30 June 2006

Visit from Marnie, Jed, Tara and Jason

Our friends Tara & Jason, and Marnie, Jed and their baby Zoe came to visit in early July. The weather was great, so we got lots of opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.

We took them on the walk along Condit Dam; to Joel and Kris's Wind River Winery, our favorite local winery; and we had a picnic by the river composed primarily of cheeses that Tara and Jason brought down from Seattle. We did quite a bit of great eating, actually, which is always a good thing. And we finished off the visit with a late-night star-gazing session before sending them on their way.

Condit Dam walk. Even Zoe got in on the fun (although she didn't have to exert herself much.)

Along the banks of the White Salmon River. It's nice to have such a relaxing spot so close to home!

Zoe, enjoying her first "Mike's Hard" beverage

The lizard that Jason caught in the house. Notice how its front left leg is missing. It was already healed over, so it clearly didn't happen in the process of catching it. (And yes, we did wash the wine glass before using it again.)

Tara with a dozen fresh eggs, bought from a neighbor down the street.

Looking forward to your next visit!

- Mike (& Corinne)

25 June 2006

More Deer...

Deer are an almost daily site. We don't mind when the deer graze on our lawn or in the field, but as soon as they hit the berm or the garden, we'll run out to "scare" them off. They still don't go very far - usually just to the lawn on either side - but maybe they'll take the hint. At least that's what we like to tell ourselves. Usually they arrive in small groups of 3-5, and they'll graze through from east to west.

- Mike (& Corinne)

12 June 2006

"Artsy" Photos from our Trip

I saved some of the most interesting photos from our vacation for this post. Corinne took all of these, using her keen eye and photographic talents. They are unaltered, straight from the camera.

Flowers at a farmstand near my parents

Two kinds of cabbage starts, at that same farmstand

NJ tomatoes, ready for purchase

A snail that Corinne discovered in Shawn & Liz's backyard in MA

We're thinking of framing some of these for our house. Hope you enjoy!

- Mike (& Corinne)

11 June 2006

East Coast Vacation(?)

In the last post, we talked about running out of time to really do what we wanted in the garden. The reason we ran out of time was that just 3 days after finishing all of the planting, we were leaving for a 10 day vacation. (Not the best timing, of course...)

We just came back, and now we're ready for another vacation! This trip back to the East Coast - NJ, Boston - was fun, but it wasn't exactly relaxing.

Some stats from the trip:
10 days. 9 days of rain.
5,000 miles (11 hours) in a plane. 1,000 miles in a car.
1 red-eye flight.
~40 people visited.
Saw 6 states; slept in 3.
4 liters of diet coke and 2 rolls of Mentos.
2 snails.
11 quarts of local strawberries.
3 quarts of the most awesome ice cream.

We spent the first half of the trip in NJ staying with my parents, visiting with various relatives almost every day. Thank goodness they volunteered to drive us around or we'd be even more worn out!

Visiting my cousin in Jersey City. This was one of many family day trips during the first half of the 10 days. That's Michelle, my sister in-law, next to me. She's 6 months pregnant with TWINS! As Drew said, I'll soon be "Uncle Uncle Mike".

After our 5 days in NJ, we headed north to spend a few days with Stef, Serg & Diego in NH. Their horse Lacrosse was getting ready to foal, so I helped Serg install a network video camera in the stall so that Stef could monitor her progress. I guess that's what happens when you combine a nerd with an equestrian.

Corinne & Diego. We discovered that if we flipped the camera display around so that he could see himself, he was much more interested. :) But of course that means he's not quite looking at the lens.

After NH, we headed down to Boston for 3 days, staying with our friends Becky and Gordon. It just so happened that Corinne's cousin Tamara moved to Boston shortly after we left, so we got a chance to spend a morning with her.

MIT Reunion, the original reason for the whole trip in the first place. Here I am at Tech Games with Dennis, showing my gang colors. (Not.)

Mike & Abigail, Dennis & Sarah's 3-year old.

And last but not least, the infamous Diet Coke + Mentos activity. If you haven't heard about this phenomenon, Scientific American has an article describing the chemical reaction. And being the tech folks we are, we decided to try it for ourselves. Here's the video of our two "experiments":
Our Diet Coke + Mentos Video

This post is really just a sampling of our trip; we visited way more folks than we could possibly include here, both family and friends. The next time we take a trip back east, we're going to try to make it a bit more relaxed!

- Mike (& Corinne)

01 June 2006

Weeding and Tilling and Planting, Oh My!

Last week marked the very beginnings of our garden experiment, but we really only had an opportunity to get a small portion of the work done. But Memorial Day weekend we really got things started.

The second bed being marked. I had intended to hand-till the remaining 5 beds, just as I had with the first bed last week. However, half-way through the very first bed this weekend, I snapped my spading fork right in half! All of the ladies were very impressed. ;) In the end, the remaining beds were done using the rototiller, conventional-style.

The "finished" tomato bed. It's not actually finished, since we wanted to put in a better drip irrigation system in that bed (tomatoes don't like water on their leaves), but we just ran out of time.

The garden! In the short-term we'll be using a system of overhead sprinklers, with a soaker hose for the tomatoes. We also didn't have time to do any sort of "proper" animal protection, so we used what we could find around the shop.

Our vegetable garden now contains seeds or starts hoping to produce:

  • tomatoes (3 varieties)
  • peppers (2 varieties)
  • zucchini
  • cucumber
  • meculin salad mix
  • romaine lettuce
  • spinach
  • leeks
  • beets
  • potatoes
  • sunflowers (for ornamentation, not seeds)
  • marigolds (to deter deer)
  • herbs (cilantro, basil, parsley, oregano)

In addition to the work in the vegetable garden, Corinne is pretty excited about all of the flowers that we can now plant and enjoy. Of course, that means more weeding...

Corinne weeding around the berm.

Donna weeding the berm.

Hanging baskets of petunias. They really do make a difference in the look of the front of the house!

Updates on the garden as things progress (or don't). Wish us luck!

- Mike (& Corinne)