Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Grass Knows, The Hills Know

Had an amazing weekend. Friends from Texas came to visit. Friends from Seattle came to visit. Had some great food. Had some great adventures.Nearly drove off a snowy mountain.

But it appears Spring is here! As great as this weekend was and as much as I miss my friends in the South, I couldn't be more excited about being right where I am and alive at this very moment at the turn of the seasons.

The world seemed to change overnight. Portland went from cold and gray to sunny, warm, and everything in sight budding into new life.

So my attention has quickly turned away from woodworking, reading, and cooking indoors to gardening, biking, and JUST GETTING THE FUCK OUTSIDE.

With the help of my new friend which I purchased for $30 at a pawn shop (see above, Darcy helped too), I was able to throw together these two garden beds in no time at all.

I got the wood from the lumber yard down the street. The beds are each made out of one 8' long 2x4 and three 8' long 2x6 boards which I got out of the "economy pile" for around three dollars a piece. They did have some beautiful 2x12 cedar boards in stock, however I'm not building these to last a lifetime so these fir boards will do just fine for a few years. Using the cheap stuff, I was able to build two 16" deep 5'x3' raised beds for less than $30. This stuff is easy. I made no plan, made no measurements, didn't drill a single pilot hole or make a single cut (well that's not exactly true.) I got the boards cut to length for free at the lumber yard and screwed them to the 2x4 uprights. Easy. I plan on building some more beds and other structures as soon as the lumber yard adds to their pile of "scrap wood."

Now I just need to get some dirt to fill my beds because my seedlings are getting BIG.

I'm growing my seedlings in a generic finely-sifted seed starter soil mix. The seedling trays I am currently using are actually some "trash" that I brought home from work; they are the styrofoam containers in which we receive shipments of fresh salmon packed in ice. They make perfect seedling trays! They are much deeper than commercial seed trays, so they can hold more soil. Also, the styrofoam helps to retain the heat which seeds such as tomatoes and peppers need to sprout. I do keep a small $13 Wal-Mart radiant heater underneath the seed flats which I turn on at night for extra warmth. The lights I am using are generic 4' fluorescents with basic daylight T8 bulbs that I got at Home Depot. T5 fixtures would be better but these seem to get the job done and at about half the price. I spent a total of $24 dollars on the light fixtures and bulbs. The lights are on a $7 dollar timer which turns on 16 hours and off for 8 hours.

The only bad thing about the great weather we've been having is that now I'm getting out of the house more. (Wait, what?) Getting out of the house more means I'm spending money. In fact I'm bleeding money lately. On top of my new (used) drill, wood for garden beds, soil, lights, seeds, eating out with friends, gasoline for road trips, etc. I have splurged on a few other items, including:

$29.95 - Sepp Holzer's Permaculture Book which was recently released in English by Chelsea Green Publishing

And most exciting is my new bike. It's a Cannondale T600 (who cares!) that I got used for $300. Is that a good deal? I think so. I rode it to work yesterday (a TOTALLY beautiful day!) and took the Springwood Corridor Trail along Johnson Creek. It was so fantastic.

But at least some things in life are still free...

I found this reel mower on the side of the road on my way to work! Totally free! Now I can mow our backyard, clean up all the dog poop, and maybe start building a chicken coop...we'll see! I have had this Murray McMurray rare breed poultry catalog that I've been looking at ever since November...


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Anon. Things are feeling pretty magical around here lately. Keep reading.

  2. Replies
    1. Please come see me, little brother. I will rent a bike for myself so that you can ride mine and we can take some incredible adventures around Oregon.

    2. I really want to.
      Not sure how it can work out.
      I'm taking summer classes (beginning June 4thish) before my Tanzania trip, but after the spring semester is over (may 9th or so), there's a short time in between.
      Considering craigslist ridesharing all the way there, but I'm not sure I'll be able to keep a job all summer if I spend a week or two riding around and eventually meeting up with you.
      You have any experience or have friends who have used craigslist rideshare?

    3. I have never done any kind of rideshare. It's something I would like to try though. I'm sure you'll find your way here eventually. No rush.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Bradley. And thanks for the painting. It is beautiful.