Tag Archives: home

We Bought a House!

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Keith and I are still pinching ourselves to see if we’ll wake up from this dream.  But it seems it’s real and a bank has really agreed to loan us a shit-ton of money to buy a beautiful 1905 farmhouse, so I guess we’re really grown-ups now.  Or something.

Today was the first day I put my key in the lock and pushed the front door open.  I got a little tingle of delight.  Doors open differently when they belong to you, did you know that?

This is the part where all you experienced home-owners are going to step in and tell me I’m going to be getting a different kind of tingle when I realize the roof needs to be replaced.   Just shush your mouths and let me wander around my gardens  and gaze in rapture at my wisteria for a while before you make me be practical.   Plus, the roof is new.  And so is the plumbing and the electrical.  So there.

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The house is so cool, you guys!  I just can’t wait to have summer bbq’s and invite you all over!  It’s a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath farmhouse built in 1905.  At one time, I assume it was the farmhouse for a large tract of farm land.  But now that land has been built up into neighborhoods in Philomath and the house is just on a residential street.  So, no we don’t have any acreage.  But we keep savin’ our pennies and one day soon we will have some land of our very own!  In the meantime, we will happily live in this farmhouse, with its original apple trees and walnut trees in the backyard, and imagine the fields that once surrounded it.  There are so many great things about this house and it was kept in excellent condition.  The original fir floors are still intact all throughout the downstairs and there’s new carpet in the upstairs rooms.  The ceilings are original beadboard – one of my absolute favorite features.  The kitchen island is lovely original hardwood.  We have a clawfoot tub in the main bathroom.  The whole freaking house is straight off a Pinterest dream home board!

And then the yards are just full of every type of flower and plant imaginable – clematis vines (Keith got confused and called them Chlamydia and now I keep getting confused too) winding up the porch posts, wisteria trailing over the backyard patio pergola, peonies, roses, lilacs, figs, pears, apples, walnuts, bleeding heart, lavender, grapes, artichokes, asparagus, raised beds for vegetables, you name it.  I had to write it all down because I started losing track after about 20 non-stop minutes of Beverly naming plants for me and telling me how to take care of them.   It’s been well-landscaped, so it shouldn’t be too hard to keep it looking nice, even for me.  I’m much better at taking care of animals than plants, but I’ll try my best.

I’ll have more pictures of the actual inside of the house soon.  Right now, my life looks like this:

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It’s not crazy or anything to try to move house just as farm season is picking up momentum for the summer.  Totally sane.  Butcher a few chickens, pack a few boxes.  Take time to stop and smell the chlamydia flowers.   It’s all good.

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Figs

My new house has 3 huge fig trees in the front yard.  They are planted in an awful spot, obscuring our view from the big windows in the living room.   Some pruning is going to have to happen, stat.  In the meantime, though, they are producing prolifically.

Not being much a fig-eater myself, I turned to The Internet in Its infinite wisdom.  I came away with a couple excellent uses for all those figs in my front yard.

One was Spicy Fig Microwave Jam, which I highly recommend.  It’s super easy and freaking delicious on everything from Gruyere cheese to roast chicken.

The second idea I discovered was to dehydrate the figs for use in myriads of recipes like Fig Newtons , Stuffing, and…Figgy Pudding.  Not so sure about that last one.  If you make it, let me know how that turned out for ya.

That said, here’s what I did to prep and dry the figs:

Step 1.  Heft your ladder out to the front yard, climb up to the top and attempt to balance there with a large cardboard box.  Proceed to pick all the figs you can reach.

Step 2.  Haul your catch inside to the kitchen.  Wash the figs and line them up on a towel because fig-drying with Rachel is nothing if not orderly.

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Step 3.  Cut the little stems off with a paring knife.

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Step 4.  Slice the figs in half lengthwise.

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Step 5.  Arrange the sliced figs face-down on the dehydrator trays.

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Step 6. Dehydrate at ~155 degrees F for about 20 hours.  It may take more or less time, depending on the efficiancy of your dehydrator.  You’ll know they’re done when they are pliable and leathery, but don’t have any discernable pockets of moisture.  I left mine for too long.  They were brittle in the morning, but I think they’ll still be fine.

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Step 7.  Double bag the figs in a labeled gallon-sized freezer Ziploc bag.  Store in the freezer or a cool, dry place until the spirit moves you to make Figgy Pudding.  Or something.

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Autumn at My Place

porch punkins

porch punkins

Despite the often drizzly, dreary days that autumn brings to Western Oregon, I am always romanced by the glory of fall.

Nearly every year, I find myself surprised at the rapid onset of rain and with it, the changing colors of the deciduous trees.  Wasn’t it jump-in-the-sprinkler, barbecue-a-burger summer just a few short minutes ago?

I attribute much of this confusion to my childhood on the Oregon Coast.  I grew up smack-dab in the middle of a Douglas Fir forest, where the colors never varied from your standard, run of the mill evergreen.  Aside from annually shedding a pile of fircones on the lawn, the trees just never really changed that much.

fog droplet

fog droplet

I remember driving Highway 20 to the Valley with my family, as a kid.  In the fall, around the time we hit the metropolis of Eddyville, we would start exclaiming, “look at the trees!  Check out that bright orange one up there on the hill!”   Fall was a novelty to us.

This year, I’m particularly enjoying autumn.  Maybe it’s the fact that I’m outdoors much more, or that I’ve moved to a new home resplendant with the bounty of the season.

I went on a little stroll around our new property the other day to share my view with you.  Hope you enjoy the colors as much as I do.

a mushroom after the rainfall

a mushroom after the rainfall

recollections of childhood

recollections of childhood

hedgerow pears

hedgerow pears

our backyard

our backyard

pears and lichen

pears and lichen

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