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Dusty, Squashy Weekend

We sanded. We stained. We made soup. Good soup.

It started in the basement. After a big special Saturday morning breakfast (ham, eggs, toast and made from scratch hot cocoa with tiny marshmallows), Zoey and I dropped off Mesa and Hope at the latest edition of cheer camp. Sixty-some 5-10 year old girls tumbling and toe-touching for three hours. Two big performances coming up on Monday (in Salem) and Tuesday (in Montrose).

(It was Jaimie’s weekend as Manager-On-Duty, hence the lame attempt at Mesa’s pigtails.) Then it was into the basement for the “Builder Girl” and me, for a date with several unfinished trim boards, a railing and a newel post. The woodworking is done for today, but the house sure stinks. You can see 12 seconds of live action here (no need to mention the power tools to Jaim, ok?).

So for supper tonight, I tried my hands at acorn squash soup for the first time. Made mostly with squash and onion from Denny’s garden, cream from a cow somewhere, and a hand mixer. Mine is based loosely on this recipe, though I didn’t have quite the right herbs, and I threw a little leftover bacon in there, and an extra pinch of cayenne pepper. It’s really good stuff. We have plenty left, if you want to try some.

Yes, I used an ice cream scoop. The squash didn’t mind. And no, my beautiful wife would not let me put up a photo of her eating my wonderful soup.

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Posted by on December 13, 2009 in Food, home and yard, Kids

 

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Slate Tiles and Pink Paint

Lots of pink.

That’s how I’d describe our progress in the basement. Just look around, it’s pretty obvious who picked the wall colors in the bedrooms. It’s also obvious we’re partial to continuing the slate tile theme, bringing it in from the lower level patio. I’m in the midst of tiling bliss this weekend, hoping to wrap up the slate fireplace surround, and grout the tile floors too.

Next up will be installing the railing, trim boards and doors. Then, paint touch ups, some plumbing and electrical odds and ends, followed finally by some carpet made of recycled pop bottles.  It all started one Thursday a long while back when Eric called.

“Are you going to finish your basement?”

“Yes, eventually, I guess,” I said.

“Why don’t we frame it this weekend?”

“This weekend!?”

“Yup. Buy some lumber.”

We measured the walls, I bought some 2×4’s, and we built all the walls in one Saturday. I use the term “we” pretty loosely here. I held a board here and there, and fetched the beer. And so it began. Then, with our news of Baby 4, we put it into warp drive–shooting for a Christmas completion. We might make it, almost.

Here’s a pictorial progression so far:

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2009 in home and yard

 

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Worms, Witches and Wreckage

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We missed the Harvest Moon, but his weekend was worm harvest time. (It was actually well overdue, but who’s counting.) That means Zoey and I sorted the worms from the worm poo, then mixed up some new bedding to tuck those red wigglers in for the winter. We also expanded, adding another worm house, which makes it three total now. It’s really hard to separate the teeny tiny babies from the good stuff, so I’m letting it sit in a tub for several weeks, hoping those tiny worms get bigger and I’ll be able to pull them out of there.

Here’s the new bedding recipe, since I know you were dying to get your hands on it:

  • 1/3 peat moss
  • 1/3 soil (with some organic matter in it)
  • 1/3 shredded brown leaves
  • enough water to make it most and a bit sticky

I replaced shredded newspaper (an Uncle Carl trick) with the leaves, thanks to a tip from a worm-lover I met in St. Paul in April. It keeps the bedding more airy, and breaks down to give ’em some extra snacking. I bought myself a little toy last week–a leaf vac and mulcher. Jon and Nicole got some help bagging their 10 million leaves this weekend…

In case you missed it, Halloween was Saturday. Trick or treating started for us at about 5pm, and wrapped up around 8:30. That’s crazy long, but when you go trick or treating in the country, stuff takes a while. We had a witch, a fairy princess, and a box of popcorn heading out of our house this year. All costumes made from stuff we already had, except a bit of face paint. (Not pictured: me after Zoey painted my face last night.)

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And finally, we’re in the midst of a construction project. With baby on the way, it’s time to finish up the basement and add a couple bedrooms. Thanks to help from Brooks and Dad, I have it ready for sheetrock on Wednesday. One step this weekend was tearing out the temporary wall at the bottom of the stairs (we reused everything but the sheetrock). After I smacked a little hole in the wall just to startle Colleen, the girls’ eyes all got huge and a chorus of “Can we try that!?” cam soon after. So, take a look at this video to see the demolition crew in action.

 

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2009 in compost, Kids, worms

 

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Weeds and Neighbors

Both are growing at our place.

We’ll have new neighbors next door by Fall. The footprint of the house is staked out already, and word is the basement will be dug this week. It’s a great thing for our community–our soon-to-be-neighbor is a young and wonderful music teacher that we all figured would be whisked away by some other school district with better pay and bigger band budgets. Thanks for planting some roots in our little village Mr. Whitcomb.

rows of weed

rows of weed

And then the weeds…I had more weed than crop. No, not the kind Justin likes to plant in the hidden confines of the backyard cornfield. I’ve been ignoring my gardens (and my family, for the most part) the past week and a half. We launched a trashy new program at work, and it piled up a bunch of long hours for me lately. So, my neglect packaged up with boatloads of rain mean the gardens were green, and plumb full of weeds. I went on a ruthless killing spree last night out there. No undesired plant stood a chance…

Oh, and check out what my radishes did during the week of neglect. Skyscraper root veggies.

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Those are a couple of homemade compost bins cookin’ in the background. I invited Rani to add to my newest pile any time she wants. Since she politely listened to my detailed DIY compost bin instructions before telling me she’d rather give the stuff to me instead. 🙂

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2009 in compost, etc., garden

 

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