Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall Is Here-It's DIY Time to Get Ready For Winter

Have you heard about Habitat ReStore?
" Habitat for Humanity ReStores are open to the public and sell a variety of good quality building materials, appliances, furniture and other home improvement products at a fraction of retail prices.
All our merchandise is donated by businesses and individuals and we get new things daily. Follow us on twitter for the latest great deals.
The ReStore Mission
Our ReStores raise funds to help Habitat for Humanity build affordable homes in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan areas. And, we keep usable materials out of the waste stream and into home building, remodeling, and creative arts projects.
In just the past two years we have raised over $275,000 for our affiliates and kept over 1,800 tons of materials out of the landfill.
Get Involved
Donate: Individuals and businesses can donate new and gently used materials to our stores. We accept donations both large and small.
Shop: We have two locations, one in Portland, OR and one in Vancouver, WA. Come visit us. New goods daily. Treasures are waiting.
Volunteer: The Portland and Vancouver ReStores need the help of volunteers like you. We have plenty of opportunities for both individuals and groups. Find out more on our Volunteer page."

Our local Habitat Restore is doing a series of free workshops on weatherization and home improvement. Since the cooler weather is here we may as well be doing something interesting inside.

Clark County Habitat ReStore
5000 E 4th Plain Blvd
Vancouver, WA
Saturdays at 1 pm.
October 2, 2010: Session 1 will focus on exterior weatherization. Topics will include window and door installation, exterior trim install, correct caulking, sealing and house-wrap installation.
1pm - 3pm

October 16, 2010: Session 2 will focus on sheetrock installation and correct taping and mudding procedures. 1pm - 3pm

October 30, 2010: Session 3 topics will include interior painting processes and baseboard and trim installation. 1pm - 3pm

All sessions will be taught by awesome trade professionals! Our lead instructor will be John Schwager, a local contractor and Restore customer. John is a great guy and we’re sure you will learn lots from him.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rain and Fall

I haven't posted in a while because the  summer has been intensely busy. We, TwoRivers Music, have played all over Oregon and Washington this summer and have shows booked "away" through October.

The weather has kept things interesting in the garden. We have discovered that our front garden in really a wind tunnel-part of the "gorge effect" I'm sure. High on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River the wind comes zooming from the East, up the street, across the front garden and through the back gate. Our tomatoes suffered from this and it actually took out our trellis of Scarlet Runner Beans. Ah, live and learn. The front garden in a different micro climate from the back. The back gets sun all day and is much more sheltered from the wind. Next year tomatoes will go in the back. Basil growing in the back is also much happier than in the front so...Basil in the back next year!!
We've canned applesauce and peach butter, frozen lots of cubes of basil for winter use. There will be more of that as the basil in the back is still producing!!

Next project: we started a no/low cards/ no wheat way of eating. I won't call it a diet because it's a change of lifestyle. I've lost 11 pounds and quite a few inches (yay!) and my partner has lost 20 pounds (!!!). We both feel much  better. When it came time to add carbs to what we eat we considered how best to do it. Didn't want to eat processed foods to the extent that we did and the wheat free breads are very expensive in the local stores and the variety is very limited. After research and consideration we sent for a packet of dry sourdough starter from San Francisco and bought spelt flour. By feeding the spelt flour to the starter we now have a 99% spelt starter. Have a lovely ceramic pot with sealing lid from Value Village for the starter. Had one misadventure with the bread. We bought a used clay baking pot and it cracked and fell apart with the first bread baking.  Very disappointing. Next trip to Value Village we got a Corningware pot and lid. It works really well. The bread is dark, rich, moist and very sour! Makes great toast and is good with Eric's home made egg salad!! Last night after work (full day teaching piano and voice lessons, accompanying a church choir at rehearsal) we made our first trial at sourdough, spelt chocolate chips cookies. End result, very tasty, 8 dozen cookies mostly in the freezer. Thank you Eric for doing all the work and clean up!! You have the master's touch!
For those who might be interested all these experiments will result in a cookbook.
Canning tomatoes today thanks to a friend whose garden is not in the wind tunnel!! Playing music at a retirement home. No watering the garden today as the fall rain is taking care of it. We have green beans, tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, broccoli, basil, carrots, chard, onions and more still growing. Starting the fall clean up and planting. Got a mini green house to set up and much organizing to do.
Happy Fall!