House Wren, originally uploaded by J Gilbert

I made a birdhouse in 2007 and stuck it on a pole in my back yard. This year, House Wrens moved in. When I approach, I hear peeping from inside and the adults fly outside to yell at me.

It's fun to have new neighbors. I hope we get to see the babies!


especialista em flores, originally uploaded by Giovana Ceregatto

Our daughter is learning to enjoy playing outside. At first we sat her on a blanket, and she was okay with that. She started moving around, but the grass bothered her and she avoided it. Then she ate some. After not too long, she was crawling all over like a happy puppy.

Last night I knelt down to pluck some weeds out of the garden while she played in the yard. Ashley was watching. She cruised over, reached into the dirt, and started picking at leaves. Just like daddy!

Sweet peas are ripening. We popped some into her mouth and she loved them, so we gave her a pod to nibble on. Play time and snack time, all in one.

Mr. Clean

Master Bedroom, originally uploaded by WHUhnnnnnnnn

Our house is consistently tidy and clean for showings. There's a place for everything (even if that place is a temporary junk drawer), and everything is in its place. Flowers are blooming, every surface sparkles, and it's amazing how much better our neighborhood looks through clean windows.

I used to come home at night and all my activities were some form of procrastination to avoid cleaning. Recently I feel relaxed and free to do things I actually want to do. Instead of playing video games I'm reading books or gardening. Instead of watching TV I'm fixing and making things. I can actually inhabit my house instead of escaping from it.

Importantly, I'm developing the habit of maintaining the "showing ready" condition. Getting the house clean reminds me how much I like it that way, and inspires me to keep it looking good. And it works because I'm doing it for myself.


Rainy day hens, originally uploaded by aroid

The day our house hit the market, we had two showings, and feedback from the agents was promising. I am trying not to get my hopes up too high, but this is exciting news. We might be homesteading before winter!

I would have only one regret if we sell quickly: missing out on the harvest. Our backyard garden is more vigorous than ever this year. I'd be mildly bummed if we moved to the country only to forsake a bounty of delicious home-grown vegetables.

On the other hand, if I have to exchange our little city garden for a yard full of chickens, I consider that a win.


sunset dog, originally uploaded by bkwrm1012002

My daughter's new hobby is practicing yoga. All on her own, without any prompting from me, Ashley has started pushing herself up into downward facing dog pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana). She can hold it for several seconds, just never long enough to grab the camera.

To market, to market

what i do for flickr! LOL, originally uploaded by bıtzı

Our house was listed on the MLS today. Soon we will be flooded with requests for showing and multiple offers. Until then, if you're curious, you can take a look at it here or here. Tell your friends!


Blueberry Buckle, originally uploaded by gnuf

The grocery store had 2-for-1 fresh blueberries last week, so I turned one into muffins and the other into blueberry buckle. The buckle was simple to make and very delicious. My wife said it was even better than her mom's, but don't tell anyone.

The muffins were a traditional recipe from Back to Basics, which I'm reading to get pumped up for country living. By the way, there's a lot of great information in that book about self-sufficiency and homesteading skills. I'm scouring the sections on beekeeping, raising chickens, and of course anything to do with food.

Seems I have been baking a lot recently. I love it! I should do this more often.


The Game of Shopping at the Supermarket, originally uploaded by Neato Coolville

Ashley turns one year old today! She is very social, increasingly mobile, and incredibly curious about the world. Every obstacle is an opportunity for climbing, and every object within grabbing range turns into a game. Things she enjoys playing with:

  • Glasses (yanking off faces)
  • Coffee Table (bashing head against)
  • Power Cables (chewing on)
  • Dog Bowls (grabbing, splashing)
  • Doorstops, faucets (sucking)
  • Books (turning pages, handing to me)
  • Food (smearing, feeding to the dog)
  • Sheets (peek-a-boo (also pilfered for this purpose: shirts, diapers, towels, shower curtain)

Last night she held up my cell phone to her ear and said, "hi." Then she grabbed my wrist, pulled my hand close, and slapped the phone into my open palm. I half expected her to follow that up by saying, "it's for you." Babies are smart.


The Mechanic, originally uploaded by North Sullivan

Owning a house has forced me to pick up all kinds of new repair skills.  My level of manliness has significantly increased as I accumulate tools and finish projects. It's like I'm really growing up at last.

In the past year I have learned to:

  • Set up a garbage disposal
  • Hang a light fixture
  • Use a chainsaw
  • Route coaxial cable through the walls
  • Replace a water heater
  • Cut drywall and install a junction box

Why, just yesterday I wired a new ground fault outlet after only four attempts and one mild electric shock.  Now our kitchen is up to code for tonight's inspection.  And soon, if all goes well, we will leave this place and move to a house with new lessons to teach me.


stealth bombers back side, originally uploaded by lomokev

I'm thinking about selling the Nighthawk. I enjoy riding my motorcycle, but it's not a spiritual or life-changing experience for me, like it apparently is for some people. I simply don't feel compelled to ride the way that die-hard aficionados describe.

I do enjoy telling people that I have a motorcycle, but that representation is tempered by a secret shame at how infrequently I ride it. You could count on one hand the number of trips I've taken this year, and last year wasn't much better. There are any number of hypothetical reasons not to sell my motorcycle, but the odometer speaks for itself. You can't argue with mileage. What it tells me is that I like the idea of owning a motorcycle more than actually riding it.

Fact is, if I have a chunk of free time (which is rare) and I'm looking for something fun to do, taking off for a joyride on the bike is not at the top of my list. Maybe it's not in my genes after all. I'm a homebody at heart after all.


originally uploaded by Fatty Tuna

I may take a while to decide, but once I make up my mind to do something, it's go time. We met with a Realtor who will list our property on the MLS next week. I took Friday off and we used the weekend to prepare our house.

Working in the yard reminded me how much I enjoy working in the yard. Spreading mulch, transplanting hostas, and digging up dead rosebushes are fun jobs. If I'm exhausted and covered in sweat at the end of the day, I know I did something right.

Plus, our garden has never looked so good!


Abandoned House in Swedish Landscape, originally uploaded by Olof S

Our daughter will be turning one year old next week. In honor of her first birthday, we are going to buy her a new house. After mulling it over, weighing the pros and cons, and waking up from our neighbor's Pomeranians yapping at 1:20 AM, we decided a home in the country sounded really good.

But, before we can make any offers, we have to sell our old house first. It will be fun to try keeping it clean for showings now that Ashley's learning to pull herself up and disrupt things on multiple levels.

Time to kick the decluttering into overdrive!


Beets - Red Ace, originally uploaded by .kaishin.

Just crawling wasn't enough for her; our little baby is growing like a weed and now pulls herself up to her feet. She did it for the first time in the tub when I was giving her a bath. She went up one step at the bottom of the stairs too (and then promptly fell off it). She turns one year old this month!

Speaking of growing, I got our backyard garden planted for summer. Beans, carrots, cucumbers, sweet peas, tomatoes and lettuce are in. The strawberry plants I put in last year are producing delicious, sweet fruit. Raspberries should be coming soon.

After a wonderful weekend at the lake, we're once again thinking of selling our house and moving to the country. My task is doing projects to spiff up the place. I surprised myself by successfully installing a garbage disposal on the first try. Manly!