Monthly Archives: May 2007

Sat 26 May 07

My family is on the road (currently stopped in Mitchell, SD, home of the world famous Corn Palace, I’m told a picture was taken, so we’ll have see what all the fuss was about).

In the meantime, I am officially in the new digs (hurray!) and have spent the past couple of days spending large amounts of money at Lowe’s and Home Depot and getting sunburned while doing yard work. I forgot how great it is to own your own home, especially at the beginning when it doesn’t yet feel like home and you get to go through the hours and hours of labor, but in the end it’s all worth it because things are exactly how you want them to be. And I’m really not trying to be facetious. It’s good to have projects to work on. Right now my project list looks something like this:

– Weed whack overgrown backyard and edges of front yard
– Clean out gutters (full of Oak tree debris)
– Scoop up all the dog crap in the backyard from the previous owner’s dog (I nearly filled a 32 gallon trash barrel, quite discourteous indeed)
– Buy and install new fridge
– Buy mower (have not mowed yet)
– Buy some sort of eating table (bought a picnic table that was on sale at Lowe’s, good enough for the immediate, actually, over the past two weeks I’ve eaten all but one of my meals outside with the people I was staying with, seriously, the weather here is unreal)
– Weatherproof backyard deck
– Nail done loose nails in deck
– Find and destroy wasp nests

To be done this weekend
– Assemble picnic table
– Mow yard
– Organize all the junk left behind by previous owner in the garage and along side of house (seriously, for the next house I buy I’m going to include something in the contract about not leaving anything behind with failure to comply cost being some sort of monetary penalty)
– Sweep out garage and rip out some of the shelving that I don’t like
– Trim hedges
– Chop down two evergreens in the backyard (ratty and in terrible locations)

And plenty more to come I’m sure over the next two days. Today’s major project was weatherproofing the deck. Hours and hours first cleaning and prepping the wood and then applying the sealer (sadly, with a brush that was far too small for the job). I made this task priority number one though since the dogs won’t need use of the backyard for the next couple of days and the deck needs at least 48 hours to set. At some point over the next few months there will be loads of landscaping done with at least one major terraforming project (likely grading out some of the backyard, tearing down parts of back fence, and rebuilding). I think we’re also planning on repainting just about every room in the house including the garage interior. New carpet will happen at some point. Some new doors and light fixtures. And I’ve also been throwing out the idea of doing a complete overhaul on the kitchen (this one will be a ways down the road though since we’ll need time to save up some money).

It’s funny how much more satisfying work is when noone is making you do it.

Sun 20 May 07

We have a tentative closing appointment set for this Friday. It’d be really nice to get in the new house before the long weekend, so hopefully everything is coordinated correctly over the next few days. Mary sent me these pictures of the dogs this afternoon. My kids. See you soon!

Sat 19 May 07

Today we drove out to Mt. Rainier only to find that the entrance was blocked off. So the big Rainier exploration will have to wait I guess. The drive out was gorgeous though and seeing Mt. Rainier dominating the vista as we approached was spectacular (no pictures though as I was planning on snapping some when we were actually in the park and missed my chance on the drive out). Here are a couple of other shots from the outing though.

On the way back we stopped at a spot about nineteen miles outside of Yakima where I was told that people frequently rock climb. There were probably eight to ten climbers out when we hiked up to get a closer look. Most of them where climbing off of fixed bolts already in place in the rock, but quite clearly there is a ton of opportunity to expand outside of these locations. You should be able to see a tiny climber if you look closely at the larger version of the middle picture on the left. The river you see in these pictures is the Tieton River (pronunciation: rhymes with the word “diet” plus the ending “on”). The bottom left picture is a look at an one-way gate that supposedly will keep larger ungulate animals out of the area but will also let them out should they somehow become trapped inside. Also stumbled across yet another rattlesnake (bottom right picture). Ho hum.

Fri 18 May 2007

Today I saw (and nearly stepped on) my first rattlesnake ever. Then I saw my second. Then I saw my third. I went out hiking after work with one of the people I’m currently staying with, who told me that before hiking with me he had only seen one rattlesnake in the three years he had lived in Yakima. And he has hiked a fair bit, so I guess I’m just lucky.

The first snake really caught me off guard because it began rattling at me about three feet in front of where I was headed. I’m glad the snake was paying attention or I very likely would’ve stepped right in the middle of its back. I yelped, jumped back, and frantically scrambled for the camera in my backpack while the snake slithered under a rock. Only got one mostly obscured shot, so I was a little bummed about that, until a few minutes later when we stumbled across another rattlesnake with a little more leeway this time.

The second snake was the biggest of the trio and didn’t seem too perturbed by our presence. He didn’t rattle much and slowly slithered into a bushy area that didn’t provide him with much cover. We snapped a few pictures here before continuing on up the slope a little more cautiously than when we started.

The third snake absolutely scared the living daylights out of me. This one was by far the most active of the three and gave a robust shake as we walked by just a few feet to the right. The snake actually was behind the guy I was hiking with and he jumped about six feet in the air while trying to figure out where the sound was coming from. I let out some choice words while also scanning the underbrush and scrambling backwards. We didn’t stay long with this snake, figuring we were starting to press our luck.

At this point I was getting awfully paranoid. I mean three rattlesnake sightings in one hike sure seems like a lot. I was reacting to moving twigs and giving wide berth to any potential snake cover.

As is well though. And in the end it made for animated conversation on the ride home.

Other than the repeat snake sighting it was a really neat hiking spot. Lots of outcroppings and fun ledges to climb. The air was smoky though, saturated by some nearby fire. Check out the haziness in the pictures to follow.

And the pictures you’ve all been waiting for I’m sure. Kind of blurry, I know. My low battery light on my camera was flashing and the snakes were moving and, hey, you try taking pictures of a poisonous snake from only a couple feet away.

I always like it when other people post pictures of their going-ons so thought I’d return the favor while I have pictures to post. Don’t know how long this trend will continue, but I’ll do my best while our transition period continues.

Mon 14 May 07

Spent the afternoon scrambling around on scree and wandering upward. I’ve been told repeatedly that this is the nicest time of year to be in Central Washington and I can’t argue with the amount of green on the hills (it was quite windy though as you can probably tell by the seventh picture). These shots are from about twenty miles outside of Yakima.