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Somehow another week has gone by. This summer has been the fastest of my life. I wish I had gotten more done, but there just hasn’t been time! I worked yesterday, and today is the only day off I get for the next two weeks. I still haven’t found a place to live, and I’m running out of time. I feel like I blink and all of the sudden another day has gone by. I’m getting a little worried about what I’m going to do for a place to live, so today I plan on spending a fair amount of time just writing letters to ads online.

Anyway! I just wanted to post a picture of the sunset last night! My mom and I decided to walk to the grocery store and this is the view we got on the way!

photo 2 photo 3

The Housing Hunt Continues

Part of going away to school means that I now have to find somewhere else to live. I opted out of life on campus because I really don’t like the idea of living with 4 other people who I know nothing about, and who, more than likely, are several years behind me maturity wise. I sent out a couple of emails to listings I found on craigslist last night. For my non-american readers, its a website where you can list anything and everything you have for sale/are looking to buy. I heard back from one of them today, and he asked if he could give me a call. He had a hyper masculine deep voice, and sounded really slow. The first thing he told me was that he was “recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning from the night before” and that he hadn’t eaten all day so he was a little loopy. This pretty much told me right away that I wasn’t going to be living here. He proceeded to cook himself a meal made from potatoes that were growing in his garden while he asked me a few questions, and we spent a good 10 minutes talking about beekeeping. The main reason I responded to his ad was because he talked about gardening as one of his main interests, and even reducing rent each month if I was willing to do consistent yard work, which I absolutely am. He also wanted to get bees and had even built his own top bar hive, so naturally I talked to him about that.

After I finished giving him all sorts of tips about beekeeping (though he barely understood the difference between his top bar system and a traditional vertical hive setup) he wanted to ask me “a personal question”. He wanted to know if I was gay, since I do have a pretty feminine voice most of the time, and when I told him I was he confessed to being uncomfortable with the idea of me living with him. The way he talked about it you’d think I was lying next to him trying to coherence him into having sex with me. I politely sat through his very ignorant speech about how uncomfortable he thought living with me would be, and said I completely understood that living with someone who made you uncomfortable wouldn’t be pleasant (I was talking about how I felt about living with him, but he was too stupid to know that) and that I would just keep looking for a place to live. I thanked him for getting back to me quickly and wished him well with his beekeeping endeavors.

Honestly, during the conversation I was completely calm about everything. But things like that always drain the energy right out of me and really shake my self confidence. I’ve been doing really well these last few months. I’ve only had a few pockets of depression here and there, and I’ve come to really enjoy working at Starbucks. I’m just as good as anyone else who works there now, and because the person who used to train people moved to a different store, I might be the one to train new hires. Which I kind of find exciting. I’m looking forward to going back to school to earn my BA, but finding a place to live just sounds so daunting. And I’m gonna miss my dogs terribly. I really want to bring one of them down but I’m not sure if it’s going to be an option.

I often forget that people aren’t as nice as they seem when you’re handing them a cup of coffee. I wish I could just live alone somewhere. People are so exhausting. 

I’ve almost finished my rain garden! Tuesday and Wednesday were days I had off, so I spent all of Tuesday hauling compost. I brought in 3 pickup trucks full that day (I borrowed my uncles truck), which means a total of 4 have been brought into my garden. Everyone assures me that there’s no way the pickup truck is a full yard, but I had the office woman at the compost facility come out and look at it and she assured me it was. Anyway! Here are some pictures of the rain garden so far!

I really really like it! And it’s actually been really cheap so far. Here’s a little list to give an idea of what this project involved.

Plants: $5. I only bought one plant for this garden specifically, almost everything else was relocated from around my garden. Some plants (a couple of red flowering currants, a sedge and a bunching grass, some sea holly, and a plant called serasiformis) were collected from/donated by the garden where I intern. 

Compost: 3 yards. Cost: $90.

Rocks: Large rocks were donated by my grandpa and transported by my cousins. All small rocks were collected from the excavation site.

Decorative branches: donated by my aunt

Use of uncles truck: $73 in gas (I didn’t use that much gas to haul compost, but that’s what it cost to fill his tank since it was almost empty when I got it). $5 carwash.

Time: honestly I haven’t been keeping track of the hours very much simply because I was working on this every spare minute that I had. I would guess that I spent probably 100 hours on this so far. Digging up the lawn took several days, and getting the dirt out took a couple of weeks. I spent all of tuesday working on it, and several hours on wednesday.

Total cost? $173. 100 hours of work.

All that I have left to do is cover the raised edges with wood chips and fill in the shallow area with the pebbles I collected from the excavation. I was reading through my rain garden book and it said that rain garden soil has sand in it, so I might mix in a little bit of the old dirt that I have still. It’ll help get rid of it and improve drainage. I think I missed that page on my first read through, haha.

Oh, and here’s a list of the plants I used, incase you’re interested.

Mock orange, lady fern, red osier dogwood, red flowering currant, several varieties of sedges, a bunching variety of grass I don’t know the name of, oregon iris, costal strawberries, common camas, salal, hardy fuscia, sea holly, and a small flowering bulb I believe is called morning star.

The majority of these plants are native and will provide food and shelter for dozens of species of birds and insects. I’m hoping the increased shady “wetland” will also encourage frogs. I don’t really expect to see those until I get a pond set up, but that’s a different project that might have to wait for a year or two. 

I’ll post more pictures once the project is completely finished!

Oh and here’s a picture of Buttercup impatiently waiting for me to finish my breakfast this morning.

That picture also shows our newly refurbished couch! The darker purple on the arm is the real color of the couch, with the lighter stuff just being some sheets we through on it to protect it while we get a real slip cover. My mom really likes the color purple. We currently have a purple house, a purple couch, purple drapes, and purple asparagus, purple brussels sprouts, and several variety of purple flowers growing in the garden. My mom also has purple nails at the moment, haha,

 

A Rain Garden!

After years of talking about it, I finally have started installing a rain garden! When it rains for any period of time at my house the water from the down spouts runs into my lawn and pools there for an hour or two. The dogs get muddy and the lawn erodes. Its gone down about an inch a year since we’ve moved in, and there’s almost no grass in certain spots because my dogs are constantly running on it. This rain garden is designed to help capture anywhere from 80-95% of the rain water coming off of my patio cover (1/3 of the rain water that’s been going into my lawn) and filter it/ slow it down so that it goes back into the earth instead of running out into the street. Rain gardens take native, water loving plants, and utilize their ability to grow in wet conditions to help reduce water run off and erosion. They tend to be around 100 sq feet, but can be larger or smaller depending on the area you’re working with. Generally the larger they are the better they’ll filter the water out.
Here are some pictures of what I did on the 4th of July yesterday!

I did most of the digging a week or two in advance, but the compost was hauled in yesterday because yesterday was the only day I had off/time to do it. I’ve only hauled in about 3/4 of a yard, but I’ll need another yard and a half before I’m finished. The trench that you see in the middle of the dirt is where water will pool/flow, and the raised edges allow the water level to raise up about 4 inches before it overflows into the lawn. There will be a larger ponding area in the wide side of the garden, and I’ll be hauling a 6 ft mock orange tree over from the other side of the yard. It will provide shade and its larger roots will help filter the water as it soaks deeper into the ground.
Other plants in the garden include several species of fern, iris, strawberries, sedges, bleeding hearts, common camas, lily of the valley, and either an oregon grape or a nine bark.
If you’re interested in learning more about rain gardens I highly advise you look into them! Here’s a link to a local project to increase the number of rain gardens in my watershed!

http://www.12000raingardens.org

Work has become the thing I live for recently. And I don’t mean that in a good way. Two weeks ago I worked a 50 hour week with no weekend, and I was close to a break down because I was so exhausted I couldn’t function. I work all week at starbucks and have to be on my feet and catering to crumby customers, and then on the weekends I get to waste my time at a booth and tell people which bin their ice cream cartons go in. I was so hopeful that my second job teaching people about composting and recycling was going to be fun, but its been a complete drag so far. Every event I’ve been to has been exceedingly slow and boring. I get paid a decent amount of money but sitting around doing nothing is definitely starting to drag on me. If I could at least bring a book it wouldn’t be so bad. And you know its bad if I’m saying I prefer working for less money at somewhere like starbucks than at a company I’ve been volunteering with for over a year and which pays half again as much as starbucks. Today was the first day I’ve had off in 2 weeks. Next week at Starbucks I get two day off, and I’m excited about that! My paycheck will be pathetic but I’m going to enjoy being able to sleep in so much I don’t think I’ll care. 

I’m going to school in the fall and its going to cost me (personally) $9,000 to do it. My mom and dad will be paying the rest of the $30,000 tuition. I also need another $9,000 for living expenses and car insurance for the next year. Where I’m going to come up with $18,000 I don’t know. The first $9,000 will be student loans I can pay back in 2016 once I’m done with school, so its not terrible but it does mean I’ll be in a bit of debt once I graduate. Let’s hope I find a high paying job quickly!

On top of finding money for school I also have yet to find housing. I don’t really want to live on campus because I want to bring one of my dogs with me. Housing is annoyingly expensive, and I don’t really have any idea where I’m going to live. The cheapest I’ve been able to find is $450 a month, which is cheaper than school but is still more than I’d like to pay. I don’t know what I’m going to do. And I only have 2 more months to figure it out. 

For whatever reason over the last few weeks my neighbors have become increasingly rude to me and my family. It started with issues surrounding the replacement of their lawn, and has gotten worse. A week or so ago they decided that having a few mushrooms and a bump or two in their lawn was too much, so they sprayed the entire thing with herbicide to kill it. Before they did this I asked them not to and explained that it was a terrible idea for many reasons. In the hopes that they would decide not to kill it I asked if I could have their lawn before it was sprayed. I hate lawns, but it was a perfectly healthy one and there was no reason to get rid of it. I was rudely told no and they sprayed their lawn anyway. They are going to rip it up and throw it out, and they will be bringing in lots of compost to level the ground and make it easier for grass to grow. I have no problem with the compost bit, I just don’t understand why it has to be ripped up. Anyway, that’s just where things start going south.

A few days ago I was out shoveling wood chips. I have gotten a lot of them moved in the last few weeks and have been working extremely hard to make this garden look great. Over the course of this year we had probably more than 12 yards of them delivered, and I’ve moved probably 10 of them out of the driveway. So, I was moving wood chips a few days ago, when my neighbors husband comes out and sees what I’m doing. He immediately asks if I have a special type of broom, which I don’t because I have no need for one. He then goes down to his garage and comes back to sweep my driveway, while I’m working. He doesn’t want any wood chips in his driveway and they all run down the street when it rains into his driveway and the driveway of the person who lives at the bottom of the hill. And by hill I mean maybe 50 feet of minimal incline. When all of these wood chips wash out they get in that persons driveway, and then they wash up into his garage, and he has to sweep his garage when that happens. First of all, I know that there are no wood chips that have gotten down that far because if you look down the street its completely clean. Second of all, this house at the bottom of the hill has problems every year because the water and leaves and everything run into his driveway. He came up to talk to me once to tell me that all of the water I was using to wash my car was getting in his driveway. And I wasn’t even washing my car, lol. It was the people two houses up. If your driveway floods that much, then you need to take it up with the city, not me. Anyway, because of this “major” issue my neighbor felt the need to clean up my driveway while I was making it messy.

And last but not least, the bumblebee issue. Several days ago my neighbors realized that bumblebees had moved into their birdhouse. They decided this was a very serious problem because the birdhouse is next to their clothing line, and they didn’t want the bed bothering them while they were hanging up the clothing. Even though they knew the bees wouldn’t sting them, and there had been no issue with the bees so far. They decided that killing them was the best option. They texted me first to ask if I wanted them, but said that if I couldn’t move them then they were going to spray them. I was beyond furious. Bumblebees are right at the brink of being on the endangered species list, and populations have been declining for years. These bees were by no means in the way, and they weren’t causing any harm. Be a decent human being and leave them alone. They won’t be there again come next year. As soon as I got home I quickly researched how to move a bumblebee nest. It seemed fairly simple, and come dusk I moved them into my garden while my neighbors were gone.

During this whole bumblebee thing my mom was becoming more and more agitated with me. She acted as though all of the problems with the neighbors were somehow my fault. As the evening progressed she became more agitated and decided that the only way to fix things was to get all of the wood chips out of the driveway. While I was moving the bumblebees she moved wood chips to the back yard and demanded that I help move them once I was done. This made me more annoyed because I worked a 7 hour day yesterday and I was sore and tired. I had no desire to do any kind of yard work, and was only doing the bumblebee thing because if I didn’t they would’ve been killed. My mom eventually asked me to haul wood chips up to the top of the stairs, and at that point I refused to do any more work. Hauling wood chips is really hard work, and hauling them up the equivalent of two flights of stairs is even harder. I told her that if she wanted the wood chips up there she was more than welcome to do it herself. This naturally meant that we were done hauling wood chips because I refused to do any heavy lifting. I think it was outrageous of my mom to ask me to do that after I had just worked the longest shift of my week. I appreciate that she works longer than I do, but she is sitting for 95% of that time, whereas I’m on my feet and mobile all day. I was sore and tired and my back hurt and I wanted to do nothing more than sit. Heavy lifting was the exact opposite of my plans for the evening.

In conclusion, my neighbors have decided to become excessively rude and per usual everything is my fault. It’s always so bizarre to me that this is the case, because I saved my mom literally more than $250 by getting these wood chips. Never mind the fact that the garden looks the best its ever looked. Never mind the fact that I have done 95% of the work to get it to look this way. Never mind the fact that I have come home from work and gone straight into the back yard to get it all done. I “could just be doing a little more”. Apparently having two jobs, an internship, and spending most of my free time gardening isn’t doing enough. She’s driving me crazy. I want to just build a big fence around my whole yard and put up a “do not disturb” sign on the gate. 

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