i got an email

i emailed John Zerzan and
i'm finally somebody!!!!
:) :) :)

i got a bike!!
i have a second interview tomorrow for a wonderful job with a non profit!
in less happy news
my boyfriend fell off a cliff and broke his wrist!
we put out beer traps for the slugs and it absolutely worked. this morning we came outside to bowls of dead slugs and pabst all over the garden. yummm.
the tomatoes are doing wonderfully, as are the nasturciums which are in with the geraniums in the window boxes.
i need to go give this bike a test ride... seeya!


Kitchen Song

The trumpet vine grew in the kitchen window
and blew bright orange on the wall
You sat in the morning light, holding a guitar
as the first summer rain began to fall.
Like the gentle raindrops, your words fell in the air
Making things so clear as you quietly sat there
It reminded me of other times you had come before
And brought a song, or just walked in through the kitchen door.
Now it seems the truest words I ever heard from you
Were said at kitchen tables we have known
Somehow, in the warm room, with coffee on the stove
Our hearts were really most at home
Sitting at a table, looking hard at you
Catching up on stories of the things we'd tried to do
And it seems we really said the most when we didn't talk at all,
And let the song speak for us like the sunlight on the wall.
Now as you come and go, in sunshine and in rain
Some years are seen more clearly than the rest
If it weren't for kitchen songs and mornings spent with friends
We all might lose the things we love the best
I can see you sitting there, beneath the trumpet vine
With sunlight in the window, in the kitchen in my mind
You came when you were needed, I could not ask for more
Than to turn and find you walking through the kitchen door.

- Kate Wolf RIP


What's been up

A few very exciting things!
1) Slugs ate all the of the fucking spinach!
2) Kyle has been hunting the slugs- WITH A BOW AND ARROW (really)
3) We have a delightful new room-mate, Miss Sarah B. Killion. Sarah is small and she has short red hair. She likes to make puns and rap raps. She cooks well and creatively and she cleans up her mess when she's done. Her room is colourful and full of horse figurines and artwork she has made. Sarah is very positive and she is full of love for everyone.
4) I (Elizabeth) have just had an un-paid CEO position handed to me, and a free house, if I want it. I can't really explain this to you but trust me. It's gonna be a community art space and garden and it probably won't happen because a 60 year old madman and a forestry defense kid are at the helm, but it would be magical if it did.
5) You know what WILL happen, though? SALEM FREE SKOOL. what classes would you like to take? what classes could you teach? think about it. the first class will be Your Rights & The Police, taught by Rory Gravelle, and it will take place on June 9th. After the class there will be time to talk about future classes. So... yes.
The cat is adorable. Did I mention that we have an adorable cat? I love him so much.


I'm so glad we elected this man!

also i'd like to point out that one of the rail lines set to be revitalized is the pacific northwest corridor, serving eugene to salem pdx seattle and vancouver BC! can you imagine how amazing a lightrail train would be? we can rebuild it better than it was before! smarter! faster! stronger! cheaper! amazing. we would be able to head up to canada in like, less than two days, involving no bullcrap bus transfers and stinky chemical toilets. omg y'all. omg.




recycled lanterns...

recycled lanterns! i'm going to scrub the paint off later so you can't tell they're just old beer cans- and then hang them up in the flowering quince next time we have a garden party, to make things a bit more festive.
got the idea from these folks and their site also features a step-by-step instructable for making apple cider using nothing but some clamps, two boards, a pillowcase, and old 2 litre bottles. and apples, obviously. it actually doesn't seem like it would turn out too bad. i think i'll try it this fall.


i'm all covered in dirt

today was a very busy day in the garden! we got new beds dug! when i say that, i mean that kyle dug new beds, and i followed him with a trowel digging out roots and rocks and blackberry vines. it was hard work considering we were hacking them out of 50 year old lawn with some pretty resilient grass. you wouldn't think grass would be that hard to get out of the ground, but it is.

it may be a small area, but it's one more area that ISN'T useless, boring lawn, and IS producing food, and that's a fine victory, any day!

also kenney came over last night and brought some of his delicious homemade beer with him. he brought an IPA and a heff and they were both wonderful and rich and... creamy? can beer be described as creamy? i think maybe it can.

dinner was just okay last night, not one of my more shining acheivements- the theme was "crepe your pants!" and so for dinner i did sour cream potato and sweet corn crepes with cheese melted on top. i meant to throw on applesauce but i clean forgot. too bad, i think it would have added some much needed flavor, as they were pretty bland. and for desert i made fresh furit filling for the insides, and topped them with ice cream, caramel sauce, and FLAMING CHERRIES. basically i just made a batch of cherries jubilee and dumped it on before lighting. but guess what. when you dump it on the ice cream, the ice cream mixes with the brandy and so it didn't all burn off, so they tasted VERY strongly of booze. which was okay with the fruit, for instance the cherries and plums, but the crepes themselves were vile and whiskey-like. not so good. looked beautiful, had great presentation value, though. also we ate dinner outside at the picnic table with funky little tea light holders shaped like lotuses for light, and everyone was so happy because of the nice weather, i don't think anyone really cared about being served a big old plate of alcohol for desert. plus this is not really a group which will say no to alcohol in any form, if you know what i mean, and i think you do (my friends are drunks)

that's all for now! tomorrow we plants the tomatos and transplant the chives! also hopefully finish the lattice work on the patio so i can plant the hops! i think the raspberries died! oh well!


After the long hiatus!

Eliazbeth has returned from Central America! Here are some of the ong-going goings-ons you and I both missed.
Michelle Obama planted a garden at the White House! Damnit, Michelle, I just love you so much. You are such a kick-ass lady.
Did you know that Michelle also gave the first lady of France an acoustic guitar upon meeting her? And broke protocol to give the Queen of England a hug? Did you know that she's the same height as me?
Here's a great little animated video about the history of gardens at the White House. It's really great.
Speaking of gardens, I can see Kyle outside working on the garden right now! The plastic has been put up on the greenhouse, and right now he's digging a bunch of new beds along the fence.
I'm working on a project, too- the patio. Until yesterday, the patio had a picnic table and benches, a whole bunch of firewood, and really gross grey paint on the floor which was peeling to reveal red underneath. Well NOT ANYMORE BABY. I've been pressure-washing off the grey paint, and I'm going to paint a cool trom de leis (sp?) of an Oriental rug in the middle, and hang up hammocks. It's going to be mad tropical.
Also I'm putting up lattice-work on the South side of the patio, to try and a) use that sunlight for something, ie, growing hops, and b) create some nice cool shade during the hot part of the summer, so I can chillax in my hammock in a dark little den of coolness.
Tonight we're making crepes. Savory crepes for dinner, sweet crepes for desert.
I went to Word of Mouth with Kenney yesterday for breakfast. The owners live right across the street from us! How funny. They seem like really sweet people (I only met the lady) and I guess they used to own Busick Court too. I got the "Heavenly Veggie Hash" which was huge and delicious, it comes with two eggs and huge thick slabs of Cascade Bakery bread. Good prices, too. Offcenter Cafe is going to have to STEP UP.
My aunt Jamie is the owner of Queen of Tarts Baking Co (see sidebar for link) and she is eligible to win a couple of the Best of Salem catagories! It would help her out ENORMOUSLY if I could get a couple of people to go to the Statesman Journal website and vote for her! If you've never eaten at her cafe, you are seriously missing out. It's in the basement of the public library. She used to work as a baker for the Conditeri but they wanted her to use cheaper ingredients to keep the prices down (like margarine instead of butter- ugh) and so she quit and opened her own place. It's really wonderful, the sandwiches are huge and fresh and original but the baked goods are where she really shines, the scones and cinnamon rolls especially. And the Marionberry handpies. She uses fresh local organic ingredients whenever possible, getting a lot of her produce from the Farmer's Market and even picking her own blackberries for the episode of Living Culture she was featured on (which you can view here) and as if that wasn't amazing enough, she built her business all by hand. She's self-taught and she had two small children when she decided to become a baker and by God, she became a baker. If you know Jamie, you know how typical of her that is. She doesn't have any advertising budget for her cafe, so it would really mean a lot of she could win one of the Best of Salem catagories so go and vote for a local, independant, woman-owned, local-food serving delicious bakery!
We adopted a kitten from the Humane Society.

Matthew and Fiddlesticks

His name is Fiddlesticks. He was one of those "animals in need" that basically are going to be put to sleep really soon and I just couldn't bear to leave him there so he had to come home with me. He's awesome. He has a ton of zany zippy energy though and I'm having a hard time coming up with stuff for him to do! We need more cat toys.
I will put up some pictures of the new vegetable beds tomorrow afternoon, stay tuned, folks.


One more cup of coffee 'fore I go... to the valley below

A lovely photograph from Miss Allie Learn (click for better res) taken at dinner at the D St house. Elizabeth on the left and Matthew on the right. Classy.

Here are some pictures from the yard. Hope that you enjoy them. I hope they give you kind of an idea of how the garden is progressing, ie, very slowly. We are so poor it is hard to find money for expensive things like plant starts and also Kyle works a lot and Matt goes to school a lot, plus we are super popular so it is hard to find time. But it's comin'. See:The greenhouse! Still needs plastic. More on that in a minute...

This is where we chop the firewood, because we're hella mountain men.

Here is our lovely patio! Look how pretty the flags look in the sunlight. Please ignore the coffeecups and overflowing ashtrays.
Some beautiful flowers growing out back.
And here are some irises that popped up the other day! What a suprise! We thought that was just a random shrub!
What will be the tea garden, and on the right, part of the crown of an oak tree that Fenderson rescued from certain destruction. It is beautiful and complex. We don't quite know what to do with it, to tell you the truth. Something will come up, I'm sure.

This is going to be the main vegetable bed. This is kind of an "action shot" meaning that we didn't finish what we were in the middle of because we got distracted, so you, lucky reader, get to observe the process of turning shitty old lawn grass into sexy funky dirt to grow things in. This is largely done with sticks with pointed ends and compost.
Speaking of compost- here's the inside of the compost bin! I had to brave some stinky smells to take this picture but we are pretty proud of how much kitchen scraps we have been able to throw in here. We have been very disciplined about it. Peelings, gross leftovers, stale bread, anything. We are not cooking the eggshells before we throw them in because we are lazy but we are pretty sure it will work either way. We shall see .
These are only a few of the many compost bins. This whole fence you see behind them will be covered in beans, peas and scarlet runners. Maybe even hops!
Some of the flowers, cut and inside on the piano. Also here you can see a globe which has the USSR on it and a Japanese float from a fishing net. Yes.

Right before dinner was served the other night. Forgot to take pictures of people but doesn't the table look attractive?

Here are the seeds we bought at the store the other day:
Carrots, long and skinny
Beets, cylindrical? Do these taste different from regular beets?
Chamomile (yum, tea garden!)
Kale- earlier
Mixed Salad Greens
Cucumbers, normal
Sugar Snap Peas
Lemon Cucumber
"Early Wonder" Beets (these are round)
Sweet Basil
Zucchini Squash (don't worry, just one package of these!)
Summer Crookneck Squash
Different Basil (what is it called if not sweet? just basil? spicy basil? savory basil?)
Italian Striped Zucchini (oh, I lied)
Cilanto/ Coriander
Pole Beans

About the greenhouse: where can you get plastic for a greenhouse? Well, according to Mark Wigg, you can get it from Agri-Plas in Brooks. I intend to do just that. Yet again, Living Culture turns out to be insanely helpful and relevant.

The other night I was over at Casa Rafn, birthplace of Living Culture, and I discovered two things. One, they linked to this blog on their site! Haha yay our first link!
And two, I met Chris and Elizabeth, who are Minto Island Growers. They're awfully sweet people, very funny and charming, and I'd like to get to know them better and possibly go see their farm! Here is a link to their website.

Dinner this Saturday is a private pizza party in a closed restaurant. Top secret and very delightful, my friends are so wonderful.

Anyway this will probably be the last post for a little while, as Elizabeth is off to Costa Rica on Sunday and she very much doubts that Matt or Kyle will remember to blog it up. It's possible, keep checking back, and if nothing else, we'll see you on March 26th!


another day, another dinner

so you may remember that we went over to dinner at the D st house recently, and allie completely dominated us with her chicken. well we've upped the stakes- last night we made walnut broccolli asparagus onion quiche with a potato crust, green salad with home-made mango chili pepper salad dressing, and an oreo cake.
joe wiley came to visit which was nice because i never see that fool.
guests were allie brooke rachel sarah k and logan, the usual suspects. oh and matt made some more bread, this time it was egg bread and we all agree it was better than the regular old non-egg bread he made last time.
off to wash every dish i own! huzzah.


yoga time

haha it's yoga time bitches!


Seeds seeds seeds

Did you know that you can use food stamp money to buy seeds, plant starts and even whole fruit trees, as long as the plant is food-bearing and you purchase them at a store which also sells food? It's true.
Did you know that Kyle is probably going to be getting a very sweet job very soon? This, also, is true.
This weekend we went camping in the snow and drank whiskey and shot guns and lit fireworks and went in the sauna. Now we've changed our minds about the hot tub- we want a sauna! :)
Last night was dinner at the D St house- Bork Learn and RayRay made chicken, salad, onion quinoa, served with crispy bread and merlot. Played some apples to apples and as the night wore on, some horse.
Tomorrow night is dinner here and I've got to one-up them. Kyle and I are combining forces to make an asparagus quiche with a potato-greens crust and walnuts. Serving a huge-ass caesar salad with it and toasty bread, and for desert an oreo cake. The sides could use some work, maybe an interesting home-made dressing for the salad? Hmm. ???


Some upcoming events...

The chicken meeting at city hall! I can't go but it's on Feb 23rd
Salem Transition Initiative Relocalization introductory meeting on Feb 25th. Again- can't go. Stupid Costa Rica!
Feb 15th- Sustainable Community Gardens Project potluck at Marion Polk Food Share. I'M IN.

Brain Scramble

Found a link about this blog on fark.com today and was surprised by the negative tones of the other fark-ers comments. Poor woman. All she is trying to do is help the Earth. Admittedly her way of doing it might seem a bit extreme to some people (if you don't feel like following the link, I'll just tell you- she's trying to eliminate all plastics from her life) but I think that the more people we have trying out extreme changes to help the enviroment, the better our odds are of living on this Earth for more than another few hundred years. Anyway it really got me thinking about the plastics we use in our house! Here's the plastics I've used so far today, that I can think of:
Lid of to-go coffee cup from Coffeehouse... could have brought my own cup if I could ever remember to do that
Pen- what's the alternative here? Is a wooden pencil really better? Maybe a refillable pen so I never have to throw it away?
Plastic bag the home-made bread is being kept in, in the fridge- this is a re-used bag but I shouldn't have it in the first place, I should start bringing my own little (cloth?) bags to WinCo with me for things like salt and yeast. How hard is that, really. Maybe I could just take the empty glass jars I keep them in to the store with me, with their weight clearly labeled on them, and make the cashier subtract the weight of the canister from the weight of the item? Boy talk about annoying the hell out of an inept minimum wage employee.
Plastic disposable lighter
That's all I can think of, aside from major things like the plastic components in the laptop and fridge. Anyway tomorrow I'm going to make an effort to use nothing plastic and disposable! And I'm going to take those stupid bags to Fred Meyer to recycle them because they are honestly just taking up a huge amount of space and diminishing my cred.
Other things....
Kenney brought over the airlock and hydrometer for my homebrew setup! The only things I need to find now are some tubing (oh no plastic!) and some yeast! Hells yes. He's borrowing our bottle capper and when he brings it back he'll bring over some homemade cider. Also I gave him some rosemary- we had to hack the rosemary bush back a few feet recently and throw a bunch in the compost, because it was about to devour our house, but at least somebody is using some of it.
Turned off the internet- too expensive, barely works, and a bad habit anyway.
Recently got completely addicted to Salem Freecycle! May be better than Craigslist Free Stuff certainly more stuff is listed on it. Haven't listed anything yet (what do I have that I don't need?) but hopefully I'm going to go pick up 45 lbs of wheatberries soon! Wheatberries? What can you do with wheatberries? Well, eat 'em, and give 'em away to other people who also will eat them, and if all else fails, I imagine they'll make good compost.
http://salemdiet.blogspot.com/ NOBODY TOLD ME ABOUT THIS GUY. I missed it. Shit. Where does he live, like, five blocks from here? Maybe I'll invite him to the next dinner party we have? Should I invite a random stranger to my house? The answer: yes, always.
Speaking of dinner- Matt made two batches of home-made bread and they were DELICIOUS. Soon I will get him to post his recipes, although I think they are just from Joy of Cooking but with Smart Balance instead of butter and soy milk in place of milk, in the given amounts. The first batch was plain wheat bread and the second was cherry-oatmeal bread, the recipe for which called for raisins and not cherries but works either way evidently.
Kyle made up a great dish, too-
Slice up some sweet potatoes and yams 9maybe 2 or 3 of each?) into 1/2 inch rounds or maybe even 1/3 inch
layer 'em in a pan
put on some agave nectar (we use a lot of agave nectar around here)
throw in a bunch of fresh ginger
cook in the oven until it's done and then ingest
We're having a circus this summer (more on this in the future) and so I'm making some shrunken heads as a kind of a sideshow exhibit, one of those pay $1 to see the horrifying stuff type of booths, and here's how I'm making them:
You're going to need an apple and some whole cloves and some yellow food colouring. Also, a knife. For the later parts of this project I'm going to be using some mod podge, electrician's tape and doll's hair, and some rice and a needle, but you don't need that stuff yet. For now, just carve a face into the apple. You can peel the whole thing, but I left the skin on most of it and just peeled the face part- we'll see how that turns out, I thought it would add an extra bit of gruesomeness. Don't worry too much about making it look good- it will all shrivel up anyways. Just give it big blocky features. I made one of mine making a scared face. rub salt all over it. drop some yellow food colouring in each eye socket (this was my own idea and i don't know how well it will work yet but I thought it might look extra spooky)
Throw em in the oven! Probably put some tin foil down so you don't get salty apple juice all over the damn place.
Put the oven on the lowest setting possible and just leave it on all the time. If you have to cook something at a high temperature, remember to take the apples out and set them on the counter while you do this and put them back in once it's cooled back down.
I think after about 42 hours or so of oven I'll take them out, stick some string through them and hang them above the stovetop and leave them for 2 weeks. Then I'll start adding details like teeth, eyeballs, stitched lips, and hair. YEEES.
so the other night we were hangin' out, allie brooke logan and zach and jeff were over, and we were all playing loaded questions in the living room, and somehow the idea of a hot tub came up. we were all in agreement that hot tubs are fun. we also all agree that a hot tub is a great thing for at least one person in the neighborhood to have, and since they don't have the space over at the D St house, it falls to us and our huge-ass patio. We all greatly relish the idea of hangin' out in some bubbly water, and drunken naked hottubbing is a subject I am sure you are all familiar with and in favour of and so I will not address in detail here.
I found somebody on Freecycle who has a functioning hottub that we could have for free if we come and pick it up, and even if there is something mildly wrong with it, I am pretty confident that we would be able to fix all but the most major cracks or engine problems. We could either put it on the back porch where all the firewood is now, or Kyle was thinking, there's a big area of the backyard which is just ugly stupid muddy grass, but it doesn't get enough light for much of a garden there- maybe we could build a little gazebo type deal and put it out in the yard? Bury the cords?
1) they use a ton of electricity (i read that it's like $18 a month, but you can lower the cost by keeping the temperature turned way down when not in use and keeping it well insulated, which we oculd do)
2) they look like redneck peices of shit- this is why i like the idea of building some type of gazebo structure/hedgerow thing around it- i don't want the neighbors to think i'm a hot tub kind of a person! it's kind of emberessing! plus- the aforementioned nudity!
3) they use awful caustic chemicals. i did find this site advertising cleaning agents which don't contain chlorine. according to their copy the water is even greywater safe if you choose to drain the tub, which would be cool, because i wouldn't feel so bad about:
4) wasting water- yuck! what a hideous waste of water!
then again...

And last but not least.
I have a copy of the C.I.T.Y. petition which I am circulating amongst my friends. I only started earlier today and I have already gotten 20 signatures. That is nothing compared to 187 voter registrations in one day, my old record, but it is still something. This petition is easy to pitch to people and everyone has seemed very receptive of the idea. Later tonight I am going to take it over to the Rafns house and maybe to the Schulte compound, maybe even to the bar sometime next week. I hope this thing passes because I've already promised a lot of folks fresh eggs! :-)


Matt says: Hurdy gurdy progress! I have boards that have been cut. A few. Not many, but a few.
Kyle says: We moved a greenhouse over. We tried to do it with manforce but we had to use fossil fuels and Elizabeth Rescue Squad force. I built it myself at my old house which is nearby. It is to the left of the shed. I am going to start some seeds, I'm going to grow some lemon grass (or in the ground). We're going to grow salad greens and maybe some pees, sucka. The greenhouse has a roof made out of salvaged storm windows and the rest is two by three construction. That's it!
Here are some pictures of the epic greenhouse move-

Taking off the glass
Putting some 2 by 4s and some rods through it to make a framework to carry it with
Crossing Center st! Right after this picture was taken, our friend Preston came screaming around the corner, delivering a pizza in his beat-up old car with a Doors sticker on the fender, and almost ran into Kyle and Matt. Of all the people in Salem to almost run them over, it WOULD be Preston. He rolled down his window and yelled, "You motherfuckers almost made me get in an accident!" and then sped away. He is our worst friend but he is still one of my favorite people in the world. So it goes.
They only got about another two blocks before realizing that it would take all night to carry the greenhouse all the way (1o more blocks?) to our house, so I had to go back and pick them up in the truck. Then we all went back to the house and got some tacos! I learned from my cousin Trask recently that in order for these tortillas to be delicious-
YOU HAVE TO FRY THEM!!! YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO FRY THEM!!! First you heat some oil in a frying pan, then you throw a tortilla in. Let it sizzle for a bit, then flip that shit over. Then, once both sides are fried, use some tongs or something to kind of bend one side up and hold it for a minute so it forms into a taco shape. Then fill it with refried beans, spinach, chopped tomato, plain yogurt/sour cream, shredded cheese, and sliced avocado as quick as you can while it's still hot. This makes the tortillas crunchy. I realize that probably a lot of people already knew that but it was news to me and I was delighted by the prospect of never eating another nasty bland, cold, mealy tortilla ever agian in my life.
And here are some other pictures.

Here is a delicious rainbow cake that I made! I got the recipe from this excellent site . This cake offered undeniable proof that our oven runs much too hot. The top edges of the cake were black before it was done in the center. I had to chip off the burnt bits before frosting. My friend Zach Bendt is modeling this cake for me. I also made a batch of cupcakes with the leftover batter, two of each colour. Using Sprite instead of eggs, oil and water in cake recipes works like a damn charm.

Here is a piece of pizza made by Kyle, who used to work at a certain very fancy pizza joint in Portland, with a birthday candle on top to celebrate Elizabeth's birthday! It was wonderful. Next time we're going to make the pesto fresh, though. Speaking of pizza, if you have never been to Christo's pizza in Salem, SHAME ON YOU. It is delicious. Go tonight.

And here is a bruise on Elizabeth's knee which was from falling off of Kyle's bike trailer, drunk in the middle of the night, as he went around a corner. The thing to remember about bike trailers is that even if Sarah Killion or Brooke Pukerson can fit onto them safely- Elizabeth is much larger than Sarah or Brooke! Probably larger than Sarah+Brooke! Thus the late-night tumble resulting in a headache, a boo-boo on her knee and injured pride. Aside from that she is uninjured.

My God, look at all of this firewood! This is from cutting down an entire fucking orchard. This isn't even probably 1/5 of all of the firewood. Elizabeth was in charge of using the long pruning shears to turn a brancy-ass tree into a bunch of logs, and then Elizabeth's dad was in charge of taking it down into component pieces with the chainsaw. From there, Kyle hacked the logs to bits with a chopping maul and loaded it into the truck. Matthew Moore and our new friend Logan Dunn were waiting at the house to unload the wood upon our return. It worked out very nicely. Some of the wood is still too green to really consider burning anytime soon but some of it had just been laying around for a while already, so we had a nice fire last night, most of the wood I think was cherry but there's some elm too.

Kyle put some toast in the toaster oven and forgot about it and burnt it so black it set off the smoke alarm and filled the whole house with smoke and it still smells like burnt-ass toast in here. He also learned that it is almost impossible to cook the cheap-ass flounder from WinCo into anything edible. He tried twice. Elizabeth discovered that the chocolate-covered pomegranate candy in the bins is SO GOOD that she had to hide the candy dish in the coat closet and only put it out when company is over or else she'd weigh 5,000 lbs.

Yesterday when Matt and Elizabeth were on their way to Christo's for DATE NIGHT they ran across a pile of freecycle! On 14th St across from North Salem High School someone had put out an ironing board, an old mini charcoal grill and a mirror! We didn't take any of it since we already have all of those things, but it was wonderful to see someone putting use-able items out on the sidewalk for others to take, instead of straight into the trash.

Which brings me to dumpster diving.
I (Elizabeth) have never done this. But I'm going to.
I've got a flashlight, a pair of gloves, some superglue, and an unquenchable thirst for free cool shit. Also a guilty conscience from living in this wasteful society, in a thing so wasteful as a house in a city.
I've been mentally taking notes about places I'd like to hit up, and here are a few of them-
Toy store
Natural foods store
College campus (behind the art building and behind the science building)
etc etc etc! Any other ideas?
Stay tuned. Maybe tonight or the next fine warm night we've got I'll go out and see what I can find. Of course I'll put it on the internet because what good is free cool shit if I can't brag about it? Also I intend to recycle all the recyclables I can find. I read that for every seven pounds of recyclables you can pull out of the garbage and recycle you save one gallon of gasoline, or, you know, prevent/offset one gallon of gasoline being burned and put into the atmosphere, or whatever. SEVEN. that's the important part. SEVEN.

Leaving for Costa Rica in... 14 days!


here's some dinner kyle made

that's bacon for the meat-eaters, broccoli, brussel sprouts, beets, carrots and keen-wah (however that is spelled?) with yogurt. icewater. later- raspberry muffins courtesy elizabeth.
later today we're moving a greenhouse! i'll explain later.


Chickens and pitas

The dinner came out great
However, last night's dinner- not so great
I put WAY too much baking soda in the biscuits and they were vile, salty and hard as rocks
That is too bad
Kyle's onion soup was delicious, as usual, as were Heather's oatmeal scones
I'm still not so sure about squash

What do you know about greywater?
I got a book about it at Powell's the other day but it is a pretty complex technical manual. So I don't really feel like reading it yet. I have a cold.
What if we just ran a hose from the back of the washing machine out of the basement-level window right above it, around the side of the house and into a barrel? In the barrel we could have some healthy pond-scum-loving-water-filtering plantsl, and then a tap at the bottom. The tap connects to another hose which is perforated to form a rudimentary drip-irrigation system through the tomato beds! If we were very careful about using only PH balanced, cholorine-free detergent (which we do anyway) it seems pretty simple and easy to me! Obviously I know where the water-out-of-washer valve is, as that is what caused the flooding (see earlier)

Anyway I think I'll try that. Thoughts?

Why can't we have stupid ol' chickens here in Salem? I want some chickens. Hens specifically- little tiny buff banty ones. Here are some reasons:
They are cute
They lay eggs, which are good to eat
They eat lots of bugs in the yard and they poop out fertilizer
If one dies, you can eat it
They are quiet (different from roosters)
I know how to build one of those move-able coops, it's pretty easy
Here is why the city of Salem thinks I cannot have a chicken:
They are noisy
No they are not! Chickens are almost totally silent! Have you ever hung out with a chicken, city of Salem? They are very docile compared to say, turkeys, or dogs, both of which you can have in Salem. Also you can have pigs and goats. What the hell?
As it says on this very excellent blog Salem is currently allowing a for-profit to run a private helicopter school complete with landing pad within Salem city limits. How is this not noisier than a fucking chicken?
I was talking to the Rafns about this recently and they promised to put me in contact with people who are interesting in guerilla chicken-ing and chicken activism.

Pretty soon Kyle is going to get his greenhouse! It is just over on 14th and Chemeketa which is let's see about 10 blocks away. It is too big to fit in the back of my baby pickup truck but he and Matt think they can just stand inside of it and carry it over here. He built it himself. The top part is glass and the sides are plastic. We think it will fit along the back of the garage, next to the big vegetable bed. It is one foot shy of requiring a permit. Pictures of this greenhouse will surely be uploaded. Yes.


The basement flooded!

Jesus Christ! The basement flooded!
I knew we should not have bought the $40 washing machine on Craigslist sight-unseen
Matt thinks he has fixed it, he says some pipe had come loose and he glued it back into place, and it does seem to be working now
But the water was a few inches deep in some places and it went into Kyle's room under his brand-new carpet and all that
Thankfully it didn't get into the music room and onto the amps and the organ
We mopped it up with towels, ringing them out into a stock pot
All of this while I have stuff in the oven and am stressed out about the party today, anyway! What a ridiculous time to have something like this happen. Sometimes I feel like I live in a James Thurber story.
Last time I tried to have a party at my parents house, the septic tank backed up.
I think I am just not very good at this yet. Sometimes I feel more like Amy Sedaris than James Thurber. It's about 50/50 I think.
Gonna make the same mistake twice....
I'm getting me a "yeah you can crash here once if you really need to but don't make a habit out of it" spare bed, to prevent moochers and schmoozers, boozers, users and losers from moving in. Yes, we have a spare room. No, that does not mean you can move in for free. That is not how a spare room works. It is a touchy situation involving a lot of tact and meaningful glances. I have a lot of friends who do not have their shit together on an even superficial level.
Anyway the spanacopeda and the tart came out just fine. Matt is doing the mountain of dishes I created in the process for me right now so I can start on the soup. Literally every surface in the kitchen is covered in flung bits of cream cheese from using an electric mixer for the filling of the tart but i couldn't find the beaters, just the whisk

Katie and Chad are bringing baby Elliot to the party tonight! They're bringing him and his walker so he can dick around in the kitchen or the dining room on the tile. Katie says he has been very happy, crawly and climby lately so he will be both entertaining and a handful. I covered the outlets at floor level, hid small choke-able items, and put away the blowtorches and DDT. The enormous pile of rusty steak knives and hantavirus-tinged razor blades in the center of the living room floor may be a poor plan, too.


On food...

Here at the 14th St Farm we have been cooking a lot of food. If you were to look into our refrigerator you would see a lot of food. Maybe I will go take a picture. Yes I definitely will do that.

Here is the inside of the big pantry in the hall.

And the aforementioned refrigerator:

See? Look at all those fucking veggies. For now, they all have to come from the store. The yard is made out of grass and himalayan blackberry vines, so it is not yeilding a lot of squash, if you get what I am saying. But very soon Kyle will have fixed all that. In the meantime we cook with things from WinCo, which have been carried to us 1000s and 1000s of miles using trucks and sometimes even airplanes, guzzling fossils fuels all the while. Our avocados are from Mexico and our asparagus is from Peru and our oranges are from Australia (?) and it is all a little bit weird.
Here are some things we have cooked:
- One hug pot of stew! It was a make-up-as-you-go-along type of affair and it ended up containing carrots, onions, barley, mushrooms and not a lot else. It was delicious.
- Some other soup! Squash soup from a carton with some red wine and some rosemary. It was not good at all. We served it with potatoes Jeff Gordon made, they were good but the soup was foul. Sorry, you guys- my bad.
- Last night we made two seperate dinners. Kyle cooked up some chicken breasts for himself and Matt in a caserole dish in the oven with some veggies. I hear it was delicious. He then tried to make some quinoa but it came out scorched. I roasted some eggplant in the oven with olive oil, onion and garlic, and then i carmelized some onion in a pan with some tofu, and I threw all that into some pita bread with some pesto. It was yummy.
all the time i am buying pita bread which i have to cut open myself with a paring knife and i can never get it just right and i always end up with big gaping holes or one side way too thin, and then when i put in the hot onions i drip oil on my hand and burn myself.
if you know where i can get some normal sized pita bread let me know.

we are having our housewarming party! Before the party I am making dinner for about 10 people. It is going to be the culinary event of the damn century, people. Here is the menu:
1) Spanicopeda. I got this recipe from my aunt. I have made it before and while it is extremely fussy and time-consuming it is not really too hard, plus it looks, smells and tastes like it should have been very hard so I can impress people with it.
2) Potato-greens soup with baked potato croutons. I have never made this before but it doesn't look too hard. It's basically a potato brocolli soup to start with, with some "croutons" which are really wedges of baked potato fried with some coarse cornmeal
3) Asparagus roasted with some capers. There is not much to say. This is a veggie. I think it will be pretty tasty. I think the best part of it will be the asparagus, also the capers.
4) Desert: A cranberry-cream cheese tart. This is really very delicious sounding. I haven't made it before but it doesn't look very hard to make- it's a graham cracker crust with swirls of cranberry and cream cheese in it. I might drizzle it with some bittersweet chocolate at the end, depending on ... I don't know, if I have time or not.
So what do you think of that?


A sense of setting...

Here are a few photographs. Sorry about the very poor quality, they were taken on my cell phone. So far the only interesting projects have been moving a piano and learning to cook asparagus. We will surely update again soon.

this is the study... not at all done. but this is where i am sitting while i type this. that bowl contains brussel sprouts.\

non fiction


this is the piano. you know how people always move pianos in cartoons and its really hard and takes a long time and everyone gets injured? well... true.

the fireplace- the deer head "buttercup" the $15 couch and chair.... estate sale coffee table that kyle glued back together for us... records and turntable etc
do you guys have built in vanity tables in your walk in closets? i bet not
this is where i sleep- cheery and sunny. i will concede that it does look like a kid's room. i do not care. i really love my stuffed animals and winnie the pooh books and refuse to part with them. i am not trying to be cutesy.
a big squishy bed- mattress and box springs $20, various crazy quilts from the bins over the years, bedframe vintage 1940s, owned by my grandparents. little red bedside table/cupboard i painted with my dad when i was like 4 years old. the brightly coloured books on the shelves are the series of unfortunate events.
strange little altar/icon space in hall- i need a fiberoptic mary de guadelupe
cute coved doorway thing to the bathtub/shower- you can't see them too well but the shower curtain hooks are brass and shaped like stars and moons, i found them in the basement when we moved in- same with the roald dahl mobile in the kitchen which you'll see later
bathroom- we save energy by leaving one lamp on, because the overhead light is two lights and a fan and it's un-necessary. the sink drips but hopefully it is getting fixed soon. the water gets nice and hot.
dining room! i think this is the best part of the house. fortunatly the (free) yellow table and chairs look okay wouldnt you agree? whew. i need to put wine on the wine rack, it looks dumb empty. those plants are very happy. the table runner is from guatemala.
yes please do!
i dont know, i just thought it was funny
hurray look at my funny little 50s kitchen! you cant see the colours too well in this picture but it is all brick red and avocado green.
thats the roald dahl mobile in the upper left . the curtains have little coffee cups printed on them

tony look! a toaster oven!

that incense pot thing smells great- its got cinnamon sticks, patchouoi, jasmine oil and orange peels in it. the burners heat up REAL fast- be careful please

As you may have noted, I have not enclosed any pictures of the downstairs, where Kyle's room, the sewing room, the music room, or any photos of the yard or garage. That is because I have not taken any. Also we are not as done with those areas. So you have to wait a few days.
Tonight we are getting a washing machine!
My aunt and uncle are letting us cut down a dead orchard on their property for firewood!
We're reading about greywater! Have you ever read Food, Not Lawns? It's pretty good.
My grandmother sold her house yesterday but she stole me some blackberry bushes and raspberry bushes and some rhubarb from the new owners. They were her property anyway so we don't feel bad at all.
Oh yay the complete discography of Crosby Stills Nash and Young just finished downloading so I am going to listen to it now goodbye.