Saturday, April 19, 2014


We spent the first night of the year at Brandon's parents "camp" last night, it was bliss. A Maine "camp" is a cabin in the woods with no services (electricity, water etc.) and in the case of this one, on a river. It's only one room, but very cosy with a propane camp stove and two propane lights, and large fireplace. We only live about 45 minutes away from it (closer than his parents!), so we used it a lot last year as a cheap getaway and a place to go swimming and kayaking. They have 50 acres out there, so no neighbors in sight. 

It was cooler last night than it had been all week (40's), but with the fireplace going we had it up to 80F inside the cabin. Barkley with her new haircut we wrapped up in a blanket all night, she was quite content. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter chicks

They're growing fast! 

The transformation

Barkley Bear is now Barkley Bare! We've suddenly hit the 60's and 70's and the poor girl was getting too hot. I booked her into the groomers and woke up yesterday morning to snow! Feeling like a mean mom I still took her, knowing the forecast for next week is back in the 60's. In she went and came out bounding. She's so funny after she gets her summer shave, turn puppy again, like a weight has been lifted. She even played with Brandon and me, play biting our hands as she goofed around kitchen. Hard to believe the old girl will be 14 this year! So funny too as she now looks half the size of Brody, and only takes up one couch cushion as opposed to two.....:)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Paradox Weekend

Saturday we spent in the garden, clearing the many downed limbs this winter (there are still many left that need a chainsaw) and stringing up the raspberry vines into a newly constructed T-trellises. This is a patch that we cleared last year, so this will be our first year trying to tame the patches that had been long neglected. It was 70F out, so we were in T-shirts and sunhats, yet we kept our needed water cool by sitting it in the snowbank still at the end of our driveway....:) I opened all the house windows and everything got a good airing through - the first of the year! I will say I am a little sad to see the snow go, mostly because I know this next month of spring will be what locals lovingly call "mud season" and everything just looks brown and dead. Not my favorite time of year, but today was nice as the ground is still a little frozen and firm. We finished the day with thai food and even the dogs were happy to come inside after baking themselves in the sun all day (and chasing the poor fedex guy). 

Sunday we finished up painting the spare bedroom (photos to follow soon once we've tidied). We have a spare bedroom on the first floor, and had enough paint leftover from the living room as well as sockets and switches to replace the lovely faux wood ones. So we set to it, it's a small room, so easy really. This will be a spare room - maybe a winter bedroom for us (or the "winter residence" as we've started calling it), as upstairs gets pretty cold in winter - and will be where we'll move to once Barkley can't get up the stairs anymore (it looks like that won't be too far away, but she's doing well for a nearly 14 year old!). It's a cute space, looking forward to moving the furniture back in and tidying it up - it's been basically a dumping ground and camping storage area for a while. Other than that we've been running errands, making yogurt (for the first time in ages!), quiche and cupcakes for a friends birthday this week. A nice, relaxing weekend was had! 

Miss Barkley Bear with her new toys this weekend. She got a clean bill of health from the vet this weekend. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Peep Peep!

Yup, we finally bit the bullet. We're both going to be around Maine for a good few months, so we decided now was the time to pick up some chicks! We'd actually put in an order online for some, then walked into a local hardware store and they had the bantams we were after. So we cancelled the order and picked up 10 chicks. 

Brandon scored a small henhouse from Craigslist that we'll put out and build a large fence around. We moved Brody's underground fence around the area we want to fence off (unfortunately he has had the taste of live chicken, and it was apparently good - so these will never be full free ranging hens). The ground is still well frozen though, so no putting in the fence for a few weeks! 

The henhouse will hold 4 or 5 bantams, so we're just hoping out of the ten there are that many females. The others we'll give away to a colleague at work. They're being brooded upstairs away from all the animals, and all seem to be feeding and drinking well. We don't really know, as they are a mix of bantam types, but as some look much larger i'd say they range from 1-5 days old. So far 9 are looking good and one is looking a little ropey, so we'll see how we go. If only we could have got pre-sexed ones, but oh well, this'll be fun regardless.......:)

Phantom II

Well, despite having her own couch, apparently the new couch is much more comfy.....

Friday, April 4, 2014


I think she's pretty happy we moved the old couch into the office. Way more room to spread out than the ikea chair...

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Before and Afters.

Finally managed to take photos of the kitchen this morning. Some before and afters.

The kitchen, before I moved in. 

The kitchen

The kitchen now. More cluttered too, but more homely...:)

The kitchen

The corridor before

The corridor after. Less lurid yellow

Living room before. 

Living room before

Living room before

Living room after

Living room after

Living room after. 

The 'green' bedroom before. 

Now an open office attached to the living room. 

The 'green' room after. Funny thing is we still call this the green room...:)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Finishing the living room and office

While i was away Brandon painted the ceilings and walls of both the living room and adjoined office. What a star, a huge amount of work! So in my jetlagged daze, we finished up the trim and put the rooms back together. Looks awesome, we still need to get the art back up on the walls, but that might take some time. 

Finishing up the trim..

Painting the stair rail was such a pain in the ass. Particularly because the previous folks had been super sloppy with the paint. We debated painting the whole railing white, but we both love the wood look. So it still has sloppy paint on some of the wood areas, but at least the spindles are looking cleaner! 

Poor tortured Brody. We put the chair on the bed to stop it scratching the floor while we finished up the office, but he wanted his bed back....

The finished living room. New front door to hopefully come in the summer. We had to replace the screen door anyway this summer, so are thinking we'll just get a new door at the same time. The blue one is so beaten up, with dents, scratches and badly filled holes, we'd originally thought to paint and refinish it, but we realized even after we'd done that it'd probably still look like crap, and it'd be so nice to have a little window in the door there...

Finished living room. Note the new ceiling fans. An unauthorized purchase, but i' m so glad he did. The old ones were bronze and faux wood, pretty tacky. These look pretty awesome and are better sized for the room. We have the fans going full time in the summer, so i'm looking forward to larger fans! 

Looking through the new open hallway. 

The office area. We put our old couch in there to make it more cozy (and moved Brandon's grandma's clock into an area it was less likely to get bumped). Much better - and the ceiling fan matches the living room! 

The office. 

We scored a new carpet for $31 on Zulily. Barkley was being helpful. We hadn't even got it into position before she took up hers and rolled around, wiping her less than clean fur all over it......

Monday, March 17, 2014

Back from China

A great trip, but boy am I jetlagged! 13hrs was fine on the way over, but it's now 2 days home and i'm still falling asleep at 2pm! The trip was a great success, interviewed a ton of students, had a few hours in each location to explore with student guides, and saw lots of places i'd like to go again...lets hope I still have a job next year so I can!

Some photos from the trip!

Xiamen University - the old campus

Xiamen University, the old campus. 

Xiamen University, building where all the students have their graduation photo taken in front of. 

My tour guides around the campus

Heading out to Gulangyu Island off Xiamen

Crushing pearls into powder, renowned for curing all ills. 

Gulangyu Island

Pictures made entirely of fish bones

Pictures made entirely of fish bones


A sign often found in Chinese homes during Mao's tenure. 

Flowers outside an art museum

Gulangyu Island

Highest point on the island

Beach at Gulangyu, Xiamen in the background

Xiamen in the background. 

My guides around Xiamen

Crabs at the fishmarket

Choose your own mussels! 


My spaceship toilet. Most toilets in China were pit toilets, but this one hotel went fancy! 

Make up the room or don't bother....

Qingdao, stop number two. Beautiful boardwalk, 40km long. 

Beach #1 in Qingdao

My chair. 

Teahouse on the Qingdao boardwalk

Having tea with Fei (school director) on the boardwalk
Sunrise over Qingdao. 

Shanghai the last stop on the tour! Nanjing Road, highly touristy, but fun! 

Dim sum!

Dim sum! 


Teahouse on a lake. 

Square in Nanjing Road

Nanjing Road

A little bit of tea! 

The Bund in Shanghai, in the rain! 

Writing poems using water in a local park in Shanghai

Tai Chi and Square Dancing in Shanghai.