Saturday, February 28, 2009

Exploring the Alsea, Part 2

It was another relaxing Saturday morning, so we decided to head up the Alsea once again to check out the sights. Not much more than a mile or so up the road from my house was a rhododendron nursery. I had driven past the sign once or twice already, so I couldn't pass it up again. Oh, I am glad I didn't!! It is a beautiful, huge nursery, with rhododendrons around as far as I could see! It was also encouraging to meet one of the owner guys, who seemed to practice a wonderful, holistic, sustainable approach to his business.

And it wasn't like there were just rhodies all around, there were trees and other bushes across the land. Up one of the many roads we came across a greenhouse. It had a lot of the plants that I see in random yards all around my house. We also met our tour guide up there. She showed us the rest of the nursery.
She sure is cute!
She, however, didn't understand why we weren't running up and down the hills like she did. She was very patient with us. I was glad I had left Daisy in the car.
A few bushes over the acres and acres had begun to bloom. I can only imagine how amazing this farm will be when everything blooms! I am totally going back to have a picnic!
There was even a pond on the property!
I was still in awe that there was such beautiful property so close to my home, but was determined to see more. We got back in the car and continued up the Alsea.
Almost all of the parks along the river have boat launches, which I am sure will come in handy at some point or another. There were a lot of boats on the river, but I could understand, it looked green and beautiful.
We made it practically to the end of the Alsea Road, with Mary's Peak our last venture off.
It was there we found snow!!
I think Daisy forgot what snow was. She was very confused when she got out of the car.

The land of super straight trees!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Exploring the Alsea, Part 1

Along a very innocent drive along the Alsea Highway, Jered spotted some elk from afar. They were just hanging out.

Blackberry park didn't show a lot of sign of the pokey plant, but we did find some spring mushrooms. Super slimy!

We found a big open field at another park, and Daisy went crazy with the tennis ball!
Great park, right along the Alsea River.
Hasn't lost the ball (yet).....
Very steep trail to get down to the water!!
Beautiful erosion along the beach.

Still has the ball.
She is reluctant, but will release the ball in order to get a good throw out of the deal.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Santos, still growing up

Santos, now running around like a free spirit. Crazy how fast they grow up!

He was dressed like a little man today for his uncle's wedding. He was excited to get home and take it off. He did a little strip dance for us! So cute!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Stain Saga

So I must admit, I led a sheltered life when it came to woodworking. I do remember taking shop class in middle school, but all I really remember is how the teacher loved to show girls how to use the machines by wrapping himself around the girl and the machine at the same time. I did make a sign with a "router?" once that said "gone fishing" for my parents, which is kinda strange now that I look back, since they didn't fish that much........ but even then, I don't remember the painting part. I also have a vague memory of my mom painting our house when I was pretty young, so I can only imagine how helpful I was then.

So, I don't really have any experience building anything, painting anything, let alone staining anything. Then there is Jered, who may now think I have some sort of disability because of this new discovered deficiency that I have, since he practically knows how to do everything. He did build me a new office....

Jered had built me the coolest shelf a year or so ago, and now it is going to go on display in my carport. It is made out of pine, so it is really light colored (I guess I don't even know if all pine is light colored??) and it may have a little bit of weather to go up against, so Jered got the brilliant idea to stain it. I thought that sounded like fun, since I had no idea what it entailed. I knew that the doors in my new office were stained, and it looked pretty cool, so I figured, what the heck :)

We went to the store so I could pick out the color that I liked. There were a lot more colors of brown than I had imagined, but it was still an exciting adventure. I decided to go with "Colonial Maple". It looked light, so I hoped it wouldn't hide the grain on the wood too much, but still darker than the wood actually was.
We decided to stain a little bookshelf first before the big outside shelf. It turned out to be a wonderful idea! I dipped the rag into the stain, and applied. I remember when I first opened the can I thought, "wow, this color sure looks orange." But since I don't think I had stained before, I wasn't sure what to expect. It turned out to be the most awful color I could have ever imagined!!!!!!!!!!!!! My favorite color is orange, but when I saw the "colonial" orange that overtook my cute little bookshelf, I almost threw up. It looked as if the stain had thrown up on itself; that is really what "colonial maple" should have been called. After the first coat, I was freaking out, but I thought it may get better if I apply another coat. No such luck was there! (Took a picture of it that was too ugly to post!) I couldn't believe that I had ruined my new little bookshelf (but a little relieved that I didn't attempt my big shelf also)! Jered was attempting to reassure me that the color of the wood makes a big difference with the way the stain reacts to it, but it was too late. I decided that I hated staining, and it was stupid.

After Jered helped me calm down, he took me back to the store to look for another color. He convinced me that staining didn't always turn out like that, so I was willing to give it another chance.
I went with a much darker color this time. I wanted to be able to stain over the awful orange color, and I didn't want to have any hint of orange on my other projects. This "provincial" seemed to be the best bet. Below is my little bookshelf with two coats of "provincial" and two coats of "colonial maple". It looks way better!
It still has quite an orange tint to it, but not as pink as it was. I was satisfied, but wanted to try something that was just "provincial".

So Jered built a shelf for me that can go next to my bed. I think it looks SO beautiful with just one coat of "provincial"!! Then I was ready to tackle my outdoor shelf!
It turned out great as well! So after all the stress of the original stain color that tainted me in a considerably negative way, now turned out to be a super positive experience. And of course, now I know how to stain stuff.

My New House!!

Finally, I managed to find a place that will accept my dog and I! Although it is a little (very little) shack about 40 minutes from work, I am very excited to not have any crazy neighbors. My landlord seems to be nice, he really loves dogs, so I think that will add to our relationship. He has two black labs himself (one old and one young: best of both worlds!).
This is the carport, that lately, Jered has been using as a shop to make me stuff. The landlord remodeled the bathroom before I moved in. He installed a new shower/bathtub, but he turned the old one around and made it a doggie washing station! It will be the coolest thing ever once I get some gravel laid down so the mud doesn't splash back up onto Daisy. It has hot and cold water, which I think will save me some guilt trips that Daisy lays on me sometimes when she is getting hosed off with frigid water. Not like she doesn't swim in the ocean or anything, but hoses, that is what pushes her over the edge.

Over to the left of the picture is a boat covered with a giant black tarp. This is the main eyesore of the house. It was in the carport, but I wanted that space to use, so the landlord said he would move it out of there. He didn't move it far, so I suppose that is where it is going to stay. I am not impressed, especially because it is full of garbage. Some people really don't like cleaning up after themselves. It seems to be common practice, there are storage sheds all over the property, and the few I have explored in are jam-packed with junk, mostly garbage. I have a lot of work to do if I ever expect to use any of the storage. Luckily, I don't have very much stuff......

Just west of the carport is the washer/dryer building, then right next to it is a little picnic area. Daisy has decided that she likes to pee there in the morning, so I am not sure how much "hanging out" there I will do, but hey, it is just pee.
Just past the picnic table is a trail that goes past the compost box and down to.......
A SUPER awesome fire pit that Jered and I built! The burn barrel was already there, but we went to Neptune State Park and collected (for personal use only :) some round rocks for the pit. It weighed my car down quite a bit, but it was well worth it! I LOVE FIRE PITS!!
We had our first fire Saturday night, and it was wonderful! I am the most excited about having a ton of fires, and it is starting to get darker later, which gives me a great opportunity. Even though it is tiered, there is a great seating area around it. So cool.
When you are sitting around the fire pit (assuming that it is still light outside) this is the view toward the water. I am not right on the river, but I am really close to a slough that comes off of the river. So it is kinda muddy, but it changes dramatically four times a day! At high tide, there are ducks and other birds floating around, then during low tide, the muddy underground is exposed weaving a maze of small canals.
This looks the other way from the fire pit, toward the road. There are plenty of trees to run around, or into if one doesn't have a flashlight! There are some Alder, mostly Cedar, a couple of Firs, and one big Redwood right in the middle. The Redwood makes the best forest litter, the needles love to stick to Daisy's tail.
This is looking from the fire pit toward my house.
This is closer to the road (can see my entrance gate through the trees) to another picnic table. The Redwood is in the right corner of the picture. There at one time was a gazebo here (see pile of wood) but during a storm that we had in January it blew over and is pretty much broken forever. We took the roof off and made it into a little covered area for firewood, and have left the walls in a pile for now. There is a climbing rosebush that is attempting to crawl up that white thing, so I do want to fix that at some time.
From the demolished gazebo is a trail that leads back up to my carport and front door.
Since my house is too small to have a dining room table, I have decided that this is going to have to be it. I think I am going to have to wait until spring to take advantage of it, it is really cold out still. I think this shrub behind it will bloom something crazy in the spring, which in turn will be a beautiful place to sit and hang out.
This is the view that I have out my kitchen window. There is just under a dozen blueberry bushes right outside my window, which I hope this summer will produce enough berries to make some jam! I amazingly have already almost ate my entire stock of blueberry. Luckily that wasn't the only flavor I made, so I think I will make it through the winter.
It is sure a nice view to look at while washing dishes!
It is really fun working outside! Jered built me some shelves, and I got to stain or paint them; a little bit of both. I think Daisy likes being outside too, even though she just lays around.
She hasn't roamed too far away yet, so I just need to keep an eye one her. She tends to do that if I give her too much freedom.
This is the view of the slough, looking toward the river. So far, this is about as high of a tide that I have seen. So most of the time, there is still a little bit of land to stand on.
The ducks seem to swim away as soon as they see a golden retriever, so strange!!