Friday, February 22, 2019

Cooking the Landscape

The steep bank across the front of the property is a typical Seattle feature. It was the very devil to maintain. One could mow one's toes or engage in an unrelenting two-fisted struggle with weeds that had backed themselves into the granite bunkers known as a rockery. I opted to copy the flowering road cuts on the Olympic peninsula, reasoning that Capitol Hill was urban enough.

The plan was to amuse the many tenants who walk by in the course of a day. I hired a fellow to strip the sod off the bank. Doing so exposed soil in pitiful condition. I broadcast Alaska daisies, dug in some native iris, and added a few miscellaneous imports before I committed entirely to native plants. The first four years of weeding were punishing. We cut the bank to the ground after it dried out and went to seed in late July. We mulched it with fallen leaves from the noble native hardwood shade trees across the street. Forty years on, the soil is so obliging that I can simply lift a weed whether the ground is dry or not. 

Last fall's layer of mulch settled in with October's rain. Recent snow set it in place, and recent flickers of sun promise to accelerate the composting process into visible morning vapors redolent of the burst of  spring to come. Last year's casual survey of bee species turned up five varieties, all buzzing and happy -30- 
More after the jump.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Flyweight Furniture

I decided to organize the spaces in the house like an original SoCal hacienda. Since we work out of the domicile, it makes sense to lay out production space on the ground floor to take advantage of easy access. There's a proper parlor at the top of the stairs, on what I understand is known in Europe as the piano nobile, or first floor. Implementing the change wiped out the conflict between middle class domestic propriety and getting things done. White collar production, minor projects, and domestic life support all happen within steps of each other and in arm's reach of deliveries.

Casual study of the furniture supply available to Gen X used to make me sad, because laminated plastic and sawdust are not to my taste. The cost per use on this stuff is very high. I have a few pieces of solid early twentieth century furniture parked in the parlor and enjoy improvising in the rest of the building. Neighborhood finds are the most fun, especially when I reinforce them with nifty field gear from the Great Big Hiking Co-op down the hill.

The Plaidish hiking supplier, the original high-tech design source, has an eye for color that suits my own exactly. Their low-end rectangular sleeping bags, freestanding shower, and now a generously sized eighteen-pound cot supplement old school inventory with elegant options for improvising comfortable quarters. The stuff is not essentially different from Thomas Sheraton's field furniture. Set up with a floor length cover the same color as the sea grass matting, and padded with a luxury self-inflating air mattress, the cot looks parlor legal. Once covered with an Oregon Round Up blanket that matches the one on the teak garden bench across the room, the cot becomes an elegant traditional day bed to support a slothful week-end.

I really like channeling the home furnishings budget into things that are easy to pack and store. Doing so frees a good many cubic feet of expensive space and a good many dollars for other projects, like getting images framed -30-
More after the jump.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

An Unanticipated Consequence

A two square foot under-counter refrigerator suffices for this small household, since there are ten groceries within easy walking distance of the kitchen plus delivery options. When articles about the wisdom of storing food in glass began to appear, I gradually replaced plastic with small, shallow rectangular dishes from a long-established American manufacturer of heat-resistant glass. The dishes amount to storage cartridges for meals ready to eat. For simplicity, they're the only ones I use. I label each dish with dry-erase marker. The refillable marker is most stable and easiest to wash off.

My alma mater inspired me to copy the offerings in the cafeteria. Mystery meat had been replaced by numerous bins of salad, fruit, and legumes. In that context, the richer main courses further along the chow line were meaningless to me. Airline meal-sized glass storage dishes enable replicating those healthful offerings at home. For the main meal, it's usually only necessary to prepare one dish. The rest consists of a casual buffet. Made with organic ingredients, the arrangement supports the early Seventies' legendary natural high -30- 
More after the jump.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


For a quick rendering of a handwritten letter, tap out a rough on a laptop using a font that resembles your handwriting. Then eyeball the spacing on the final draft -30-
More after the jump.