Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Glory! Halleluia!

and I mean that in the most reverent way: I am done the east gable. Done scraping. Done priming. Done painting. I'll say it again, Glory! Halleluia!

Oh, did you want to see it? Well, heerrrreee it is:
And in context, here is the entire east wall:
Doesn't that look good?!! Oh, wait what is Troy doing?
What could he possibly be up to? What is Troy doing up on the ladder? Troy, this is my job...what are you doing to my paint?

Oh, wait, yes...Troy was given the honorific job of putting on the finishing touch:
Pretty sweet, right?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No no no no no yes

With the temperatures dropping, people have started asking, "Have you started a fire yet?"

And, until today, the answer was, "No."

But tonight I have abandoned my usual station up in my room and am glued to the floor in front of the wood stove soaking up the heat once again.

Troy started late today and he must have had a fire going earlier. I came home to everything set up (kindling, wood, starting papers, etc) and ready for me to start my own fire.

The cold weather doesn't feel good, but

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Paint, Firewood and Shop--What Else?

I was waiting for something more interesting to write about, but this is our life!

Before I started tackling the new pile of firewood Troy cut me, he fixed up the last empty rack we had. It was getting rather saggy and uneven, making it hard to stack firewood in it. (If you stacked the firewood in a straight line, you lost the rack at some point!)

So Troy took it down, laid some gravel, leveled it out and put it back. He even retouched the wood with vegetable oil to keep it from weathering.
That's the last rack to go since I finished filling the others this morning.
Hopefully I can get it filled this fall.

Troy is trudging along with the foundation insulation. The third (and final) layer is finished on the south side. Just the west and north walls to go.
He wants you to know that the foam is rated at R-5 for each inch; six inches is giving him R-30 on his foundation. The usual R value for a home's foundation? 0. Yup, zero.

And the paint? I had told myself I wasn't going to post until it was done, but it's taking too long. Last night we moved the ladder to the other side of the power lines so that I could start on the final section. (Yeah!)It was already primed so today I could put on the first coat of white. One more white coat (maybe tomorrow), then two of blue. Compared to the last section I had been painting, this one seems really small. (Especially split between blue and white.) That is a good thing.

And, much to my relief, it looks like I reached far enough painting the left section that I can reach everything remaining from this side. (I did not want to have to move the ladder back for some 2 inch piece that I couldn't reach!)

Finally, this is the view from our east bedroom window:
Not the angle to give you the best perspective but my maximillian sunflowers have finally started blooming and are going crazy. I had to rescue them this spring from being plowed under with Troy's rototiller (they were previously in his garden space) and they were a little delayed. Once they took off, though, they really went. They reached a height close to 10 feet but looked like giant weeds. We were very happy when the blooms started opening.

Behind the sunflowers, you can see a piece of the "rock garden" that I filled with wildflower seed this year. It's starting to look pretty good too. Troy says they're all invasive, but I think they're pretty.

My dahlia that I was excited about returning this year never bloomed. The peony that skipped a year but came up on the south side never bloomed. My trumpet vines, no blooms. And the bittersweet? No blooms or pods either. It's almost like my plants don't like it when I neglect them.

Good luck finishing up all your summer projects...fall is breathing down our necks.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

9 years on 9-9 of 09

Today is Troy and my 9th anniversary. On 9-9 of 09. Now that doesn't happen every day.

There was talk of a party, celebrating with friends, (in Lord of the Rings fashion I guess I should have invited 7 to make a party of 9), a nice little bash but I wasn't feeling up to it. And the magic day landed mid-week, a sure party killer.

So instead we will have a quiet day. Troy's going to work and I will work around the house. In the evening we're talking about laying some insulation around the shop....together. (Cue the "ahhhh"s.)

But don't worry, we'll make sure to "retire" early... (Cue the "TMI"s!)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Picking Pears and Other Adventures

The word, "free," being a siren call and having a liking for canned pears, I stopped by a neighbour's on Saturday to pick some pears.

I had picked some there last year and they were good, if a little small and misshapen (like you would expect from a private tree). I only got 5 quarts last year and was determined to get more this year.

I went armed with two boxes to fill and a sheet to lay on the ground to "catch" the falling pears and differentiate them from the rotting grounders. The sheet didn't work out so well, but I filled both boxes and got about 40 lbs of pears!

That was the good part. The bad part?

Well, I was using the pole they have available for people to jiggle the branches and "persuade" the fruit to fall. It's a two-piece telescoping jobbie that I was putting to full use. By the end, I was reaching all the way to the top branches. For one, there were good pears there; for two, I figured I was one of the few that could reach that high to get them, so I may as well do them all a favour.

Well, only minutes after thinking that it would be possible to actually get the pole stuck on a branch, that's exactly what happened to me! (Not exactly doing them a favour.) After jiggling the last (very high) branch, I lifted the pole to unhook it from the branch, and I couldn't get it loose. I'm moving the pole around, pulling, jiggling, etc, and then the part in the middle that holds the two halves together loosens, and I am left holding the bottom while the top hangs many feet above my head. :loser:

I packed up my stuff and ran away. No, I'm just kidding. I went to the house, met their dog, and then explained to the "master of the house" what had happened. Did he have a ladder, or should I go home and get my own to get it down? Oh no, he wouldn't hear of it. He would take care of it. So I left with my tail between my legs, not allowed to fix my own mistake. If I hear on the local news that an old man falls off a ladder tending his pear tree, I'm going to feel really really bad.

Later that afternoon I was doing some much overdue weeding and noticed quite a few bumblebees flying around. One of them landed on my jeans. I stood still so as not to disturb it.

It stung me!

I was so stinking mad. Now, wasps are one thing. But I have firmly believed for a long time that bees were the good guys. Leave them alone, don't freak out and they will go their merry way. And they used to look so merry to me. No longer. It's not nice to have one of your life's tenets wiped away. It's painful. (But the sting hurt worse.)

Finally, I can report that our second canner (purchased at an auction while we were on vacation) works quite nicely. Before realizing that we had tomatoes in our very own garden, I purchased a half bushel at the local market/store.And then I canned them. (My latest method is not skin them, slice with the mandalay and pack tight with no water. I run them through my hand-crank mill before using them; the canning makes them soft enough to go through the mill.)

The second canner is a little different than the other and I was a little alarmed at all the steam escaping by the handle (it was really pouring out). But Troy theorized it was just because the handle lock hadn't kicked in. Sure enough, a few minutes later it did and there was no more steam.

It processed in about the same time as our first one (I can't call them "new" and "old" because our old one is new and our new one is old) which is not surprising since they are very close in size. Very convenient.

So I was able to process all 11 quarts at a time. Nice.

By the way, in case you were wondering, if a pear falls from a very high branch and hits right on the top of your head, it bounces quite a ways up before coming down again.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Reaping What You Sow

The garden is really starting to give back now. We're going to have a hard time keeping up. (An old old story.) I'm not so good about checking things every day to see what's ready. I'm more of a check in once or twice a week type. That is perhaps not the best method.

Today, however, I did go out to check the cucumbers. I hadn't been in quite a while and Troy is begging for more pickles because he really likes them. They're relatively easy so I thought I might be able to do a batch tonight.

The cucumber plants look about done, but they still had fruit to offer up. I picked about two dozen, totalling over 20 lbs. Plus we still have a few in the fridge and basement I'll try pickle. (Troy's not so fussy about the crunch so he's willing to try it.) Troy got the prize, though, when he pulled out one I had somehow missed: a cuke that weighed more than 2lbs on its own! It's about as long as my forearm. I let that get a little big for a pickle!

While I was out there, I couldn't help but notice the tomatoes were starting to ripen. We really hadn't had any until now. (Although once again, I was a little late; there turned out to be a lot of overripe ones I had to compost.) Troy planted Vincent Wats and they are huge. The largest topped 1.5lbs.

When Troy came home and figured out I was harvesting tomatoes, he almost did a little jig. He was very happy. I barely got the first bag in before he was slicing, salting, and forking it down. He hasn't had a good tomato in a couple years; and this one was good. I, myself, don't like tomatoes but was just happy that he was happy.

Then he cooked the bacon while I picked the rest of the tomatoes. The plants really got wild and I don't want to say that it is impossible to pick them, but I'd consider calling it completely impossible. It's nuts. But I managed and hopefully the plants can take being walked on. (Can I get a "git'er done!"?)

The other day Troy picked a watermelon and tried it out. It wasn't great. This was a disappointment as Troy thought it was the first watermelon he planted that he was able to get ripen before the season ran out.
Thinking maybe the first one was overripe, today he picked another one. It wasn't any better. More disappointment. (But with less anticipation beforehand, so not as bad.)

While we were at it, we picked a likely looking cantaloupe (musk melon if you prefer):
It turned out to be quite good. Very very juicy.

We've heard rumours that some people can cantaloupe. They mixed it with peaches. I'm not sure I'm going to try it. I'm scared of wasting a lot of good peaches.

With the tomatoes, cucumbers, and pears I picked (more on that later), I think I have enough canning on the todo list.

And no painting today. Very disappointing. I can report, however, that the window trim is done! It went from this:to this:
Much better, isn't it? And remember all that hoopla and drama about the non-paintable caulk? Well, I must have fixed it good enough because all the paint appears to be sticking in place.

All for tonight!

How do You Spell Heaven?

Around here it's, "B - L - T."

Blog Archive