My husband ran a marathon!

26 miles completed, 0.2 to go

He did it! After months of training, it has happened. Matt ran the portland marathon, and in better time than he anticipated. He hobbled around for a few days after the event, but no major blisters or injuries and he has accomplished something that most people don’t do (although watching the marathon, I felt like everybody does it except me). Matt parents and brother came into town and stayed with us. We saw him at the 20 mile mark and just past the 26 mile mark and he looked strong. He made it look so easy but I won’t be fooled into signing up for a marathon. It’s a lot of work and time and dedication. I’m impressed and proud of you, Matt!

Summer Lapse due to Hiking Adventures


I haven’t blogged much because we’re busy having fun. Not sorry! This spring and summer our free time has been spent taking the dog hiking and we’ve been able to explore a lot of new areas, mostly around Mount Hood. The picture is from a hike by Ramona Falls, where we had a heat wave of 85 degree days in the city and we decided to head to the hills. Somehow on the trail there was a few feet of snow remaining, making for cold toes but still a beautiful hike. Luckily the river crossing was safe and Ubu is much more confident crossing bridges, logs and rivers. She’s still not into swimming but we’re working on that. She’s been great about carrying her own water, food and poo, which is awesome because I don’t want to carry more than I have to.

We finally fanagled our schedules to do an overnight with the dog (Ubu’s first camping trip!) to Opal Creek Wilderness where it’s all water and waterfall and old growth forest. This place is so beautiful I wish it wasn’t so popular. The water was too cold to jump in but it was nice to look at. It was crystal clear you could see all the way to the bottom. The hike was pleasant and sleeping in the tent with Ubu was better than expected. I was worried she’d be all licky and antsy but she just curled up in a ball and went to sleep. She was a little cold (no body fat!) so we had to nestle her in the sleeping bags. My next knitting project will be a wool sweater for her so she doesn’t shiver at night. Hopefully as wedding season approaches we’ll still be able to make more time for hiking.


West side of fence

Our garden this year has been interesting. We had a cold and rainy spring, so I didn’t rush to put anything in the ground except the peas and favas. I’m trying to grow a lot of different plants this year but I’m learning a little too late where the best spots are for everything. I purchased a blueberry bush and i think it’s in a good spot with plenty of sun. My biggest success so far are my fava beans. I can’t wait to eat them! My peas are sluggish and my chiogga beets aren’t really making an above ground appearance.

Yummy Favas!

My bok choy sprouted but something ate all the leaves off the plants. The kale is coming up but it has a bunch of holes in the leaves as well. My friend Rachael gifted us with a motherload of leeks and they transplanted well. I have salad greens growing in the bathtub and they look great. I moved my rhubarb plant yesterday, I think it wasn’t getting much sun in the corner of the fenceline. My amaranth is being wimpy and my ground cherries are disappointing me. I think I’m neglecting the garden this year and it’s showing. I vow to be a better gardener. Beans, cukes and squash are going in the ground this week!

Ubu’s got a new bed


Our dog has been having some chewing bouts which was successfully solved by some more toys in her life. She basically lost or destroyed all of her toys except her Kong and was obviously bored. We got her a special rope that she can play tug with, which is very exciting for her. We didn’t allow any tug play the first 3 months and she’s loving having something that is tug-able. She got some non-destructable balls which she enjoys watching them bounce. She doesn’t usually fetch them, that will take more practice. But one thing she destroyed in her rebellion to us was her bed. I think she was angry that it wasn’t as cozy as her cedar bed in the living room. I think it was just a cheap bed that all the filling flattened out. Regardless, she ripped out all the filling and I realized she should have a nicer bed. But it’s a racket what they charge for basically an oversized pillow. I got some fabric (cotton on one side, flannel on the other) and made a pillow and a pillowcase (so we have something to wash if need be) and I’m really happy with how it came out.  Luckily it was pretty basic and easy.   I haven’t sewed for years and shortly after moving into the house I bought a basic sewing machine and made a long list of projects that I’m not making time to do. But today I made her bed and I’m happy she doesn’t have to sleep on the hard ground anymore.

House Projects

You can see how big the tank was on the old toilet

This winter found us busy with training the dog, working and house projects. Matt learned how to install a toilet and we ended up replacing 2 toilets in our house for free (not counting labor), which is pretty exciting. Our upstairs toilet was ancient, it must have been a 5 gallon or more flush capacity and the city has a rebate deal where you can get up to $100 off an efficient toilet. Our toilet cost right around $100, from Home Depot. Glacier Bay, 1.28 gallon flush, flapperless. It’s neat that the whole tank doesn’t fill up, just a little reservoir that when you press the handle the reservoir dumps and it flushes like normal.

Flapperless flush

It’s been a few months now and I don’t notice anything bad about the new toilet. It doesn’t leak. It doesn’t take a day and a half to fill up. It’s set a little lower to the ground than the average toilet but I’m not a tall girl, it’s fine. We also replaced the toilet in the basement because it’s better to assume that our tenant will be wasteful. The city also gave us a whole bunch of cfl’s and some flood lights for the recessed lights in the house. Those things are expensive! Most of them went in the basement but the weird thing about them is that they get really bright but are dim to start until they warm up. I had to go back and put it a traditional light at the bottom of the stairs because I found I was squinting as I went down to do laundry. I don’t need a tenant having trouble navigating our blue shag rug carpeting we’ve got down there.

Successful Disconnection

My productive house time has been with learning how to disconnect downspouts. The city also has a rebate for this! I get $53 for each downspout I disconnect (to code) and we get a discount on our water bill. Currently there are 3 spouts connected to the sewer. The first two were pretty straightforward disconnections. There’s a plan to build a rain garden for one of the front ones but I have other pressing projects before I get all landscapey. The third downspout is in a weird place in the back of our house and the city man told me my only option was to install a rain barrel. I found a guy on craigslist who’s making them as a kit and they are much more attractive than most white or blue rain barrels out there. His pricing seemed fair and he was really helpful when we picked it up at his house. His whole front yard is landscaped with native vegetation and it looks so beautiful. Maybe he can come help me figure out how to turn our grassy yard into something pretty to look at and less maintenance. I have yet to install the rain barrel. I’ll update with a picture when it happens. Once the barrel is installed I need to run a hose well away from the house (and basement) so the overflow can go straight into the garden.

Awaiting the barrel

My next projects are: curtains for the windows, hanging a door to the basement (it’s just an archway right now) and framing some photos for our walls. It’s weird to have so much space to decorate and no roommates to depend on for decorations and furniture! We ended up with a great couch for our living room (and a great deal) and it’s nice to see the house come together. I know with some photos on the wall it will make a big difference.