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.