Meet Millie


Millie is the newest member of our family. She was Michelle birthday gift to Ella, though she was also a gift for herself, and a gift from me to her. Complex, I know.

Millie is a tabby from the Oregon Humane Society that Ella picked out with our help. Millie is even the name that Ella picked, and we’re not actually sure where she got the name, but we all agreed that it is a good cat name. Ella wanted a pink cat, and since no such thing was available, we went with the most immediately affectionate kitten that was compatible with Barley, with the girls, and hopefully with the chickens. Well, we haven’t actually decided about the indoor/outdoor thing yet. Michelle and I agree that litter boxes are a nuisance, but worry about the likelihood of roadkill in this neighborhood.

So far Millie fits in well. It’s a little weird how similar she looks to the late Tigger Lee, but he was a handsome devil if nothing else. Let’s hope his voice was unique and not a characteristic of the breed.

Ella : all3

Ella in her birthday dress
Ella turned 3 on Friday, though she celebrated on Sunday, Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. She can now recognize letters from her name on signs, in books and more, but she confuses the difference between, say, the letter E in her name with the whole name. So as we drive around town or read a book, she points at signs and says “That’s my name up there!”

As she approached 3, she also learned what the number 3 looks like. The problem is that E and 3 are very similar, so she started seeing her name in numeric signs, or kept “seeing her age up there” when it was actually an E. Really though, who can blame her?

This past year has been a wonder for us. Ella fell in and out of some odd habits, grew like a weed, became quite fashionista, and the talker. And while she may have become talkative and even inquisitive, her own reasoning is still a little weak. Weak, yet delightful. She’s become a wonderful big sister, and is really taking to the task in stride. She’s become a good climber (genetics, I know) and can command the neighborhood from atop her tower fort. Most of all, she’s our darling daughter, and I’m thankful for every day I have with her. Yes, even tonight with the kicking and the back talk.

Blossom end rot

Blossom end rotOur brandywine tomato plant went from being giant and promising to decrepit and homely before any of the wonderful golden fruit could be harvested. The fruits have sunken, black bruising on the bottom that I initially mistook for simple bruising. Luckily, mom has had the same blight before and clued me in to blossom end rot. Looks like the problem isn’t stressed growth, crowding, or drought, but more than likely a calcium issue. Or possibly uneven watering.

Either way, I’m hoping to address it before all the fruit is ruined. The brandywine is the easiest way to recoup the cost of a yard garden because the math is so simple. One tomato = four dollars. 15 tomatoes, and the entire raised bed has been paid for. Two tomatoes and all the initial seeds are paid for. Now I have to use other math.

Hardwood floor, part 1

Ella helps install flooring.Over the weekend, Michelle and I, with the help of family, replaced the kitchen floor. The entire first floor with the exception of the kitchen is original oak tongue and groove flooring, and it is in desperate need of refinishing. We’d meant to refinish before we moved in, but time being what it is, kept us from doing so. Now there’s sliver danger when you slide your feet, which both Michelle and Ella have discovered. So, before refinishing, we’d talked about what to do in the kitchen. It was having another set of issues.

In the kitchen, the floor was covered with vinyl stick down tiles. They looked nice enough, and they hid the dirt pretty well, but many had stopped sicking, and the corners of some had even come up so when you were shuffling haphazardly for that first cup of coffee, you got the added jolt of a chunk of vinyl in your toe. Plus, underneath the tile was a layer of occasionally wet particle board. Some had swelled to make the floor additionally uneven and humpy. So, we tore it up. Jason, Michelle, my parents and I all took turns ripping out the tiles and board, and ultimately, the old ship lap subfloor.

We hadn’t counted on taking up sub-flooring, so the extra time and labor, plus the cost of replacing the subfloor was a surprise. Luckily, not a major cost, but it put us a day behind “schedule.” I mock the schedule, but we really need to have it wrapped up before the next weekend for sanding.

At this point, I should mention the replacement flooring again. It’s reclaimed tongue and groove oak flooring from a deconstruction service in Kenton. It’s a mix of red and white oak, which I expected to look just right once laid down with the rest of the flooring. Plus, I got a smoking deal on it. The cost per square foot was around $1.70, and there’s enough left over that I’ll be able to sell the rest to someone and knock the price down to the $1.50/sqft range.

Anyway, installing the stuff was a dream once we got the sub floor taken care of. There was some awkwardness around the pantry doors and a challenge of backfilling the small section behind the island, but with a rented floor stapler from Interstate Rentals (awesome folks, btw) we installed ourselves back on to schedule, finishing right around 9 pm on Sunday. Michelle, who often feels cheated out of projects because she’s wrangling a girl or two, got plenty of opportunity to ravage her back and knees as we tag-teamed the parenting. She’s much happier about it, and considering how awesome the floor looks without even being finished yet, I can’t agree more.

Now, we have 3 full days until the drum sander tears through what little finish is left on the original flooring and hopefully matches the whole thing together. Boxing of items commences tonight. I think we have the stain/sealer/finish regimen picked out as well.

I’ve added a few photos here.