Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Moving to Bramblewood

Life got really busy there for awhile after my last post. Even with some relaxing down time, I got out of the blog habit. I have been writing in my journal, which is satisfying in a different way than blogging, but I do miss the very visual aspect of the blog.
July and August saw the final building of the house, which was incredibly exciting and stressful beyond most projects I undertake. Not only was there all the paperwork and last minute well issues (who is going to come up with $5000 quick?!? Builder? Owner? Lender? etc.) but we had to paint the entire interior and exterior of the home. That was a seriously huge undertaking on our part, yes indeed. Not only did we save over $4000 doing it ourselves, it was something we got to physically contribute to the building of the house. Sinse I had the dream of building my own home for over 15 years, I think I needed that involvement and control physically and emotionally.
We spent the last half of July painting the interior, meanwhile maintaining 3 4x15 community garden beds, 3 4x8 garden beds at the upper meadow that needed water hauled in (yes, it's true), 10 chickens and 2 cats that needed looking after, 2 kids that were under a lot of stress themselves (but they did awesome, those guys!), keeping the ice cream business afloat, and working on my resume. After a completely grueling 5-day stint scooping ice cream at the Hood River Fair (Columbia Valley Cone's official last event...sniff) I was out starting on the exterior. Bless the boys; they really did a lot of work. Ealom and Gil pretty much did all of the interior ceilings, and Aidan and I painted walls. Outside, we all pitched in, working our butts off in blistering hot weather to get the paint done before closing. The timing was excellent though; painting in extremely dry weather is a true blessing around here.
Things got really crazy when on August 22, I took a new job as the Head Cook and Food Manager for Skamania County's Senior Services Food Program.
We did our final walk-through with the builder and signed the closing papers with USDA on September 1, and we spent Labor Day Weekend moving in. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we moved most of our belongings and Sunday was the big day of bringing over the beds and cats. So, September 4 was the official starting day of living at Bramblewood. The cats are happy here, and of course, so are we.

Here are the garden beds at Bramblewood:

And here are the guys with our community garden bed that won "Best of Show" at the county fair:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Two Flocks of Chickens

Aidan and Athena, 14 1/2 months old:

Aidan and Back-up, 4 1/2 months old (I would give her a better name, but she was the one with the neurological problem when she was a baby that made her back up and roll over and the name stuck. Btw, she completely healed after a week of Vit. B, Vit. E, neck rubs, and isolation in the house for a week. This was when she was 4 weeks old and we think it was something called wry neck because that was her other symptom; she tucked her neck under to the point that it was twisted nearly all the way around. You'd never know by looking at her now.):

It's not easy integrating two flocks. We are keeping a barrier between the two until the younger hens are eating the same feed blend as the layers. The older one's are aggressive enough that the younger ones will just stay in their coop and not come out during outdoor time if the barrier is down. I know they need to have their pecking order and get that established, so we take the barrier down for awhile every day, but I want them outside also, so we'll put it back up after Athena (the warrior name, go figure, lol) chases them all back inside. If we walk away, she'll even go in and eat up their food, so that's reason #2 to keep them seperate for now. It's interesting to me that Snowball, who is the most skittish around people, is completely accepting of the younger chickens, even sharing scratch with them, which none of the other hens will do.

In a month or so, we'll be building yet another coop (good golly, the FIFTH time) closer to the house and they will all be eating the same feed rations, so they'll just have to get used to each other.

A Few House Updates

The kitchen after sheetrock:

After we painted and they installed the cabinets and sub-floor:

Here are some of the appliances being stored in Aidan's bedroom before they get installed elsewhere:

Ealom's bedroom:

The boys sitting on rolls of carpet padding in mine and Gil's room:

Master bathroom:

Living room with rolls of carpet and trim:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Interior paint

The sheetrocking was completed on June 30, and then it was our turn to work on the house; interior painting. What a job! It's nice to have a strong young man for a son who doesn't even need the extension wand to paint ceilings. (I did recommend it nonetheless, but he enjoyed doing it this way also):

Aidan takes a break from painting to make a cleaver belt:

I will have to post more pictures later. :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

House update

Things are moving right along with the house. The crew worked right through Memorial Day weekend to lay the floor joists, some plumbing (mostly drainage) and get the frame up:

June 1st saw the rafters and roof sheathing go up. It's starting to look like a real house!

This past week has seen the rain gutters added; they are all connected and attached to a huge drainage pipe directed several yards away from the house, which I think is fantastic. In the future the pipe will either get hooked up to a water storage container or empty into a pond.
The shingles were put on, and Aidan got to assist the builder, Darin Baker, staple a few areas of Tyvek wrap with a staple hammer, which was quite the thrill for him.
The electrical and plumbing both have been roughed in, and the following have been installed: the heaters(zonal fan type, which I'm really happy about and hope they are as neat as they sound), shower, tub, and exhaust fan piping.
We visited today and Darin had finished the wrapping and was installing the windows.

We are responsible for clean-up and the boys have been a huge help sorting through piles of rubbish and sorting it all out. I hate all the trash, but we were able to recycle quite a bit, used the cardboard to supress weeds in my future garden area, and we have a huge pile of solid wood scraps for future projects, namely a tree house. I even used quite a few scraps to make a chicken coop extension and the building superintendant, Eric Sundby, came out and used leftovers to build us a shed/well pumphouse. It's not in his contract to do so, but he did. I was quite surprised to see him out there contructing and grateful to have such a great guy supervising our project.


A few more pictures I should've posted a few months back. :)
Bonny came to visit in February and the day after she left we got a visit from Molly. The weather was partly sunny, gorgeous and felt like spring for Bonny (I guess that's why they call it "false spring"), and then Molly got our last winter storm. It was wonderful to see them both.

We had just finished a picnic at a Hood River park:

The boys were sledding on the elementary school hill behind us:

Easter with cousins

I know Easter is well behind us, but I wanted to share a couple of pictures of the boys with their cousins.
I am cracking up that they all wore camouflage to go hunting eggs.

Afterwards we went to the park and I got this shot, which I just love:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


We were pleasantly surprised today by the presence of cement mixing and pouring equipment, as well as a whole crew of workers out at Bramblewood. They poured the footing for the house and the foundation for the well pump house.

We came back later after they had finished. They did this all in one day. Pretty amazing.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Property Improvements

We were told on Thursday that the building permit is ready and will be picked up by Adair (our builder) first thing Monday morning. 7 1/2 months after filing, it better be ready. I never would have imagined it could take the county that long to get their stuff together and I must say I remain unimpressed with their abilities down at the planning office.
Nevertheless, building should get started soon and we have a few improvements to report on, namely; a much nicer driveway that you don't need 4WD to drive on:

We also have electricity, a well liner, our water report shows good, healthy drinking water (woo-hoo!!!), and they've started to dig out the foundation. You can see the former and the latter in this picture: