Lovely London

And already I am behind in loading photos! I blame it on having too much fun. 🙂

Thursday we went to the British Museum. I’d been there before, but because I went with the group doing the quilting depth report during a study abroad, I didn’t get the opportunity to wander around and look at many exhibits. This time, we looked at Assyrian art, Greek/Roman art and artifacts from medieval Europe. The latter was my favorite.

The Parthenon pediment. Pretty dang cool since it obviously wasn’t at the Parthenon when I visited it in Greece!

On of my favorite parts of the museum was the room filled with clocks. Why don’t we make clocks and pocket watches this way anymore? I wish this sort of craftsmanship was still common. One of the clocks had a rolling ball that went back and forth every 30 seconds and evidently travels 2,500 miles a year. Calculating for the clock’s age, the ball has traveled something like 507,000 miles at this point!

This galleon clock has little tiny soldiers on the deck and a bellows inside that used to play a regal tune marking the hour.

This is what my sister is like in the morning. No joke.

Isn’t this lovely? It was outside a florist down the street from the flat we’re staying in. I love how clearly the sky and buildings across the street are reflected in the plate glass windows.

I’m a sucker for blue doors.

This is the apartment building we’re staying in! We’re on the third floor.

More later, folks!

Cheers from England!

Hello friends! Again I find myself apologizing for a lack of posts over the past few weeks. This time my excuse is getting ready for and now taking a trip to the UK with my dad and sister. We’ve been prepping for the trip for a few weeks and even though it included a very tense week of wondering whether or not my new passport would make it back to me (I had to get a new one since I changed my name when I got married), we’re here in England now!

We’re staying in Fitzrovia, a swanky part of London near the Euston Underground station.

Though I got a little sleep on the plane ride over, I’m pretty tuckered out from a long day of travel yesterday. A good night’s sleep will do me good, though, and I’ll have this jet lag easily licked.

So what’s on our agenda? We’ve all been to London before, that won’t stop us from exploring! We’re planning to hit up a few museums (British Museum, Victoria and Albert, perhaps the Portrait Gallery), visit the Tower of London, gorge ourselves on delicious Indian food at every possible avenue, do lots of walking and wandering and visit Charlton Musgrove in Somerset, the town where my family hails from (well, where my family hailed from in 1635 … we’ve been in the U.S. since then … I’m something like a 12th-generation American!)

Anywho, I’m going to wrap this up because I’ve got to get up and get moving or I’m going to fall asleep and that would wreck the lick-my-jet-lag plan (it’s important to sleep on the plane going east, then stay up all day and get to bed early, around 9 p.m. or so). Here’s the one photo I’ve taken so far:

More photos to follow soon!

Buy local – Your body and your farmer will thank you

Hello friends! Today’s the day of my guest post, which I’m really excited about. I wrote it for Katie at Making This Home, a blog about living a green life, both in the United States and Germany. When Katie approached me to write a blog about eating local and organic food, I jumped all over it. Why? Because I live in Montana, where many people assume it’s impossible to grow local and organic food in such a short growing season. Lies! I tell you! Lies! But my theory behind the post was that if I can find local, organic and sustainably grown food in Montana, everybody else in America can too.

Here’s an excerpt from the post:

I don’t remember the last time I bought bananas. And I miss bananas. But not enough to buy them. What’s the deal? You may ask. Where in the world are you banana-less? For the record, the grocery stores where I live in southwestern Montana carry bananas. And they carry those bananas in various stages of decay. Some are shockingly green. Others sit on a discount rack where they brown into oblivion. But still I won’t buy them. Why? Because they’re from Ecuador.

I have nothing against Ecuador. I hear it’s a nice place to visit. But I am vehemently opposed to shipping bananas nearly 4,000 miles. And I made the decision a few years ago to vote with my feet.

And how am I voting?

To read the rest of the post (with pictures!) please visit Katie’s blog here.

Wednesday sneak peak

Well, I’ve made a big step in blogging land, one that veteran bloggers often recommend. I’ve written a guest post! And it’s going to be featured on Making This Home, one of my favorite blogs about living green and writing, this Wednesday, May 11. I’ll be sure to post a link to the blog, but I sure hope all my lovely readers will check it out! Here’s a sneak peak:

It has to do with that little sticker below the Tipu’s Tiger Chai on the right… the one that reads “Made in Montana.” That’s right, it’s all about buying local, organically grown food. Which is a topic I am more than a little obsessed with.

I hope you all enjoy the post on Wednesday and find it beneficial. Check back later this week, too, for an update on the garden and our crazy productive weekend.

My thighs are killing me…

… and my butt hurts even worse. But that’s OK because it means I’m one step closer to getting in shape.

This is a story of a girl and her bike.

Let’s begin with the bike. It’s a nice bike, bought in high school for the price of a summer’s worth of babysitting and chores. It’s nothing fancy, just a run-of-the-mill mountain bike. The handle bars are starting to rust a bit. It’s had a tire replaced and a couple of tune-ups. But the bike gets the girl from Point A to Point B.

Now a little about the girl. She’s a nice girl with a nice husband, a nice apartment and nice kitties. What’s not so nice? The fact that she’s been carrying around about 25 pounds more than she should for the past three years or so. She hides it well, but she’s tired of hiding. So she’s resolved to lose those 25 pounds this summer and the bike is going to help her (and the fact that she lives in a crazy hilly town). As are the hikes with the husband and eating less.

Don’t let the door hit your butt on the way out, 25 pounds!

Il faut cultiver notre jardin

Ten points to the person who knows where the quote in the title of this post comes from.

So the girl who lived in this apartment last lived here for three years. In that time, she put in a garden in the backyard and she did a really good job. The town where I live is very industrial and the houses are all about three inches apart (no, I’m not exaggerating), so it’s a good piece of luck to have the space for a garden in the backyard of the apartment.

The garden is sturdy, has that great blue door and is covered in chicken wire so the pigeons can’t get in. We have a serious pigeon infestation at this apartment. To the point where our friend Devon’s offer to come shoot pigeons with a BB gun is growing on me. The pigeons have also taken to roosting on our porch, which sucks big time because now it’s covered in pigeon poop. So on our list of things to do this weekend is buy some screen and screen in the porch. And scrub pigeon poop.

Anyway, the garden has three raised beds built in pallets, which I spent some time Monday (when the temperature got up to a whopping 50 degrees!) weeding and cleaning up the garden area. To the left of the fenced-in area, I’ve started a compost pile. Still trying to figure out how to discourage the neighbors from tossing their trash in it. Since Shawn and I apparently live in eastern Europe (I’ll post a pic soon to illustrate that point).

We plan to cover the garden in white plastic too so it will be more like a greenhouse. It still gets pretty cold here at night until well into June. Here’s my point illustrated:

36 degrees at 11 a.m. in May. Ugh.

The plastic will be roll-up-able, and we can clip it up with clothes pins to let air circulate so it doesn’t get so hot inside in July and August. But to protect against those June (and probably July) frosts, we’ve got to get something up. Oh the trials of living at a mile high.

But despite the weather, there’s hope. While I was weeding and turning the soil over (it’s great soil, too), I noticed some small rhubarb plants pushing up. Yay!

Last night we went to a fundraiser for the community garden, which is also conveniently two blocks from our apartment, and I’m planning to get involved there too. They need some help composting and building raised beds. Huzzah for putting my master gardener class to use!

One fabulous outcome of the evening was that there were some seeds and tomato plants for sale. And guess which variety of tomato plants? Cherokee purple! Cherokee purple is my favorite (at least of the heirloom variety tomatoes I’ve tried, which isn’t very many). And since the little guys were such a deal ($2 a plant, with one dollar going to the grower and one dollar to the community garden), I couldn’t resist. Let’s hope I don’t kill all three of them. I’ll be planting them after Memorial Day, as per the suggestion of one of the community garden ladies.

Well, I’m off for the day — lots to do! I’ve got to get some freelance work done, design a brochure for a client (I’ll post photos of the final product) and get some lettuce and flowers in the ground!

Primping the passageway… or, the hallway gets some paint

Spent much of yesterday painting the hallway in our apartment. The painting bug had bitten me real bad. After spending about four hours getting hallway painted, the painting urge has thankfully subsided and I can focus on things that actually need doing, like unpacking those last two boxes in the kitchen, finishing up the living room and maybe making some money freelancing. Money. Huh. What a thought.

Anywho, our entire apartment is painted white with gray/brown trim. I don’t understand the trim color at all (it’s not a nice color… probably was a cheap mess up color at the hardware store or something) and one of the things I plan to do to this apartment is paint the trim white. But that is a colossal undertaking and will probably take the better part of the time Shawn and I live here. Unless of course the painting bug bites me again, which it will in a week or so.

So here’s the hallway before, complete with Frog Tape and Pele the cat. The white wasn’t so terrible except that there’s big scuff marks everywhere. Also, many of the walls don’t have any texturing on them at all. It’s just the dry wall, and the seams are quite visible. Which is frustrating because even after I painted, the walls still look sort of “blah.”

This is one of the many reasons I needed to paint the walls.

Here’s after two coats of “Babbling Brook” paint by Olympic. It’s the premium variety so it doesn’t have any VOCs. Which I appreciate because I’d prefer not to get the cancer. Also, you may notice the box in the kitchen is still there. Yep, haven’t unpacked it yet. And in the bottom corner of the photo, all our winter hats and scarves. Yes, it’s still sort of winter here in southwest Montana. And we’re REAL sick of it. There were flurries this morning when Shawn and I took a walk to the coffee shop two blocks away (which is dangerous… we patronize it too much!).

I like the blue, but it doesn’t look so hot with the gray/brown trim. If I was just going to live with the weird trim color before, I can’t now because it bugs me too much.

And here’s a little hallway vignette complete with the pretty mirror my grandmother gave me and my ratty winter coat (it gets too much use).

Get in my belly

This past weekend Shawn and I made a trip to Polebridge because the ever amazing Polebridge Mercantile, owned by the lovely and fabulous Stuart and Flannery, was opening back up for the summer. Hubs and I just had to go get a huckleberry turnover, which was, as always, fantastic.

Here’s a cherry turnover. I bet your mouth is watering.

Yum, yum, yum. Always worth the drive up the bumpy North Fork Road.

And here’s a photo of Stuart, followed by one of Flannery and Jake, the year-round awesome staff/owners of the Merc.

We had a great weekend, complete with fun time at the swell Showcase event thrown by First Best Place in Columbia Falls. It was nice to see friends and get some work done. I’m putting together a brochure for the Bad Rock B&B, followed by one for the Merc later in the summer.

But now it’s off to unpacking (yes, still) and taping the walls to get ready to paint!