Friday, August 28, 2009

Sunshine Cleaning

Over the past few weeks, our movie habits have changed. We were talking last night and we both mentioned that we really don't like going out to the movies anymore. I remember not to long ago, the movie theater was our "third" place.

For me, there are two major reasons that I think I'm less likely to go to the movie theater.

The first is of course the price. I think here in Reno we are up to $9.50 or $9.75 for a movie. Of course if you go during the day, the price IS we are talking about maybe catching a movie and lunch tomorrow as a nice daytime date.

The second reason is that a lot of time, we have a hard time decided what we want to see...seems that we end up saying, "well I guess we could see..." I don't really want to spend $20 to see a movie we not that into and won't make us into better people for seeing it.

So instead of going to the movies, we tend to walk to the nearest redbox (2 min) and rent a movie. Last night we rented the new release, Sunshine Cleaning. I was so excited that they had it. I had heard about it on NPR a little bit ago and then Morgan found out that it had just came out on DVD so off we went to the movie vending machine!

Sunshine Cleaning is a move about two sisters that need to find new jobs. The older sister's boyfriend tells her about cleaning crews that clean up after a crime screen. They clean up all the blood and guts after someone has died. Don't worry though, the movie isn't gory...just a little bit of language and some partial nudity. The sisters start their company, Sunshine Cleaning, in order to make money but in the end, the business gives them more then just a paycheck.

I really don't know what you would call this genre of movie but this is the genre that we like...the kind of weird movies that not everyone gets. We get them...and we love them! I'm thinking I'll start working on a list of movies that we've really enjoyed so that you can check them out for yourself.

Here is the list for now:
1. Sunshine Cleaning
2. the Visitor
3. Pieces of April

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Iraqi Bundles of Love

I'm not really one to repost other peoples blogs but I think the below post is a good idea. There is a soldier in Iraq right now that is asking for care packages of sewing suppiles for the local Iraq women. Please read the following post from the blog makingthishome:

I think you’ll love this next de-cluttering idea because not only does it help you and your home, it makes an even bigger impact to the recipients of your purge. So you ready to dive into your fabric stashes?

Art La Flamme, a US soldier, saw a need for change and decided to do something. Inspired by Three Cups of Tea, he’s inspired to fight for change. Art and his unit are asking people to donate sewing supplies to give to Iraqi families. He wants to help people carry on with their lives by clothing their families, making a living, and – you’ll love this part – creating a piece of beauty in their world. Fabric, yarn, thread, needles, pin cushions – you name it, and he can use it.

fabric donations

His program is called Iraqi Bundles of Love (IBOL), and you have to act fast if you want to participate. Packages must reach Art’s unit before they leave Iraq, which means you have until September 7 to pop your donation into the mail. Postage is the same as shipping a package within the US (or to the US, whichever the case for you).

For more details, check out this post on Art’s blog.

If you’d like to donate to the cause, Sew, Mama, Sew! will send a huge bundle of supplies including 5 yards of fabric from their store for only a $15 donation.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our Family Farm

It seems that we are well on the road to turn our home into a modern family farm.

Our garden is just amazing! The first thing anyone says when the see it is "wow!" We just have two 4'x4' boxes and followed the general square foot garden idea. Morgan did a lot of research to determine what plants we could plant next to each other and what plants to keep far apart and the result is a 20ish foot by 7" by 8" jungle of almost a dozen different plants. We are currently rolling in tomatoes and cucumbers.

I think we have finally decided to go with ducks for next year (we had been debating between ducks and chickens.) We still need to design our duck run and watering hole but we still have a bit of time. We will then order our female Campbell Khaki ducks and have them in the spring. Because the water needs to be changed daily, I am planning on using the duck water to flood irrigate the little corn patch that I want to plant. I might even plant it in the duck run area to give the ducks some shade.

Also in the spring, we want to keep bees! I can't believe how excited we are about bees. I have been thinking about this for several months now but just in the past few days really started doing the research for it. I've spoken to almost a dozen people in the city and county trying to find any regulations or ordinances that would prevent us from becoming city beekeepers. A local beekeeper said I could "shadow" him sometime this week and watch/help him harvest the honey. I also spoke to the state agriculture office yesterday and they not only gave their blessing, they also pointed me in the direction of the local beekeeping club.

This is the perfect time to get started BEEcause I don't have to order the bees until around November or December, so there is still lots of time to talk to the other beekeepers in the area and learn everything that I can from them...maybe even find a sponsor.

As I said, there is nothing legally preventing us from beekeeping but we've decided that it would be nice to inform the neighbors...did you know that once a bee leaves the hive, within 15' it can be 100yards in the air and cover a 3mile radius? Our neighbors might not ever even SEE our bees but we still want to let them know so that they can come visit them if they like. We've also learned that once away from the hive, the bees are very gentle.

I am also going to be putting together a gift basket full of honey and bee products for each of the neighbors. I might even make up a little brochure for them as well. Then after we harvest the honey, we will be sure to give the neighbors each some.

So, by this time next year we will hopefully be producing the following: Honey, honeysticks, honeycomb, mead, candles, hand and face cream, duck eggs, pumpkins, fresh veggies, corn (cob and canned), jellies and jams, and worm castings.

I think that we decided to release everything under the name of Fireflyskies Family Farm and keep with Morgan's brand name of Fireflyskies. Now we just need to trademark it and come up with a logo!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Zucchini Pizza

Thanks to our wonderful neighbor, we have a steady supply of zucchini this summer. I love random veggies during the summer because it forces you to come up with different and creative ideas.

Twice this summer Morgan has made a Parmesan zucchini dish that is just amazing. Just for fun, I added a little pizza sauce and it was excellent! So...tonight we came up with the idea of Zucchini Pizza (I'm sure not a new idea but new to us)

So tonight my lovely wife got to have gluten free beer (Redbridge), gluten free "pizza" and for desert we have some left over gluten free carrot cake from last nights birthday celebration.

Here's what to do:

Pre-heat oven to 350*F

-Slice a large zucchini into about 1/4" slices

-place in pan (after it is coated in a thinish layer of olive oil)

-cover in Parmesan cheese

-bake for 20min

-pull out, flip over, cover in cheese, cook for another 20min or until done.

-remove from oven, add pizza sauce and grated cheese and put back in for 3-5min to melt cheese...enjoy!

I think tomorrow we are going to make some Zucchini spaghetti!

Check out Morgan's B-day present

Drano Vs. Plumb-Away

So our bathroom sink has slowly stopped draining. It was so slow this was like trying to drain the sink through a coffee stirrer! We received a Home Depot gift card yesterday at the housewarming so we decided to pick some Drano there to take care of the leak (Don't tell Lowes). We found the Drano no problem but it was surrounded by about 10 other drain de-clogging products... hrm.

I had never thought about buying anything other then Drano so I was a little caught off guard to see so many products! We started looking around and reading labels to try something a little less chemically and safier on the eniroment. We found two "green" products. The first introducted little bacteria to eat the build up and prevent clogs but could not clear good. The second was a niffty product called "PLUMB-AWAY." The box says it is good for 8 clogs and safe to use. It has neat buzz words like "water powered!" "enviroment friendly" "no acid, lye or CFCs" and of course, "Lemon scent!"

Because we are trying to safe the world, we bought the "PLUMB-AWAY" for $ didn't work. In fact, it clogged the sink the rest of the way...bummer. It worked for a little bit but then once half the water had drained...nothing. So I did it again. And again. And again. I used all 8 "one second" shots of bottled, lemon scented air and still nothing. to the store we went. I bought the big bottle of Drano for about $8.50 and poured about 1/3 of the bottle down the drain...waited 30min and bam! no more clog.

Yay for a clean, clear drain...bad for the world :(

I know I could have tried to snake the clog but I was afraid it would just puch the clog further into the system. Does anyone know a better way to clear a clogged sink that is better for the enviroment? I don't want to have to use chemicals next time.

Please let me know if you do!

I do think the Plumb-Away would have worked on a smaller clog...maybe if I had used it when I first noticed things were slowing down.

House warming

Thank you to everyone that was able to come to our house warming! It was so great to be able to spend time with everyone and share the fruits of our labors. If you weren't able to make it and still want to see the house, just give me a call and we'll let you know when we're home!

Here are some final pictures of the patio!

And check out how big the garden is now! I can't not believe it is doing so well! We are up to our eyeballs in cucumbers...time to learn how to make pickles! My Mom also put together a make your own dehydrator kit for us!
Yep, that's the garden. Somewhere in there are two garden boxes and about 12 different types of plants.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Associate Synesthetes

I feel colors. I taste things in color. I see color in people and in things. I sense color.

I know this might not make any sense but I process all of my senses through color. Of course if I cut myself, I feel the pain of it but I also "see" color..usually red. When I look at people I see them but I can also "see" their color. Objects and Ideas also have color to me.

I used to think I was just weird but I have been reading about Synesthetes lately and it seem that there are other people that feel in color as well. Now I'm not saying that I am a synesthetes because I have not seen anyone about it but the more I read, the more okay and less confused I's kind of a light green Eastery color.

according to this article there are two types: Projector and Associate Synesthetes. I wrote a jornal entry today at lunch before I read this article, "I cannot actually see this but it is a feeling that I see"

The problem is that I always "See" the colors but I cannot always make the words come out to say what they are....I feel the same way when I wake from a dream. In can play the majority of the dream back in my mind but try as I may, I usually cannot make the words come out to tale what I am seeing. Is it like not being able to describe a play as you are watching it. I can actually feel the words get stuck in my stomach which actually makes me a little sad.

I'm not sure if it is connected but sometime when I am talking on the phone with someone, I swear I can see them and the room they are in....again all in terms of color.

Does this make sense to anyone else or even better, do you feel this too?

All Finished!

The patio is finished! Morgan finished cutting and setting the last few bricks today (along with a million other things) while I was at work and then when I got home we filled all the lines in with the sand. The nlast thing we had to do was mist the entire patio at least 4 times (we went 5) to allow the sand to settle, bind, and lock the pavers into place.

The light was no good when we finished to take a picture so I will wait until tomorrow afternoon when we bring in the "new" patio set we got for $150 of craigslist. All the other sets we looked at was $500-1200!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Housewarming party on Saturday

Don't forget about our housewarming party this Saturday at 4:00! We are so excited to see everyone and for everyone to see our house! Let me know if you need directions. And if you feel like bringing some food or drinks to share, that would be great!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Patio!

This is what happens when your wife decides to be spontaneous:

Becomes this...

And who was behind this crazy fast (unplanned) transformation?

The whole project (about 90% done) actually went really fast. I think the actual brick laying only took a couple of hours to get all but the last 6-7 rows. Morgan and my dad (my buddy John took over later for Dad) put down the mortar and pavers. Dad on the mortar and Morgan laying the pavers.

My Mom had the job of actually moving the pavers around for everyone. She took them from the stacks on the side of the house and made small piles around the edges of the courtyard so that Morgan and Dad could just reach over and grab a brick when needed.

(Mom was just too dang busy and quick to take a picture of her....maybe she used to be a ninja!)

Before all the fun could happen, I had to remove and flip one of the gates over so that it could swing out and not into the courtyard. The removal and flippage was pretty easy but the dang latch kicked my butt for a little while....don't worry, I won in the end.

After I was finished with the gate I became the mortar guy. Not a bad job until the drill battery died and I had to mix the last 20 or so batches by hand, ugh.

The plan is to finish up tomorrow night after I get home from work....stay tuned :)

We also decided to keep track of how many miles we walk around LOWES... if I had to guess for the past two months I would say at LEAST 5 miles. I Maybe we'll get to be in a commercial like that Jared guy and Subway.

Have a great flight back to the States Phil...I got a beer in the fridge with your name all over it!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

More House stuff

I know I haven't posted the final sprinklers pictures but there coming soon I promise. I need to pull them off of the camera and then I'll post them. I would pull the off right now but tomorrow we are going to be taken some before and after shots of our courtyard....yep, before AND after pictures!

Today was a day of cleaning up! We borrow a large trailer from my folks and took all the old kitchen mess (broken tile and sub flooring) to the dump today. It had been hiding along the side of the house for the past month and today was finally the day to get rid of it. Because we had the trailer and some room left we decided to tear out the wood covering the was old and nasty and needed to go.

I think we waited in line at the dump for at least 30min before we finally got to dump our junk into the giant hole in the ground. WE back the trailer up and Morgan emptied the whole trailer by herself while I watched smiling. Yep, I made her empty the WHOLE thing all by herself. The trailer is hydraulic and with a simple push of a button, the whole trailer tilts up and dumps! There are always other dumpers that get jealous (while hand unloading their trailers) and I even heard one lady say that she wanted one too.

After the dump we got some lunch and went to our "third place" ... Lowes. What did we buy this time you ask? 1080 pavers. We were going to wait until next summer to lay pavers in the courtyard but we said, heck we have a week until the housewarming, lets do it!
The guys at Lowes loaded the two pallets in the trailer and then our friend Eric helped us unload all the pavers by hand...Thanks Eric!

Tomorrow we will layout our layout and then start laying 'em down! Check back for some pictures!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sprinklers...almost done

We have been busy busy busy the past few days. Day by day we are working our way down the list to to-dos that we have. It would be much easier to get things done if we could just focus on doing one thing at a time instead of having to juggle so many different tasks. In the past few days we have finished a desk for Morgan, installed/repaired a sprinkler system, killed some wasps, hosted a baby shower (Morgan), and countless number of "small" projects like washing windows and hanging blinds.

As I'm sure you can guess, the sprinkler system was mine to tackle...and tackle it I did! For this round, we only were focused on the front yard which is divided into two zone. looking out the front door, zone 1 is on the right and zone 3 is on the left by the tree.

Zone 1 had a busted pipe, a cracked pipe, 2 broken heads, 1 missing head, and 1 head that didn't really work right. There were also 2 heads on zone 3 that I wanted to be part of zone 1.

Zone 3 had 2 broken heads and was missing 1 head. Plus had the section that should have been on zone 1.

To start, I dug up and exposed all the broken pipes and around each head. Since I was going to be moving some heads (old heads we in really random spots) I had to decide where I wanted the new heads to go. Once I decided, I dug new trenches (4 total - good thing I learned to dig holes in the Army) and decided where I was going to tap into the old system with my new pipes.

We picked up the supplies: 40ft 3/4"pvc, glue, 9 new heads, 9 connectors, a cross connection, a T connection, 4 straight connectors, and a handful of caps to cap off the old heads that I abandoned. *I LOVE Rainbird products when working with sprinklers and I only recommend their systems*

We made our cuts, and glued everything together and then after a few hours we fired the system up to check out how we did. Zone 1 worked great! I need to make a few adjustment (need to cut back a few of the heads so the don't spray as far) but other then that, it works like a charm. Zone 3 would have worked just as well as zone 1 except that I have a "T" connector with a broken abandoned pipe in it that I am having a real hard time capping. The cap system I had didn't work but after talking with the plumbing guy at the hardware store and then my father-in-law, I have a game plan. I am going to try and get it all finished up right after I get home from work today.

Wish me luck and check back tomorrow and I'll have some pictures up!

Friday, August 7, 2009

An the Answers are...

1) How long did the Hundred Years War last? 116 years

2) Which country makes Panama hats? Ecuador

3) From which animal do we get catgut? Sheep and Horses

4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution? November

5) What is a camel’s hair brush made of? Squirrel fur

6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal? Dogs

7) What was King George VI’s first name? Albert

8) What color is a purple finch? Crimson

9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from? New Zealand

10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane? Orange (of course)

How did you do?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Quiz Time

I found this quiz this morning and thought I share it with everyone. I will post the answers tomorrow. Good luck and be sure to share your answers in the comments!


1) How long did the Hundred Years’ War last?

2) Which country makes Panama hats?

3) From which animal do we get cat gut?

4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?

5) What is a camel’s hair brush made of?

6) The Canary Islands are named after what animal?

7) What was King George VI’s first name?

8) What color is a purple finch?

9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?

10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I am an Idea man. For as long as I can remember, I have been full of ideas. It seems that I am always thinking of different ways to solve problems (that may or may not exist). As I go through the day, these different ideas are just bouncing around in my head waiting to get out. The problem is that I have so many that sometimes they block out my ability to focus on what I am suppose to be working on at the time (like right now).

Another problem with so many ideas bouncing around is that I am always looking for someone to share them with. I love to just sit down with people and bounce ideas off each other. I could do this everyday but I have to remember that not everyone discussing ideas all day, and really not when there is real work that needs to get done.

We had dinner with some friends of our (also our neighbors) and after dinner, I got to share some ideas. One idea that has been going around for sometime between us is building an automated dispatching program for utility companies. We had been waiting to back from one local water company but last night we decided to be a little more aggressive and move onto the next stage of development without hearing from them. We also agreed that we should start going after other utility companies as well.

The other idea that we talked about was moving forward on setting up a community WIFI network. Ideally this would be high speed internet for the whole neighborhood for about $5-$10 a month. when you connect to the network you would be directed to a community happenings page that would be updated by everyone in the network. We want to have things like a community calendar of events and a community bullition board for haves/needs/trades.

What would you like to see on a community website? What would help you to better connect with your neighbors?