Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Garden Preservation Report

A little update on the garden progress.....the tick marks count as a quart bag (until tomato season kicks in....then it's usually by the quart jar) The two lonely quart bags of raspberries made it into the freezer only after I braved the 8:30pm mosquitoes to gather (sans children ;-)
I have tiny tomatoes to report....and tiny greenbeans...we're off to the races folks!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Stars and Stripes

The Fourth of July is right around the corner now (how can that be????), so in honor of that great day I finally got around to doing a project I've been thinking about since THIS project began! (And believe me it's moving slow....)

Do you know what you get when you tear down a century old ceiling (or rather a fifty year old ceiling that covers a century old ceiling? Lathe. Lots of it. Now being the thrifty gal I try to be, I can't just throw it away, now can I? My husband disagrees.
One person's trash is another's treasure, dear.

What do all these long, thin strips make you think of? Or maybe I'm the only nut that sees this. A flag!

So here we go......lay out the pieces...13 stripes on the flag.....7 red.

At this point we are just winging it....stick with me folks. I had a few short pieces (broken to be exact) so those were relegated to the "blue" portion of the flag. Tape off, cover the adjacent areas.

Spray blue. Remove tape.

Trim off unsightly (too long) ends....by hand...with a real saw, 'cause that's how I roll.
(And I was too lazy to go to the garage to use the chop saw.)
Now, flip the whole show over onto its front.

Now the fun part....the staple gun. If you don't have one I highly suggest you run out right now and purchase one. They are great fun....but be sure to buy this kind...so physics work with you and not against you. ;-)
I untwisted some inexpensive rope, used one strand and started stapling to the back.
Oh, and I think I forgot to mention, the "white" stripes are just negative space...my house is white, so it works. You could TOTALLY use more strips though and have white stripes. I wasn't able to commandeer that many pieces before they so egregiously made their way to the dumpster.

Keep stapling. I used one strand on each end and one on the blue portion.

Like this.

Blue portion....staple A LOT...it gets windy in Iowa.

Now we need a way to hang our beautiful creation. Rope, staples, you're good to go.

Hang it on the house to paint the stars. It was just easier than leaning over.

Here she is with the little "kitchen garden". No stars yet.

Once again, I tend to do things quick and dirty...I'm an instant gratification kind of girl. Projects must be squished into naptime, so we don't have a lot of time to mess around. I grabbed a sticky note, drew on a star, cut out with an exacto and VOILA, stencil (and it sticks to the flag!).

Dry brush the little stars on.
And yes, in the United States of Jen there are 33 states....I know you counted. ;-) Let's pretend the year is 1859 and Oregon was just admitted to the Union.

We're ready for the 4th! Maybe I'll try to squeeze a couple more patriotic projects in before next week.....I've got some SUPER talented bloggy friends that have me completed inspired.
I mean seriously....check out this and this!!!!
Linked to:

Randy's Mowing...The Unveil

Remember back a couple hundred years ago when I teased you with a little sign painting.....the graduate has now graduated and the present has been gifted.....so here she is. I was told the graduate enjoyed his sign....that makes me happy.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The berries are in the building. Or so I wish.....my little guys eat them faster than I can pick them!

AND...the little cherry tomato plant in my "kitchen garden" is blooming!! A little funny, considering the cherry tomatoes in the big garden haven't done anything yet. Crazy.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How to Use Fresh Cilantro

Last night I used the first bit of fresh cilantro from my kitchen garden!! I was totally inspired by my friend Kim after reading her post about herbs! I'd never thought about using it in guacamole! YUMMO!! This recipe is really good...as I'm not a HUGE fan of guac but this is so smooth and spicy and wonderful. I did didn't eat all of it myself...my husband ate a bit. ;-) I cut the recipe in half, so there wouldn't be leftovers...and I could make more fresh today!!

Mexican Guacamole
1 ripe tomato
2 limes
2-3 small ripe avocados
1/4-1 finely chopped onion (per taste)
pinch of ground cumin
pinch of chili powder
1/4-1 fresh green jalapeno
1 T. finely chopped cilantro
salt (only if using as a sauce, if using as dip with tortilla chips don't add)
Smush the avocado with the lime juice, then stir in the other ingredients. ENJOY!!

This meal is a PERFECT way to use up leftover taco ingredients. I always throw the leftover taco meat in the freezer for this quick meal later. A few organic blue corn tortilla chips, taco meat, shredded cheddar, fresh lettuce from my brother and sister in law's CSA, tomatoes and red onion....with a side of YUMMO guacamole and salsa!!! Can't wait til my tomatoes are ready...and I coerce the BEST SALSA RECIPE EVER out of my brother. ;-)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Beautiful Euphona

She's home! Thanks to a couple big strong guys, Nick and Levi (and a piano dolley. A MUST) ...this beautiful piano is now a part of our home and family.

After nearly four hours of extracting the piano from the previous owner's home, driving 40 miles and hefting it onto the porch and into the house.....

The piano has found it's new home. The spot we chose for it looks like this is what it was missing all along. It fits just perfect between the porch side door and pocket door leading to the living room.
Isn't she beautiful? I could stare at this piano all day. The stories it could tell.

I can't stop touching the keys....thinking of all the talented fingers that have played this piano for a hundred years. This piano just exudes history.

I'm even in love with the typography of the labels.

And oh how I wish the "player" worked.....we're checking into that. Thanks Michael!

I tried to get a photo of a name that is written inside the piano in pencil....it has a date of Januay 3, 1926...possibly the date of a tuning? We'll probably never know. But it adds to the story of this piano's life.

A few photos for Michael, of The Antique Piano Shop.
We're very curious about the potential for our old beauty.

The number of levers and knobs and little doors on this piano are fascinating.

More levers and knobs on the underside.
And there she is....our beautiful Euphona. Maureen (the 85 year old former owner) told Levi this was her mother's piano and that it had been imported from Germany in 1916. I'm curious about that, as it was manufactured in Chicago (in 1914 we're told). Could it have been exported and then re-imported? Hmm....
I also found out from the guys that as they were loading the piano into the truck, Maureen got teary. I am going to send her a photo of the piano in it's new home and ask her to write down it's history....as I am it's new caretaker. I'll take good care of her Maureen.

Monday, June 14, 2010

We Just Keep Bloomin'

I love summer. I love being warm. I love all the beautiful perennials in our yard. I'm a "pretend" gardener. I like to take credit for the beauty all around our home, but I don't do ANYTHING to my flowers, etc. I don't water them. I don't fertilize them. Nada. Thank you Mother Nature! We're talking pure natural selection here folks. Well I do pull a weed or two and I DID plant them...so forget that first part....I'll just take credit. ;-)

These are called Lollipop lilies, in case you're interested. Aren't they gorgeous. They showed up in a little cardboard box in the mail looking like shriveled up weeds. It's been something like four years since I planted these.....first year sleep, second year creep, third year leap! Fourth year.....GO CRAZY!

And....my little kitchen garden is coming along lovely. I snuck a tiny spinach leaf...YUMMY!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

What's a House Without a Piano?

Guess who is coming to live at our house? ;-)
I don't want to jinx it till she's safe and sound in our den....
but guess what it's got me thinking of......


I know, you can say it, I'm a sicko.....THE holiday is still six months away...

BUT a girl's got to plan ahead.
I'm going to insist the first song my little guy learns is Silent Night. ;-)

Thursday, June 10, 2010


And here it is....the entire reason we drove all the way to Kansas. How cute is this Hansel and Gretel house? Okay, I kid.....this wasn't the ONLY reason we drove to Kansas. ;-)

My husband, athlete extraordinaire, competed in the Ironman Kansas 70.3 Triathlon. For those of you unfamiliar with the insane elite sport of ultraendurance triathlons, this is what is called a "half" Ironman. A "full" Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim in open water, followed IMMEDIATELY by a 112 mile bike, followed IMMEDIATELY by a marathon...yep, 26.2 miles...running. (Actually it says in the rule book they're allowed to crawl. CRAWL?)

So, you guessed it, a "half" is half that. Still, a completely menacing amount of working out in one day. Levi did his first "full" Ironman nearly two years ago. It was a bucket list kinda thing.

He signed up, trained, did it. I was in awe.

Then he got hooked.

So here we were last weekend....in the dark, in Kansas, up at 3am to get to the race.

The water looked cold to me. Apparently it was warm.
By insane triathlete standards.

Yep, look at that chicken skin on me...I was freezing.
Levi, on the otherhand, was cool hand Luke. He was ready.

He was in race mode. It's a gaze....a far off gaze....apparently he's had it since high school....then through college track....and now.
Don't bug him when he's in race mode. You won't get a response.

There he is! Do you see him? (Me neither). But he's one of those bobbing white heads. This was one of about 20 waves of athletes. There were over 2200 competing that day.

He finished the swim....and now he's off on the bike. Go crazy Levi, go!

And the run....it was hot by then. By everyone's standards.

He's finished!! In the short amount of time of 5 hours, 48 minutes.
Now the real preparations begin......the next full Ironman is in September. He'll be ready.

Can you tell I'm a little proud?

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