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blueshoefarm at gmail dot com.... and that would be how to reach me

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Workin' woman

Wow. This last year has been an adventure! I am taking stock and gearing up for spring, time of renewal, time to get things going again...
Sadly, I sucked in the gardening department last summer. Absolutely.  I think I got 10 tomatoes out of the deal.  I also was too busy to tend flowers, which I love doing.  Everything is a trade-off, and I'm okay with it all,  I was having a lot of fun!
It is the time when I start looking for my garden gloves and clippers so I can go outside and put things in the ground.  Primroses have already been purchased and planted and lend a wee bit-o-color on a grey day.
The year:
1. Our guinea pigs, Guinevere and Flambe, can now be visited in the pet graveyard that came with the house. No worries, it was natural causes.
2. I  finally painted my living room!  It only took almost two years, and three color choices spread at sporadic places on the walls before I committed and painted it fully.
3. There is a wonderful partner, friend, man in my life.  And I am having a blast.
4. I was looking at jobs with my daughter, who is going to college, and saw one that I qualified for with a nearby 501(c)3.  I applied and got it!  I was going to look for a job by June, and here I am, a workin' woman again.
5. My "unusual" medical stuff seems to be in a holding pattern.
6. My daughter graduated high school, got a piece of work not-really-sane boyfriend, flailed around, quit college, pushed every button and limit I ever had...put her head back on,  started college, ... and started seeing the same boy again.  Argggh.  Pretty sure she is not going down the same path but if she needs to go, I can't stop her. (Which kills me....but it is all part of life, and making mistakes, blah, blah, blah)
7. Growing more and more gray hair. (see above...)
8. Our son is growing leaps and bounds and achy and grumpy and joyous all within the same five minutes.  Ah, to be 14 again.
8. Bought a new (used) car. It is a little zippy.  I have already been pulled over for zippiness, not speeding.  No ticket, however! Killer gas mileage.  40+mpg.
9.  Almost started working on the upstairs bathroom again.  Then it was decided to sister joists under that bathroom to stop the floor/ceiling from flexing which entails my dining room ceiling coming down.  And, while we are at it, might as well re-do the dining room electrical.  Waiting for that project to become a manageable size again with a firm cost. Oh, and I suppose the discretionary funds to complete it in my savings account would be nice.  I would love a soaking tub again.  Sigh.
Port Townsend, Ft. Worden beach. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Blue Shoe got a Restoration Award!

Well, in all truthfulness, not really the house per se, but the contractor got an award for the work he did on my home.  He did do a great job... insulation, wood windows, age appropriate siding, plus all the structural work in the basement. As it was phrased in the award ceremony...."an appropriate restoration with a restrictive modest budget"... meaning I was always on them about cost details.
It seems like this is a summer 2013 picture - dead grass, daisies in full bloom. Note the chair outside the window? That would be one of the kids not having their key to get in the house so they clamber through my bedroom window.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Exterior of farmhouse is painted!

Before and after...I rather miss the blue, how it blended with the sky.  BUT do so love red.  I also put the wood supports back on both porches and replaced rotten siding where the roofing runs into contact with vertical walls -- primarily the lower level rooflines on the porch and "ell" addition. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Housing, Boating. Parenting

Good lord a mercy I have been having a life.  After our sailboat journey this summer I was asked in passing, rather casually, if I would be interested in sailing around Vancouver Island.  Knowing that is quite an adventure... lots of weather, currents, waves I answered I wanted to see the boat's nether regions first.  Next thing I know we are hauling out in Port Townsend and I am looking at the bottom of a boat.  What am I looking at? What am I looking for? Who knows, but there I am.
Next, turns out, the boat is being painted. Teak is being replaced. My daughter and I installed fresh new name letters on the stern. There is talk of new sails.

Then we finished painting my front door and house.  Which looks great!

And then my daughter, my lovely, gentle, kind, intuitive college bound girl, postponed college.  There is a boy she fell in love with, some really squirrelly, negative choices, and endless challenges have knocked on her door. I have been trying to stay calmish and healthyish all the while riding this wave without drowning, or letting any family members drown.

But that is all firmly part of living.  Can't avoid, ignore, deny the unpleasantries, they run right alongside all the joyful parts.
I will not say my life is tedious or boring.

The sign company said putting these letters on the boat would be
excruciatingly easy. They sooooo lied. 

Front door painted.  Cheery bright... orange?
I avoided a pic of the clutter to the left of my door. You know, the fence posts,
 garden plants waiting to go in the ground, mud shoes, clippers, feed bucket.  

One whopper of a rainbow while out sailing...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Old Boats and Old Houses

I believe I have been fairly clear in my fondness for a home that is was created in an pre plastics, polymers and composites era.  A home with some age to it.  That has seen a few things, lived through some times, for better or worse. A home constructed from timber within a couple mile radius, that doesn't offgas petrol byproducts into your home. A storyteller with four walls.
I am moving more into "appreciation" of the above type home, and the owners who love and maintain them... as opposed to owning said home and being responsible for its upkeep. That is a never ending money pit, similar to owning a boat.
I discovered a whole new layer of ownership insanity this weekend. Well, I always knew about it, but the level that one can descend into it was eye-opening.
Old boats.  We have pulled the sailboat out into a boatyard to give it a fresh coat of bottom paint.  We took a walk a couple nights ago and saw some amazing boats.

We walked around a corner and off in the distance was this hue of mud looming gigantic over the roadway. This one made me sharply realize I should never own a boat. Because I am strongly drawn to this type of project.  I get the idea of seeing this boat sit sunken and derelict in the water for a couple years, only its mast sticking up out of the water... and wanting to pull it out and rescue it.  That Is Insanity.
Turns out there is a slight reason for this insanity... this is a boat John Steinbeck wrote about. Built in 1937, Steinbeck and a marine biologist friend chartered it soon afterwards building tales with it.  Its most recent home was drowned in gunk in Anacortes.  Estimated cost to fix? 1 million.  And it will never float again. Even I, nutty person for old things with stories, would not venture onto this project. Although I have to say, I would volunteer to help for a time.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sailing to the San Juan Islands

I just finished a weeklong tour of the San Juan Islands via a 33' sailboat. Gorgeous weather the whole time, I was with an experienced sailor who knows his boat inside and out.  Therefore, on the last day when we headed out across the strait of Juan de Fuca, with a small craft advisory that whipped us across that long strait in a few hours, I had no concerns other than seasickness.
There were a few pondering moments....noticing we were the only boat on the water except for a Navy ship... the only boat in the major shipping lanes from Seattle and Tacoma on a weekday.... I pondered a "huh" but had no worries.  Noticing my upper back was sore for three days afterwards for solidly yanking on the tiller to keep the sailboat on course while we surfed the waves- and I was not the primary person on the tiller.
The San Juan Islands (central), Vancouver Island (left) , and northern peninsula of Washington (bottom).  I am writing of sailing somewhat where the green line runs from Friday Harbor to Port Townsend.  
Noticing at times one side of the boat's gunwale skimmed alternatively on top and then slightly underwater as the waves rolled with, through, alongside us.
By the time we got into port it was dark.  Another highlight : learning how to avoid moored boats in the dark. A very quantifiable skill-  I don't think I can add it to my resume, however.

Bottom line is the boat has a certain gravitas, and solidly loves to be upright. That is not to say I was very aware that if I was alone on that sea... the boat would not have fared as well.  I follow instructions well when it is important!

Note the horizon line is not level.  So the boat (33' Luders) is even more angled than this pic.  We are heading to the left land form directly ahead.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

RED farmhouse - preliminary

My painter is coming over to do the preliminary assessment for painting the farmhouse. I won't have a two-tone house anymore, which I am sure will make the neighbors happy.  (Not that I ever succumb to doing things for the neighbors...).
I was walking the perimeter the other day and noticed the south wall siding is gapping.  I did not replace this stuff, it is old and cracked.  It was not as bad as what I did replace, but getting close.  And now that the foundation settled, it moved and separated even more.  My friend Simon recommended that I let him send over his two carpenters to re-side the rest of the south wall.  I still have a paint job and bathroom to fund, so south wall siding is not in the budget.  As appealing it is to just take care of it. Oh, and a kid going to college next year.  So my house budget is going away rapidly....

The color chosen was found on here
Image from
I have already painted the new gable end a version of this color, but I picked a more buttery trim color.   Now I am just undecided if I am going to paint my garage and barn this color....considering Eric is due in one hour, I better decide!
The soon to be red farmhouse.  
Gee, I will have to change the blue farmhouse picture on my blog. I better plant some sunflowers quick!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

May and June happenings- pictorial essay.

In a nutshell: Life is rolling along at a busy clip, dogs, cars, kids, love. Rose is graduating on Saturday, after tons of drama.  Piles. Mountains. Someday I will be through this and look back and laugh. Right now though, not much mirth. A little, because that is what I do.. but not an overabundance.
 Meanwhile a friend sent a link to a Darius Rucker song - It Won't Be Like This For Long, that made me tear up in my car on the ferry. When I say tear up, I had to stop the song because I was going for all out sobbing.  About a daughter growing up -- I am such a weenie.   When I watched it later I was fine.  It must have been a moment of weakness....or hormones. 
Rose's 18th- celebrated in her fave Indian Restaurant.
Wilder's 14th birthday.
Getting ready for his singing debut...
Geri and her new friend, Henry!
New (used) car with EXCELLENT gas mileage.  Yay!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Electrical : Part 2 of 23

So I posted pics of the installed GFCI here....  (Click on me, right here, right now).  This makes my electrical line profoundly more sensitive to problems - which it is having.  To figure out where the snafu is we are breaking it down into baby steps.  Whenever the entry way light is flipped on in the kitchen, the GFCI blows. First step :  we started with the switches. When you take the cover off you may see that all three are from different manufacturing eras, different materials and none are what you can buy in 2013.  Of the three switches, only two actually turn on anything.  We replaced the two switches.  They are certainly old. The wiring makes me "nervous" to say the least but I am feeding off the confidence of the fellow helping me. He basically says : yeah, you live in an old house that has some old things, get over it and we plug onward.

Second step : After replacing the working switches the GFCI still blows when the entry light is turned on.  So next stop is to evaluate the fixture.

The minor, small issue is that this line controls outlets and fixtures in four rooms of my house.  If this one light fixture is not the culprit we have alot of detective work to do.  Fun! What is life but a monster house project to-do list? 
Quick guess. Which is the offending switch?
I love electrical work.  I love taking off covers and seeing wires like these powering my house.   
Pretty sure the Bryant ceramic switch on the left is from my house's early electrification.  The other is "Slater". The third I didn't replace is a Sears. 
This sort of stuff just warms my heart.  Dirty. Funky. Electrical. 
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