It wasn't until I moved out of my small town and into the big city that I truly learned to appreciate my upbringing. While my fellow cityfolk played in a yard about the size of a sandbox (if they were lucky) with a parent's watchful eye constantly worried about any number of crazies that are known to wander the city, I had 22 sprawling acres to explore and roam freely. And when we had a cougar scare when I was around ten I just had to be sure to bring along my Twin Star whistle to ward off any possible wild cat attack. However, with vast space comes an undeniable urge to fill it.

My sister's and I have always joked that my parents should be featured on one of those hoarders shows due to the volume of junk that has accumulated over the last 30+ years. It wasn't until I stumbled upon this Apartment Therapy house tour that I discovered the distinction between a classic hoarder and a collector. Both my parents are expert collectors. What at first glance may resemble chaos, is actually a pretty systematic process of organization. They seem to thoroughly enjoy finding things, lugging them home and then discovering the perfect spot for them to stay for eternity with like counterparts (whether that be fellow old doors, antique window frames or rubber balls).


Clockwise from top left:
[1] Our pet graveyard where are our much loved furry family members are laid to rest in the shade of evergreen trees.
[2] The iconic cat house that many of our cats and stray cats have called home. The cat house comes complete with heating lamps, scratching posts, and even my toddler bed.
[3] The wooden fence that lines the perimeter of a field that used to keep cows and horses.
[4] One example of organized chaos. Here you can see the old doors and windows that my dad has saved from his demolition jobs, as well as dusty old balls that grandchildren now have the pleasure of playing with.
[5] My dad's old work boot that my mom has turned into a flower pot--talk about recycling.
[6] While this may look like an outhouse, it is actually a smoke house. It hasn't been used for its true purpose in probably over 20 years but yet it still sits.
[7] Inside the barn that once housed our farm animals but now looks frozen in time since the last bunch of cattle we had years ago.
[8] A cement basketball court now used for as an annex patio.


[The back view of the barnwood-siding home my dad built in the 1970s]


[Left: Front view of the house and deck
Right: Work boots left next to an old car being stored in our garage]


[One of the tractors that is housed in the barn]


[Left: A lasting remnant of the baby calves we raised
Right: The weeping willow tree that was found overturned after a
windstorm the first year it was planted.]


[The interior of the garage shows the eclectic collection of bikes, mowers,
cars, four-wheelers, barbecues or anything else with wheels]


[The beginning roots of my animal activism]


[The boardwalk that my dad built for me. While the safety hazards are plenty,
at least the gator is fake]


[This final photo is a prime example of the type of orderly arrangment
that makes up all the junk that graces my family home]


While the symptoms of spring are apparent in this wet city (birds warming up their vocals, sunbeams breaking through the cloud cover ever-so-often, a faint hint of chartreuse latching on to every living thing), our weather god realized that Seattlites wearing sunglasses in March was not acceptable and quickly put a stop to our sunny daydreams with a far more characteristic snowfall. Only a few surviving flakes made their way to the ground but the chill factor jolted everyone out of their warm weather fantasy.

What to do when the thermostat hasn't quite caught up with the temperature change? Why, eat soup of course. Coconut ginger soup did the trick and left me warm and full - which I believe is the optimal body state.



Probably the easiest thing you could ever make...

Coconut Ginger Soup

1 packet of coconut ginger soup mix
1 can of coconut milk
14 oz of vegetable broth
1/2 package of extra firm tofu (I pan-fried it but raw also works)
All the veggies your little heart desires. I opted for carrots, broccoli, water chestnuts and a little cilantro.


So I am pretty deeply in love with my two beautiful long-haired, bottom-of-the-barrel shelter cats. On paper, these two were considered "difficult to adopt" because they had three strikes against them. [1] They were a bonded pair that needed to be adopted out together since they are brothers and being together was all they had ever known; [2] They are FIV+ (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) which sounds harsh but generally means they live a happy, healthy life but are simply more prone to colds and respiratory infections. In reality they just sneeze every once in a while and sometimes snore at night, both of which I find adorable and endearing; [3] They are relatively older cats at almost eight spry years of age. Their 8th birthday happens to be their golden birthday on April 8th. Some may also throw in a [4]th strike since Godfrey is lacking a left eye and a tail but a true cat lover knows these inconveniences are just small details.

Now given everything these little guys have stacked up against them, you would expect a pair of decrepit fur mounds withering away in agony but this is far from the truth for Godfrey and Donovan. See for yourself.


The cutest, pinkest nose I have ever had the privilege to Eskimo kiss.


These wise, old eyes always communicate a subtle ever-knowing intelligence that makes me wonder just how much we underestimate them.


A fierce look of determination captures Godfrey's primitive instincts.


Happiness is a warm sun patch...? Donovan seeks out a beam of sun and lets out a final yawn before retiring to his 6th nap of the day.


Godfrey nestles in for a much needed nap.