Sunday, June 28, 2009

House plans

We've picked out a houseplan we like. We actually chose it a few month back. You can see it at this link. I wasn't able to copy the photo here.

We're leaning toward the cement board siding in countrylane red for the exterior. We've toyed with the idea of geothermal heating, but have decided we'll probably go with a high effeciency furnace and wood burning stove. The geo-thermal is quite an expensive up-front cost, and it looks like for us, it would take at least 10 years to break even on it.

We've been thinking about the layout for the sometime-to-be-finished basement, so that it can be at least rough plumbed and framed. We can finish it later ourselves. Looks like we'll do a full bath, bedroom, family room, playroom, craft area, storage room and office. I'll also include a cool storage area for vegetables and canned goods. Eventually I hope to have a good number of fruit trees and grow a large garden including root veggies that will store best in a cool, dark space.

For the kitchen, I would like white cabinets and a quartz countertop in some shades of gray. I'm thinking of red for an accent color. I'm excited about the island. I can see some stools there with red cushions on them. I'd also like shelves built into the side of the island for my cookbooks.

Sweet Pea is getting excited about building the house, too. Both boys have picked out their bedrooms in the floorplan already. Neither boy has said anything negative about switching schools when we move. But, I guess it's still an ambiguous point in the future, so they're not worrying about it yet.

We are trying to see if there's a way we can build sooner than our original 3 year plan. We'll see. Josh is planning to talk with abuilder he knows next week.

We bought some more arrows for the boys this weekend, since they've lost all of theirs in the meadow. Big Dog needs mosquito netting for camp, but Gander Mt and MC Sports were both out. I'll ask at scouts tomorrow what type he needs and then I guess I'll order it online.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Eating fresh

Last night I did a training session for child care providers on how children can learn through cooking. We made a few simple recipes. One was the ole' shake cream in a jar until it's butter. So, this morning I made fresh butter for my toast and topped it off with my strawberry jam. (I did use store bought bread, though I can make my own.) For lunch I decided on chicken ceasar salad to use up some leftover chicken. I picked lettuce, green onion, and spinach from my mini-garden and added some chicken and dressing and it was yummy!

I did discover it takes more than a rinse under the faucet to have clean greens though! I rinsed them under the faucet while rubbing with my fingers and still discovered some tiny bits of dirt/bugs, so I had to wipe each leaf with a paper towel to be sure they were clean.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Strawberry Jam!

Last week I decided to make strawberry jam. I grow a few strawberries in my yard, but not enough for jam, I planned to take the boys to pick some. Apparently there are too many pickers and not enough strawberries around here, so we just bought local strawberries at the fruit market.

I have never made jam before, but it wasn't too hard. It is so delicious--well worth the effort! After washing and hulling the strawberries, I pureed the strawberries.

The next step was boiling the strawberries and pectin, then adding the sugar and boiling a bit more.

Once it was done, I canned the jam using a hot water bath method and it's all done! :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pole barn siding

Yesterday Josh decided to purchase some new metal siding to replace the siding on one side of the polebarn. It had a 10'x10' door in place, but there were no tracks and it didn't function. We want to replace it with a regular size door when we have some more money. This weekend, we replaced all the metal siding on the side of the pole barn. That was so much work! We have no electricity out there, so all the cutting was by hand. I did much of the cutting with the tin snips while Josh battled the wasps and worked high on the ladders. We both worked very hard! Metal siding is not easy to cut by hand! Many hours of work yesterday and a few today and it's done! Unfortunately I forgot to bring the camera today so I'll have to post "after" photos later.

Yesterday the boys took the camera out and aroudn the property to take pictures of the wildflowers etc . . . It gave them something to do. I'll post some of them later . . . I'm too exhausted to get off the couch to download the photos.

I'm grilling steak and potatoes for dinner with German chocolate cake for Father's Day dinner this evening.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

S'more work!

Well, Sunday's visit to the property was nice! The boys and I had just returned from 3 days out of town on Saturday, and didn't have the gumption for too much physical labor. We decided to work on making a rough firepit. The previous owners had a burn pile site, so we figured we'd just go with that location. The ground was very hard in that location--lots of rocks and clay and I only had a flat edged spade to dig with. I got it dug out enough for a small fire for the afternoon. The boys drove the tractor and trailer around searching out firewood. You can see them here unloading their trailer. We found some dead branches--right in the middle of a poison ivy patch! So, we left those and found some more up by the road. Once we had our first campfire going, we made s'mores! Right in the middle of the afternoon--yummy!