Friday, November 27, 2009

All in a day's work

Well, we're back in the attic again.

Hey, what's that there, in the hole in the wall?

Oh! It's just Jeremy. =)

He was doing some preliminary work for this cool window we're putting in.

The hole is cut...

framing goes up...

and the window is in!

Right now on the other side of that window it's just the attic above the kitchen. If you shine a light in there all you can see is the remnants of the old flat roof that was built over, some lead paint chips (will we never be rid of them!?), and insulation. In time (years? hopefully not, but who knows) we'll bring the kitchen roof up so it's peaked and we'll be able to look down into the kitchen from the upstairs study. We're hoping this will help spread light around the house more.

But for now it's just a window in the dark attic - which is kind of creepy.

After finishing that we looked at some other things and totally changed our plans for one particular detail. We're very excited about it and I'm sure I'll be breaking the secret soon.

But first, back to framing. Jeremy got started on the last wall of the closet which will also have a bunch of light switches in it.

We are going to have a really sweet closet. I can hardly wait!

Last but not least, just in time for our Open House last Friday, we finished our pathway! We are quite proud of it.

(That's an escaped Speckled Sussex enjoying the pathway too.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Jeremy and I have been "lost souls" the last two years at Thanksgiving - unable to go home and no family around to spend Thanksgiving with. Last year we had all our "lost soul" friends over for an all-day Thanksgiving feast. It was a glorious day. This year all our friends had family plans so we had dinner at Meeting.

But that didn't mean we couldn't pull out all the stops for breakfast! There seem to be rituals all day long and all weekend long in my family. Thanksgiving morning always starts out with apple dumplings. Peeled & cored apples, with the centers stuffed with brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter, and the whole thing wrapped in a pastry dough (or maybe it's more of a biscuit dough...). Then the dumplings are baked in a syrup of sugar, water, cinnamon and cloves. They are oh-so-heavenly.

I kind of let the syrup cook for too long and then the apples weren't quite done and I let those go too long so things got a bit dark. They were still very tasty - but the craziest thing is that the syrup turned to caramel. Not chewy though, but rock hard. It was gooey coming out of the pan, but then the strings of caramel coming off the dumplings hardened up. It was crazy!

This was also the first time we got to use Jeremy's great grandmother's china, which we got back in September. It's a beautiful set with teacups, saucers, plates, bowls, serving dishes, a creamer and sugar container. We laid it all out and I used one of the tea cozies I made. There is something about drinking tea out of one of these dainty cups, using a teapot (instead of steeping tea in your mug), and sitting around with friends... I think I drank 10 cups of tea!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A letter home, from the cat

Dear Family,

I hope you are having a good vacation without me. I am doing well here. The day spa you left me with has excellent staff that see to my every need.

They always provide fresh water.

I am included in all the daily activities.

And they really enjoy me!

They read me to sleep every night as well.

Here I am enjoying the heat lamp.

They are quick to bundle me up and give me lots of attention any time I ask for it.

Anyway, I hope you are doing well and I'll see you in a few days.



Thursday, November 19, 2009

Our own yellow brick road

Okay, so it's not actually yellow. And it's not a road, per se. But it is so picture perfect, I do feel like skipping on it and maybe humming a little song. Maybe.

Anyway, we got quite a bit of our pathway done before our trip and we started back to work as soon as we got home.

Here it is coming from the front of the house around to the side. The gaps are for roots that came into the pathway. We did chop out roots in some areas, but these are for our quaking Aspens and we wouldn't cut even the smallest root from those trees if we could help it.

Pivoting on that spot, now you can see the backyard and the pathway progressing toward the chicken coop and garage. We're almost done! Finally! Then we'll really be skipping back and forth on the path and singing songs!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A whole new level of procrastination

I'm the type of person who likes to do practical things when I'm procrastinating. Usually cleaning, washing dishes, washing laundry. When it gets really bad I'll mop the floor or do filing. I guess it makes me feel better about procrastinating from something I should be doing by doing something that needs to get done anyway.

I think there are even times when I have avoided doing something and then that very task became a way of avoiding some other thing!

Anyway, I've got a lot to do these days - getting ready for and going on a trip, sewing like crazy, preparing for Christmas, making gifts, and all the normal everyday things (not to mention finishing that pathway...). But I had this idea and I just had to do it! Total procrastination.

A little bit of color for our kitchen. =)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The wall

We had to put some sort of retaining wall around the the chicken coop since we dug away so much dirt. And we had a ton of big rocks and stones all over the yard. We put the two together, and voila!

Next year when it gets warm again I hope to plant some trailing ground cover in the little patch of dirt there between the gravel surrounding the coop and the rock wall. Of course, in the end it will all look like dirt anyway since those chickens love scratching and kick dirt all over the place!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Southern exposure

Jeremy and I just returned from 10 days in the south, North and South Carolina to be exact. We visited as many friends and family as we could squeeze in and ate our way through each state. We had hush puppies, boiled peanuts, grits (lots of grits), tomato pudding, hash & rice, buttermilk pie, some barbeque with vinegar bbq "sauce" , some lovely seafood, and key lime pie (which apparently originated in the south). We didn't get around to having okra, really good barbeque, pecan pie (which also originated in the south), or bourbon. But I'm sure we'll be back again some day!

Some of the sites we saw:

wildlife and sculpture at Brookgreen Gardens

took us awhile to realize those alligators weren't living!

part of the irrigation works for the rice plantations that covered this area - banks were built up and then these wooden sluices could let water in or out. South Carolina had a lot of rice plantations in the 1700s and were growing and exporting tons of it.

These are "live oaks" - I'm not sure why they're named that. But they are absolutely enormous, gnarly old trees. The grey-green stuff dripping down from the branches is Spanish moss which is all over the trees in that area.

I had to play on the beach of course...

It seems a common buiding ingredient is shells, at least in sidewalks.

And a little humor...

I almost forgot! Jeremy's friend in Charleston has a great collection of strange instruments and he treated us to some hurdy-gurdy tunes. (And yes, there is a baby in the background trying to communicate with her mom. =)