Monday, June 22, 2009

Cooking in the kitchen

It's not 100% there yet (Paul still has to hook up water to the fridge, re-install the dishwasher, and make everything pretty again), but we have the bookcase out of the kitchen, the extra cabinets hung, and everything is put away enough that I am looking forward to cooking dinner at home every night this week!!

We've had a few meals at the new house, but with the kitchen overrun with moving paraphenalia, tools, and painting supplies, it hasn't been easy to maneuver for actual food preparation. But no more! This week, we will use 100% of the CSA food, and it will be yummy and healthy and money-saving.

It's a good thing, too, because next week starts Whip It Up 2009, and with all the new stuff we'll be cooking to utilize our CSA veggies, it would be a shame to not participate! The latest recipe posted on Shared Earth Farm's recipe site is Kohlrabi Cakes, so I'm wondering if we'll be getting some kohlrabi tonight. If so, I hope we also get enough spring onions for the recipe! Hannah's home alone this week, so maybe if there's not enough spring onions once we divide them, she'll come over for dinner so we can combine forces, because those Kohlrabi Cakes sound pretty yummy!!

In other news, we slept in our new (to us) queen-sized bed in our master bedroom for the first time last night!! It was pretty sweet. Slightly marred by the fact that Paul had to stay up late to finish his extra credit, so all we could do after that was fall into bed and curse the alarm clock at 7:00 this morning for not letting us have a full night's sleep. BUT it's all OK, because I think the graphing and everything really clicked for Paul, and I always enjoy seeing that lightbulb go on, even when I haven't been the one to flip the switch. I think I provided some much-needed moral support. And BONUS: I got to re-learn the Unit Circle. Math is fun!!

Still taking lots of pictures, and still don't have the stuff to actually get any off of my camera and onto here. But next weekend is IT for the apartment, we want to finish moving out the last of the little junk, clean, and then I will have no excuse to avoid posting all the pictures. Soon! In the mean time, why don't you just stop by and visit? Seeing things in person is always better anyway. And I can feed you strawberries!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Slugs & Marshmallows

I have decided that slugs are the cutest bug.

In the various types of leafy greens we've been getting from our CSA Shared Earth Farm, there are always a few stowaways. I've found them hanging out in my fridge after storing the unwashed lettuce for days; swimming (just floating, actually) in the bowl of water after washing my greens, crawling up the side of the same bowl, and just hanging out on the leaves.

I always take them outside, because they're just too cute to kill. I love their little eye stalks that poke out at different angles, and retract if they touch anything! It's so adorable. Sometimes I let them crawl around on my hand for a while before I toss them out into the grass.

For some reason it doesn't even gross me out to realize that, in all likelyhood, I've eaten a little extra protein over the last couple of weeks. I wash the lettuce thoroughly, but still find one or two additional little guys after I'm done using it for the evening, so probably one made it onto my sandwich last night, for example, or into my stirfry last week. Oh well. As long as I don't taste it or feel it go down, no harm done!

Last night, Paul and I learned about slugs from Wikipedia. I especially liked the info on how slugs procreate. Enjoy!

If you do not feel quite like I do about the slugs in my fresh greens, and if I have you over to dinner this summer, don't hesitate to let me know. We can work it out. And then I'll know to not enthusiastically show you my findings while I'm washing the lettuce before dinner.

In other news, despite being a curious person (couldn't you tell with the slugs?), I have managed to go my entire life thus far without ever having witnessed what happens to a marshmallow in a microwave. I've heard about it, but never tried it for myself. Well, last night, I decided I wanted a s'more, and the only easily available method of warming my marshmallows was the microwave, so I've finally remedied this huge deficit in my life experience. It was quite fun! My only complaint is that the marshmallows inflated and melted without actually getting very warm, so they didn't melt the chocolate a whole lot. It was enough, though, so Paul and I had an enjoyable dessert.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Paint

Still no pictures, sorry folks. I do have a lot to post. Soon...now that we have passed the big painting weekend, Paul and I are going to still be working really hard (there's still a lot to finish), but we won't be pulling the same late nights and feeling stressed.

Friday night we stayed up way to late to finish scraping, washing, and masking everything we wanted to have ready for Saturday. Kelly & Reed got there at 9:00 as promised, followed by the Virginia crew around noon, and they were all amazing - everyone worked together to mask off and paint the master bedroom, living room, and prime the bare plaster in the dining room.

Oh, and I successfully rid us of the big, heavy, green bird bath in our side yard - another freecycle success story! Someone picked it up on Saturday morning.

What I just summed up in one sentence actually took us the entire day, but we rewarded ourselves with a lovely picnic all evening and into the night - it was so much fun. There was lots of yummy food, thanks to my mom making a couple of salads, and Kelly helping me throw together some sloppy joe for the crock pot, and one huge trip to the grocery store on Friday for various chips, dips, and veggies. We all started out in the back yard on the camp chairs everyone brought along, and later moved into the car port where it was less buggy. Paul and Chris stocked the old fridge in the shed with lots of beer, and I tried my hand at sangria for the first time - it turned out really well! As a bonus, I was able to use a bottle of wine that I had never opened because I knew it wasn't going to be very good. Well, when you add brandy, cointreau, orange juice, lemon juice, and gingerale, it doesn't matter if your bottle of red wine isn't super delish on its own. Yum! I'm going to make that again very soon.

Sunday we took the remaining two Virginians to breakfast, then stopped by Lowe's for some additional supplies. With the expert paint sprayers having already headed back to VA, we decided we weren't talented enough to try spraying on our own, and opted to roll instead. Paul and I had seen a friend of ours using a paint roller with a tube that sucks the paint out of the can and feeds the roller automatically, and we were surprised and delighted to find it at Lowe's for only $25!! So we grabbed that and a few of the special roller covers (same thing as usual but with holes in the tube so the paint can come out from inside), and headed home to keep painting.

Hannah came over, we put the first coat on the dining room, and painted the one wall in the living room. Then we went for smoothies. After that we put a second coat on the dining room and one living room walls, and our friends headed home. Paul and I put a second coat on most of the bedroom, but ran out of paint, so we plan to finish that tonight and touch up a few places in the living room. Then we'll peel lots of masking tape, paint the bottom half of the dining room, and I'll get started on the trim later this week. I'll save the baseboard trim, though, until Paul gets the carpets ripped up to expose that lovely wood floor! Otherwise the paint won't cover all of the trim - even now you can see a previous layer of paint if you look closely by the carpet line.

*whew* what a weekend. But it feels good to know that our house is really on the road to becoming our home! We have to be out of our apartment by the end of June, and I think my goal of actually getting our house mostly set up by the end of June is do-able. I can already tell that we are going to be SO happy here! The little party we had on Saturday night was so wonderful and comfortable and happy. Knowing that I OWN the place where we were able to gather comfortably, and so I'll be able to have lots more parties like that in the near future! I love the little community of friends we have in this area. I'm so happy right now. Aaaaaah...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

House Tidbits

Sorry all, I have lots of picture on my camera but no way to get them onto the computer at the moment. Priority for now is washing walls and painting trim so we're ready for this weekend's big paintfest!

The living room boarder is now 100% removed, as of about 9:30 last night. Paul and I started on the dining room walls, removing big glops of glue using vinegar water and plastic scrapers, but there's still quite a way to go - two passes of vineger water + scraping followed up with a sponge still leaves some definite rough glue patches on the otherwise smooth plaster, so we're not sure what our next step should be.

In other painting plans, I've decided to spend this evening cleaning the trim in the master bedroom and living room so that I can mask and paint the trim tomorrow, starting in the master bedroom. That way, I won't have to mask anything but around the windows, because if I get paint on the walls it will just get covered up with the wall paint on Saturday. I think this is going to save a lot of time and masking tape. So tonight before going home to clean, a trip to Lowe's is in order.

I also plan to make potato kale soup for dinner, since we got a pound of kale in our first CSA share yesterday, and it's already looking wilty in the fridge. We brought over most of the kitchen utensils on Sunday, and I put them all away, so all I need to grab from the apartment is a few spices and some olive oil, potatoes, and chicken broth. Should be a relatively easy meal for the first cooked in our new kitchen! Then carrot cake for dessert, and maybe a mojito to use up the mint, also from the CSA. Add Rum, sugar, and limes to the get-from-apartment list!

We've decided to put away our Linens N' Things dishes that chip when you look at them wrong, and recruit the Farberware sets that Paul's Aunt Nancy got for us, but that we hadn't opened yet. I tested out our little apartment-sized dishwasher by loading it with all those dishes, plus some Cascade powder, and discovered that the dishwasher doesn't do a good job of rinsing anything in the very back. I could use liquid detergent instead, but then I worry that it still wouldn't be rinsed, but I wouldn't be able to tell they way I can when I see the white remains of the Cascade powder. I guess for now I'll just try to not load the back, and give a quick rinse in the sink to anything that needs it. Anyone else have experience with inefficient apartment dishwashers?

Yesterday I brought over all my plants from the apartment, and tonight I will get to use some of my basil, which is good because it needs to be pinched off so it can keep getting more bushy. Even more exciting, Paul mowed the lawn yesterday evening! It was great. We have a lawnmower! While he did that, I pulled out the old, dead growth left hiding the new growth in a mystery plant in front of our lamp post, and it looks much nicer now. There's a spot that needs a plant right at the corner between the lamp post and the driveway, where I plan to put one of the plants from the random garden patch that we're going to remove from the side yard.

Then I went to dead-head the spent roses from my three awesome rosebushes, and discovered that they have a pretty hard-core infestation of aphids. I read online today that the aphids don't really hurt the roses, they just look unattractive, so we'll see. I could mostly cure that problem by hosing the roses down, but that's not good for them in the spring when they're blooming profusely, PLUS I think they also have black spot, which means I should keep the roses as dry as possible, and hosing them down would spread the black spot problem and make it worse. So I'm not sure what to do! One site mentioned baking soda and water, so I might try that, and also just thinning out the roses so there's better airflow and they can stay drier so the black spot can't keep spreading. Boo for fungus. It's making the blooms die more quickly, and just look sickly in general. But luckily they still look great from a distance!

I feel dead tired at the end of each day, and washing walls etc. is still not any fun, but so far I'm enthusiastic enough about OUR HOUSE that it's all been happy work. And I think after this coming weekend, we'll feel really satisfied and richly rewarded for our work. Then the only major job before really moving in and settling down will be lifting the carpet and tack strips to expose the wood floors! And, of course, getting some polyurethane down on the wood, but we might wait a while before doing that.

I will eventually post pictures...I'm taking lots of them!
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