27 March 2010

A Hard Day's Work and the Pay Off

Today I helped with landscaping a suburban community (is that what it is?) sign. A lady that leads the home community (small church group) Clara and I have been attending has a small landscaping business that is starting up now with warmer/drier weather. It was especially lovely today even though the forecast had threatened rain. The other worker beside myself picked me up at 7.15a (on a saturday morning? yipes!) and we met with Liesl, the landscaper, at her house then drove out through what is considered wine country to pick up some river rock we were going to use.

It was really foggy as soon as we hit the agricultural area and got away from all the cement of the developed areas.

This was my team (Liesl and Will) as we were discussing the game plan.

We turned this:

Into this:

And along the way, I found this guy!

He is a Rough-Skinned Newt, which happens to be the most poisonous newt/salamanderaceae in North America. Luckily I didn't lick his poisonous skin (secreted through mucous), though I did offer it to Will who didn't think he'd want to do that.

Here he is up close. He moved so incredibly slow that I was able to keep track of him for a long time.

Here is another newt, I don't know if he is a Rough-Skinned or if he is something else but he (she?) was markedly smaller and more orange. Unfortunately we found it after someone sliced it's tail off with the shovel! *I'm so sorry!* You can see the dismembered tail in the left bottom corner.

No tail.

Squirming tail (on Will's glove).

Then I came home and took a nap with Orson for a while and then read til Joel came home. We ate dinner and then I somehow convinced everyone to get excited and go to Whiffie's Fried Pies! It's a food cart that shares the same lot as Potato Champion (fries and poutine -- look that one up yourself), Perriera Creperie and a couple other delicious carts.

Joel and the Whiffie's cart.

Excited and waiting!

Delicious fried pies! Clara got a peanut butter creme and chocolate chip pie and the rest of us got cherry pies.

Delicious pies make people lie somewhere in between childish glee and serious conversation. Here are two such examples.

And sometimes it just puts people in a loving stupor (this one goes out to all the moms). Someday I'll get a good clear picture of me and Joel together.

This was all that remained of the fried pies. This is Joel's inconspicuous milk flask, because no dessert is complete without milk and that was something he wasn't willing to risk.

Tonight I imagine I will be sleeping like a log, the nap was good but I don't think I ever recovered back to the full awakened state (usually this is the accompaniment for afternoon naps). And I will gleefully sleep in with Joel on his day off tomorrow -- hurray! And then monday its back to the grindstone. Spring break is OVER!

24 March 2010

Springtime in the Garden of Good and Evil

I think I'm the only who gets the counters for how many blogs I've posted but the last past passed me by on a motorcycle and into the ocean. What I mean to say is, I posted my 100th post with no ceremony at all. I guess I'll just have to wait til 150 or 200. Anyways, back to real life:

On monday Kelley and Brady came over for dinner and Kelley and I cooked together. She made some delicious broth steamed mussels and I made green beans with garlic and pecans.

It was delicious and simple. We had two white wines, one from Spain and the other from Napa, CA which complimented to dish wonderfully. We've been having warm dry weather the last couple days (however the spell was broken tonight, back to the dismal PNW rain for a while) and the dish seemed very fitting. Yum.

Here is the main chef herself, Kelley.

Also at home, I've been doing some work in the garden. I dug up the ground where the tomatoes use to be in order to plant potatoes initially, something else summery too next month I think.

You can also see in that photo that I've added a little to the non-functional chicken blocking fence. I call it "non-functional" because, well, they just hop over it. Close up.

Speaking of the chickens, I realized I haven't taken a photo of the chickens since they became real lady hens. Allow me to reintroduce the hens (this is their virtual debutante ball):

The Salmon Faverolles aka Crazy Face

The Gold-Laced Wyandotte aka The Bowling Ball

The Black Australorp aka She's just loud

The Buff Orpington aka Fluffy Drumsticks (no really, see the following photo)

And our raspberry bush is starting to put out leaves. No blossoms yet but they should soon. Kevin trimmed them back this year (which I'm pretty sure no one did last year since the previous tenants seemed pretty careless) so they should be even more prolific this year.

This is our sort of unimpressive back of the house. Later in the summer the tree should be full of leaves (and apples??), the pots will be full of basil and the dirt should be full of potatoes and some other vegetables that grow well in the NW.

This is a bud from the apple tree. This should also be blooming very soon.

Our camellia tree is starting to drop the flowers.

Thesis Stuff

So this is what I've been working on so far.

My studio is **small** to say the least but its worked so far. I don't really understand if I just managed to get myself into a stupid spot or how good studio are gotten. Mine might be as big as 5 x 7 feet, maybe a little bigger but as far as a 3d person goes, its slightly more than useless. My goal is to get a big studio next semester (and I will fight to the death for it, or -- sort of).

So this is what I've been up to in my tiny space.

I'm going to be using it in a performance piece I'm going to do at the coast in a while. More to come later.

21 March 2010

Bike Rides

Joel finally got his bike!!! He had this bike put together from parts he's been collecting/buying over the last couple months (so its all paid for upfront -- hurray for anti-debt practices!). He found the Surly frame at a great deal online and was able to build his dream bike from there. This is what it looked liked after he got all the parts installed onto the bike (before all of his own handiwork). **

He made a back deck and two "wide loaders" which are essentially cargo platforms.

This is what his (old) bike looked like after he stripped it of a lot of its parts. He was able to transfer a lot of the parts onto the new bike which was convenient to say the least.

So we took it for a test ride the next day down along the Eastbank Esplanade and the Spring Water Corridor, two bike/ped paths on the East side of the city. This is the start of the Eastbank Esplanade at the Steel Bridge.

Another view of downtown (the West side) from the Esplanade, look at all the pink blossoms!

We got to the end of the Spring Water and we decided to take a break. Joel's bike was still in the process of getting all the kinks worked out as far as adjusting it to his body and style of writing. So we watched these kids fish.

Under this sign.

Which also happened to be WAY above eye level. There was also another man fishing there too. The Willamette isn't known for its clean pristine waters and perhaps that's why the need for the sign but, who knows. I certainly wasn't going to stop them because I would do the same I'm sure.

Also while watching these fishing criminals I saw a bald eagle! I've never seen one before and it wasn't all that close so this photo is a little like the Big Foot photos (also native to the Pacific NW if you believe in cryptozoology...). I'm pretty sure its snacking on a seagull baby because it was being chased by three seagulls before it landed and started eating.

Another wintery Willamette photo. Some people live along the banks of the river in tents and this fire probably belongs to one of those folks. Kind of a romantic way to live if you don't mind rain.

Then a couple days ago Joel put on his back deck (the top of the back with all the stickers on top.

And the wide loaders (on the bottom portion of the back.

Getting his bag ready to get strapped onto the wide loader.

We took it around town, got a 50 lb. bag of chicken food and then our roommate Kevin's bike at the bike shop (Joel was riding that while his old bike was dismantled and his new one was being assembled).

This is what it looked like with everything strapped on. Its a little hard to see the other bike strapped onto the back but we were certainly a sight for sore eyes! We mayhaps be the talk of the town, or at least we were yesterday. Joel strapped the wheel of Kevin's bike and then let the back wheel trail. It was a little nerve wracking at first but then it got better, though certainly not the peace of mind that bike riding usually is!


Someday in the near future I will have someone take a picture of us on his bike together. Last night we rode it down the street to meet with some friends at a local bar and it was definitely cute, no question in my mind! I sit on the back deck while Joel rides the bike. Its a nice lazy ride for me and if we don't ride too far its no burden for Joel but I'm not giving up riding my bike. Someday I will have a picture of me on my bike. Someday, right man?

** Joel says, "Thank you mom, grandma and Aunt Karen, Uncle Paul, Allison and Barry [and the IRS] for the Christmas, birthday and tax return money to help pay for the bike!"