"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Productive Weekend

If you think weekends are for kicking back in your favorite recliner with a cool drink, you wouldn't have enjoyed being here this weekend. We accomplished so much over the past two days. Here's a bit of what we did.

Early Saturday morning we were back at the woodpile. This is how much we had left to chop when we started Saturday.

This is how much more wood we had chopped last night. We completed one entire row from yesterday's starting point.

And this is what it looked like when we finished - another full row. There were about 4 cords in all that were chopped and stacked.

Gotta love that log splitter. We ended up with a good batch of kindling too.

On to the next project - improving the driveway and making a sidewalk for my in-laws. My husband borrowed his employer's loader and began by scraping and leveling the spot.

This is what it looked like after leveling.

He went and picked up a load of sand for our first project - the sidewalk. We had to shovel it since we didn't want to cover the driveway with sand.

We measured out the paving stones, set them in place, leveled them and filled between with sand. We hosed off the pavers and soaked the sand so it would settle. The stepping stones are very solid and level.

We used the sand to build up the area to make sure the sidewalk would be higher than the ground around it so water run off the sidewalk area. Hopefully they won't have a problem with ice build up here.

After we finished the sidewalk, my husband brought a load of rock for the parking spot and leveled it out.

There was an old honeysuckle bush that needed to be removed, so we used the loader to pull it.

Here's what it looked like in the end. My in-laws park their 5th wheel camper here all summer. This will be a nice level place out of the mud for them.

I think it turned out really well. After this, my husband and I headed to the town 100 miles away to do some grocery shopping and look at flooring. We are in the process of moving our doublewide trailer from North Carolina to Wyoming. Sounds fun, huh? There's a lot more to it than I thought, but it is coming along nicely. Anyway, we're planning to replace all of the flooring, and to paint almost every room while we have the flooring out, so this is going to be quite a project. The home is 2,400 square feet. We went to Home Depot to see what our flooring options were and think we've made a reasonable choice. You'll have to wait to see what that is though :) I'm sure I'll be blogging my way through all the renovations and why we decided to move it at a later date. We had a nice dinner together and made it home around 11:30 pm, making for a very long day.

After church Sunday it was time for more jelly-making. Chokecherry was the flavor of the day. We had enough juice for four batches - each one making about 4 1/2 pints. I didn't count.

This jelly was super easy. Boil 5 cups of juice with a packet of Sure Gel. When it comes to a full rolling boil, add 7 cups of sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil again and boil at that point for a full minute. Pour into sterilized jars, put lids on and flip upside-down for 5 minutes. Easy, right?

We're still waiting to see if it will set up. We may have syrup instead of jelly. When we were cooking it, the jelly seemed more jelly-like than the Oregon grape had, and the bubbles I had skimmed off set up like jelly should. But the jars were taking their time. Hopefully we will end up with jelly. But otherwise, syrup is tasty too :)

After all this, my husband climbed up on the roof of his parents' two story house and tightened all the screws on their metal roof, and then cleaned the chimney for them. We also had morning and evening church, and the church service at the nursing home in the afternoon. Overall, it was a good weekend with a lot accomplished.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Daunting Task

Tonight we went over to my in-laws to help with some wood they needed split and stacked.

This is the pile that awaited us. This is only about half the load they had received, but they'd been working on it a little at a time.

This is the inside of their woodshed. The shed is already about half full of split and stacked firewood. The stuff at the very back has been there roughly 30 years - they just keep putting new wood in front of it and never work all the way to the back.

Thankfully they have a log splitter. My husband worked tonight carrying big logs over to the splitter while his dad ran the splitter.

Then I took the split logs and stacked them in the shed. I'm sure glad they have the splitter. Doing this by hand like we used to is a BIG job.

Everyone pitched in. My 6 year old wanted to help so we had him carry logs over to his dad to be placed on the splitter. He was thrilled to get to help.

We only made a small dent in the pile before dinner time. We took a little time to sit outside in the beautiful fall weather before heading in to dinner. The cottonwood trees were so pretty!

Here are my in-laws with our youngest. And the "hairy granddaughter" Princess. (This picture is a hoot. Princess is lined up perfectly with a water bottle, making it look like she's wearing a party hat.)

We had a delicious dinner which I neglected to take a picture of. But I will share a couple of recipes. First, the blue cheese dressing recipe:

Bugga's Blue Cheese Dressing
Mix together the following items:
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. sour cream
6 oz. Boar's Head crumbled blue cheese
1 T. vinegar
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Make this and you'll never want the store bought stuff again. (And by the way, "Bugga" means grandma. My mother-in-law's first grandson came up with that one day when they were driving past her house. He was barely able to talk at the time, but said "That's Bugga's house" or something of the sort. She's been Bugga to all of her grandchildren ever since.

The second recipe is hers as well. It's what we had for dinner tonight, and I guarantee it is wonderful.
Bugga's Swiss Steak
Dredge cheap steaks of your choice through flour and seasonings of your choice. Brown in oil, drain, then simmer a couple of hours together with lots of sliced onions, 1 can stewed tomatoes, 1 can Mexican stewed tomatoes, 1 can tomato sauce and as much liquid as you like - water. Add chili powder to taste. Serve over boiled potatoes. Simple and spectacular.

We're going back over tomorrow for more wood splitting and to work on a sidewalk path and parking space. Then Sunday we will make jelly.