lost in the woods

I’ve been reading probably the most inspiring series of blog posts, ever, for the last week or so.  Any spare moment I would open up Brittany’s homepage and update myself on her adventures through the Pacific Crest Trail.  Around day 51 she starts posting lots of pictures… but the posts leading up to it are definitely worth the read.

The Pacific Crest Trail runs over 2600 miles from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Coast – through the desert, the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades.  It’s a grueling hike at every point, due to climate and altitude, or usually both.

I got this bee in my bonnet that I wanted to do some longer hikes… two day… three day… a week.  Build up to a point where maybe one day I might be able to do the Appalachian Trail.

I shared this information with Kristina who was equally enthusiastic about the longer hikes.  Then we took a walk on the trails behind my house on Sunday.

Um!  It’s a 1.2 mile trail that loops.  Loops.  And yet somehow we walked for an hour and a half, looping back and forth, being completely confused by the maps that were posted all along the trail.

Eventually we figured out that if we just turned around we’d be walking on the road that I live on — so the trail spit us out just in time for a thunder/lightning storm.  Luckily, Derek had his phone on him but Kristina and I were completely unprepared – so he called Jason to come rescue us.

Dripping wet when we finally made it back, we rewarded ourselves with an ice cream and fried food at the burger joint down the street.

So saying we have a long way to go is an understatement… but there’s nothing we can’t do if we want to.  Just needs a little… little bit of work.

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little sprats

good news for vegetable lovers

good news for vegetable lovers

Wasn’t it just last Wednesday I put these suckers in the ground?  Already the mesclun and kale are sprouting those first, tiny little pairs of leaves.  Completely irrelevant to the rest of the life of the plant but oh, so important to expectant gardeners.

The broccoli seedlings, too, has increased in size by double since last Wednesday.  At our  apartment the phrase ‘full sun’ was inapplicable.  Here, the sun shines for days.  We dried our towels on the clothesline, which I’d never done before.  I thought for sure it would take all day – only took two hours.  And no electricity wasted.  It was sweet, because the neighbor in back of us was hanging her laundry, too.  It’s nice to live in a place where all these people are taking such care.

hotel chez maman

kicking back in a borrowed bed

kicking back in a borrowed bed

Living on the outskirts can be tough sometimes, unless you’ve got family on the peninsula.  On Friday I worked a double, and they let me out early at the dayjobstudio so I could’ve driven home and driven back to town but that’s no good.  Too much commute for one day.  Nightjobmayostreet is about three blocks from my parents’ apartment on Munjoy Hill so in a moment of clarity I met up with with Dad for the keys and took a snooze on Maman’s bed.  There’s no comfier place than your mother’s room, in case you were wondering.  Hope I didn’t get my summer cold germs on her pillow!  Must be that children are constantly and forever making their parents sick, whether their 3 or 30.

a year ago today: such bliss

yuna, the big one

yuna, the big one

Today, I nurse a summer cold and perform all the daily tasks with as little energy spent as possible.  What an excellent opportunity to share photos from a year ago today (give or take).  Last early August I was waiting for my friends to pick me up to go down to Cambridge to see The Rattlesnakes at Zuzu’s Night of the Living Deadhead.  With a big jar of catnip on the second floor and the kitties enjoying the warm sidewalk below we thought it’d be kind of funny to sprinkle it on them like manna from heaven.  It was.

cash, the little one

cash, the little one

This is also just minutes before the big one saw a seagull creeping up behind the little one and jumped on its back (to protect her?  How valiant…), only to have the seagull take-off with him in tow.  It must have freaked him the hell out because he ran in to the neighbors bushes to lick his wounds (pride) in underestimating the size of that dirty bird.  That’s what drugs will do to you!

mouse in the house: don’t freak out

two mouse deterrents

two mouse deterrents

Disclaimer:  This post contains information that may be inappropriate for readers sensitive to topics concerning the death of animals.  It’s my intention to share about a very effective natural way of deterring mice, but could not discuss the topic in full without sharing all our experiences.  If this kind of things offends you please don’t read on through this post (unless you want a really great recipe for an herbal mouse deterrent).  Thank you and please visit again soon!

Usually when you move to a new place a neighbor brings over a casserole or the postman introduces himself.  Our official welcoming committee was of a much smaller, four legged variety.

The mice themselves did not bother me, but their weird little droppings in the strangest of places (oh God oh God the window sill above the bed?  Were they pooping there while I was sleeping?!) were another thing entirely.

We grappled with the idea of kill vs. no kill traps.  The fact of the matter is we have two cats so pretending like the mice would all lead happy lives in rolling meadows if we caught them with a no kill trap would have been disingenuous.  In the end, we decided on a multi-pronged attach of kill, no kill and natural methods.  That way the little mousies could play the odds and if they happened to run in to the cats’ paws or the traps’ jaws then it was what it was.  It should be noted, though, that our natural and no kill armaments outweighed the barbaric methods by at least 2:1 if not more.

Full disclosure:  before anyone comments about the inhumanity of mouse traps I just want to be sure you know we did NOT use glue traps, which are totally disgusting.

As a part of the strategy, we opened all the doors to the cats (they previously had not been allowed in our room, but with mice to keep at bay allergies were to be damned) and after a little bit of research realized there were some lovely-to-human scents that bother mice.

So if you’re battling a mouse or two and don’t want to go the trap route then here’s a great little recipe to mix up and put in places where they have been trouble:

Herbal Mouse Repellent

-3 parts dried peppermint

-1 part whole cloves

-1 part clove powder

-1 part cayenne powder

Mix ingredients and store in open, shallow container where evidence of mice has shown.  Replace every 2-3 days to maintain efficacy.  

We have seen a great reduction in droppings in those places because the spices mask the scent of anything potentially yummy for them.  An added bonus is the mixture smells great and is pretty strong, so no toxic air fresheners or odor removers for us (like we would ever do that anyways).  Play with the ratios a bit if you need to (the clove can be overpowering to some) to make your own mix.  Another tip would be to get the materials at a grocery store that carries bulk spices – we go to Hannaford’s and I think I got all the spices I needed for a good size batch for under $4.00 because you don’t have to buy huge amounts or pay for fancy packaging.  Most of all, good luck with your mice!

yeah, i killed the oregano

it used to be cuban oregano

it used to be cuban oregano

Yeeeah, …I killed the cuban oregano.  It was already in a sorry state from being stuck indoors all winter – it had been a lush, green plant since November of last year but neglect and the shock of moving must have killed it.

Or maybe two days ago when I decided it ‘needed to be outdoors’ promptly followed by a summer downpour to rival Niagara Falls.  So yeah, no sun, heat shock, extreme over watering then overnight cold… yeah, no way around it, I killed the oregano.

But not totally!  I was able to face my guilt and try and salvage what little bits were left.  Cuban oregano can be grown from cuttings like many other houseplants.  You can proliferate a healthy bush of it even more (for a wide range of yummy dishes) with some simple instructions:

Take your cuttings by snipping just below a set of leaves.  When I snipped I tried to get as much stem as possible before the stem started turning brown from the over watering.  If your plant is healthy then you can cut a longer stem.  Longer stem = more root sprouts.  Prune a couple sets of leaves up the stem to allow plenty of room for the root sprouts.  Once they have formed, the cuttings can be transplanted in soil.  On their own they are sweet, aromatic, furry little things that make great gifts.  I was able to salvage about a dozen cuttings, now coming back to life on the kitchen windowsill:

live... Live.. LIVE!!

live… Live.. LIVE!!

Unfortunately they can’t be gifted because I need to reestablish my own personal stock.  For those of you that don’t know, cuban oregano can be used fresh or dried like any other green herb and is used in lots of Spanish and Latin dishes.  A-yum-yum.  Check out this recipe for Cuban Oregano Bhajis from Island Vittles that I am going to try… once I get my plant back!

screen printing in the rubble

just look at that pegboard!

just look at that pegboard!

Making this move has had its ups and downs.  Sometimes you’ll be driving in the car for what seems like DAYS just to get to a decent Thai food place.  But then you go downstairs and realize:  “What??  I have a workshop?!  A real, live workshop!” and then suddenly pad thai accessibility doesn’t seem like such a deal breaker.

It should be noted that the nearest, decent Thai restaurant is only a ten minute drive away.  It should also be noted that I know I’m a crybaby.  City people are so spoiled.

Right now, the workshop kinda looks like this:

mystery boxes

mystery boxes

Even though we’re working with only 20% of floor space I had a chance to break out the ol’ screen printing tools and go to work today.  I had two onesie orders to fill from a couple weeks ago when all our stuff was in limbo, and Metal Feathers needed t-shirts so I got to work.

Click on the image to buy your own Harbor Seal Onesie!

Click on the image to buy your own Harbor Seal Onesie!

I made five of these in different sizes to complete the current stock I have.  If you think the harbor seal design is cute and want one of your own just click right here.

metal feathers

metal feathers

Then came the MFers tees — this was a tough design to print, because the glasses are so thick and the writing was pretty thin, so getting the ink saturation was difficult.  I had to go over it once and then a second time, with emphasis on the ‘m’ and the ‘s’ at the bottom/top of the design.  The guys said they came out well, though, so I guess my work here is done.

work!

work!

There are a lot of lovely things about the new house, but one thing in particular is the utility sink in the workshop.  Just genius.  So now instead of running up to the kitchen or outside to the hose I can just walk my screen over to the sink and wash it, no threat of getting ink in non-crafty places.  Well, I can wash it conveniently right after I drop it on the floor and start screaming at the Yudu machine.  Seriously — it’s the dumbest machine to rely heavily on because I refuse to learn the right way to do anything.  Anyways, check this out:

swoon

swoon

Mostly it was just really relaxing to actually start making things with my hands again.  They’ve been busy with packing boxes, lifting boxes, scraping walls, ripping up carpet, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning for the last month.  I also picked up some light, summer knitting (100% cotton happy beach time hair bands… coming soon…) to do while we watch the Netflixes.  Handwork is essential to me and I’m glad I don’t have to put it on the back burner anymore, even if there are about 100 boxes that need to be unpacked…