Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We love advice: bike storage style

There are many great things about our weird--but not weird for Buffalo--house behind a house situation. For instance, we get tons of sunlight because there are no houses next to ours, just backyards.

There, as well, some downsides. With the warmer temperatures and an increased need/desire to do yardwork and gardening, a problem with storage has arisen. Before Steve and Sara moved in to the downstairs apartment, we threw all of our crap--including rakes, shovels, bikes, ladders, and more--into the front hall. Now that front hall is their entryway and well, it don't work out no more.

I'm not asking for you readers to solve all our problems this morning, just some help on one front: bike storage.
Tough times: our bikes in the early-December elements.

It's been raining like crazy lately and my and Sean's bikes are getting hit hard. Rust is even creeping in a little bit. As Steve likes to scold us, we're bad bike owners.

We could bring them upstairs into our hallway but the hallway is not very wide and it already sort of bursting with shoes, coats, and my dear houseplants. We're thinking of erecting some kind of tarp/outdoor shelter in the back of the house between the fence and house--any thoughts or suggestions? Anyone have luck with those hooks you hang your bicycle on? Help!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Silver lining

I've been meaning to share this photo for awhile, from the early spring when the lilacs were blooming. We now have roses bushes in bloom all over the West Side and it's fun to see them pop up all over, even the vacant houses.

I went on an explore with my camera in the vacant yard next door. The grass is overgrown and full of wild flowers, crazy weeds, and even morning glories. Please don't confuse this excitement with my endorsement of slum landlords though--just trying to find the silver lining!

A window in...

I made lentil soup for dinner tonight--it's still cool enough for it to make sense--and wrote a letter to a friend while it bubbled on the stove. I got up occasionally to stir the pot and add a little more black pepper, a little more thyme.

On one of these trips to the stove, I looked out the window near the sink and spotted three girls tiptoeing across the roof of their back porch. They were covered, from head scarves to long dresses touching their toes, in beautiful flowing fabric that played with the wind quite well. They soon saw me through the window and started waving excitedly. It was very sweet, the whole scene.

And now, my lentil soup recipe (it's all improvised):

1 tbsp butter
2 medium red onions
2 medium sized potatoes
one bag dry lentils
4-6 cups of water (you pick thickness)
3 celery stalks
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup brown sugar
about 1 tbsp hot sauce (or a couple dashes of cayenne)
black pepper and salt to taste
2 tbsp thyme
dash cinnamon

Cook onions and potatoes in butter in soup pot until onions are soft. Add water, lentils, black pepper, and salt and boil for 30 minutes or until lentils are softened up. Add carrots, celery, brown sugar, hot sauce, and rest of spices. Cook until desired consistency and adjust spices accordingly. Enjoy over brown rice or with a piece of whole wheat bread.