Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Preparing for Storms

Thought it might be timely to repost these tips on emergency preparedness.  We've been hit with some wild storms here in the Pacific Northwest for the past couple of months and they came a little earlier than our usual winter, so it just goes to show you can't be too early in preparing for anything.

From the archives:

Winter / Storm prep tips.

While it's a little early to be thinking about snow here in the Pacific Northwest, it is not too early to prepare for it!
Women on their own must look out for themselves and be prepared for anything - because anything can happen.  I have been through many major storms here and been trapped for weeks, both at home and away from home.

I now have a preparation ritual.  In the Fall (sometimes sooner) I start thinking about what I need to do, from gathering supplies to making preparations.
Supplies always include extra canned and dry goods, anything I can cook or prepare on a camp stove should the power be out.
Preparations include winterizing the house.  Wrapping outside pipes, putting up heavier curtains inside.
I even pack an overnight bag that I keep in my car should I get stuck away from home.

I always make sure I have a flashlight and extra batteries, several small propane tanks, lanterns and oil, matches and ground coffee!  Until they design a battery operated coffee grinder, this is a staple for me!  Of course a small drip coffee one-cupper and cone shaped filters must be included.
[ update:  I found a hand grinder!  No batteries or electricity required!)

Other useful things would be a couple of bags of ice in the freezer, so when the power goes out it keeps the food cold.  One year it was so cold outside that I just put the food out there.
Extra containers of water may be necessary if your water comes from an electric pump,  and did I mention candles?  Lots of them.

Obviously I have a back up heating system that doesn't require electricity.  I have a wonderful wood stove.  It is actually my primary heat source. I get my fire wood in the summer, stacked, cured and covered by Sept.

Keep the gas tank full in the car and the snow shovel by the front door.  Have a corded phone to plug in to the jack should the power go out.  Cordless phones are useless without power.
Up until about a year ago I didn't even have a cell phone, but now that I do, I keep that charged up.  While I don't get service here at my house, at least I can use it in the car if need be.

So these are some of the things we can do to be prepared for a long winter living alone.
If you're on a budget like me, or just like to conserve your resources, we have to think outside of the box a little more, get creative and work with the resources you have.

I'm really quite content with my independent life, and grateful to have a sharp mind and willing spirit.  It just makes life so much more interesting.

If you have any tips you'd like to share on winter preparedness, please leave a comment!  I look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Confessions of an Art Gallery

The walls of the gallery are thin - or - if the art could talk.

I imagine they hold their tongues till the last customer is out the door, till the workers are all gone and the lights go out.  Then the whispers start.

  "Did you hear what that guy said about you?",  pointing down the corridor to a mixed media piece hanging on the wall - and slightly off of it at the same time.

  "What?",  it replied in horror.

  "Something out of my garage!", the watercolor said.

  "Oh what do they know.  Art lovers my foot!", as it shrugged and lost one of its parts.

  "Now look what you've done, the gallery owner shall surely wonder how that happened.", added the watercolor.

  "They all do it", said a lovely delicate mobile hanging from the ceiling. "I see all, nothing gets passed me."
"Art lovers and art critiques alike.  They all think they can paint it or build it or photograph as well as the artists."

  "I could do THAT.",  laughs the sculpture, mocking the customers who didn't buy anything.

  "It's all just a matter of perspective don't you see.", said the blob in the corner. ( No one ever really knew what it was but it had a pretty high price tag on it.)
"People only see themselves in art."

  "What did he say?  It is a he, isn't it?"  The other paintings talked amongst themselves.

  "What I mean is," the blob continued, "is that they see the art subjectively, as they are, and not as it is."

  "I think you have a point.", said the seascape, "It's not really about the art, it's about them, their narrow view of life, right?"

   The blob moved, "Yes, exactly."

  "How do they differ from the people who really love art, then?", came a small voice on a pedestal.

  "You mean our hero's, the real appreciators?  They are more evolved.", boasted an oil painting.

  "I think they are more spiritual, more creative.", said the dainty fairy sculpture.

  The blob spoke again. "I think we are just like them, we all differ in our opinions."
They all laughed together.

Perhaps it is all relative, but next time you're in an art gallery, show a little respect - the walls have ears.

*Contributing Copy Editor, Stacey Smith

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Catching Up!

This has been the busiest summer in my life since 2008 when I was building my janitorial business back up.  This summer I was invited by a dear friend to help with her vacation rental and we just had a blast.  It was work, and a learning curve, but isn't that what life is all about??

Even with the time I spent away from HH, I still had time to work in the yard (it is, after all, our first love isn't it?).  As I watched the grass and surrounding foliage turn to brown it occurred to me that this could be the way of the future.  Less rain, dryer summers, longer periods of time without water.

I decided to create a cottage garden in the front of the house.  Condensing all of the plants that need water the most into a smaller more manageable area.  Of course this was followed up by more rigorous fencing to keep the hungry deer out.

I worked for a month, transplanting and building.  Then one night a bear roamed through (as they often do) mowing over my fencing in several places.  Apparently later that evening the deer came through and ate all of the tender plants.  Was it a conspiracy?  Were they working together on this?  I was in a state of shock the next morning to find all my hard work demolished, in one night!

Needless to say I was pretty depressed for a couple of weeks.  I patched things up as best I could.  The deer got in again!  Obviously my fence building skills are not top notch. 
I gave up, I gave in,  I took out all the gates.  Let them eat it all I thought, I can't win.

When I recovered from my pity party I realized I could just fence in the original section that had worked for several years without anyone breaking in.  So I did that, and since have had no problems!

So this summer the pseudo garden shed got a makeover and became the cabana!  I took the walls off and opened it up, added a platform deck and chairs, wala!  A new place to sit in the shade.

So the cottage garden idea still stands, and the deer salad bar is now closed.  Next summer I can water a smaller area saving time and conserving on water! 

Behind the house I have an area I call the Privacy Deck.  It's secluded and cozy.  The large planter I built last year worked really well for the Hosta.  I also have Autumn Rose here and some day lilies.  This area is also fenced off from hungry deer. 

Early Fall brought a ton of rain, much needed and greatly appreciated, so I had a lot of different kinds of mushrooms.  Mostly inedible, but quite photogenic.

So the firewood's in and the extra work is pretty much slowing down.  The wildlife are resuming their foraging and I am enjoying reading by the fire.

I plan to get out for some local photo shoots to try out some new filters too, so stay tuned for more!

Friday, August 28, 2015

More Floor Painting

Another floor I have been wanting to paint is my dining room floor.  A dreadful 70's orange linoleum.
It was easier than I thought it would be!  I just did a section at a time, letting each coat dry overnight.

  There is also another vinyl flooring over that in the kitchen that isn't coming off without a blow torch, so it's getting painted too!

I put down a small area rug I had until the seagrass mat I ordered arrived.

This is a bit stark for my taste, so when the new rug arrived I was quite pleased with the darker hue.

It's bigger than I anticipated, but it's sewn together with twine, so I just cut it in half!  I now have the perfect rug for the space (that final photo hasn't been shot yet).

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Summer 2015

It's been a long - dry - hot summer here in the Pacific Northwest.  I think I am not alone when I say how wearing and downright depressing it has been.  We're just not used to this!
It has lead me to rethink my gardening plans for next year.

In an effort to conserve on future water I am working on consolidating my plants to a smaller area, in the front yard.  I'm calling it the Cottage Garden.
When I'm not working or hiding out from the heat I am moving the plants that don't have to wait to be dormant, others will have to wait.  I'm also fencing it back in to keep the now ravenous deer out.  The bears however, have already broken in once, but it was repairable.

My front gate, recycled from another area.  Driftwood courtesy of Mother Natures beach.  :)  More images as things progress.

Other happenings around the Hollow have been documented as follows.

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