Tromping around the Farm
It was a generally good weekend, if occasionally exhausting. Saturday Emma and I went to the library and turned some scrap cherry wood into utensils - a butter knife, a spatula, and a spoon. They all turned out a little rustic, but it was fun and Emma liked the end result. We found some cherry trees down at the farm, so it's likely we'll have an endless supply for our projects.
Sunday we headed out to the farm in the afternoon. It was the first time Ben had seen it, so he took a lot of pictures. I helped Jo load supplies into their shed to finish up the loft, then followed Emma down to the spook y shack. The goal was to cut some willow and plant it near the upper stream. I think we ended up with a couple dozen stalks. Theoretically they'll sprout and turn into new willow trees. There's quite a bit of erosion in the upper stream, so hopefully it helps.
We also took a look at the pump house. It had power, which is good. The box covering the well head had been knocked over, so we put that back. Water didn't really come out, so I'm not sure what's going on there.
This week we have people working on our bathroom, replacing tiles and hopefully installing the new tub properly. The hope is that it stops leaking into Duncan's room below and I can finally close up the ceiling.
New Phone, Who Dis?
After a rough week of doing battle with Verizon, I have a new Pixel 8 Pro that generally seems to work. Previously the SIM card would periodically die and after three trips to the Verizon store, they seemed unable to help me. Fortunately I connected with a very nice tech support person and got that sorted out.
Work has been up and down quite a bit lately, but I'm hoping things are settling down. I keep trying to drive things forward, come hell or high water, and mostly feel successful. I also have a new manager - Tim - who I hope can help with some of the tricky things we need to work through.
Valentine's Day was low-key and nice - takeout and video games with Jo. My toe is still healing from the tree planting. I keep slathering on antibiotics and will likely need to cut back on running which seems to irritate it. I also just finished a 300+ episode rpg podcast which has made my dish washing, cooking, and other mundane chores far more entertaining. I have a couple audiobooks to listen to and then I'll start looking for another one.
As for the weekend, I'm excited to have some Emma hangout time. We might do woodworking. I'm sure we'll visit the library. It would also be nice to visit the farm if my toe is up for it.
Gardening, Cherry Trees, and Spatulas
It was a good, low-key weekend. Emma was off at the beach, so I might have played a little too much of my new deck-building game. I did manage to stop and do some gardening, joined by Jo after a little while. We cleaned the beds and pruned the cherry tree, stacking wood beside the house. I also puttered some more with D&D props, trying to create a bit of magic in the real world.
Sunday we were joined by Emma who (after petting Data enough times) went with Ben, Jo, and I to Down to Earth to pick up missing seeds. She was great and organized them all by month so all we need to do is crack the envelopes open and start planting.
Emma had also picked up a book on whittling, and we had some cherry wood from the previous day, so soon enough we were making bowls and cutlery. I stuck to power tools, realizing I needed bigger router bits, but we started in on the bowl. The spoon didn't quite get finished either, but I grabbed some scraps and we made a nice wooden spatula. I also got to try out the belt sander I bought the other day and it worked great, other than putting out way too much dust.
Now it's back to work where I get to try and figure out what we're doing next. Another bumpy ride, I suspect.
My scrapes and blisters from planting a small forest are fading. I'm generally pretty happy with how my body held up, especially my ankles which I was a little worried about. Jo's been talking to our logging contact Abraham (who just had a baby) and the hope is that we can sort out the last of the cleanup and repair tasks relatively soon. Emma wants to start in on stream restoration, getting the willow propagated around. There are endless projects that remain, but we'll eventually get there.
Yesterday was a busy work day. I gave a presentation on the cool thing I built. We interviewed a possible engineering lead for our team. I fixed a couple bugs that came in as tickets. It was all a little exhausting.
I keep fiddling with my D&D props, trying to emulate magic with science. It turns out that the magnet I was using didn't have a strong enough field, so I had to break out the really powerful ones I pulled out of an old hard drive. Hopefully my players appreciate the weird things I do for them.
Emma's off to the beach with Jamie this evening. Jo and I plan on doing some garden planning. Duncan and Ben have their various projects they're working on. Kitties keep demanding pets. Life moves on.
Over the weekend we managed to get a bit over 200 trees planted, admittedly in one of the roughest parts of the property. Just getting to it was exhausting and dangerous. Unfortunately that left us around 250 trees to go, so Jo, Emma, and I went out at various times to get trees in the ground.
Yesterday I started after checking in with work and planted Ponderosa Pine along the south road. Hopefully it'll be dry enough and the trees will get enough sunshine. Emma also says they drop a fair number of needles to keep the blackberries down. It was wet and muddy, but I turned on my Pathfinder RPG podcast and tuned out the aches and pains of my body. The terrain was much better than the day before, but it still took some work to find patches of soil under all the slash.
Jo joined early afternoon and we kept planting and flagging down the hill from their shed. I think we got 200 trees in that day, stopping right before dinner. Today I picked up Emma and the three of us went at it again, getting trees a fair ways down the hill. It's amazing how much land 500 trees will cover.
We're debating next projects - blackberry control and improving roads are high on the list. It might be fun to put in some trails to make the property more walkable. After the last few days of hard labor, doing some fun, low-key projects sounds lovely.
Trees and D&D
Saturday was the big tree planting day. Emma and Jo were rockstars, heading out at the crack of dawn to go to the annual seedling sale. We ended up with about 500 trees and shrubs, which was a pretty massive order. Eventually we found ourselves at the farm, tromping up and down a muddy hill strewn with debris. We planted one of the roughest corners of the property, which went way slower than planned. We had Jamie, Emma, Jo, Seraph, Robbie, Dez, and myself and still only managed to plant about 250 trees. Yesterday Jo went out to plant more. I'm going to work for a couple hours and then head out to plant the rest.
Sunday was D&D day, where the players battled three hags nearly at the end of the campaign. Emma pointed out that high level combats devolve into t-rex battles, and this one certainly did the same. It was loads of fun and a nice break between tree planting.
Jo and I went to see Every Brilliant Thing at the Oregon Contemporary Theater. It was a surprisingly funny performance about depression, with a lot of audience participation and an enthusiastic single actor. It was fun to get out and about and do something different.
Tomorrow is the big tree planting day. We've got checks and dibble bars and a trailer to haul things around. The plan is to meet up at the farm Saturday at noon and see how many trees we can put in the ground. I'm trying hard to keep my enthusiasm in check, leaning towards 500-600 trees rather than the thousand or so I was planning before. The terrain is rough and muddy and we're not as young and spry as we used to be.
Work continues to be wacky, to the point where I'm not sure what products I'll be working on or what I'll be doing from day to day. At least it's not boring.
I chatted with the wayward Chicago son yesterday. He was suddenly laid off, but the timing is actually pretty good with his upcoming move to Wyoming. Yayoe hooked him up with some people she knew, so hopefully he's not driving into town completely blind. It was nice to hear his voice.
I also tinkered around with a new piece of "virtual tabletop" software for D&D games. Basically it lets me setup a map for players and organize the campaign. I think I'll do my next family campaign using it and I'm enjoying playing around with all the bells and whistles.
I finished my mocha and will leap into the unknowns of work shortly. At least there's some well-understood bugs I can start working on for today.
Somehow I'm giving the weekend update in the middle of the week. Life's been busy lately.
Saturday started with a hearty crepe breakfast, followed by a trip to the library with Emma and then waiting at the Verizon store for a long while to get Emma's new phone setup. It's a retro flip phone that she's very happy with.
Sunday was D&D with friends, where I now worry I've made some of the players far too powerful. Hopefully the rest of the campaign will continue to be interesting and challenging. At least I got to bring out some fun minis.
Work continues to be full of uncertainty. I keep making cool things that might actually become useful. My old friend/manager Glen is being hired back after being laid off and turned into a contractor.
Tuesday Emma and I headed to the farm, preparing for the tree planting on Saturday. The ground is all pretty rough with tree debris everywhere, but we made it around and practiced with the dibble bar. I was pretty sore later that day.
This afternoon mom and I plan on setting up a farm bank account and deposit the first logging check. So begins the lengthy road towards making a forest again.
Escaping the Week
Jo and I went to Trapdoor Escape Rooms for date night this week, solving puzzles and getting plenty of hints from the voice of God. In this case God was Ryan who was watching our hijinx and taking pity on us. We escaped with a minute and a half to spare, which I strangely feel pretty good considering it was just the two of us. The puzzles were entertaining - voodoo dolls we had to wire up properly, black lights revealing the unknown, and an ouiji board that doubled as a typewriter to enter names. It was inspiring for future D&D props I'm scheming.
Work has been somewhat tumultuous - I may be working on new products with new people, though hopefully I'll still be working with Jacquie and Corinne. In the meantime, I keep working on cool things and impressing coworkers and managers, though we'll see where it ends up. I sometimes get tired of people fiddling around and just want to get things done.
As for me, it's been a pretty quiet week. I started playing a new game based on The Expanse. Ben's ear infection continues to make him uncomfortable, though hopefully the antibiotics start working their magic soon. I'm having fun making D&D minis and prepping for upcoming games. This Sunday the friend group starts up after a long hiatus.
I'm also getting ready for the great farm replanting. Hopefully all the people, equipment, and seedlings come together and the loggers are done enough to let it happen.
I'm not sure I did anything terribly important all weekend. I took Emma to get her school books. Laundry was done. Meals were made.
It's Jo's birthday today. Unfortunately nearly all the presents were delayed by the weather, so it's mostly cake and a gift from Yayoe and Duncan. It'll have to do.
Jo was out at the farm giving updates on the logging, which apparently continued, including in places they weren't supposed to. Jo talked to Abraham today and got an apology and a tentative okay for replanting most places on the property. My tentative plan is on February 2nd to buy a bunch of seedlings and head out to the farm to plant until we can't plant anymore. The following day is a D&D day, so I may take the Monday after to keep planting. It'll be good to get the recovery going.
As for me, I'm mostly doing okay. I continue to work on my skunkworks project at work, hopefully ensuring a measure of job security along the way. It doesn't feel like a sure thing in the tech industry these days.