Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I'm Loving

Cautiously summer seems to have arrived here in the Pacific Northwest. The newspaper predicts we won't see the temperature hit 80 degrees until the 4th of July, but we do have sun and temperatures in the 70's.

Mr. P and I had a wonderful anniversary. We ate a delicious dinner at Cafe Soriah outside on their lovely patio. It was a nice warm evening and the patio was filled with blooming flowers and yummy smells. We exchanged the traditional 2nd year anniversary of cotton. I love how the traditional anniversary presents stay relatively inexpensive for the first few years of marriage. It is very understanding of young poor newlyweds and their struggling budgets!

Our garden is slowly growing vegetables. More and more starts are coming everyday. It is so exciting to go out each evening and see what has grown. We are fighting an epic battle with slugs however. Mr. P and Mr. Wilson go out on slug raids frequently, we have surrounded the beds with salt and ash in hopes of detouring them yet still they persist. Yesterday we found the secret Pans of beer in the the slugs path leer them away from our vegetables and to their own demise*.

I have been riding my bicycle to work which I am really enjoying. It was just gorgeous this morning at 8 am. It's beautiful and sunny with a cool morning breeze. My office is just under 5 miles away from our house and it takes about 25 minutes to ride. Since I sit all day once I'm at work it is really nice to get exercise before and after work.

*We are keeping are garden 100% organic and pesticide free so slug poison and snail bait is not an option. The slug/snail problem is particularly bad where we live because it is such a wet climate. It's also particularly bad at our house because our lot borders a natural stormwater drainage ditch. At night the slugs coming pouring out of the ditch in alarming numbers and head straight for our garden. Salt can be very effective but I think since there are simply too many at our house. If you do use the salt method you want to keep the salt barrier some distance from your actual garden beds as too much salt isn't good for the soil. The beer method which is by far most effective is relatively easy. Bury some tin pie plates or large Tupperware containers in the grounds so the surface is ground level. Fill mostly full with beer, any beer will do so I would go buy cheap gross beer. The slugs and snails are attracted to the beer and will head straight to it where they will drown. There were 20 slugs in our beer trap this morning.

Monday, June 21, 2010

2 years ago

I can't believe it has already been two years. I love being married and I look forward to many many more wonderful years!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

This and That

Yesterday evening I took a piping HOT BATH, put on FLANNEL pajama pants and my college sweatshirt, settled on the couch under a WOOL blanket in front of the ROARING WOOD STOVE. Now I ask, what is wrong with this picture???
The date yesterday was June 16, that is what's wrong with this picture. The weather continues to be very unpleasant. I thought summer had finally arrived after a warm beautiful weekend. Clearly, however, I was mistaken.
Recently during my many evening huddled under said wool blanket in front of the fire I read this book:

I have read a couple of books by Jane Kirkpatrick. She is from Oregon and her books are usually historical novels based on historical accounts of pioneers. Something you should know about me is I love pioneers. I love history, I am a complete geek in this sense, but I especially love the history of where I live, my ancestors and people and places I am familiar with. Having grown up in Oregon in a family very proud of their history coming west on the Oregon trail has made these sorts of stories especially interesting to me. Plus pioneers are very cool. First they had the guts to leave everything they knew and travel an dangerous exhausting journey across the country in a Wagon. Second they had to live in and out of that wagon for 4 months. Third they had to know how to cultivate the new land, build everything they needed, trade with Native Americans and so much more.
While I enjoy the history and the stories in her books I don't think Jane Kirkpatrick is that impressive of a writer. However, I think her subject matter makes up for it and I still find her books enjoyable. A Sweetness of the Soul was especially interesting because it took place along the Colombia Gorge. The book is full of descriptions of the wild landscape before the damn where put into place. This book also talks a lot about the Native American tribes who lived along the gorge. The descriptions of Salmon fishing were pretty incredible. All and all I would recommend the book especially if you are familiar with central Oregon and the gorge or like me you think pioneers are cool.
Lastly, look at this great picture Jessica took this weekend of our husbands fixing something in our car:

Aren't they funny? Mr. P is in the green and Mr. Wilson is in the blue.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Where I spend my time

Here are some images of our house courtesy of my housemate Jessica over the weekend.

Our living room with its crazy wall paper. When we first looked at this house I did not like the wall paper but now I love it.

The kitchen. This is my favorite room in the house. Notice the subway tiles and the shelves in either side of the window.

A view of the house from the back yard.

Laundry drying out back.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


After weeks of rain yesterday's high of 70 degrees, blue skies, and sunshine felt like an early spring day emerging from a long winter. I feel like it's March or April rather than June. Apparently the local produce agrees with me. Strawberries have yet to appear and my grandmothers rhubarb is just now ready to harvest. Last night my kitchen felt like Spring as well as I soaked, rinsed and chopped long ruby stalks of rhubarb for Rhubarb pie. Because I had too much rhubarb for one pie I also made some rhubarb compote on impulse. A truly delicious last minute decision on my part which made for both the perfect desert and a lovely breakfast this morning.

Rhubarb Compote

2 cups chopped rhubarb
1/4 cup + more to taste agave syrup or honey
2 TB arrow root or cornstarch
2 TB water

Place chopped rhubarb in sauce pan on med heat. Cook stirring occasionally until rhubarb starts to break down and look stewed, about 20-30 minutes. Add honey or agave. Taste and add more sweetener if desired. I like my rhubarb still tart others may like it sweater. Mix water and arrowroot and add. Bring to boil and reduce. Cook a few more minutes until thickened. Let cool and place in glass jar. Store in refrigerator.

This is so yummy on toast. We had a lot of ricotta cheese in our fridge so I mixed some ricotta and honey and slathered that on toast then topped it with the rhubarb compote for Mr. P's breakfast and he said it was delicious. I think it's also good to just eat with a spoon!

Monday, June 7, 2010


With so much going on and so many changes I feel like I have left a lot of fragments on this blog that I want to catch up on.

1. My reading challenge: As you may remember from this post I have challenged myself to read all the books we own that I haven't read before I buy any more new books. I made a list of all the books (this does not include philosophy books of Mr. P's that I don't want to read or college text books) we own that I haven't read. It is a long list. Out of about 630 books we own there are about 200 I haven't read. I am working off that list in no particular order. So far I have read, The Joy Luck Club, West with the Night, East of Eden, Grapes of Wrath and Sweetness to the Soul.

2. Our House: We are much more settled in our house and are absolutely loving it. When I first posted about living in a house with another couple I got a lot of comments asking to hear how it works. Well so far it's wonderful. The one thing I was worried about going into this living situation was getting enough space and quite. While I did grow up in a big family I have never lived with a lot of people since leaving home. It helps a lot that our house is so spacious and has a large yard. Each couple has two rooms, a bedroom and a study, to themselves. The shared spaces are large enough that everyone has a place to be. Some evenings the Wilson's watch a movie in the family room while Mr. P and I read in the living room. If the guys have friends over and I want to go hide I can retreat into the our study or bedroom for quite time. The yard is enormous and offers plenty of room for going off and being alone.

One of my favorite things about living in a house with other people is the division of labor. We do all the food combined as a household. Jessica and I sit down and figure out which nights we are cooking and make a menu. We each cook three nights and Mr. P cooks one night. Once we have a menu and schedule worked out we make a grocery list and go to the store. We have a set food budget for the house that each couple contributes to it is divided to give us a weekly budget. Then whoever cooks dinner also cleans the kitchen. This way if it's your night off from cooking it's also your night off from dishes giving you a true night off. I love this! I have also found that because I'm cooking three nights a week instead of seven I have much more energy for cooking projects outside my dinner nights. It is also nice to have the variety of what the other person chooses to make. Jessica often chooses foods to make that I wouldn't have chosen and visa versa. We also divide regular household chores. Each person has a household chore group each week with one week off. The chores are: deep clean kitchen, dust, sweep and clean floors, and sweep and tidy porch, patio, walkways and drive. Then the bathrooms are a rotating every other week schedule. I feel like I spend much less time cleaning house and yet live in a cleaner house.

3. Gardening: Because the torrents of rain continued last week we still haven't planted our garden. Although our beds are ready and we have all of the starts and seeds ready to go in. It is going to be a later garden but such is the case for everyone in Eugene. Our garden beds are beautiful. It may be a strange thing to say about dirt but it very true. We will start planting this evening. We are planting tomatoes, cayenne and habenero peppers, fava beans, green beans, peas, chard, collards and mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce and acorn squash. That is just our summer garden. Mid summer we will plant fall crops as well. Eventually we plan to have a year round garden.

I hope to get some pictures soon to share of our wonderful house.