The fumes were getting to me....

So, as you may know from reading this blog before today, the Jensons are in the process of buying a house. In fact, we just got our official closing date of Tuesday. We have a "unique situation": 1 full time student, my not being paid in the summer, the mortgage industry people being extremely nervous about loaning money (which, by the way, is their entire job), and the tax credit (aka $8,000 worth of improvements to our little house). Our "unique situation" translated into a HUGE PAIN IN THE MORTGAGE. Anyway, we are closing on Tuesday. Officially. Yahoo!

That's just background for what I was going to write about. Our second bedroom had wallpaper from the late 80s or early 90s on three walls. Not terrible, just not really our style. So, I decided to take it down. We used spray bottles full of either 1:1 vinegar and water or 1:1 fabric softener and water. Came down pretty easily. The fourth wall was covered with plywood paneling. It was actually pretty rough to the touch, not ideal for a potential future Jenson's bedroom. So, I pried that sucker down. With a hammer. It was very good stress management for me while waiting for the mortgage people to figure out whether or not we are worthy. Glad to know we are.

Behind the paneling was the original (or what we think is the original) wallpaper the original owners put up in 1940. They pretty much just welded the paper to the wall back in the day, so it took me two days to get it down. Two days of staring at the little blue-purple flowers.

Got me thinking. We are buying this house and making some changes--renovating the kitchen and bathrooms, finishing the basement, refinishing the floors, stuff like that. We own this little piece of turf. But really, this house has a life far bigger than we are. We are more apart of it's life than the other way around. 70 years ago, a woman picked out that wallpaper. A husband agreed to it. Someone told the contractor not to add texture to the plaster walls, so they could hang wallpaper. That contractor put up wallpaper paste and attached the wall paper to the walls. Babies fell asleep staring at that wallpaper. Someone else took the wallpaper off three walls and painted them blue. Another person put paneling over the one wall and left us this weird jumbley time machine of a second bedroom. and the next owner after us, whether it's in 5 years or 50, will look at things we have done and wonder what we were thinking as they roll paint over our color choices or rip up the floor we chose. Because we are more a part of this home's history than the home is a part of ours.


Geek Gardening

Hello again garden fans,

Since we are recommending some of the best garden readings we've come across lately, I thought I would suggest an article from my favorite magazine: Wired. While many of you are the crunchy-granola, Kingsolver-reading types, some of you might be the type of person who is still pondering season six's flash sideways timeline (spoiler alert: I think it was Jack's afterlife). If you are that type, you may enjoy an article from the June edition of Wired. Geek or not, I think one and all will relish the tongue-in-cheek text and extreme plans for various sized garden plots. Joking aside, there are some really excellent gardening tips and ideas in this article, especially if space is at a premium for your veggie-plot or if you're thinking of taking the plunge and finally raising your own chickens.

A Wired Guide to Domestic Terraforming


The Full Circle Book Club

Hello fellow gardeners!
I thought it would be fun to suggest some great books on full circle-related issues (gardening, living simply, cooking and food preservation, being awesome, etc). Those of you who are educators now have a little more free time, and you may like reading as much as I do....so dive in!
The first book I will recommend to you is:
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, Steven Hopp, and Camille Kingsolver.

Love, love, love this book. Barbara Kingsolver, who is such a lovely and funny writer anyway, takes on the challenge of living and eating locally for a year, with her family. The funny made-up word for this is locavore. It is a partial reason to almost every home garden I know of: people love the taste of veggies fresh from the ground, they love the sense of accomplishment when they grew it themselves, and they love the lowered economic impact of walking to the backyard for a tomato (as opposed to shipping one in from Peru). The book is so full of information! I am really pumped to take on some of the things she does (I can't wait to make my own ricotta), and I don't think I will ever be ready for other things (butchering is just a little bit more than I can handle). What I love about this is the move towards a simpler life. Sometimes, it seems like the bad in the world is too much to take on. And it is a lot. But maybe, we can try just focusing on our little corner of the world. If my little corner is better, the world is a little better. And when things calm down here, I can see the good more clearly.

You should check out the book. It's at stores and
libraries all over the place. Looks like this. The other picture is of Kingsolver and her family:

In other news, we are looking forward to closing on our house. This has been quite a process, to say the least. Those of you who have not yet purchased a home since the beginning of the recession, beware the complexities of the new mortgage world. I am totally pumped for some renovations, most significant of from http://www.sky-bolt.com
which being an overhaul on the kitchen. I love where we are, and we are really pleased to know we are going to have the right to stay here for as long as we'd like. How awesome is that?

Read the book, then tell me what you think, possibly theoretical readers of the blog!