Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A House With No Home

I know that you all probably want to hear about California, but even thought the good news is that I am now in possession of my mother-in-law's (Thank you Dawn!) old computer, it's still damn near impossible for me to upload photos onto it; and anyway, there are some other things I have to report on before we move onto those golden hills.
It has been a month of birthdays, and even though nobody got me a giant red rabbit to ride, I was still showered with lovely gifts ranging from hand-crafted baskets to owl mugs, mittens and embroidered asparagus ferns. What luck to have friends who know what you love!
As I mentioned before, we've traveled far and wide, even before my California sojourn, always on the move, busy with fun things to do.
It being birthday season last month, we received a wealth of packages and cards, from near and far, California, New Zealand and Finland.
Missa and Clara (alias Clover, alias Abbi Cadabbi, alias Elmo, alias know the drill) sent me this bundle of birthday goodness.

Check out my new fox shoes. That's right. Fox. Shoes. I wore so many of my goodies to California that you've probably already seen them in action, but you'll be seeing a lot more of those bad boys come spring. Right now it's a little muddy for fox shoes. Or any other shoes for that matter. We're all about rubber boots.
More goodness from my mom and Teeny, both of whom sent us some awesome woolens. Pretty mittens from my mama and warm booties and a cute hat from Teeny.
Too bad that I'll mostly be seeing that hat on someone else's head.
Perhaps that last shot got you wondering where on earth are we now?
Well, like I said, we're a couple of hoboes at the moment. Besides sleeping in the back of our car, planes, trains and crashing on Missa's couch and relative's guest rooms and loitering at my sister's, we are currently staying at the those lovely next door neighbor's little cob guesthouse and coming home only to cook, feed the animals and gather supplies.

Our little house by the sea, you see is full of toxic mold. As you may remember, last year both C and I suffered a number of different, somewhat inexplicable illnesses. While I was more affected by these health woes, we both felt pretty crappy for most of the year, especially during the rainy season of spring.

It wasn't until my bout with pneumonia that we finally put two and two together and demanded our landlord do something about it. A few expensive test later it became clear that we could no longer continue to spend large amounts of time in this unhealthy structure.
Enter super-generous new neighbors and now we split our time between their guest house and our home-base, while the landlord figures out how to fix it. Their little house is but a short bike ride away, and we've learned to appreciate our night time and early morning rides and walks together as a natural time for some family togetherness.
And it doesn't hurt that their little cob is simply adorable, cozy, unadorned and natural, with beautiful flowing lines and details, light and small loft to sleep in like a treehouse.
Being away from our own abode, as inconvenient as it can be at times, as given us a new appreciation for taking time and not always rushing to complete the numerous chores that are ever-present at the homestead.
We're studying and doing more crafts, spending time together and even squeezing in a few games of our old favorite, crossword cubes (a scrabble brand game-possibly a failed experiment, but we love it.).
Oh, and for a while we had this humble decoration of a native-style wood bowl valued at many a thousand dollars and priceless to its owner. I do appreciate the beauty of its presence and that C. was trusted to take care of it. With his carving coming along in strides C. was happy to have it as a model for something he's carving, but man, its made me nervous.
As I mentioned before, my favorite blond person is back on Island and we've been enjoying hanging out with her, educating her on the joys of Twin Peaks and dressing her like a compound bound wife in some religious cult. The usual, you know.
Lots cats have been petted by the three of us, you better believe it.

One of the movies we watched during our time was Taking Woodstock, based on this book and possibly the weakest of Ang Lee's efforts, but still worthwhile for the wardrobe.
Witness that one girl's hat!
Mali's been making books and C.'s finished yet another mask, which I'll be posting more about at a later date. Not having a computer on hand has definitely allotted more time for crafty activities, but since it's all about a healthy balance, I'm glad to be back here, sharing stories with all of you.
I am however happy to announce that in the meantime I did invent the greatest oatmeal of all time:
Steel cut oats for the oat meal
1 -2 soft boiled eggs
apple sauce or some other fruit preserve (our neighbors apple butter in this shot)
seeds and nuts (I use sunflower, flax seed and sprouted almonds)
berry powder (I used some blueberry powder my mom brought but have been experimenting with rosehips and other local berries. This is a really good substitute to vitamin supplements. Pemmican-a native travel food relied partly on berry powders.)
maple syrup
brewer's yeast
pepper and hot sauce (if you prefer those on your eggs)

1.prepare eggs and oatmeal
2. add berry powder and preserves side by side
3. pour a generous helping of maple syrup over the powder
3. cover the oatmeal with seeds and nuts
4. dig a little hole in the middle for the butter.
5.sprinkle lots of brewer's yeast onto the butter
6. pepper your eggs and drizzle on hot sauce then place on opposite side from preserves and berries.
7.take a leap of faith and be prepared to be amazed! (this oat meal is NOT for the faint-of-heart)
I also started a little something, with my friend Callie, C. and Mali. Idle hands and all that...
I have a feeling it will grow and make for an exciting adventure.

Finally, C. and I celebrated our fourth (!) wedding anniversary with a little trip to Seattle, where we rambled around town, ate, drank coffee and saw much native art, including a show of a friend who's and amazing glass artist.

Oh and of course, visited the Filson store, or olden-time-y-outdoorsman-heaven, as I like to call it. Since Filson is an old-fashioned enterprise that actually closes at 5PM, we only had a few minutes in the store and I didn't get pictures of their awesome decor and the workshop that's right at the back of the retail outlet, behind big windows, but I did snap these two fishing beauties from the teens.
And a men's version of my mother-in-laws coat, now mine and a favorite garment, one that I happened to be wearing on the day (we were both wearing Filsons, in fact.). It garnered an admiring crowd of employees, since it hasn't been in production for years.
C. of course got a rather dapper little wool vest, which would have been quite the dandy-prized purchase had he not had something to trade in. American labor and quality fabrics and life-time-guarantees sure aren't cheap, but since the coat I have is from the late 60s. early 70s and still looks like new, I think they're rather worth it.
And my husband does look very smart in them ;)
So much so that I was almost sad to leave him behind as I headed out to a certain California town the next day.
I don't fly often, and when I do, I try to savor the magic of it, for it is not a mundane act in the least; strange, uncomfortable, but not mundane.
For we are defying gravity, seeing things barely two generations of humans have ever seen before us. Living the dreams of billions before them.
And more magic, surely, lay ahead.

That's all for now folks! But I'll see you soon again.


  1. I am glad to hear you have another place to lay your head and sorry to hear that your old house was causing you so much suffering.

    Happy belated birthday!

  2. Oh I am soooo delighted to hear you have found the culprit to your illness's and what a magical little sojourn in the meanwhile. It really looks magical Milla. As you just always do. It is a magical life isn't it??? And the ups and downs and twirly bits too, that pop you out the end of some winter and you find yourself breathing in the light again: )
    You are a star and I am just realizing all these birthdays have been happening, and Happenings they are indeed. Happy belated Birthday, I still love every little thing you sent along my way, and am eager to do more of that, gift giving. Have been busying myself with all sorts of " work" and finding a burst of energy that I reclaimed from some part of me that I had thought was done. Its a good productive time, but leaves little time for meandering through such loveliness as is here, but I shan't miss too much, Its just tooooooo sweet.

    xx Be very well in your Spring E

  3. fucking mold. the bane of the pacific northwest. so glad you figured that out before you guys got really sick. no bueno. aaaah, so envious of your travels. i never go anywhere. and your little house that you are staying in! what an amazing house! glad you are back! more posts! more!!

  4. so beautiful and uplifting to see photos from around your little world. you guys do the BEST crafts. and that cob house suits you two perfectly for a dwelling place for the time being. i do hope they can clean up your little cabin. i love the trio of fun of you, charlie and mali. i love to imagine your wanderings and antics up there in your enchanted island home. i agree with b, more posts, more!!! love you sweet friend. thanks for your amazing, bring-a-tear-to-my-eye comment on my grandma georgie post :)

  5. I love everything about this post. Every single picture, every single moment. <3

  6. Nice to hear what you are up to! Much love and happy anniversary!

  7. Aw, it's fairytale Milla in that first photo, I love fairytale Milla! That amazing basket completes the look perfectly. Such crafty friends you have :)

    The cob house, I adore, so fun to get a better look at it. It's a big bummer what's going on with your place, but man, what a sweet deal for the interim. Here's to wonderful neighbors!

    I want to come up and play crossword cubes with you guys and try that crazy oatmeal concoction you invented. It needs a Cafe Gratitude name... all that's coming to mind is "I am really f***ing healthy" haha!

    Anywho, missa you, I'm already curled up on the couch, I might as well just turn on an episode of Downtown Abbey and pretend you're still here ;)

  8. Gah, major bummer about the mold. At least you know what's up now though, and something can be done about it (even if for the moment it's just keeping you guys out of there and getting totally healthy again). And how wicked that your neighbours are letting you stay in their wee cob cabin! That thing looks so adorable and awesome. That oatmeal looks a little too intense for me, I like to savour my flavours individually or in pairs and trios, not like a punch to the tongue all at once haha. That basket of eggs is so neat, too, I wish I knew how to make things like that... or even lived somewhere I could have access to trees to make things like that!

  9. Wow Milla! I'm really glad you solved your health riddle. How terrible it was mold, but good that you had the tests done and detected. Curious, how does one conduct such tests? Was it in a strange location (inside the walls or something)? Just in case I need something else to become paranoid about-- you know.

    So much fun to see you out and about and blogging again too! I have to give that oatmeal a try. I've tired of our usual breakfasts of late. Can't wait to hear more about your trip to CA.

  10. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! (what's the actual date?) I'll be sending a lil' something your way- I've been wanting to for some time! I don't think you guys could look more cozy where you are- sweaters, games, crafts! I love the picture of the crafting and books under- and of course you guys in your sweaters in dim light playing games! Sorry to hear about the mold. We had some in our house and it makes me a bit nervous since we've had colds for sooooo long- back n forth! Maybe we need to clean it up better- wishing you healthy lungs and the very best! MAN- I wish we lived closer to each other!!! ;(

  11. Mold sucks. There must be leaks in the house or too much water underneath. From my own experience. Hope the landlord locates it soon enough and is able to fix it inexpensively and promptly! Happy belated birthday sweets! I'm loving your craft endeavours, and the lovely place you're so fortunate enough to stay in, quite the little holiday hut! Bright red is essential for winter, glad to see you in it often.

  12. I LOVE THIS! Oh goodness, I'm so glad you're back to blogging, lovey! I wanted to thank you, by the way, for the beautiful comment you left on my most recent post. You're so heart-squeezingly sweet.

    I'm sorry you're living away from your house, but what luck that you're so close and in such a healthy, breathable space! I love cob structures, though they're not so nice insulation wise. I'm thinking that my future home (which I hope to build) will be composed of cob! Are you guys feeling well now? You both look it! Energy, woo!

    Your photos are all totally enchanting, darlin'. So cozy and full of warmth and love. I love it. And I love YOU!

    And oh my goodness, that oatmeal. I like mine plain with just a wee bit of honey and salt (we, lamentably, don't have maple syrup here. Well, not local. It's imported from VT. So unsustainable. Gag. I'm thinking to plant some young maple trees for sugaring in time.), but this looks so. Freakin'. Delicious. Gosh.

    Anyway, I've blathered on enough (I'm in a kind of energetic mood, if you couldn't tell!).

    So much love to you, my sweet! And health and happiness, of course!


  13. my oh my milla! i'm with missa, i love fairytale milla too!

    that cob looks like heaven! so it was mold! i think that was what was wrong with me last year when i as pregnant. our apartment had mold as well and i've never been sick like that before or since. i'm so glad you figured out what it was because constantly being sick is seriously horrible!

    such beautiful pictures. the games, crafts, books, it all sounds so nice! i wish i could come to lacto-fermentation 101. what a fun class that will be. and that oatmeal looks killer! sounds like an amazing combination of ingredients.

    glad you and c are doing well and traveling around and enjoying each other. happy anniversary too! may you have many more years of love and happiness together :D

  14. PS. I think I kinda wanna steal the "fairytale Milla" picture and keep it! I was calling you my little Finnish pixie fairy after we left Missa's- with your cute colored bangs :D That basket your friends gave you is AMAZING- one I might try and recreate at some point! Happy Saturday lil lady!

  15. Beautiful beautiful beautiful! (You're always Fairytale Milla!).

    The cob house looks so sweet and like the perfect cozy wombspace in which to birth new projects and ways of being together. You guys will look back on your time there with sweet nostalgia. How wonderful that it was available.

    I am so glad you shared the oatmeal recipe! Though I admit, I'm a little trepidatious (<- has a red line under it, but the dictionary says it's right!) about trying it. Sweet and savory so close together? I do, however, trust you.

    And again, I am so proud of you for the Knowledge Share project. It makes me want to come visit that much more.

    Blessed existence.

  16. Man, reading your posts is like a perfectly narrated story experience. I really dig the detail you put in. Sounds like an around magical and cozy trip. May you folks have many more! Peace and love and wellness!

    Ginela Gonzalez

  17. Those little nooks in the fairy cobb house are so amazing. What a wonderful post. I love the close-ups of books. I'm always curious what people are reading.

  18. When I read your posts my eyes glaze with love and fire the echos from ancient fairy ghosts sing beautiful music the walls turn pink and baby blue the ground trembles as stars dance across a galaxy of groovy vibes keep posting baby! X Mercury Moonshine Dutchess "spreading Love Throughout The Dublin Streets While the Moon Shines " Lets dance in georges arcade and spread glitter during the St Patricks Day Parade

  19. oh what a lovely and wonderful peek into your abode and lives and i realize that you must live somewhere nearby ME cuz you came to Seattle in your post. yippee! so exciting to see lovely blogs from nearby ladies. ps, oh the toxic mold. i am dreading getting our house tested... eek