesterday, I pulled my bin out, and it turns out, I lost 5 tubers... but, I still have WAY more tubers than I did the year before... and seeing the "eyes" and their fresh new growth, is just amazing.

I bought a tiller to begin this whole process, and it should be here within the week... I won't till the ENTIRE area, but again, start with one little part of it at a time... each year growing bigger and bigger. Learning what grows well here, versus what is hopeless to grow. We are still a ways off from having a fence, shed/potting area and chicken coop/run... but that's in the works, all while dreaming up this space.

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