Wednesday, July 20, 2011

House Numbers

As soon as our house and garage were built, we went shopping for house numbers. Since this property was undeveloped in the past, we felt it was important to have house numbers up right away.

We found out that there is a pretty small selection of house numbers available but since it was important to have something up, we settled for these ugly brown ones. We put the first set of house numbers on the wall of the shop since it is visible from the driveway. The only problem is that once you turn into our lot those numbers are no longer visible.

Susan was in Spokane several months ago and found some numbers she liked at Hobby Lobby and last month we painted them and covered them with "jewels".
I really like these numbers. They really sparkle in the sunshine, in fact, you almost need sunglasses to look at them. No comparison to the ugly brown ones.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


We are having quite unusual weather this week with rain, dark nasty looking clouds and high winds. When I went outside last evening to soak in the spa, I saw this beautiful rainbow so I went back inside and got the camera.

I know that pictures never capture the colors completely, but this gives you an idea of how many shades were present in the sky. Just breathtaking.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Edible Birdhouse

Shortly after I moved to Yakima, Susan and I were at the Cake Decorator Shop and I found an instructional book for making gingerbread houses. This book is unlike most in that it contains ideas for more than just gingerbread houses built for the holidays. The book includes patterns and instructions for Tiki Huts, Dorothy's House in Oz, a Pooch Paradise and a High Noon Saloon among others. Of course I just had to buy the book. I think we take after our grandfather who owned a bakery.
I decided about a year ago that I would start out with something small, like a birdhouse so my Mom and I went around town and gathered all the seeds I could use to construct the house so the birds could eat it. Then I started my school program and the box full of the birdhouse supplies got pushed to the back of the pantry.
A few weeks ago I got everything out and decided that I would make the birdhouse while my computer was getting repaired. I asked Mary to come over and help Susan and I make the birdhouse on Friday evening. As it turned out, we needed all three people, especially to hold walls in place waiting for the icing to set. Everything except the cardboard the house sets on is edible and the gingerbread is very good.
As you can see, the house does tilt just a little bit, but I doubt that the birds will mind.

Royal icing dries very quickly so I decorated the roof, Mary did the sides and Susan worked on the front and back; truly a group effort. The decorations include pumpkin seeds, corn, poppy seeds, lentils, craisins, pretzels, oat groat, amaranth and millet just to name a few.

If you have ever watched Challenge on the Food Network, you know that several things typically go wrong while working on these projects and this one was no exception. We worked through most of the issues and I think it turned out pretty cute for our first one. Even if the birds won't eat it, we got to practice our gingerbread skills.

What fun!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


We decided before we moved into our new house that our garden beds, whether for flowers or vegetables would be raised beds. I don't mean the raised beds that you see featured in most magazines that are six inches off the ground, but truly raised beds - a few inches higher than kitchen counters.
Our contractor delivered our first bed last week and Susan got busy right away transplanting tomato plants that she placed in pots while waiting for the raised bed to arrive. This is what the beds look like. It is so much easier to garden when you don't have to get down on your hands and knees. Our contractor did a fantastic job, as usual.

You can't see it in the picture but we do have very small green tomatoes on the plants. In another pot Susan is growing strawberries and I ate one last week. YUM!
In honor of our first homegrown food, we made garden cupcakes for Susan to take to work tomorrow. These were pretty labor intensive compared to some things we have made but they were very fun to create. We laughed a lot watching the vegetables take shape.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


This weekend we went to see CARS 2 and in honor of the movie, Susan and I put together a puzzle we bought after the first cars movie. I actually liked this movie better than the original. For me it was easier to understand, or maybe I am just more use to how Mater talks.

A few weeks ago Susan and I went up to Port Susan to spend the weekend with Mom and Dad and while we were there we all went to a car show in Stanwood. We were all shocked at the number of cars that were on display.
This Chevy 5 window is very similar to the truck Susan will be restoring.

Several of the cars were "decorated" with some type of prop. This was one of our favorites.

It was very difficult to get a picture without shadows or reflections of people near the cars, but this one turned out kind of cool. You can see Mom's refection as she admired this truck.

It was impossible to take pictures of all the cars and trucks at the show, so I just took pictures of the ones we all really liked. I took a lot of pictures of the 52 5-window Chevy trucks that were there as each one was restored differently.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility

Mom, Dad, Susan and I visited the Wild Horse Wind and Solar facility earlier today. It is located 285 miles southeast of Seattle between Ellensburg and Vantage. Puget Sound Energy owns and operates the wind farm, which entered into production in 2006. The visitor's center is open daily between April and November and free tours are provided twice a day.

The weather was spectacular and we could easily see Mt Rainier, Mt Adams and just the tip of Mt. Hood in Oregon.

There are currently 149 turbines on 9,000 acres. The power output at peak capacity is 229 MW, enough to meet the total power needs of about 60,000 households. One MW of wind energy capacity equals the electrical needs of 225 to 300 U.S. households. Puget Sound Energy has gone to great lengths to make sure that the facility has minimum impact on the environment and wildlife. It has one of the lowest bird and bat mortality rates in the nation.

Andrea, our tour guide, is sharing information on the rotor blades. Each of the three blades is 129 feet long and constructed of composite materials weighs more than 7 tons. The blade is 11.6 feet wide at the base and 1.6 feet wide at the tip.

Some of the 2,723 solar panels installed on site are visible in the background. Solar power produce at this facility is used to power the computer systems and provide backup power. At 500kW, the Wild Horse solar array is the Northwest's largest demonstration of photovoltaic technology. which turns sunlight into electricity.

The foundation of each tower is buried 25 to 32 feet deep and sits in 260 cubic yards of concrete. The anchor bolts shown below extend from ground level to the bottom of the 14-foot diameter foundation. Each bolt weighs 150 pounds and is 28 feet long.

We were able to go inside the base of the tower and this is the view if you look straight up. Each turbine is 351 feet tall and weighs 223 tons. The tower is 221 feet tall at the rotor's hub, 13.2 feet wide at the base and 7.6 feet wide at the top. The technicians that surface the turbines can climb to the top in five minutes.

The rotor spins at 16.5 revolutions per minutes and the turbines generate electricity at wind speeds as low as 9 mph. Peak generation is reached at 31 mph and the system is shut down at constant wind speeds of 56 mph. The turbines change direction depending on the direction of the wind. The towers are painted white to reflect heat and for visibility to aircraft. If you have an opportunity to visit this facility, you will find it very interesting.