Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I Grew Dinner

It might not seem like much but I am an urban girl with a brown thumb.  I plucked this off the vine in our garden and used it to make dinner.  In addition to this yellow squash, our pear tree has had an impressive yield -- which I attribute to Teddy peeing all around it during our harsh winter.

For the past three weeks, I have been constantly picking pears.  At first they were small and I did the good deed of dropping them on the front porch of pear loving friends.  Then they came in bigger and in larger batches.  I brought them to camp and gave them away there.  This past week I had to get all of the fruit off because what was left was large and would probably fall during the long weekend.  Some pieces were so high that TBG had to reach them with a ladder.

I've been bringing a bag per day to work and leaving the fruit in a basket at the unoccupied receptionists deck at the front of my floor near the elevator.  I bring at least two dozen each day and they are gone by mid-morning.  People are leaving nice thank you notes in the basket and the consensus is that they are delicious.  I've enjoyed every juicy sweet one I've eaten.

If I had more time and space, I could preserve them -- but I just don't have the time or any place to keep them.  It's nice to be able to give them away.  Should the yellow squash yield get out of hand, I know where to take them!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What the Heck?

My lack of blogging is pathetic. I've not even had time to respond to all the kind comments about the stove and fan.  What's up?  I'm super busy!  Nothing out of the ordinary --  just keeping up with life.  Camp sucks away time -- in a pleasurable way, but it leaves less time for laundry, cleaning, exercise, etc.  I'm doing what I've always been doing -- but not having time to blog about it.

So I apologize for my absence.  It will be worse this month due to the long weekend and some vacation time I plan to take.  I hope to be better but if it I'm absent a lot... well I'm still thinking about everyone out in blogland and feeling very guilty about slacking!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Stove is In!

We came home from camp to find the range and hood were completely installed.  Jimmy Jam did a fine job -- once again!  He cut the molding out perfectly for the stack, the  hood is the perfect distance from the stove, and he pulled all of the packing out of the oven!  We won't be putting the old pot rack back -- at least I don't think there is enough room in back of the back splash.  It took a little bit of thinking to find a home for the stuff that had been on the rack behind the stove, but I think we'll be fine.
I had hoped to do an inaugural effort of note but my first "cook" on the stove top was a batch of soup to have for lunches this week.  We needed to free up freezer space and also get rid of leftovers.  Rather than a big bang, practicality won out.

Here's a pot on the heating element.  As you can see, no heat escapes -- it travels right up to the pot.  When I removed the pot from the element and shut it off, the display indicated the surface was still hot.  It does not cool down instantly as it is still holding the heat from the pot, but it was touchable pretty soon.  I was also able to easily wipe up spills while the pot was on because the surface is smooth and not as hot as a normal stove top.
We broiled burgers for dinner -- using the broiler pan from the old stove.  The corn was wrapped in foil and got a head start.  The burgers were very crispy on the outside and turned out well. It was so nice to run the fan and not have any burger or grease smell in the kitchen.

Even though we did not start out with a fancy meal, it was fun to get home and start using this awesome new appliance.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Range Preview

The range is in the house although it's not installed yet!  Once the wall is painted and the fan is in, the stove will be moved into place.  That will probably happen this weekend while we are at camp.

I am so excited to have double ovens!  The old electric range had a drawer in the bottom for holding pans.  What a waste of space!  We can fit an entire holiday dinner in this thing with room to spare.  It's not a huge oven -- only 30" wide, but that is fine for the two of us.
This is the top broiler section.  There's a heating element on the bottom so we can use it as a regular or warming oven, or we can use the infra-red grill on the top (or both!).  The interior is a neat purple which TBG thinks is pretty cool.  To my color-blind eyes, it looks blue.

I hope to be trying this out Sunday evening.  Not sure what I'll make first time out, but I suspect it will be something grilled.

Oh Boy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Kitchen Adventure

This has been what's kept me away from my blog.  Work has been crazy busy for me and we're having an adventure getting the new vent hood and stove in.

We decided to put a new outlet behind the fan as there was no sensible way to lead the power cord down to the existing outlet.  Once we checked out the wall situation, we learned it was plaster, lathe board and then a solid wall of thick tongue and groove wood. It was probably ship lathe.  Since it is close to 200 years old, it's really hard.

The spot I'm showing here took almost two evenings and we need one more coat of plaster before it can be sanded and painted.  The stove is in the garage as I did not want to get any dust into it.  I'm guessing the boys will bring it in on Friday after the sanding is done.  We'll keep it out of the way while the vent hood is mounted.  It's a camp weekend for us, so I believe I'll be coming home to the stove installed then.

In the mean time, I've spent my nights looking after Jimmy-Jam's son (not an easy feat for me), feeding him dinner and driving him home, and trying to recover from one of the most stressful weeks of my new job.  It doesn't feel new anymore once you have more work than you can get too -- which I take as a good sign that I am a productive and contributing member to our team.

It will be days before I post a finished picture and I'm doing my best to keep us fed without a stove or oven.  Boy will I be happy when Friday gets here!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Mattress Tales

I have been sleeping on a futon for almost two and a half years, maybe more.  This was a decision made in order to conserve space.  It does save some space, but it is really too short for me to be comfortable sleeping on.  I have wanted to move back to a regular queen mattress for a while.

There are two mattress stores going out of business in our area.  We stopped by each and I found two that a really liked -- one at each store.  They were pricier than what I'd wanted to spend -- even on clearance.  Since we could pick it up ourselves, one store was going to take another $50 off.

Well, I was already to bite the bullet and buy one but wanted to walk out of the last store and think a bit.  It occurred to me that while the price was great... we have to deal with the logistics of the range and installing the new hood tomorrow.  After that, we have to scrap the old stove and an old hot water heater.  To deal with a new mattress, we'd also have to haul the futon downstairs and then bring in the new mattress -- and we don't have a bed frame so that would mean I'd have to find somewhere for the under bed storage bins I use to stash extra shoes.

I was at first bummed to let the idea of a great priced mattress go... but then The Big Guy reminded me that I always manage to find a good deal, and that I'll be able to do that again.  So, I don't feel badly about losing out on a great price because I don't have to deal with the effort to bring it home and set it up.

And to underscore my decision, we are having problems with our slop sink in the basement due to how we pump water out of the washing machine.  We probably need to replace that.  It's a better use of money than a new mattress right now.

So I guess sometimes it is easy to walk away from a good deal!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Our Little Garden

I hesitate to say that what we have in our back yard is a garden -- but since it involves work, I guess it would qualify it as such.  We have hardly any time to work on it, so it gets over-grown, and then Tommy spends three to four hours on it and it looks better.  Today was quite hot so I felt badly for him.  However, his efforts paid off as it is looking pretty good for a strip of land we generally don't work that hard on. We did go for a swim once he was done and that is just the best way to end a day of doing work outside.
I've been hunting and gathering design elements and embellishments and trying to do so on the cheap.  The three square canvas pieces were from Big Lots -- marked down to $4.  The rack itself was a thrift store find.  There are two cups on the bottom that my niece made with her mom (a master ceramicist)  many years ago.  The mirror is a garbage find -- heavy as hell and set upon a large block of wood to keep the frame out of the dirt.
The star has been around for a while but the hook on the back broke so I wedged it within the wires on the open section of the fence.  I have hung a thrift store pitcher from a hook that we can use to water the baskets when needed.
The fence along the foreclosure is more utilitarian -- it's the side near the garage where we keep the garbage can and recycling bins. It has hooks where I hang up towels, bathing suits, etc. to dry.  I've missed a lot of blogging this summer due to extra good swimming weather and a plethora of social obligations.

There are two minor embellishments on this fence and I don't plan to do much more because I don't want to call attention to the trash!

TBG weed-whacked today too and mowed the lawn.  He does almost all of the exterior work -- although I get to come up with the ideas.  The summer has been quite dry and hot but we do get rain.  Things are looking pretty good and we are really enjoying it!