Friday, November 30, 2007

Too close for comfort!

We are about seven hours away from the end of the remodeling contest and are only about 15 votes ahead of second place! The drummond home restovation blog somehow got 40 or so votes in the last 24 hours . . .hmmmm. Anyway, if you haven't voted yet, please do it now. And thanks so much to all of you that have already voted.

UPDATE: December 1
As far as we can tell, we just barely squeaked by with the most votes as of midnight last night! BUT, they don't officially announce the winners until December 7, so we'll still be biting our fingernails for another week yet.
THANK YOU ALL for your votes, up until the very last minute!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

5 o'clock

Most nights at about 5 o'clock, I pour myself a glass of wine. While 5 is typically a crazy time around the house (boys running rampant, screeching, playing, wrestling, dinner-making, fire-stoking, cleaning up), this hour is a signal to begin to slow down. I love this time of year when darkness comes early - it's a subtle encouragement to shut down and revel in the warmth of the wood stove, the sounds of our family, the smells from the kitchen. Many nights I'm practically pulling my hair out, trying to keep Ellis in his chair at the dinner table, wondering why he hates peas tonight when he couldn't get enough of them yesterday.

This November evening, it's quiet and warm in the living room. My good husband and little boy are with me. And I'm savoring a glass of Portland wine.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day

We love Veteran's Day around here, and I'm sorry to say it has nothing to do with veterans. It's Corrie and Amy's third annual Veteran's Day weekend visit to the farm and we are loving it. Corrie is sitting in our living room right now, entertaining everyone, from Flannery to Ellis and Owain in true Corrie Poppins form. Amy is out feeding the fat horses carrots...and more carrots. And they are both feeding us with chocolate, cheese, nuts, licorice, wine, and other Oregon goodies. We're also basking in lazy conversation and simple love and bonding with two of our favorite Portland friends. Here are some photos of this weekend's good times...

A little more info...

As we talk about this addition and what purpose it might serve, what it might look like, when and how it might be built, I realized it would help to add some photos of the house for reference. (See Chris's original post for layout ideas.) This is the house looking at the east side - where we'd like to build. The double window on the east side toward the front of the house is the living room. The two windows behind it are the guest room and bathroom, respectively. The windows above are Ellis's room and Chris's and my bedroom. There is lawn and a small retaining wall off the east side of the house, but that's about it - seems like the most practical spot to build and take advantage of the most southern exposure for passive solar heating and easy access to the rest of the house, including plumbing, electric, etc. We have also talked about wanting to put a sunroom and/or screened porch off the front of the house where there is ideal sunlight and ample space that is currently just lawn that needs to be mowed.

Here is the living room from the inside of the house - with our friends Corrie and Amy showing how well used this space is. It's really a thoroughfare - a gathering spot, a playroom, a workspace. The living room, dining room and kitchen are our ultimate communal spaces - used the hardest by the most people. The windows behind the couch in this photo would most likely become interior french doors...or some other kind of entry into to the addition. We've talked about there being a "living space" (study/library/sitting room) immediately off the living room. We all agree that we need bookshelves lining the walls, as 90% of our books are still in storage (and hopefully not mildew ridden!). I love being surrounded by books, I love lending out books, adding to the library, and watching Ellis and Owain fill their days with books...even if much of their time is spent simply emptying the bookcase onto the floor. So, lots of bookshelves are on the docket. As well as two or three bedrooms, a place for me to call an office at least for the time I work from home, and a bathroom. What else? What about storage? If we don't want to take up precious square footage with closets, how do we best make interior storage space? Ideas? Also, Chris and I have thought about maybe making one of the bedrooms a part of a loft area - what about stairs then? Does anyone have ideas on how to do stairs that take up minimal space but are more substantial than a fold down ladder?

If you have books or specific houses or people we ought to know more about, please send us your suggestions. Thanks!

Monday, November 05, 2007


Build; Create; Transform; Remodel; Retrofit; Refurbish; Gut; Restore; Sustain; Make one's own.

These words have slid off our tongues countless times in the past few years as we have taken on this farm, land, and life living in community. As Chris mentioned, making a house that was built for one nuclear family work for two growing families living an unconventional lifestyle has been a thrilling challenge.

September 2004 - Week 1 @ Lostview Farm - Dumpster Joy

First (really, on the very day we took ownership of the farm), we gleefully tore down and removed all things unsightly (or moldy or otherwise unlivable), and filled giant dumpsters with carpeting, linoleum, wood paneling, WALLS, and so on. We did it with the energy of superheroes, watching our home become a clean slate on which to write our own style and history. We are gradually becoming less reliant on conventional sources of energy and a relatively tiny bit less reliant on the grocery store. All this to say, we are moving toward something bigger than we are - something we all believe in - an alternative way of life.

And while our families and gardens and woodpiles grow, so will our home. Additional bedrooms, a study, a library, sun room, screened porch are all on the list. And of course there's the chicken coop/greenhouse, a treehouse for the boys... I think we will always be expanding - for ourselves, and for you all, people who we want to be an intimate part of our community.

Our place is becoming what it is precisely BECAUSE of you. You know who you are, whether you have painted, pulled nails from the floor, chopped wood, put up fences, weeded the garden, shared meals around our table, cared for our children, called or emailed with words of support, lent hours of advice and encouragement... Looking back through our history on the blog, I came across this post that actually lists projects completed in one fell swoop of a weekend by friends and family. It reminds me that we are fueled by so much more than dreams or desires or needs. It is incredible, the energy a group of people can emanate. It is contagious and inspiring and vital.

All along, from the farm being a twinkle in our eyes, we have always thought of it being a place for you, too. A place for rest or some quiet from the city, or somewhere to express your handy-person skills, or just have a really good meal with friends. I'm not being corny here, folks. I hope you feel like our home is yours...we have 36.5 acres - that's plenty space for a few (hundred) visitors.

I have been happily checking our voting stats for the remodeling contest we entered. THANK YOU all for the speedy votes of support! We're in 3rd place, I think - pretty amazing, for just a couple of days' work!! There is a $5,000 grand prize and a $1,000 people's choice prize for the blog with the most votes. At this rate, we're well on our way to winning a little seed money for our latest and costliest farm building project - the addition that Chris laid out in the previous post. Yes, we are still in planning stages, but this is the most important phase. Your support, ideas, and suggestions are like gold. And if you still want to submit your vote (by Nov 30!), we could surely use it.

The champagne is chilling...let's get ready to toast a win and bid farewell to the lawn on the east side of the house!