Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Wow, been a while since we last posted. Juniper is a wonderful little person. Three months old now and full of joy and joy-ness. :) She giggles and smiles all the time, STILL sleeps through the night, loves boobies and her brother and sisters. Blog updates, uploading pictures, generally time to do anything but love on kids has gone by the wayside.

Totoro's Subaru conversion is on hold, I got a free 1991 2.1 WBX with 30k on it that I'm retrofitting for use with the 1.9 cooling system. I will initially use the 1.9 FI (Digijet) but eventually convert that to the 2.1 FI (Digifant.)

I've been barista-ing at the downtown store lately before coming out to roast. I like it but I am getting busier at the roastery so my downtown days are comign to and end.

We really will get some new pictures on here soon, I promise!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Juniper is here!!!

It's been a while since we posted a blog, we've been a bit busy. Here's why:

Juniper Claire was born on January 20th at 4:05pm!!!

Sommer had been having contractions on and off for a week or so before but on Tuesday the 20th they got more intense and a lot closer together. We had a midwife appointment that morning and then I went to work. That, of course, is when it all started to happen. With me about 20 minutes away in Sunriver.

She started IM'ing me on Google talk at about 12:30, telling me about each contraction. I would type back the time of each and started noticing they were 6-7 minutes apart, with some about 5 minutes apart. She kept saying they were 10 minutes apart and fake, my first clue that I needed to shut down the roaster, start getting out of there and on my way home. By the time she said, "I called my mom to come vacuum," I knew it was time to go home. Sommer's mom arrived and IM'ed me about a couple contractions then relayed the message that Sommer wanted me to come home.

I had Totoro going just about as fast as it could go all the way from Sunriver to Bend, it must've been a sight to see an 84 Vanagon flying down HWY97 at 75mph.

When I neared the house I thought, "Well, if the contractions are fake, she'll be sitting on the couch Facebooking or something. If not, she'll be doubled over in the living room."

It was the latter.

I got the stuff in the car and convinced Sommer that we'd come home right away if they were fake, that I was only putting the carseat, exercise ball and jammies in the car for next week when we going to have a baby.

We got to the birth center, Motherwise, at 2:15pm and as I got the bags out of the car and started toward the door I realized Sommer was headed down the street toward an apartment building saying, "They're fake! Let's do this some other time." About that time Nicole, one of the midwives, was coming out to meet us and reassure Sommer that they just wanted to make sure everything was ok.

As we settled into the birth suite and made it through a couple intense, close contractions, Dana checked and found Sommer was already 8 or 9 centimeters dilated. Labor was progressing very quickly, Sommer wanted in the giant tub to try and be a bit more comfortable. At first I stayed out of the tub, instead helping rub her back and shoulders and keep a cool washcloth a the ready to hold at her neck and forehead. Sydney arrived with Sommer's mom and initially stayed out of the room but after some laboring, we decided that, if she wanted to, she could come in. Sydney ended up being a great help, the midwives commented that they were very happy she was there to help out and witness such an amazing event.

The labor was fast and hard and by the time I got in the tub with Sommer, Juniper was on her way. I was behind Sommer alternating between supporting her in the frog pose she was in and keeping her from levitating up and back out of the tub. About 15 more minutes, five more contractions, beyond painful pushing and she was out at 4:05pm. Juniper was placed on Sommer's belly all squishy and beautiful. The cord was a bit short so she couldn't get all the way up to nurse right away, but after the cord stopped pulsing it was clamped and cut. After snuggling and rubbing the vernix in, we let them take Juniper and get her wrapped up and I helped get Sommer dried off and out of the tub.

Back in bed, Juniper started nursing right away and Sydney got to get some snuggles in, too. Juniper weighed 7 pounds 9 ounces and was 20.5" long. She came out with a thick head of black hair and is very cute.

20 Minutes Old

The Motherwise staff was great, thank you so much to them, and the facilities were excellent. But we wanted out of there so we could start bonding and enjoy our first hours of Juniper at home. I am convinced a home birth would've been just as incredible, as Dana, Nicole and crew would come to our house.

We got to go home around 9:30pm that night. I can't begin to explain how incredible it was not to be at the hospital. It was so much more relaxing and being home about 5 hours afterward was amazing. I was worried at first, but after realizing there were no nurses coming in and out, no beeps or buzzes, and with a comfortable bed, I knew this was perfect.

She is a perfect baby. She sleeps through the night and loves boobies and diaper changes.

Sommer was fantastic, once she admitted to herself that it was real labor. :) I have nothing but the deepest love, respect and admiration for her after seeing again one of the most beautiful, selfless acts.

Some more pictures:

Mama, Daddy(looking rough) and Juniper

A Foot

A Beautiful Juniper

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Conversion is Coming!

Totoro's engine, the 1.9l WBX, has always been a bit underpowered. My solution to that and the cooling issues and oil consumption issues is to swap the 1.9 out for an EJ22, a 2.2l Subaru engine likely from 1991-1994 with a few less miles that Totoro. The EJ22 fits perfectly in the engine bay and bolts up to the transaxle by way of an adapter plate and new flywheel.

The most difficult part of the install by far is paring down the Subaru wiring harness to 40 or so essential wires. Kennedy Engineered Products, KEP, has a 6 foot schematic and instructions on how to do it, as well as most of the other conversion parts.

The other hard part is routing the cooling system hoses and fitting them to the new engine. The stock coolant manifold on the EJ22 needs a bit of reworking to work more efficiently in the Vanagon. SmallCar Performance has a reversed manifold that makes this quite easy.

So a rough draft of the first bits I'll do with the WBX in place and running/driving are:

-Acquire a lower mileage, good condition EJ22 with ECU, Harness and assorted other bits.
-Modify the harness with KEP instructions.
-Perform any maintenance/detailing needed on the EJ22.
-Install SCP reversed coolant manifold.
-Install KEP crossmember engine mount.
-Install KEP flywheel and adapter plate.
-Install KEP header.
-Work out hose routing/expansion tank/heater hoses on paper.
-Work out throttle linkage and fuel lines/filter.

Then with all that in place and ready I'll block out a couple weekends in a row and set to work removing the WBX, it comes out quite easily. Then after removing any components specific to the WBX that I don't need, I'll detail the engine bay. After deatiling I'll move the expansion tank, hoses, fuel lines, and throttle cable as needed before then mounting the EJ22. Then comes mounting and routing the ECU and harness, making connections to the Vanagon harness and mounting the engine. After that its a matter of finalizing the cooling system connections, electrical connections, hooking up the fuel lines, then adding oil and coolant. Bleeding the cooling system is never graet fun on the Vanagon, but I've done it a few times by myself and I've got it down.

Well, more to come on the conversion later with pictures ad links to parts and prices!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Laws of Thermodynamics. . .

Internal energy U\,
Helmholtz free energy A=U-TS\,
Enthalpy H=U+PV\,
Gibbs free energy G=U+PV-TS\,
Grand potential \Phi_{G}=U-TS-\mu N\,

Today, class, we'll be discussing the laws of thermodynamics. Not really. Taking a cue from Mr. Elliott, I'll be writing about how I keep our 1100 square foot cottage warm through and through when it's in the single digits outside.

Our house has a natural gas furnace with ceiling heating ducts in all the rooms, a ceiling fan in the living room, and a woodstove insert in the master bedroom which is at the opposite end of the house from the kids' bedrooms.

The furnace works great and is controlled by a programmable, digital thermostat; unfortunately, relying on it solely to heat the house gives us a nasty shock when the gas bill comes.

The woodstove insert is the answer to that. Sommer's dad, my son Boston, and I go wood cutting in the fall and usually stock up about 2 cords of dry lodgepole pine so our heat for the winter is almost completely prepaid. (On the occasion that I don't build a fire or let it go out in the middle of the night, the furnace kicks on around 62*. Brrr.)

It took a bit of figuring out (*see tips below) how to get the most heat for the longest time out of the woodstove. Now that I have it dialed and can get a beautiful, hot, lasting fire going in no time flat, the problem is how to get the heat out of our room so we don't roast. It'll be up to 85*+ in there fast if I don't get some circulation.

I first tried putting a large fan in the doorway to pull the air out of the room. It worked but only very marginally. I then put a smaller fan in the upper corner of the door way to pull the hot air off the ceiling of the bedroom and out into the rest of the house. This worked well but looked a bit tacky.

I then realized I was working backward and hard than I had to. Instead of trying to pull the hot air out of the room, I took my big fan and put it in the doorway again, only this time I turned it around and pushed the colder air from the house into the bedroom. This immediately resulted in hot air billowing (if you could see it) out of the top of the doorway and within 15 minutes I had the bedroom cooled to a much more reasonable 74* and the rest of the house up to 72*.

I've been perfecting this system by adding in the ceiling fan on low in the living room and occasionally running just the blower on the furnace to circulate the warm air through the house even further.

The other morning it was 1* when I went to start the van, but with my wonderful fire that I had religiously kept going through the night (more like there's been a fire going for a couple weeks now) it was a toasty 73* inside.

*My tips for a great fire.
The obvious: dry wood.

Keep some air flow under your kindling.

Arrange kindling in a lincoln-log pattern. Two parallel pieces straight in with space for paper in between, two more sideways with space and so on.

Dryer lint. A small wad of dryer lint will catch a spark from a flint so well, you'll realize matches are a waste. It'll then catch your paper, too.

I've noticed when my stove is perfectly clean inside, after I've removed all the ash and charcoal, it takes a few fires to get it back to prime condition. I suspect this has to to with the retention of heat by all that ash and stuff at the bottom of the stove and I think it contributes some woodgas, too. Now if I clean out the stove, I leave a smallish layer of ash and charcoal in the bottom. Running a hot fire for days and days usually burns almost everything anyway, so my cleanings a few and far between.

Clean your chimney!!! This is a must! Every year BEFORE it gets wintry.

Clean your spark arrestor if you have one. This should be done when you clean the chimney AND after long periods of extreme cold where you dampen the fire for an extended time. Ours gets build up that starts to choke the fire and I'll notice smoke that starts coming into the room when I'm loading more wood in the stove.

(These may be specific to my woodstove and might not work for you, your results may vary. I assume no liability for any harm or injury, explosions, burnt carpet, or singed arm hair.)

Anyway, I love our woodstove and I hope everyone can use theirs to its most efficient potential!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

So the Samsung digital camera is not working so well, I might need to take it in have it looked at. Meanwhile, I've brought my trusty old Minolta x-370 back into service.

I got this camera and a few lenses when my grandmother passed them down to my mother. She gave them to me when I was a senior at Bend Senior High School. I was taking a photography class at the time and this was perfect, a semi-auto SLR with full manual at the turn of a dial. I came with a 35-75mm lens on it, a telephoto lens and a wide angle lens.

I did exactly zero of the assignments in photography class. What I did do was burn through roll after roll of all kinds of film and at the end of the class I turned in hundreds of different pictures that coverd what we learned in class and beyond. My favorite were a couple time exposures I did. One was at the base of Pilot Butte here in Bend, Oregon in December. Highway 20 runs right past and the way the streaks of headlights and tailights bend around the butte is cool. The other was in Seattle in November I think. I was at the park near the entrance to Pike Place Market and I did a long exposure of I-90(?) and the old King Dome which was demolished in 2000.

Anyway, if I find those prints I'll put them up here. Pictures of recent travels, family, Sommer's belly with our soon to arrive baby girl, Juniper, are all coming soon.

Also, Totoro's engine conversion is getting closer and closer to fruition. It has been decided that an EJ22 Subaru engine will replace Totoro's sad, weaky-leaky, 1.9l VW waterboxer engine.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Picture Post of Pumpkin Patch Play, Summer Lake Soaking and Crack in the Ground Crawling

Another picture post here.

The pumpkin patch we go to every year is up near Terrebonne, Oregon, about half an hour from our house. The backdrop is the Smith Rocks State park, home to some world famous rock climbing. The farm is very well done with a farmer's market and pumpkin patch, corn maize, food stuffs and pumpkin cannons. The pumpkin cannons are basically huge versions of the potato gun Boston and I made a few years ago for St. Patrick's Day. We still haven't actually paid to shoot the pumpkin cannon.

Syd eating some delicious corn on the cob.

Look out goats!

Sommer smuggling a pumpkin. Oh wait. . .

A couple weeks ago we drove out about 2.5 hours southeast of Bend to the Cowboy Dinner Tree and Summer Lake Hot Springs.
The drive out was beautiful.

Kids ready for bed in the cabin after soaking in the hot springs.

We got to the cabin after dark so waking up in the middle of the "Oregon Outback" was amazing.
This is the old bathhouse. Inside is a big concrete pool and changing rooms, very very rustic. Kind of like soaking in a chicken house. Nice and relaxing though.

The next morning we soaked in the new outdoor pool. Still a work in progress, there will be a three or four outdoor pools all together.

After our morning soak and some breakfast we headed out to Crack in the Ground, near Christmas Valley, Oregon. It was so amazing! Way more fun than it sounds.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Picture Update!!!

So, instead of fumbling for words to describe the wonderful times we've had these last couple months, here are the pictures to prove it.

Well, here's how that fourth baby bean is coming along. It's a girl, Juniper Clare (or Claire.)

On the way to Portland for Season and Lee's wedding we found Lost Lake. We stopped for coffee and a snack.

We bring our coffee kit everywhere we go. It lives in the van under the seat. It includes:

French Press
Fresh Roasted Coffee
Fresh Bend, Oregon Water

Eliot was tired after her snack and playing with all the frogs.

We met my parents for lunch and the kids left with them, heading up to Astoria. Sommer and I went to the hotel and got all dolled up for the wedding that night.

After a day to ourselves in between involving a haircut for Sommer and delicious food with great music, we went to Astoria to meet the kids and hang out with my parents.

Boston entered himself into an oyster-eating contest.

He managed to get one down and that was that. The goal was 24 total. Oh well, he did a great job just swallowing one raw, slime-ball oyster.

Hanging with my Dad.

Wait, they might actually be friends!?

Here's a Westy Vanagon, Turbo Diesel named Mellow Yellow. I thought I took a picture of the name on the rear left of the Westy top, but I can't find it. Sweet trailer set-up. Oh yeah, they're from Nova Scotia. Note the Burning Man sticker on the side.

Eliot posing for the camera at Cape Disappointment.

The driftwood shelter my Dad and I made.

Pumpkin patch pictures possibly popping up posthaste. Stay tuned!