23 May 2009

new additions!

I've been talking about it for a year, and last week we finally got our chickens! We got 3 chicks, or as we've been calling them, "little peepers." 2 araucanas and 1 rhode island red. They were about 3 days old when we brought them home. Here they are from left to right: Lucy, Adelaide (Addy) and Ruby.

And here they are doing their favorite activity, eating:

Other favorite activities include sleeping, pecking and peeping (it's the cutest sound!)

They also really love to be outside and scratch around in the grass. Here the girls are playing in the backyard today, they're so much bigger! They have "real" wing feathers and are starting to get tails.

Lucy (front and center there) is one of the Araucanas and she's the sweet one, she likes to be held the most and she's obviously very photogenic! We thought Ruby (the red one) would be the "leader" because rhoadies are supposed to be a little more assertive than the Araucanas. However, Addy (the brown and black one) definitely seems to be the scrappiest at this point. So we'll see what the pecking order (pun intended!) ends up being.

You can also see my super fantastic raised veggie beds in the background, with lots of cool things popping up! They were actually pretty easy to build and then Brian did the heavy lifting and filled them with soil on his post call day (after working 29 hours straight! - i let him take a nap first) (thanks babe!)

More updates to come!

16 February 2009


Brian and I just returned from a 2 week trip to the Philippines. I'm going to attempt to get the whole 2 weeks into one post because we all know the chances of me posting twice in a timely manner are very, very small.

So we left Jan 31st, flying from Portland to Tokyo then from Tokyo to Manila. We then spent the night in Manila before leaving bright and early for our first stop, the Sangat Island Reserve. To get there we took a 1 hour flight from Manila to the island of Busuanga. Then we had a 45 min van ride to the town of Coron, followed by a 45 min boat ride to Sangat Island. We stayed here for 5 nights. Our daily schedule was basically wake up, lay in the hammock, go to breakfast, lay in the hammock, go snorkeling, lay on the porch of our bungalow (the hammock was in the sun in the late morning), go to lunch, nap in the hammock, read in the hammock, go snorkeling, go to dinner, go to bed. Needless to say, after a few days of this, we were quite rested and ready to do some exploring. The resort only had electricity from 6pm to 6am, and there are no TVs, phones, AC or much of anything beside sand, water and palm trees. Here's a view from the hammock:

and a view of our bungalow:

We also followed the "nature walk". Supposedly we were supposed to end up on a beach on the other side of the island, but we lost the trail in this swamp:

I think it looks like the Fire Swamp from The Princess Bride. We didn't see any ROUSs but the mosquitos were pretty fierce.

We went snorkeling at least once or twice every day, we really enjoyed checking out all the coral, cool fish and other sealife. We also took a scuba diving "discovery dive." We went down to about 10m and saw a Japanese gun boat wreck from WWII. That was pretty neat as well but I had problems with getting my ears to pop and didn't really like the feeling of being that far underwater. I think I'd give it another try sometime...

We were sad to leave our beach paradise but excited to get a look at what else the Philippines had to offer. Unfortunately our 45 min boat ride back to Coron ended up taking about 2 hours due to the weather. The water was super choppy, it was raining and by the time we got back we were soaking wet and all our luggage was pretty wet as well. That made for a pretty miserable plane ride back to Manila.

We stayed one night at the G Hotel where they had aircon (as they call it there) and hot water in the shower. Luxury! The next day we took a short flight to Puerta Princesa . Puerta Princesa is a really neat city. We stayed in Puerta for just one day, giving us time to get some laundry done, take a quick tour of the city, and ride around in the tricycles. Tricycles are the main mode of transportation in many parts of the Philippines. They're basically dirt bikes with some sort of covered seating area attached to the side. Brian and I fit pretty comfortable in one, but it's not uncommon to see 5 Filipinos, plus the driver crammed into one with bags of rice and other supplies roped to the top or back of the tricycle. Another common way of getting around is the Jeepney. Jeepneys were originally converted US Army Jeeps left over after WWII, but now they look like miniature open school buses. Each one is painted with flames, pictures of Jesus or the Virgin Mary, cartoon characters and pretty much anything else you can think of. Add lots of chrome and mirrors and it's a pretty cool looking ride. We didn't ride on the Jeepneys because we never managed to figure out which one was going our way.

From Puerta we took a private van to Sabang, to take a tour of the underground river. Our driver, Royland, was a very good driver, especially considering most of the road wasn't paved and he had to dodge dogs, children and rice drying on tarps on the side of the road. Here's one of the nice views along the way.

Once we arrived safely in Sabang we hopped on a boat to head to the underground river. We had 6 people in our boat and our very strong boatman paddled us to 4km in. Lots of bats in there! The first picture is of the entrance to the cave, the second is of some formations about 2.5km in. Our boat looked just like the one in the picture. Brian got to hold the "headlight" which was hooked up to a car battery.

We stayed in a really beautiful comfortable place called Daluyon Beach Resort. Unfortunately we only got to stay one night, but if we'd have had more time we would have definitely stayed here longer.

From Sabang we took what was supposed to be a 6 hour boat ride to El Nido. Whoever came up with that 6 hour estimate was being a little optomistic because it really took closer to 10 hours. Luckily the boat had a tarp for some shade, our boatmates were friendly and fun to talk to (and had a bottle of rum to share) and the 10 hours went by quite quickly. The beautiful views in every direction helped the time go by. And there was a toilet too:

(Yes that's a plywood box/room with a hole in the bottom that leads directly to the ocean. Needless to say you REALLY had to go before that looked like a good option)

Once we arrived in the bustling metropolis of El Nido we took some time to explore the town. Here's Brian looking like he just took a 10 hour boat ride:

We checked out Corong-Corong Beach at sunset. This is a fishermen's village, here you can see the fishermen in the water with their net. We watched a very pretty sunset and luckily the mozzies weren't too bad.

The next day we went island hopping. Our boatmen were great, the took us to some great snorkeling sites, cooked us fresh fish on a deserted beach, showed us a hidden beach that you had to swim through a hole in a cliff to get to, and got us home safe and sound at the end of the day.

The next day we took a very long van ride back to Puerta Princesa to catch our plane back to Manila. The van was hot, crowded and the music was terrible. For some reason listening to recorded karaoke sessions is very popular in the Philippines and was really not to our liking. There were a couple of Canadians in the van with us and they were in agreement with the music being crappy. However the rest of the passengers were Filipinos and every time what we considered an especially bad song came on they would turn it up and start singing along. We were definitely glad when that van ride was over.

Our last day was spent back in Manila for a day of sightseeing. We saw the Intramuros which is a walled section of the city from the 1500s. It was also a site of battles between Japan and the US during WWII. (There's really a lot more too it but isn't this blog long enough?) We also saw Chinatown and Rizal Park. Our guide, Jorge (or Georgie Porgie, as he referred to himself) was quite entertaining and gave us a whirlwind tour. Then we did some shopping at the Mall of Asia, had dinner at the Pizza Hut Bistro (a Pizza Hut with a huge menu, tablecloths and flowers and candles on the table - it was the strangest thing) and headed back to the hotel to pack up for our flight.

The next morning we had to be at the airport at the painfully early hour of 5:30 in the morning. After about 20 hours of travel time we arrived safely home to our furball family. We're glad to be back but the jet lag is definitely hard to get over!

23 September 2008

Anyone out there?

Is anyone still reading this poor neglected blog? An update is in the works, I swear!

16 November 2007

Time for a quick update on the house. We're all moved in (but certainly not all unpacked). It's amazing how much better a house feels with all your stuff in it. The bare white walls seem a lot better when they've at least got some furniture and familiar things with them.

First, here's a picture of the house (about time i posted this one!) We're not real crazy about the color and the landscaping leaves a lot to be desired, but come spring the curb appeal with be much, much better!

Here's our stove, almost all the way installed. We had a bit of a problem because then vent guy was standing on it to install the venting for the range hood and he stepped on a sheet metal screw and put a dent in it. He says he's going to buy the replacement part to make it better so hopefully it's a non-issue.

And here's the range hood. We're going to have to build some kind of soffit (don't know if that's how you spell it or even if it's the right word or not...) to hide the strange box up there.

And last, but certainly not least, here are the absolutely amazingly beautiful marble countertops.

Maybe you didn't need to see 5 pictures of the marble, but my mom did!

We're heading back to Ohio tomorrow for Thanksgiving. See everyone then!

03 November 2007

Two posts for the price of one today. I found some super cute pictures of our animals today while I was looking for house pictures. Maybe I've posted some of them before but they're so cute they're worth seeing again.

As soon as we moved into our new apartment Lily had to find all the cool spots.

She explored the dryer:

And the tool chest:

And above the cabinets:

Sometimes she'll curl up with her big brother:

And finally settle on an old familiar spot with her BIG brother:

We couldn't figure out why she was so interested in this paper bag:

but then the secret revealed itself (look closely):

Tito is also really entertaining. The thing about him is that he gets really excited when you find him in a new place.

He has completely taken over Brian's shelf in the closet. He even pushed some clothes off to make it more comfortable for himself:

If you find him in a spot he thinks is cool he'll stretch out and show you his teeth. Here's the stretch, but no teeth:

Here's what happens if you don't make the bed in the morning:

But once you find him it's time for the stretch:

Here he finally made it up to one of Lily's favorite spots. He was so proud of himself I thought he was going to roll off with all the stretching he was doing:

Diesel is also amazingly cute but it's hard to take a picture of a 90 pound beast when he's trying to sit on your lap! We're really lucky to have our pets with us during this big move, they make us smile every day!

I also have to mention that Brian and I are really hoping for a Bucks vs Ducks match up this year. The Big 10 is really under appreciated out here on the west coast and we'd love to show them what we're made of!
Well progress is very slowly being made on our new house! The kitchen has been gutted, plumbing updated (and completely replaced in about half the house, including the main water line from the street). We also had some electrical work done in the kitchen and we started hanging the kitchen cabinets and also did some drywalling.
That's where our range hood will be as well as some cabinets we hope to hang tomorrow.

We also had the hardwood floors refinished. We were so surprised by how beautifully they turned out. Our floor guy was really great, he did a fantastic job.

Last week our appliances were delivered and even though they're all just tucked in the breakfast nook right now, we're very excited to install them!

Hopefully by early next week we'll have some more (and hopefully closer to finished) kitchen pics to share!

07 October 2007

Wow, I can't believe my last post was almost 4 months ago! I need to update a little more frequently!.

Things are going great out here in Portland. We've gotten to know the area pretty well and we even bought a house! We had a hard time finding http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifthe right place, and we actually had 3 failed inspections and each time the house got taken off the market. But we finally found the right house and closed at the end of September. It's been a rental for a long long time and needs a lot of work. But the house is really great, and it's in a fantastic location. We're just a few blocks from Mt. Tabor Park and just down the street from one of the best neighborhood shopping areas in Portland - lots of good food and fun stores. I just realized I don't have a picture of the outside, so some inside pictures will have to do for the time being.

This is the dining half of the front room:

and this is the living room half. That's a wood burning fireplace!

Off the front room is a wide hallway leading to 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and a staircase that leads to the second floor (for some reason blogger keeps flipping my pictures over, so lean right...):

Here is one of the bedrooms. We were very excited to pull back the carpet and find hardwood floors - in great shape too!

Next up is the bathroom. It has the original honeycombed floor tiles which are really cool and we definitely plan on keeping them (again, lean right).

Upstairs is an unfinished attic space that we plan on making into a master suite.

Everything really looks better in the pictures than it does in person. All the windows are painted shut and the walls are pretty damaged. But the floor are gorgeous and will be even better after we get them refinished.

Our first project is the kitchen. Since the house was used as a rental for so long, the kitchen has none of its original charm left and we've decided to gut it and start over. Our goal is to be done an moved in about a month from now. Here are some before pictures.

To get from the dining room to the kitchen you have to go through some saloon doors...

And here is the kitchen in all it's rental cabinets, ancient appliances glory:

So this weekend Brian and I dove in a started the demo process. We did save the cabinets and are going to either sell them or donate them to a build it again center. First the cabinets came out:

Brian had to really get in there to get some of the screws out. But Diesel was able to find him!

Then we started to rip out the old hood that was over the stove and refrigerator. It really made the room feel closed in.

And here is the end product after our weekend of demo:

Clearly the walls were not in good shape behind the cabinets! We're going update the electrical, plumbing and gas line (with help from the appropriate professionals!) before we fix the parts of the walls that will be showing when we're done.

My big job today was ripping out the thousands of staples that they used to attach the plywood to the original floors. Our reward? Some pretty decent looking softwoods. We'll know more once we get the rest of the subfloor up.

At the end of the day, we were tired. Especially Diesel: