Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Signs of spring

Spring has sprung.  Although you couldn't really tell by the weather this morning.  We woke to a light dusting of snow and continued flurries.  Fortunately it warmed up nicely and turned into a lovely day.  I was hoping to get into the garden to do some preliminary tilling this weekend but they're predicting sleet and freezing rain for Friday (FUN!)  So, V was using my tiller this afternoon to loosen some soil that the trucks had driven over when they did the septic installation and said that the soil was working up really well.  So....  I went out before dinner and tilled up about 2/3 of the garden- I would have done all of it but I didn't get the rest cleaned out very well over the weekend.  But- oooo!!  REAL playing in the dirt!  I was in heaven!
But Spring is springing inside as well: Behold:
Tiny red cabbage and kale seedlings.  And below- tomatoes!!
I do definitely need a 12 step program for seeds.  We had to stop at the home improvement store and they had packets of seeds for nine cents- can you believe that!  So, of course, we got a couple.  Since my Anaheim chilis didn't germinate well, we got a pack of Numex Big Jim chilis as well as some calendula and forget-me-nots. Then, when we stopped at our local grocery on the way home, they had a Seed Savers Exchange seed display.  Since some of my other peppers haven't germinated, I picked up a pack of  Bulgarian Carrot peppers and some Tolli's Sweet Italian peppers.  Mmmm...  So, last night I was starting a few more seeds.  Please stop me!!!  Of course, I didn't have very good germination on several things and I need seedlings not only for myself, but for Jim and for the plant sale in May.  And Roger (my best friend and former garden partner) said he didn't plant any jalapeno seeds this year and could he have a couple...  how could I refuse...
And the final sign of spring here-
 Yup, the toenail polish came out already.

But I also want to share a wonderful treat that arrived in the mail today.
I was fortunate enough to win a give away hosted by my dear blog buddy Robbyn at The Back Forty
Look what arrived in the mail today.
A fabulous book on perennial vegetables.  I've just had a bit of time to flip through it so far but it looks great.  I've learned something already- I didn't know that day lilies are edible- oh, I've seen the flowers in edible things before but I would have never thought of eating the fleshy tubers.  Supposedly you can eat them like potatoes.  Hmmm, they seem a bit small but, OK.  Evidently the dried flower buds make an appearance in many Chinese dishes- who would have thought...
Anyway, I can't wait to have more of a chance to read this one.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I want a flame thrower

and, no, not for the zombie apocalypse.
I want a flame thrower for the garden!  I had to work at my paying job today but I've been itching to get out into the garden for a while.  It wasn't ideal conditions after I got home.  It's cloudy and mid 30's but it's been reasonably dry, the ground has thawed and I had a little time- so I headed out for an hour.  I did a woefully poor job at cleaning out the garden last fall and it will take quite a bit to get it ready for planting my early stuff mid April (that's SOON!!).  It would be so much easier to just burn off the old pumpkin and tomato vines (and all the grass- oops).  But, I don't have a flame thrower- although my dad has one.....  it will most likely be the old fashioned pull it and pile it for me.
The seedlings are looking quite good.  So far everything is up but a couple of varieties of peppers.  I'm still missing sprouts from my Volcano (hot wax), red bell, and poblano peppers.  Of course, I'm not even sure that the poblano seeds are viable.  I should have done a germination test on them. oh well.
While I was outside I peeked at my 'small fruits' (blueberries, raspberries, currants and strawberries) and everything is looking good.  The strawberries are peeking up and, unfortunately, I noticed that the deer had munched a few leaves.- grrr.  The columbines we planted last year are up and looking lovely as well as are a few other flowers in the goth garden.  The anise hyssop is already up and the chives and walking onions are looking lovely.  The tulips and daffodils are up in the yard but no flowers yet.  Oh, I can't wait for spring to REALLY get here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A ho hum Thursday

Not much going on around here.  We're still slowly trying to finish up the trim and unpacking in the kitchen.   I can't unpack a bunch of the food because, of all things, the company forgot to send the shelves for the pantry cabinet.  We complained and they are sending them directly to our home- but we don't have them yet.  So, the pasta and canned goods are still living in boxes.  sigh.
V has had a brilliant idea.  We are going to take the drawer base that we had been using for the island (it had already been repurposed from the basement) and put it into our pantry in the space under the shelves.  It will fit and we can put another cabinet with a door beside it to give that space a more finished look (and keep the kitties from exploring around too many things.  We have extra tile (purposefully) that we will use to tile the entryway/stair landing in front of the pantry.  That will come together some time soon, hopefully. Because that area is unheated, I'm hoping to be able to use one of the drawers for some upstairs storage of potatoes.
I planted a few more seeds today.  I decided to start some romaine lettuce early so I can set out little lettuce seedlings in a few weeks.
I really need to get started on planning the chicken coop.  Our chicks arrive the first week of May and while they will be in the house for a while, we need to get the coop built before V is too busy with his book deadline to be able to help.
All in all, not much going on- lots of little things.  In a way, it's kind of nice to have a bit of down time.  We're between big projects for the house and gardening season is just barely getting started.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

First summer seedlings

The very first few seedlings of my main summer crops came up today.  I just planted them on Sunday so that's pretty quick.  Not all have started to show but the first ones up: Black Krim (heirloom), Jaune Flamme (heirloom), Crimson Cushion (heirloom) and super beefsteak (hybrid- mainly for the plant sale).  Nothing else up yet but I'm hoping to see some more tomorrow.
Work was brutal today and I'm still not recovered from the past week so I'm really tired.  And I work on Saturday so I still don't get a chance to sleep in. sigh...
But, the kitchen is just about put together so that's something positive.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Moving in!

I'm moving in- to the kitchen, that is.  Hoorah!!  Last night we finished the floors and installed the island counter.  We also moved in a few things.  The kitchen is a mess but slowly coming together.

 Don't you love the cardboard floors?  It's a good thing we haven't taken all the cardboard boxes from the cabinets in for recycling yet.  We just couldn't seem to get through the dog's head that he should only step in the middle of the tiles while the grout was drying.  We had to repair a couple of toenail holes before we learned.

And, last night I cooked for the first time in my new kitchen.  YUM!  Black pasta with alfredo sauce and a bit of turkey sausage.  A big tossed salad (organic, of course) and it was a fabulous celebration dinner!
 This afternoon when I got home, we moved the fridge back into place. While J16 and V are off at her violin lesson I'm unpacking.  I'm sure some things will still migrate as I figure out the best configuration but things are finding homes.
The baking center:
 And my lazy susan corner cabinet that caused us all those problems getting it into the house:
Room for all my bulk dry storage and I can find it all.  I'm in love!  Now maybe I'll have to find something classier than recycled ice cream buckets for storage, LOL!
We still have some trim work to do.  I was sorely disappointed to learn that the lumberyard no longer carries the chair rail I wanted.  Grrr...  We've got a few other places to look to find one I like, but I'm disappointed. Also, we need to finish the back panel on the island and the end caps for it but that shouldn't be too bad.
It's coming together.  All in all, I'm proud of us.  We did a great job- faster than a contractor would have done it.  I hereby declare that the extreme kitchen make-over is COMPLETE!  (well, close enough!)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Spring 2011

Hoorah!  Spring is officially here!!!  Today, in addition to grouting tile, I planted seeds.  We didn't finish the grout- we ran out- oops.  We will pick up another tub tomorrow when V picks me up from work.  I can't believe I have to go back to work tomorrow.  What a whirlwind 'vacation' I had. Work will be almost relaxing after this week.
But... seeds.  I planted 9 varieties of peppers, 11 varieties of tomatoes, 2 different tomatillos, eggplant,  litchi tomatoes, lemon balm and summer savory.  I'm hoping to have lots of seedlings.  I've started some for myself, some for our friend Jim and his first garden, and some for the plant sale.
Tomorrow night, we will finish grouting the kitchen floor and hopefully install the island counter.  I will get to cook in the new kitchen- Woo Hoo.  Over the next few evenings I will start putting things away, although the pantry cabinet isn't assembled on the inside yet and we haven't installed the drawer or door pulls.
But still, we pretty much did it.  I wasn't sure if we could actually accomplish the kitchen in a week, but we did.  We would have finished the tile tonight except for running out of grout.  But we are close.....

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tile is down

Whew!  What a job!  Next time- remind me how much a pain it is to tile a 14x16 room with an island in the middle.  The island was what caused us no end of problems. It isn't set exactly square in the room (which isn't exactly square either) so trying to get all the tiles match up around the island was a challenge.  But, here it is:
 We disassembled the island to do the tile work.  We wanted to tile under the stove and it's easier to put the counter in place with the stove there.  The bookshelf was also moved out but there is a footprint for it on the floor.
And now, a rarity here since I'm usually the one behind the camera.
Tiling myself into a corner... don't you love my paint pants!
Now, we're going out to dinner to celebrate- that and I really don't want to cook.
Tomorrow we will grout in the afternoon- to give the tile plenty of time to dry and probably Monday night I will start moving things back into the kitchen.  We may wait to move the refrigerator for a few days since it is so heavy and we want the tile to be totally, totally dry and set.

Love/Hate relationship...

with tile.
Tiling the kitchen floor is kicking by butt.  We worked until 2 this morning and still didn't finish.  More tiling today.  And we still have to grout.
But it looks fabulous- pics to follow.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Finding some green

Happy St Patrick's Day!  I hope you all had a lovely day.  Our day was busy but not as productive as I had hoped.  Par for the course in a large project.  V reassured me by saying that "Sometimes, when you want to climb the mountain, you have to lay the roadbed first".  A nice way of saying that I need to be patient. 
But, I did take advantage of the absolutely gorgeous weather- cloudy and breezy but 70!!  I took a walk outside to see what I could find.  The day lilies we planted last fall are coming up. 
 I also found a brave tulip coming up and the iris are starting to show some color- as is the horseradish I found at a discount at the end of the season last year.
But, you really want to hear about the kitchen, don't you.  I know it is what is consuming my life at the moment.  I didn't get any tiling done today.  The island was being uncooperative with placement.
 But we got it in with some fussing to get the stove in the correct place under the range hood.
The  counter is only dry fit at this point and we will need to move the stove again as we are planning to tile under it.  But here is the basic effect.
I know I'm biased but I think it is drop dead gorgeous!  The whole kitchen is coming together.
We finally got the island anchored in the right place.  We were hoping to get the tile backer down but gave up for the night and decided to have some wine instead.
Tomorrow- the tile backer will finally go down and we will start on the final phase of the remodel.  And it will only be Friday.  We've done pretty good work for a week.
I'm also planning to finally start my tomatoes and peppers this weekend.  Spring is on the way!!  Hoorah! I'm also hoping to have enough time while the weather is cooperating to finish cleaning out the garden but we'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday

All the cabinets are UP!!!
J16 resting against the new counter:
 The new sink, dishwasher and the end cabinets.
 And finally, my pride and joy- which turned out to be a pain to install:
It's called a baking center.  It has pocket doors and a large space directly on the counter for putting appliances like the stand mixer.  There is even an outlet inside the cabinet for convenience.
We did run into a few problems.  There are a couple of cabinets where the sides didn't get finished where they should have been (not the problem of the manufacturer- they were ordered wrong and I didn't catch it.  Fortunately, we have already figured out what stain we need to match and already have it.  We knew that we would need to be staining matching trim work so it isn't a disaster.  Not ideal but not a disaster.
Otherwise, it was a long day but they are all up.
Tomorrow, we will finish framing the island and bring in the counter top for that.  And, I will begin tiling.  THAT is when I get busy.  V did most of the heavy work for cabinet installation. The rest of us were lifters and toters but he did most of the work.  Tiling is my thing.  He will help by cutting the tiles but I'm the one who lays them and will do the grout.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.  Maybe I'll go put a few things into cabinets.....  Oooo...
I just hope they don't fall off the walls!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A quick update

No photos today, I didn't take many and haven't downloaded them yet.
Today progress was made but it wasn't really apparent and was frustratingly slow.  It was a plumbing day and involved three trips to the home improvement store.  But, the new sink is installed, holes drilled for the faucet and faucet installed.  Unfortunately, I'm disappointed.  We got one with a spray nozzle and it isn't working properly. Grrr...
The main counters are pieced together and installed.  The island has been mapped out and the base cabinet is in place.  I picked up the drawer and door pulls today.  The boxes of floor tile have been brought in and lined up in the basement so they can warm up.  Oh, and I took J16  on a quick trip shopping for jeans since she has only one pair left that aren't ripped to shreds.
I also, unfortunately, went off on the children a bit.  Oops...  But after we had been messing around with the plumbing for a while- unsuccessfully, I came out into the living room where the boys were playing video games and J16 was using my laptop to chat with her friends on Facebook only to find that dinner dishes were still on the table and a general mess all around.  We have such limited space right now that we can't afford to leave it messy.
Tomorrow we will finish the sink drain- With the new sink, the old drain isn't fitting back in and we need some parts. And, we will begin hanging the wall cabinets.  THEN, it will start to really come together.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy pi day

I hope you all had a great pi day!  I13's school sold these great t-shirts as a fundraiser for  everyone to wear on pi day today.  This is the front:

And the back has pi (3.14....) written out and looking like clumps of grass.  Maybe you just have to be nerds to appreciate these.  Of course, I think their cow looks a bit misshapen.  And of course, I got a brown shirt- what else for a cow pi!
I wore my new shirt after I finished painting.  I got the second coat of green on the walls and also the pale yellow.  It is very, very pale yellow.  J16 has determined that it is the color of mozzarella cheese!  So once again, we have painted our walls with cheese!  Of course, this time it doesn't have a cheesy name.  In fact, I can't even remember what it's called.
I sent the above picture to my parents and Mom asked me why I hadn't painted all of the walls.  I told her that I was lazy and wasn't going to paint the walls that were to be covered with cabinets.  What's the point.  Just a waste of paint, time and energy.  The new dishwasher is installed and we even did a load of dishes in it.  Woo Hoo!  no more washing dishes in the bathtub.  We don't have a sink yet but it's coming soon.
We did bring in the main counters and dry fit them.  We still need to install the sink and unfortunately, the company didn't drill the holes for the faucet like we thought they were going to do.  But, we need to wait until the counters warm up to room temperature before we do anything to them.  They have been stored outside in the shop and they are pretty cold.  We've had lows in the 20's and highs in the mid 40's the past few days.
Even with the plastic protective layer, they are still beautiful!!!!  We are going to wait to take off the plastic until we are completely finished, figuring that it will protect them a bit from scratching during installation of the wall cabinets.
Tomorrow, V will tackle the sink installation and I'll work on getting the island re-mapped so we actually end up with the stove under the range hood.  I'm also hoping to finish installing the mini-counter on the north wall since we only have one more base cabinet and one wall cabinet to install there.
We're all holding up pretty well.  Today was a bit of a 'down' day since we spent lots of time waiting for paint to dry this morning!  Fortunately, most of the really heavy stuff has been hauled inside.  The wall cabinets aren't heavy, it's just a pain getting them into place.  Tomorrow, we'll have another heavy lifting day since we are planning to move all the tile from the shop to inside so it has a chance to warm up to room temperature before we want to tile later in the week.
In case you're curious. Here is the ultimate before picture of the kitchen.  This was taken a day or two after we closed, obviously before we had the well repaired since we have the big orange cooler of water at the sink.  There was an electric stove just to the right by the basement door- with no counter space or anything beside it- just freestanding.  And the light fixture HAD to go.
And don't even get me started on the ugly paneling that was on one wall... eek, this kitchen has come a long way and is going to get even better.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Too busy for many photos

We got a rather later start today than we had hoped.  Everyone slept in after yesterday's adventures.  And, of course, things didn't go exactly as planned.  In some things we are ahead of schedule and in others we are behind.
We had to make a run to the home improvement store after more primer/sealer paint and new rollers since I decided that my old ones were too ratty to use again.  I got the Picasso wall primed with two coats and then had to let it dry.  
V was working on the plumbing and was trying to figure out where to cut the holes in the sink base for the pipes.  Luckily, I reminded him that we had to work from the corner cabinet and have all of them in place to make sure the sink base was lined up correctly before he drilled holes.  So... we hauled all the base cabinets in.  They are currently lined up but not fastened down.  We still need to shim them a bit to get them level but they're really not too bad.  

We were fortunate that J16's current beau came over this afternoon to help out.  He was a tremendous help carrying heavy cabinets.  At one point, I was nearly in tears when we realized that the 36 inch lazy susan base corner cabinet wouldn't fit through the front door.  Then we realized that we could get it in the basement door but it wouldn't fit through the door at the top of the basement stairs.  So, like any desperate woman would do who wants her new kitchen- I ordered V to rip out the basement door, frame and all.  I didn't like it anyway.
We still had to remove the door off the cabinet but we managed to haul it into the house, up the stairs and into place. And it is HEAVY!
Finally, I got started painting.  J16 and I used the laser level to get the chair rail line, and applied the painter's tape.  It was getting late so I only got the first coat of the bottom of the wall.  But it is beautiful.
It is a sea blue/green textured paint (granite) with gold sparkles in it. The effect is subtle but fabulous.  Tomorrow morning, I will paint the second coat first thing and then start on the pale yellow that will go on the top. Tomorrow, we will also work on leveling and fastening in the base cabinets.  We will also bring in the counters.  They will need to warm up before we can install them.
But still, it's coming along.  And it's only been two days!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Stick a fork in us (photo heavy)

We're done!  Well, at least with demolition.  Here's the progress so far:
Last night, the children drew on the doors with chalk.  It looked pretty good, too bad we didn't try it earlier!
This morning, we got started removing doors
It was amazing that these cabinets are all open.  The top cabinet has a total run of 14 feet- one plank!
I got to stand on the counters and do demolition- well, more deconstruction.
By lunchtime, we had moved appliances (we didn't get around to that last night) and the top cabinets were gone.
After lunch, the heavy equipment came out.
We didn't end up saving much from the bottom cabinets.  It was really disgusting the amount of mouse poop that fell out of those cabinets when we took them apart.  It almost made me sick to think that we had stored food in them.  Of course, I had cleaned the shelves well and we had stopped up the holes where the mice were getting in but it was still really, really gross.
By mid afternoon, the cabinets were history.
And we got started on the floors.  Below, the most recent flooring is on the right, the next layer down on the left.
Yup, another layer underneath, with a subfloor all of it's own that had to come up.
THAT was the back breaking work.  We took turns.
We got it down to the original linoleum that is glued directly to the original subfloor.  We were originally planning to rip up the original subfloor as well but, except for under the sink, it looks to be in better shape than we hoped.  The old linoleum won't come up without more work than we want to put into it so we are changing plans.  We will put our tile backer on top of the old floor and tile.  It means that the kitchen floor will still be higher than the living and dining room floors (which it has been).
Now, we're all exhausted.  We put in an 8 hour day of demolition today.  But tomorrow, I will paint and maybe we will begin staging a few cabinets.  V had to do some patching on the walls so I'll have to paint with Kilz first and then our paint that we've chosen.  Cabinet installation will probably start in earnest on Monday

The poor animals are terribly confused.  The whole house is in disarray. Take a look at my 'kitchen'.  The crock pot on top of the stove in the living room.
Now, I'm tired and off to bed early.

Friday, March 11, 2011


The events of the last day in Japan have by far overshadowed anything I was going to say.
Thoughts and prayers go to all effected by this terrible event that shows us the power of the earth.
The photos and video coming out are simply amazing and terrifying.
It makes me doubly grateful for the sunshine and fine weather we had today and which is forecast for most of next week.
Photos of the kitchen demo tomorrow.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Probably not the best way to meet the neighbors

This evening, we are finishing up clearing out the kitchen cabinets. Around 830, V stepped outside to throw something away in the barrel.  He heard a boom and turned to look.  The sky to the West was glowing orange with sparks flying up into the air.  He came in, grabbed his coat and ran west to our fence line.  From there, it looked like the barn next door was ablaze, so he called 911.  Then he climbed the fence to go see if anyone was home.
It turns out that the farmer next door was burning some trash (the booms we heard were evidently some aerosol cans he had tossed in).  WTF?!  Who starts a fire at 830 at night then goes inside to watch TV?  Well, V knocked on the door and told them he called the fire department.
Like I said, probably not the best way to meet the neighbors.  Of course, we have been here for a year and a half and have rarely even seen them out and about.  When informed that we had moved into the old vet clinic, the farmer asked- "What are you doing over there?" and seemed a bit surprised when told we were turning it back into a house.  sigh...
At least it was only boxes on fire.

I've got most everything out of the cabinets.  Even V decided to help this evening and cleared out the cleaning supplies from under the sink.  Tomorrow night we start for real.  OOOOhhhh.....

I moved the small appliances off the counters and onto the top of the dresser in the our bedroom.  V saw them, raised an eyebrow and said that my taste in bedroom toys is getting interesting.  Men...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New sprouts

I've got broccoli, cabbage, kale and cauliflower seedlings popping their tiny heads up.  Hurrah!  I was a bit worried that they would take a while to sprout since they are in the back room in the addition and it's pretty cool back there.  I'll definitely have to set up my heating cables when I start the tomatoes and peppers.   So far, the kale is the slowest to germinate- only one tiny sprout showing- and the broccoli is the best with 8 tiny seedlings already up.
The week has been flying by and I have so much to do.  Last night we had J16's final orchestra concert so I didn't get much done and this evening, I went with J16 to her violin lesson since V is  having dinner with a friend to talk about his book project and bounce some ideas off him, so again, I didn't get much kitchen packing done.  I've still got the spices to pack up, all the liquidy stuff (honey, molasses, various hot sauces, etc), the staples (flours, sugars, rice and such) and the stuff from under the sink.  There are a few baking things left, as well as the pots and pans we're still using and all my mixing bowls.  I'm really not doing that bad on packing up but I feel behind.  Tomorrow will be a wash as well since I need to take I13 to church for confirmation.  That only leaves Thursday evening to finish up.  At least there is nothing on the schedule for Thursday night... yet....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A momentous day

 It was a busy day here at Troll Bridge Acres.  First, J16 and I worked at a pancake breakfast this morning, raising money for the Crisis Center.  Our committee brought in over $500 that will go to the Common Fund, which is specifically to help families with unexpected bills or ones they can't afford. There is a fairly rigorous criteria for those receiving help, but it is well worth it to keep someone's electricity on.
Plus, today is a name change day.  K10 is now K11.
The birthday boy was amused with his cake.
 Yes, it's a dead teddy bear.
From one of their favorite video games "Naughty Bear"
Fun but very twisted!
And last, not least, but definitely the most frightening:
J16 on her first solo drive.  She is off by herself to a concert at school this evening where one of her friends is performing.  She passed driver's ed with flying colors- a high enough driving score to not even be required to drive with the DOT.  So, last week when the children didn't have school due to the end of the trimester, she and V went off and she got her "for real" driver's license.  I think I'm more nervous about her drive than she is.....  oh... my phone....  Ok, she called- she got there just fine.  Hurrah for teenage drivers.  I see many more nervous trips ahead!
Update- she made it home safe and sound.  Whew!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Seedy Saturday

I got to plant more seeds today!  Yeah!!!  Spring is around the corner- even if it was snowing again (sigh).
This afternoon I planted Red Acre cabbage, a few kale seeds (These are really for the fall but I couldn't resist), broccoli and cauliflower.  They are in with my little parsley seedlings and my little leeks.
I can hardly wait until I can plant the 'main season' seeds- but we are still a couple of weeks away.  And I will be starting extras again this year.  My friend Jim, who recently bought a house, wants to start a garden on his new property.  I told him I would help him pick the best location and that he could borrow our tiller to dig his new garden.  He was really excited when I told him I would give him some seedlings for his garden.  And I will also be starting seeds for the second annual plant sale at our church.  Last year we raised several hundred dollars for the crisis center (our local food pantry).  Last year, I took in extra plants that I had started but I just took what I had since I didn't learn about the plant sale until I had already started seeds.  This year, I will be starting more seeds to sell.  Last year, the garden plants were our best sellers. All my plants sold last year, but I had lots of hot peppers and unusual varieties of tomatoes and a few people were unsure about them.  This year, I will make sure I plant plenty of extra bell peppers and some more 'traditional' tomatoes that will sell more readily.  Last year, people bought black tomato seedlings but weren't really sure about it.  But I guess it was a great introduction to heirloom tomatoes.  This year, there will definitely be more beefsteak tomatoes (Amana Orange and regular red beefsteak tomatoes) and varieties that people will recognize.  I'm also planning to plant some extra herbs because those sold well last year as well.  Maybe I'll even plant some extra parsley this week so I've got some nice extra seedlings to sell.
Today, I also packed up a few more boxes of kitchen stuff.  I did the coming week's menu plan and figured out what I needed to leave in the cabinets for this week and next.
Tomorrow will be a crazy-busy day.  First, J16 and I will be working at the pancake breakfast at our church.  It is another fundraiser for the crisis center.  And, the more exciting thing about tomorrow is that it is K10's birthday!  So, I've got to frost the cake that I baked today.  True to our birthday tradition, we've got a fun, theme cake planned.  I'll be sure to post pictures tomorrow.
Now, I think I'm going to go have a little drink and watch a movie with the children...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

On impulse

I did a bad thing this afternoon- an impulse buy.  I really, really try to not do that because it is easy to get into trouble.
But who could resist these:
Beautiful bulbs for summer flowers....
We had stopped at Paul's Discount- a local store (one of our favorite you-can-find-anything-there stores).  V needed a small bottle of propane for his torch for some plumbing repairs before we start the remodel (I'll tell you about that in a bit) But there, in the back, was an entire wall of flower bulbs and starts.  I don't have any lilies, even though I love them, and the blazing star are one of my favorites.  The yellow ones- the foxtail lily- I have never seen before but they are listed as hardy here so we'll give them a try.  They are supposed to be butterfly magnets.  There were also boxes and boxes of dahlias and cannas, but I know myself too well- anything that I have to dig up in the fall and overwinter inside won't last!  They also had some starts of Jersey Knight Asparagus that I'm contemplating going back for.  We have one lonely hill of asparagus that survived of the three my parents dug and brought for us and I'd love to have more.  And the price was right.

Anyway, the plumbing issue.  In the basement, in the walk out addition part- where the washer and dryer are located, we have a faucet with a connection for a garden hose.  Go figure.  It isn't new plumbing- it's copper pipe- so my guess is that it is original to the addition that was built for the dairy.  The addition that sticks out westward was the milk room.  And there are mysterious holes and drains in the floor.....  Hence, the hose, for rinsing the tanks.  But, it had a quick release attachment on it and when we tried to remove it (it was horribly corroded!) the entire faucet came off- fortunately below the valve. So, it needs to be repaired since we will be setting up a tile cutting station by the washer near one of the floor drains.  It will still be too cold to be cutting tile outside with a wet saw.
Yup, our property has an interesting history.  The house was built by a family who had a small farm (and we think they did much of the building themselves). They went into the dairy business and built the addition for the milk room (and the barn) around 1959.  It went through a bunch of other owners before it was the vet clinic that we purchased it from.  Pretty cool, huh. Unfortunately, except for (maybe) the first owners/builders- this place has received very little TLC over the years until we came along. So we're playing catch up.
I'm so excited to have tomorrow off.  I've got LOTS of plans and will be busy, busy, busy.
Have a great Friday and a wonderful, productive weekend.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The plan...

... as we know it...  for now.....

For those of you wondering about our big delivery yesterday.  Yes, we are remodeling our kitchen. Yes, we will be doing this ourselves.  Yes, we are slightly (or more) insane.

So, the plan so far-
I have been slowly working on emptying the kitchen cabinets and organizing my thoughts around feeding us well, with real food, while we have no kitchen.  Oh, we have a few meals planned of things like chinese take-out and pizza from a local restaurant- but mostly we will be cooking.  I've been doing some cooking ahead and freezing things.  We will be eating from the microwave, crockpot and electric skillet.  And we will eat well.

But, you don't want to hear about food- you want to hear about the other craziness!  I will have Friday off this week since I worked last weekend, so this weekend, I will begin packing the cabinets for real.  We will move the antique china cabinet out of the kitchen into its temporary home.  We have a big folding table in the garage that I will bring in and put in the living room- this will become our temporary kitchen (dishwashing will happen in the upstairs bathtub).  The cabinet packing will continue through most of next week.  And we will begin taking off the doors off empty cabinets. On Friday, the 11th, while no one else is home, V plans to hang plastic over the doors and finally sand the North wall of the kitchen- that's our Picasso wall with old adhesive from the really ugly panelling that we ripped off a while ago.
Friday night, after I get off work, we will move the refrigerator from the kitchen to it's temporary home in the dining room.  We may move the stove as well that evening.
The real fun starts bright and early on the 12th.  We will begin gutting the kitchen.  The counters, cabinets and flooring will be removed.  I think we will be getting a construction dumpster for the flooring since it won't be salvageable. We're even removing the subfloor. The cabinets will be deconstructed and the wood salvaged.  The cabinets are original to the house and were built in place by the original owners. They are constructed of 1x12 planks and plywood with some fairly long runs of lumber since there are no dividers between cabinets.
Once the cabinets and subfloor have been removed, we'll replace the subfloors and then paint the entire room before we install the cabinets.  Cabinets and counters will come next.  We will then put down the tile backer boards and lay the ceramic tile floor.  When all that is said and done- all the appliance will come back in (oh, I imagine we will install the new dishwasher when we install the base cabinets).

The big question is- can we do this in 9 days?  The children are all off school the week of the 14th for Spring Break and I have taken the entire week off work.  So, it will be a marathon with all of us pitching in. We have from the 12th through the 20th.  I see some long days but we think it is doable.  We're much more likely to get it done in a timely fashion ourselves than if we hired a contractor!  I know someone who hired out their kitchen remodel and it took nearly 4 months- that is TOTALLY unacceptable in my book.  But then, this particular family ate out most evenings anyway so having their kitchen torn up was merely an inconvenience.  We don't eat that way and have no intention of starting.
I feel we can get this done- at least most of it.  I can live without the tile installed for a few days if necessary but I'm going to be hopeful.

And don't worry- We'll take lots of pictures and I'll post regular updates.  It will be an adventure!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

They're here.....

 A giant stack of boxes
 And counters packed in these fabulous 2x4 crates.
(We're already thinking about how to repurpose those 2x4s in the chicken coop)
 The cabinet color isn't exact- the lighting is bad and it's still wrapped in plastic- but you get the idea.
And the counters are actually darker than they look in this photo.
This is the scrap from the sink cut out- they sent it along- LOL.
But it gives a good idea of the finished product.