Posts tagged ‘home’

Checklist for home, garden and beyond in 2012


Winter sky

A western Oregon winter sky. Photos Rachel Beck.

Sometimes I think the new year comes at the wrong time. From kindergarten through college, fall was my time for a fresh start, with new teachers, classmates, clothes and books. In nature, spring is when things are born and emerge. But according to the calendar on my wall (even the Australian one, with its backwards seasons), the new year begins in a few days — January 1.

But what is there to do other than get a new calendar? I don’t have new subjects to study, nor is it the right time to plant a garden. Frankly, the chill and the short daylight hours don’t make me feel like starting new projects, unless they involve sleeping or eating more.

The next week, then, is the time to plan and dream. (more…)

12/27/2011 at 1:44 pm Leave a comment

Perfect recipe: Cheap family fun, plus education and bonding

Rolling out dough

Cooking and baking with kids is fun, cheap, and easy. Photo by eyeliam/Flickr.

Today’s post comes from Stella, our parent-in-residence.

I worked on a set of publications for OSU Extension called “Ten Tips for Tough Times.” I got some ideas from the one called “Ten Tips for Low-cost Indoor Family Fun” for some things to do together with my daughter. One idea was to “bake or cook together.”

This has been really fun. I started by showing my daughter how to do simple things, like rinsing lettuce, shucking corn, and shelling peas. Now, after a couple of years, she makes the whole salad by herself while I cook the main dish, and she mixes up the batter for Saturday morning pancakes and cooks them while I make us tea and set the table.

We like being in the kitchen together, she doing one food prep task while I do another. We both enjoy the easy feeling of companionship, working side by side, chatting about this or that. There’s something about working together toward a common goal (our meal) that’s very satisfying.

We’ve baked a cake together several times, too. Over time, she’s learned to use measuring cups and spoons (this has been great for helping her learn fractions, by the way). She loves to measure ingredients and mix the cake batter while I grease the cake pan and start the oven preheating. And of course, licking the frosting bowl is a great reward for a job well done!

She’s a young teenager now. These days, she’ll often get up on a weekend morning and say, “I feel like baking today.” I know she means “together.” And that means a lot to me.

~Stella

Note: By the way, there are seven different publications with different tips, and they are available in Spanish also.

12/12/2011 at 5:17 pm Leave a comment

Nothing to fear from hobo spiders

This time of year, hobo spiders might wander into your home, but precautions can reduce encounters. Photo by Amy Dreves.

Hobo spiders come out of hiding this time of year, and for many people like me, it’s comforting to know that although the male spiders leave their webs in search of mates, after mating, the males die. (more…)

10/10/2011 at 11:17 am 2 comments

Where There is Risk

I live in Oregon’s Coast Range way up on top of a hill. Last week a neighbor and I got to talking about natural and human catastrophes that could reach us at home. We came up with wildfire, volcanoes, drought, and flood induced landslides. Of those we are likely most at risk of wildfire and drought. Our soils pretty stable, and I’m not sure it’s worth worrying about volcanic eruptions.

Recent news, however, has me wondering if I have a faulty sense of safety. This article from The Oregonian addresses the issue of perceived and actual risk as it relates to tsunami off the Oregon coast. Give it a read, then check out OSU Extension’s page on preparing for natural disasters.

I’m curious how many Oregonians have the recommended three-day supply of food and water in the pantry?

04/06/2011 at 11:24 am Leave a comment


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