Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fall Already?

Waaah!
Where did the summer go?
I must say I loved this summer with only one week when the temperatures were in the 90's.  Mostly it has been pleasantly warm and sunny with a nice breeze blowing.  There were a few much-needed rainy days.  I can't remember a more enjoyable summer since I don't know when.

We've been busy painting in the addition.  WOW!  Brad and Kami have been life savers.  They are so good with the brushes and rollers that the basic wall and ceiling painting only took two day.

Brad is the king of the roller derby.


 Kami did all the trim work around the ceiling.


 Zip is revving up the reciprocating saw.
There are no pictures of me because I'm sitting on the sidelines supervising the action.
Well, not really.  I did do a little bit of the rollering but I just don't have the strength that I used to.


The job is finished!
 

 The colors look brighter than the picture.
 
This week the crew came and put the trim around the windows and doors, put locks on the French doors and installed the chimney for the wood stove in case we decide to install one.  No pictures of that yet.

Next either the flooring or the electric will be installed.  Then all that's left is the plumbing.

When we took a lunch break during the painting, we discovered this guy taking a stroll through the yard.  First turtle I've seen in our yard in several years.


This past weekend I noticed that little Miss Penny was in the catbox a lot more than normal.  I keep little styrofoam bowls handy in the bathroom so that I can take kitty urine samples when necessary.  Sure enough, she was peeing pink.  We called the vet and they were able to see her right away.  She has a recurring bladder problem when she gets stressed.  She didn't seem upset by the roadwork by our house and the work crews in the addition, but it must have affected her more than we realized.


When we got there the vet tech came out with a towel and put it over the cat carrier.  They are using 'comfort towels' to lower the stress levels of cats who come in for an exam.

It was pretty amazing!  She isn't a spazz or anything, but she does like to wander around the exam room and climb up on the shelving and hide.  This time we got her out of the carrier and put her on the towel and she lay there and purred.  She was relaxed and very cooperative all through the exam.  I was relaxed and happy too, even when I saw the bill!   It isn't supposed to work on humans, but I wonder...

The stuff they spray on the towel is called Feliway.  It mimics the pheromone that cats use to mark their favorite things.  You  who have cats know how they rub the side of their faces against things.  When they do that, they are leaving this certain scent that tells them that this is a good place or thing.


The brochure claims that Feliway will help reduce inappropriate scratching and spraying and helps reduce stress.  I don't know about the first two, but is sure did calm Penny while at the vets.

I bought a bottle for myself and Kami.  She used it on Ernie recently when an inspector came to their house to make an assessment in preparation for selling their place.  Ernie who usually races off to a hiding place as soon as someone comes to the door, remained laying on his 'comfort towel' right there in the living room.


We may have to buy this stuff by the gallon when they move here.

One last kitty thing.  A friend emailed this to me yesterday.
Was she trying to tell me something???



Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Quest (Lust) for Corn


 

Zip is a lover of corn.  It's his favorite vegetable.  You might say he's a corn-a-holic, the Corn Meister, a connoisseur of the cob, a corn wort.

The quest for fresh sweet corn starts sometime in late winter when Weis Market starts importing corn in the husk from SOMEWHERE.  Somewhere far  enough away that the corn has that held-in-refrigeration-for-who-knows-how-long taste.  Usually a disappointment, but we have to try it.  So we hold off for a week or two.  Then it's time to try again.  Eventually they get in one or two good batches.  But we keep buying.

Finally summer arrives and LOCAL corn is available.  Oh Glorious Day!!!
So we start making the rounds of the farm stands and markets.  Now where did we get that really good batch last year???  And what variety was it???  Bodacious, Incredible, Butter and Sugar, white, yellow, bicolor?

We begin to buy and try and buy some more until we have corn coming out of our ears (pun!). 
The trouble with corn is that it ages.  What was good one week will be probably be too old by next week.  But that doesn't always register with Mr. Corn.

The best way to not get snookered by aging corn is to pull the husk down a little way and LOOK at it.  Are the kernels large and waxy looking?  If so,  I don't want it.  But Zip hates to check the corn in front of the people selling it.  He says they disapprove.  It's embarrassing.  So I end up having recipes where I can hide inedible corn.  Soups, fritters, quesadillas, salsas.

But this week we were lucky and found the best corn of the season so far.  The farmer had the good sense to pick it while still young and tender.  Even I, who am usually to the point by now that I never want to see another ear of corn, loved this.

Zip wanted me to add that the name of this corn is 'Mariah', like that singer, only sweeter and more luscious.
 


 If you think humans are the only ones affected by this CORNINESS, you would be wrong.
 
Only minutes after Zip laid this bag on the table, The mania began.  I came into the kitchen and saw this.  Good grief!



 Keep plastic bags out of the reach of your children!



Let them dig in trash cans instead.


The kitties have this irresistible attraction to corn also.  They go crazy trying to get husks to chew on.  Unfortunately they barf the pieces all over the floor later.
Happiness is NO PICTURES!!!

OK, I think I've said enough on that subject.
Last week a spinning and weaving friend invited me and several like-minded women to a day of relaxation and chatting under the trees at her lovely 19th century farm house.  The weather was beautiful, the company was great, everyone had a nice time.

I took some dog hair to card, but never got it out of the basket.  As usual I was too busy talking.
Our hostess using her Canadian production wheel.  At least I think that's what it is.


Taking the spun yarn off the bobbin and putting it on the niddy noddy to be finished.


Spinning and knitting.


Their lovely vegetable garden and pond.  Oh no, I don't see a cornstalk anywhere!


Thanks for stopping by and putting up with my foolishness.
And go out and get yourself some really yummy corn-on-the-cob!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Just Peachy

This past weekend Hollabaugh's Orchard near Biglerville PA held their annual Peach Fest.

They featured alive band each day, lots of good food made with peaches, and a lovely selection of fruit and veggies for sale.

We went on Sunday to see a band called The Willys who were supposed to be bluegrass and classic rock.  They were heavier on the classic rock which was OK with me.  Zip kept mumbling that he thought he was going to be listening to bluegrass.




We had yummy fresh peach sundaes for lunch.  Somehow it got eaten before I even thought of taking a picture.

There were dozens of varieties of peaches to choose from.  These are the best of the crop.


And then here are the bargain bins where I usually get my peaches.  There were so many people gathered around filling their bags that I had no desire to fight for my fruit.  Zip and I decided to go back another day through the week to make our purchases.


The baked goods made with fresh peaches really looked yummy.  There again, we decided to wait because the checkout lines were a mile long.  I really hated to pass up the kettle corn.



I don't know how I managed to get a shot of some produce bins without people in the way.  They had some lovely yellow watermelons.


A visit to the orchard isn't complete without a view of the trees from which all these delicious peaches are harvested.   The trees in the foreground are apple and the ones up farther on the hill are the peaches.



On the home front, work has slowed down on the addition.  Or maybe the changes just aren't as dramatic.  The basic wiring and plumbing is done.

The drywall being unloaded.


 The French doors are installed.


 I don't know where along the walls we are going to have room for cupboards and dressers, there are so many electrical boxes all over the place.  Switch plates, thermostats, receptacles every six feet and the electric baseboard heat.  This is Zip's bedroom.


 This is the laundry/storage area.  We are keeping the original outside wall with the wood siding and painting it to match.


The drywall is now hung but still needs finishing.  The crew was supposed to come yesterday but didn't show up.  No sign of them today either.  Where are you, guys???

We are finally getting some much-needed rain.  It will be nice to see green grass instead of brown.
That's all for now.  Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Amazing What Can Be Done In A Week

It's 6:45 a.m. on Monday morning.  The construction crew just arrived for another week of work.

They really worked hard this past week.
We now have a structure that looks like a house, complete with roof and siding.


This is the side that faces the street.  The double windows are in Zip's bedroom and the small window is the bathroom window.  Kinda looks like a mobile home with the roofing trailer sitting there in front. The Addition on Wheels!


The mud room/laundry attaches the two sections to each other.  We'll be able to back the car up to the door to unload groceries and take them right into the kitchen.  I can't wait till I can plant  something in that area. Seeing that little area looking so bare makes me want to put in a trellis for a vine and lots of ferns and hostas.

This is the back side of the house.  The kitchen is to the left and is the width of the main house.




You may ask why we put our entry door and porch on the side away from the street.
The large open space under the porch roof is where my French doors will be.  I've always wanted French doors somewhere in my house but in the old part of the house there was nowhere that they would fit in.  In the new part, they are perfect.
And when Zip is sitting on the porch and I am sitting inside looking out (while weaving, etc.!) I want to be able to gaze on this instead of the neighbors across the street.


We had the guys put siding on the kitchen area so we don't ever have to scrape and paint the wooden siding again.  They made nice new doors to replace the old uninsulated wooden ones.



The scaffolding they use is amazing.  Just two tall aluminum posts.  You can see the bottom of one end in the above picture.  Between the posts there are two levels of narrow aluminum stages that they walk on and put their supplies on.

And what holds this up with only two aluminum posts on the ground???

These two little antennas at either end.  Nailed to the roof.  In this case these are not even nailed to the new roof.  They are nailed down at the other end only where they are still working on the old roof.  It looks scary to me!


No kitty pictures this time.  They spend a lot of the day under furniture trying to avoid the blasting of the nail guns and the whine of the saws.
Reggie is the only one who seems interested in watching while they work.  He wants in the new area in the worst way.  He goes from the nearest window to the door, tries the doorknob and ruminates about ways to get out there.  Once the French doors are in place, I will be able to let them explore under supervision.

They know the instant the guys take their breaks or go to lunch or leave for the day.  They everyone comes out and goes to the windows to view the progress.  They are much less intimidated than we expected.

Guess I better get out there and start supervising the work.  Ha-ha!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Progress


The middle of summer is here and our night blooming cereus is ready to put on it's show.
When I was a child, this was an event at my grandmother's house.  She had a huge plant potted in a large galvanized washtub.  There were sometimes forty or fifty buds on the monster which was about 5 feet high.  My father's family would all come to visit and we stayed extra late to see the amazing flowering.

I don't have room for such a huge plant so I keep mine pruned back to window-sill size.  And I'm perfectly happy with just a few blooms on a summer night.  The picture was taken about 10 p.m. with a flash.  The blooms are about six inches across.

Mid summer is also zucchini time.  They are growing like weeds and get to the size of a caveman club before you know it.  We try to pick ours young and of medium size, but it's hard to keep up with them without harvesting daily.

I love squash dipped in batter and fried in butter.  I could eat a ton of it but have to use restraint.  This year I decided to try getting the same kind of flavor with a slightly less caloric recipe.   This is my version of zucchini pancakes.

1 medium zucchini, finely shredded and squeezed to remove most of the water
2 eggs
1 T. oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian herb blend
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup Bisquick (or flour with 1/4 tsp. baking powder)

Shred the zucchini either by hand or in the food processor.


Squeeze out as much water as possible.


Mix all ingredients together.  The batter should stick to the zucchini and mound up on a spoon.  If it seems too runny, add more Bisquick.  If it seems too stiff to spread out on the griddle, let it sit for about 5 minutes and it will start to loosen up.


 Drop heaping spoonfulls onto a griddle or frying pan sprayed with cooking oil.


Fry till golden grown on bottom, then flip and do the other side.
Dig in!
One batch makes about eight pancakes.


When the workers left on Friday the foundation walls were finished and they had filled the dirt back in against the foundation.

Yesterday they brought lumber to start the framing.  By the end of the day, we had WALLS!

Our contractor is a young Amish man.  The Amish have elevated this building thing to a science.
They started by putting in the floor joists and covering it with plywood.  Then to my amazement, they unloaded the wall pieces from a flatbed trailer.  The walls had all been constructed last week in their shop and all they had to do was lift them up, sit them in place and fasten them together.  And everything fit perfectly!

The first piece in place.



Zip's bedroom walls.



Continuing on.



Almost finished.

We are having the outside of the kitchen sided and re-roofed at the same time so it all looks like it fits together.  You can see how badly the outside kitchen walls need to be re-done.


Being a person who is afraid of heights, the way these men walk around on the tops of the walls just amazes me.

The roof trusses on the flatbed truck.

Today they put the trusses in place and applied the plywood and black roofing paper.
The interior wall studs are done.  A few windows are in.
Things are moving along really well.  It's looking like a house.

I didn't take pictures today because it was so blasted hot that I didn't even want to go out in the late afternoon.  But hopefully will get some tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by.