Tuesday, September 9, 2014

a pear by any other name...

So we have a ginormous pear tree in our backyard. It is full of green pears. Squirrels are enjoying the crunchy pears. Us, not so much. I've done a lot of googling on how to ripen pears. I've asked everyone I know who might know how to ripen pears. 

I've heard a lot of things:
  • Pick them all on Labor Day.
  • Set them on cardboard in the basement to ripen.
  • Don't pick too soon.
  • Don't pick too late.
  • They must be chilled before the ripening process will start.
  • Put them by ripe bananas.

My head is spinning from all the pear ripening information and I still am lacking one ripe pear.
Maybe our tree is a dud.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

mark the mason

Mark Weaver of Mark's Masonry in Grafton did a great job on bricking in the upstairs door frame and the complete removal of the chimney. It was a very reassuring to us that the mason Dennis referred us to already knew about our leaning chimney from the grade A contractor we recieved a quote from on the entire roof job. Said contractor had already contacted Mark to see about subcontracting the job. While we could in no way afford the contractor, we were happy to hire Mark.
He is an older gentleman who comes in a huge shiny black dually with a huge golden retriever in the passenger seat. Mark used the bricks from the chimney for the door frame and did such a great job you can barely tell the door was there. He even left a stack of bricks neatly on the side of the house and told me to call him when I was ready to have the milk box bricked up. I love the milk box, but if I ever change my mind I will call him.
First picture taken immediately after chimney removal but before new roof.

After new roof. My fears of the thousand pound chimney collapsing are long forgotten.

Monday, August 18, 2014

my "old" man

(This post is in honor if my sweet father. The best compliment my mother gives me is when she laments, "You're exactly like your father!" I am so blessed to still have him here even if he is usually all the way down in The Villages, FL, that den of iniquity. He planned to assist us all summer long on our rehab but it didn't quite work out as planned when my mother dislocated her hip.)

My old man can wear a dust mask and frighten his granddaughter.
My old man can pick out wood that is straight with few knots.
My old man knows how to drill out a lock set with stripped heads.
My old man can parallel park a 12ft trailer.
My old man asks when he needs advice regarding tacking baseboards to structural terracotta.
My old man is particular about baseboards being plumb.
My old man can cart his youngest grandson to his baseball games and keep meticulous score.
My old man can fund a roof project.

My old man CAN NOT lift an 800 pound furnace and load it into a trailer.
My old man will not sand lead paint.

My old man will drop everything when his partner of 45 plus years needs him by her side.

I love you Dad.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

freezer meal exchange group experiment, or if I ever see another stuffed shell it will be too soon.

My darling husband nominated me for a freezer meal group starting up among his fellow school teachers. I'm not sure this makes much sense as he and a couple of our children are super picky and don't eat any vegetables. Most freezer meals are casserole or slow cooker type with everything put in the container already. But I'll try almost anything once.
So this time I am doing Thanksgiving Shells.

Recipe to follow. Makes approximately 40 shells. So I had to do this THREE times.
15 lb turkey or 2 rotisserie chickens (deboned/deskinned/cooked)
2 boxes of corresponding stuffing prepared as directed
4 roast potatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1 box cooked jumbo shells prepared as directed

To make: mix chopped meat, stuffing, diced roast potatoes, and broth in LARGE pan (I used large roasting pan.) Stuff shells to overflowing. Place shells on cookie sheet so they are not touching and cover with wax paper. Freeze then place 8 each into 5 Ziploc bags.

To serve: place shells in an 8x8 ovenproof dish. Spoon store bought gravy on top of shells. Seal tightly with foil. Bake at 350 degrees until hot. Serve with a side of green beans or corn and a big green salad.

Friday, July 11, 2014

nursing is going goodbye

I just nursed my sweet girl to sleep for what is likely the last time. Nighttime nursies have been few and far between and we'll be apart for five days next week while she spends some time out on the farm.
My sweet bold confident girl, I am so thankful to be your Mommy.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

the mission team, or why you should look a gift horse in the mouth

A few months back, I was told we had the opportunity to have a mission team come work on our house for a week. After much hemming and hawing and discussion and planning and figuring and collection, they have started their work today. They are supposed to be here 3 days this week and the project is the garage roof.
We have about 5 weeks til move in and still a mountain of work. Kevin wanted them to help with the inside of the house to help us meet our deadline but we were told it was a roofing crew and the only thing they could do was roofs. He went over to meet them this morning and our roofing crew is 2 guys who seem to know what they are doing and...8 high school girls. 8 high school girls who have been putting in roofs for "years".
Sigh, Kevin is slightly frustrated.
The weather today has not been the greatest for roofing. 2 short torrential downpours. And guess what? They are now helping with paint prep. They should not discount them because they are young. Their skills do stretch beyond roofing.
I am grateful to these young ladies who have sacrificed a small portion of their summer to help a stranger.
Now I have to pick a paint color...in a hurry. But I have to do it carefully because I will likely be looking at it for the next 10 years.
What do you think of this?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

abc windows and more

26 windows were replaced at the beginning of April. 
26 times the cost of one custom made pop in replacement double hung window is...a lot. 

Overall ABC Windows and More gets high marks. It's not their fault it's difficult to caulk neatly between vinyl and brick. However, the mystery of the window weights lingers. Those sell easily for $10 a piece and supposedly ours were cut off and sealed into the walls. 

Hmmmm, 26 windows times 2 times 10 is...a lot.