Friday, 30 August 2013

Weekend Goals

What a slave have a honey-do-list on a long week-end! The fact is, though, Husband has been away working most of the summer and, now that we are living in our new house, the list is too long to take the whole weekend off. Instead, I have a modest list for us to accomplish Saturday with a day at the lake on Sunday as our reward. Our list tomorrow:

  • install mirror on dresser and hang all mirrors in bathrooms
  • mount the bedroom TV
  • install shelves in boys' rooms
  • build shelves for shoes in entryway closet
  • remove the rest of the scuff marks from the stairway (my boys' "artwork" already on my brand new walls!)
If there is time, I would love for us to bring another load over from my brother's shop:

  • eldest son's dresser (was keeping it there to strip and refinish but have decided putting clothes away is much more important and I shall refinish it when IF life returns to normal!)
  • my grandmother's cupboard (built by my uncle) which I have painted
  • Husband's tool boxes, with stud finder and drill charger
  • recycling bins
  • contents of our old "junk drawer", in hopes that the picture hooks are in it
In the midst of these tasks we also need to run to town to pick out a new NEW stove...sadly my gas range will not fit in our kitchen as it stands. It needs 6 inches clearance because it is natural gas! Who knew? Nowhere in my shopping and researching did I hear of needing certain amounts of space surrounding a gas stove. So, we have opted to return it and go with electric. I'm bummed, but I've been living here for 2 weeks with, first, no running water and now, running water but no hot water, so have been heating water on an electric hot plate and cooking on the BBQ....this is all fine and dandy but if I can have a stove that fits and works on Tuesday I AM DELIGHTED to have an electric stove! Let's roll!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Keeping Busy

A refresher: we purchased a Ready-to-Move home (RTM) and planned to move it onto family land near my parents'. A Ready-to-Move home is a completely finished home, in one piece, with no frame beneath it, that is built at a construction site and then hauled to its destination. It is painted, light fixtures and doors, cupboards, windows etc all installed. Ours did not come with appliances and we are building the attached garage on-site, although some homes come with the garage attached. In our part of Canada (AB/SK) the building boom continues despite reports of economic decline, and it is impossible--impossible--to hire contractors and all the trades out in the countryside where we now live. In the nearby city of 30,000 residents, one building suplies store told me over 900 houses are being built right now. Phenomenal. But absolutely impossible to hire trades outside city limits. We opted instead to have the actual building built in town and hauled out here. That left the basement to build, all the services to install, a road to be built, not to mention all the tree-planting and landscaping plans that we have. To sum things up: it is a pile of work but well worth it! As our RTM was being built I put the home that we were living in up for sale. You can read more about that here and here. Lucky for us, our home sold in a flash and we could move on to our next project. I have a wonderful, patient and generous family that welcomed Husband, the kids and me to live with them for the summer. It went well. Ther were moments with a three and one year old where I regretted ever putting us in such a position, but it has passed and we are in our new home and the lasting memories will be fond ones.
To pass time while the kids were sleeping, and to pass some rainy afternoons while they played inside the workshop, I busied myself with refinishing some furniture.
We purchased this old medicine cabinet at an auction sale and, with the kids along and the huge crowd there, we did not get to preview it before we were caught up in the bidding process. We bought it only to find the back was rotten. We stripped several coats of old paint, replaced the board on the back and I repainted it with a slightly distressed finish. This medicine cabinet will likely hang in our ensuite and I will update with photos when it is up. Do you refinish old furniture? Do you prefer older, repurposed pieces or would you rather shiny and new? I am finding that I like a mixture of both!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Cukes and Zukes

Normally this is a time of bounty in my own garden, but with the move this year we decided against trying to start a garden. In hindsight it was the right things to do--it was hard enough to help my mom with hers and I would never have gotten over here with the kids to do much. Luckily, my friend gave me some cucumbers and mom has too many zucchini (is there ever just the right amount of zucchini?) so I'm managing to do some pickling and thought I would share a recipe or two.

I make these sweet sliced pickles every year. We love them at Christmas with meat, cheese and crackers, and they are great in a sandwich or on a burger. I doubled my batch because my year and a half old boy devours pickles and I think we will be needing alot more this year! The Million Dollar Pickles recipe is from Jean Pare's Company's Coming: Preserves.

Million Dollar Pickles

6 cups thinly sliced cucumber, with peel

3 Tbsp coarse pickling salt

2 cups water

Place cukes in bowl. Stir salt into water until dissolved. Pour over cukes and add more water to cover. Cover and let stand overnight on counter, then drain and turn into large saucepan.

3 cups (approx) white vinegar, enough to cover cukes

2 cups sliced onion

2 green peppers, seeded and chopped

3 cups granulated sugar

1 tsp turmeric

4 1/2 oz pimiento

To cucumbers, add vinegar, onion, peppers, sugar and turmeric. Heat on medium-high, uncovered, stirring often until mixture comes just to a boil. Stir in pimiento. Using a slotted spoon, pack hot sterilized pint jars with vegetables to within 1 inch (2.5 cms) of top. Fill with hot syrup to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of top. Place sterilized metal lids on jars and screw metal bands on securely. For added assurance against spoilage you may choose to process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 4 pints.

Another wonderful recipe in the same cookbook is the Million Dollar Relish. I may use up the rest of my cucumbers in a batch--I'm waiting on my gas stove and perhaps hubby to return home and busy the children for an afternoon! If you like relish and are looking for a use for that glut of zucchini, there's a great recipe here

I receive the West Coast Seeds Newsletter , where I read the next recipe. I have not tested this, but with the amount of zukes we have hanging around I thought it would be worth a try. I'm passing it on so if you try and like it, please let me know!

1 medium zucchini, peeled, seeded, sliced less than 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) thick

1/2 cup each vinegar and water

3 Tbsp olive oil

sea salt to taste

After slicing the zucchini, soak it in vinegar/water solution overnight. Drain and pat lightly dry, then toss in olive oil with sea salt. Spread on baking sheet, sprinkle small amount more salt, and bake on lowest oven setting until crisp.

Once my gas oven is up and running I hope these will become a favorite treat for my kids, as kale chips did last year. Do you have favorite ways to use up excess zucchinis at this time of year?

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Back In The Saddle

Well, lawdy lawdy. Look who's back! My little family and I have spent the summer (what there's been of it, amidst rain and cooler temperatures) in a sort of limbo that passed the time--not unpleasantly--with quiet playdates, day-trips to the lake, and time with gramma. For a period of the summer I seemed unable to function without an afternoon nap--whether it be the grey, rainy weather or simply my lack of purpose with no home or yard of my own to care for--either way, the naps have passed and energy has returned...We are in our new house!
We "camped" here on Husband's days off--we had power but no running water--and this past Monday the kids and I began sleeping here at night. Happily, power between the well and the house was completed on Thursday and we now have the miracle of flushing toilets. The natural gas line will be brought in on Monday (the equipment is parked at the end of our driveway) and the plumbers (fingers crossed) say they will be here shortly to run the gas to all the important things like the water heater, furnace and my new gas stove. For now, I heat water for washing and we drive the 3 miles to my parents' farm for showers and baths. They have been busy silaging so we have been going over to cook the meals and bathe and coming home again to sleep. I am excited to have a chance to blog again. I continued taking pictures all summer and we have so many jobs to do this autumn in the house and yard. Watch for upcoming posts on the yard and all that we have planned. After such a long absence I fear my few readers have moved on, but I want to have a record of our progress and so I will continue. I hope you are enjoying what is left of the summer!