Midweek Updates

February 24, 2021 by Adam in Family

The week is moving along at a zippy clip - hard to believe that March is right around the corner.


It looks like Duncan is quickly approaching the point where he's coming home.  Maybe next week, depending on how things go.  There's always a complicated little dance between the therapists, insurance, and us that seems to happen at the end of these things.  We're excited to have him home and hope it goes well.


I was heartened to hear Hanni got her first vaccination.  COVID rates in Lane County keep dropping and we moved from extreme to high risk recently.  It also looks like hybrid learning will happen at 4J, likely in April.  I think that'll be good for the kids.


Otherwise it's been a generally uneventful week.  Joanna signed up for a forestry class and is planning on clearing the cabin site instead of hiring someone to do so.  I got Ben and Joanna watching Chernobyl, which is both terrifying and compelling.  I suppose it's a nice comparison with our current situation - at least we're not wading through radioactive water, trying to open valves before a nuclear power plant explodes.

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Productive Weekend

February 21, 2021 by Adam in Family

Much was accomplished this weekend, which is extra satisfying as it was mostly Joanna doing the work.  Saturday morning we started the day with a fine breakfast of waffles, mocha, and the like.  Joanna practiced cutting down some tall arborvitae in our back yard with the new electric chainsaw, followed by some frustrating moments with the new chipper.  The kids were chomping at the bit to go out to the farm, so we drove out, followed by Joanna a little longer.


The new chainsaw worked pretty well taking out some of the shrubbery around the old hay barn.  Ben and Emma cleaned up quite a bit of the weird things, exhuming a number of old kid toys buried in the mud.  We swept up and took down some rotting paneling, plus removing the main door which was bent and couldn't open.


In the meantime Joanna cut down a number of the dead trees around the cabin site.  I think we'll skip paying someone to do the work as we were feeling increasingly confident after the outing.


Today was more garding, though closer to home.  Joanna mulched most of the arborvitae and planted the strawberries in the new bed we made for them.  I hauled up some soil to the balcony planters.  It's not quit done, but I think we're well on our way to being ready for springtime.


The kids finished up homework and Emma took a long chemistry test.  We occasionally took video game breaks for our entertainment.  Now they're cooking us stirfry for dinner, which is a magical thing.


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Mild Winter Mocha Friday

February 19, 2021 by Adam in Family

Our power and climate has been fine this week, but much of the country is dealing with power and water outages along with the freezing weather.  Ben's been making science videos about earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis, so preparing for future disasters continues to linger in our thoughts.  It looks like our roof only has another year or two in it, so I'd like to add solar when we replace it.  I look forward to getting the cabin up and running, if only to have somewhere to go during the inevitable alien invasion and undead uprising.


Otherwise it's been a pretty quiet week.  Work's been good.  Ben's catching up with homework.  Duncan seems to be doing well.  Our chainsaw and chipper finally arrived, so we may go out to the farm to work on clearing things out for a cabin and orchard.

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Happy Pancake Day

February 17, 2021 by Adam in Family

Yesterday was Fat Tuesday, which means making crepes for dinner. It was a little last minute but they turned out well. It's probably good we only do this once a year.




Tuesday Work Week

February 16, 2021 by Adam in Family

I'm back to work after a three day weekend.  I had big plans for my day off, but kept being thwarted by minor things and I ended up not doing much other than hanging out with kids, helping with homework, and getting a run in there somewhere.  I did hear from my mom that she'd gotten a COVID vaccine - she was at Safeway and they had a few left over after vaccinating employees.  Someone flagged her down and asked her how old she was.  It's nice seeing people in the family getting vaccinated.


Joanna also put in a bunch of work into our raised beds - the garden is looking really good lately.  We're also starting to talk about big house projects such as painting the house and replacing the roof, not to mention refinishing the wood floors sometime.  I try to leave such things in Joanna's capable hands as I get a little anxious thinking about all the things that need to be done.




Happy Valentine's Day

February 14, 2021 by Adam in Family

We're having a very low-key Valentine's Day.  Joanna's off in the yard doing more gardening work.  Yesterday we put together the various new raised beds, though most of the work was Joanna and I just assisted.  It's looking really good so far and I'm excited to see things start growing.


It was also a talk-to-all-the-kids weekend.  Duncan seems to be doing better, out of quarantine though it doesn't matter much as virtually everyone had covid.  I got Ben caught up in science.  Emma had a bunch of homework too.  Monday is weirdly off for me, though I suspect I'll just do yardwork and help kids with things.


It's nice to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.



Forest Adventures

February 09, 2021 by Adam in Family

We all went out to the farm on Sunday.  Seraph and Joanna worked on clearing brambles and cutting down trees while I took Ben and Emma to explore.  There are huge parts of the farm that are hard to get to.  There's an old hidden road, a big patch of dead trees, a couple creeks, and a patch of wild roses.  It's fun thinking of the possibilities, not to mention just tromping around.




COVID Mocha Friday

February 05, 2021 by Adam in Family

We got the news last night that Duncan's last PCR test before leaving quarantine was positive.  I think that means they're separating him from his roommates who tested negative and he has another week or more before some type of normalcy returns.  He wasn't happy with the news and I'm glad they're keeping an extra eye on him.  I'm thankful for the staff, who keep showing up, and the administration for not closing down.  It's been eye opening just how quickly covid spread through the place.


It sounds like 4J is going to try very hard to open up schools for hybrid learning relatively soon.  My guess is that middle and high school would start in April with the new term.  We've turned completely around with our feelings about school and want at least the younger kids to go, if only to be around their peers.


Joanna's off for a couple days, staying at a place at McKenzie Bridge to have a little break.  Ben and I had a tasty dinner, worked on homework, and watched some shows before turning into bed.  I started reading the fourth book in the Murderbot series, which Ben raves about.  It's a treat to read for fun.


As for the weekend, we'll get Emma tonight and try to get out to the farm.  I just need to make it through work, which has been a little more exciting than normal after our latest release.  There are always a few bugs to sort out.



Beginning of the End

February 04, 2021 by Adam in Family

Dad's had his first vaccine.  Jenny and Robbie are getting theirs soon.  In theory mom, Bob, Yayoe, and John all get theirs soon too.  Eventually it'll trickle down to the rest of us, and it looks like even the kids will be able to be vaccinated by summertime.  I'd love to be able to get Ben and Duncan back to school at least a little - the rates are slowly dropping and we might hit the magic threshold soon.  I'm not sure if Emma will go in person, especially as she just has one class next term.  I think it would be good for the younger kids to attend, for both their mental health as well as academics.


Duncan's hanging in there.  I think he might get out of quarantine today, where he's been mostly stuck with his roommates.  Fortunately he really likes them, though I think he's still having a rough time.  So many kids there have covid at the moment that they're not able to do a lot of the normal things very well.


Joanna headed off to McKenzie Bridge for a couple days, leaving Ben and I to hold down the fort.  I got a little excited looking up all the cool maps of the farm today.  The slope map gave clues to where streams were and what places were relatively flat.  I may end up taking Emma and Ben to survey things even more carefully - doing some tree identification and soil samples.  It's science if we take notes and write down numbers.




Chicken Attack!

January 31, 2021 by Adam in Family

Our neighbors have free-range chickens.  I'm not sure it's entirely legal, but they wander around, pecking at yards, and today decided to cross the street and hang out in our yard a little.  Data thought it was the coolest thing ever and watched intently out the front window.


We talked to Duncan yesterday after a couple hours of parent meetings and the like.  He sound okay, though okay has a fair range from really bad to getting by.  Most of the kids there have tested positive for covid at this point.  Because he's been in quarantine after his roommate tested positive, he seems to have missed it so far.  There's been a little too much drama over the last couple weeks and I'm hoping he's developing some resilience, though this wouldn't have been my preferred way to do it.


Today had a lot of helping Ben and Emma with math, as well as hauling buckets of soil up to the balcony by rope.  The giant troughs are slowly filling up for Joanna to use.  We have a lot of yard projects going on in preparation for spring.


Tomorrow work begins again.  I've got to tweak our notification system to do more complicated things.  I keep pondering the best option at weird hours of the night.




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