Hobby Adventures Part II

I have been thinking a lot about some of the new hobbies I would like to try out. Luckily, many of them either do not require a huge investment into supplies, we already have the supplies, or someone we know has the supplies which we can borrow.

Two posts back I wrote about my first attempt at photography. I have been playing with the camera, mostly taking pictures of Fargo and sunsets.

Some are pretty terrible.

blurry fargo pic

Some are pretty good.

faro face

fall sunset

I mentioned that I had crocheted, but I have never knitted beyond a few rows of basic knit/pearl. When I visited my parents, I looked through some of my mom’s MANY bins and bags of yarn and found some I like. I think I will try some sort of smaller shawl/scarf type item.

yarn

I would like to try and build a piece of furniture. We have most of the tools necessary, or we have access to them. This past summer we planned to build a pergola. Actually, hubby was mostly planning it, but I think I would like to be more involved if possible. But I also want to try and build shelves, or something for the kitchen, or a potting table, or something to go under the pergola.

Maybe something like this.

I would like to try and refinish an older piece of furniture. My father-in-law refinished many pieces in his time, and I love them all. The issue with both building and/or refinishing, is where to do this. Between the dust and the fumes, I’m not sure we have an appropriate space. Maybe we need to spend a few weeks really working on the garage…

messy garage 1

messy garage 2

Ok, maybe it might take a few months. And then I think our first furniture project will be this one.

My father-in-law gave us directions on how to build a quilting frame. This could be a two in one project, building something and then use it to making a quilt. I like this pattern, but would likely wait until I can enlist the help of my youngest, the artist, to come up with the color combination.

I did a ton of baking the past few days and we canned another batch of peppers. We’ll continue to work on updating the house, the master bedroom is on the list for this winter. Of course there is always dishes, laundry, playing with the crazy puppy, raking leaves, etc, but I’m excited to add a few of these new projects to the list.

Oh, and does rescuing another dog fall under the “hobby” category?

 

 

 

 

Catching Up

It’s been an interesting few weeks, and the longest number of days between posts since I started this blog about 9 months ago. We have said some temporary and more permanent good-byes, and saying good-bye is hard. There has been a lot going on with garden veggie processing, baking, Fargo-ing, kitchen updating and some running. There has not been enough going on with cleaning, organizing, weeding…but really, when is that list ever done?

Also, blogging is fun, but it’s hard work. I’m pretty sure I’ve had Blogger’s Block (is that a thing?). The process of coming up with ideas for posts, taking and editing pictures, and putting words together has seemed like too much time and energy…until today.

I have done a lot of baking, mostly to gift to others, but I’ve been baking the old favorites and not adventuring into new recipes. The most recent thing I baked was Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread, also an old favorite, but maybe new since the blog.

pupmkin bread

Though I generally follow the recipe, I have tweaked it quite a bit, using hubbard squash just for starters. I also cut the sugar down by one cup and use a cup of white sugar and a cup of brown. I use 1/2 cup applesauce in substitution for 1/2 of the oil. I use 1/2 white wheat flour instead of all white. I leave out the cloves, which I do for most recipes that call for cloves. I finish it off by adding semi sweet chocolate chips because everything is better with chocolate.

I spent a few hours over the weekend making fresh salsa, now that we finally have a few ripe tomatoes. I added onion, cucumber and peppers (green and Hungarian Hot Wax) from the garden, locally grown corn (more on that in a minute), a little vinegar, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper. Hubby said it was the best ever.

fresh salsa

In the top left corner of the salsa, you can just see a plastic bag full of many ears of corn. That bag is actually the second bag of corn our neighbors gave us. Here is a picture of the first bag.

bag o corn

Although I didn’t actually count, I believe we husked, steamed, cooled and sliced (for freezing) around 6 dozen ears. Thank you wonderful neighbors!

And, to top off the weekend, for the first time in our homeowner lives, we have an over the stove microwave. Thanks to the hubby for his hours of work on this baby!

microwave

Although it made good sense on its own, especially given that the current unit is 20 years old, there was some ulterior motive. We are hoping that we can use the space our current microwave is sitting on for more baking room.

I will stop there for now. Happy Monday to all!

Rain Barrel

It was a pretty darn dry summer, and it was super stinky hot too. We have talked a few times about getting a rain barrel to help supplement the water we use for food crops, and this year we got one. In researching rain barrels, we saw images of some with beautiful paintings on them.

Given that we have amazing artists in the family, and the one who excels in painting was going to be home for a month, it seemed a shame to leave the rain barrel in its plain state.

Here are some images of the rain barrel project.

Base coat:

20160821_190036

Fargo supervised:

20160822_175354

Adding some background:

20160824_205621

Looking amazing already:

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Finished and we LOVE it!

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Yard art at its FINEST!

 

 

 

Beautiful New Fence!

It has been a long time since I posted about ripping down our old disintigrating garden fence, \which the hubby designed and built and I loved, in preparation for a new one. In the interim, there has been much planning/research/design/purchasing and there have been lots of things going on that have kept it from actually getting built.

We typically spend a good chunk of Memorial Day Weekend planting the garden. This time around, during Memorial Day, the soil was ready (once we got Fargo to let us broadfork his new favorite spot) and the pathways were cleared:

soil ready

soil ready 2

And the plants were ready:

veggies ready

The peppers were so ready they had flowers and…peppers!

pepper flowers

baby peppers

I mean, these veggie starts are SCREAMING to be planted. Given that we share space with bunnies, deer, groundhogs, etc. where we live, I would have bet money that planting without a fence would have meant disappearing veggie plants within a day or two.

As of yesterday evening, we have a fence!! I have to admit, I was worried about whether I would like it. I knew what the plan was, but I just couldn’t decide if I thought it was a good plan. I can honestly say…I LOVE IT! I think the hubster did an absolutely amazing job with the design and construction (even through rain).

finished fence

There are some finishing touches that still need to be added, and I think we will eventually relocate the gate. The plan was to do that right away, but it got scrapped for the sake of getting the project finished. But I truly think it is beautiful.

I think the bluebirds agree and will be happy the construction is finished:

bluebird

I’m not sure Fargo approves, however.

poor fargo

 

Dogwood

Apparently, weeks of abnormally dry weather, followed by weeks of ridiculously wet weather makes for an incredibly beautiful dogwood. It is truly one of the highlights of Spring each year, but this year it deserves its own post.

early dogwood

 

fargo dogwood

dogwood close

dogwood

I try to spend time looking at it to balance out the amount of weeds I look at during the MANY hours I’ve spent weeding during the last few weeks. The dogwood makes me happy!

 

Beauty of Spring

Although I have only run once since Sunday, and if I went and changed right this very minute I’d have time to do a short run this morning, it’s not happening. Maybe I will run after work? In the meantime, I am looking back at pictures I have taken over the past two weeks and realizing how much I love the beauty of Spring. If I’m going to be honest, I must add that I’m not a fan of spring allergies.

Fargo and I have spent a ton of time outside this week. I weed, he spies on the neighbors and poses for pictures.

fargo tulips

He knows everything that goes on next door!

fargo spying

This dogwood tree made a great backdrop for prom pictures.

fargo dogwood

Sometimes Fargo needs to rest…while I continue to weed…

fargo resting

This bleeding heart looked rough after the late frost, but has really recovered nicely.

bleeding heart

It was cold and rainy yesterday and it’s supposed to stay that way for a while. We needed the rain, for sure, but there is still so much outside work to do. Of course, there’s quite a bit of inside work to do as well, since I’ve been ignoring the inside list for the outside list…

 

Lamb’s Ear

Do NOT let it get out of control…like this…

lambs ear

It takes forever to do this…

ripping lamb's ear out of garden

That pile is the base of an old butterfly bush (invasive, do not plant) and the lamb’s ear from about 1/3 of one perennial bed. Great way to work the hammies and make them sore to balance out the OUCH in my quads from the Half.

Love/Hate Relationship

I have a love/hate relationship with my perennial beds. Right now, I’m leaning more towards hate. They are SO MUCH WORK!! For whatever reason, the past two years, the grass and the lambs ear have been attempting a coup.

It’s all lambs ear!!!!! Last year I ripped the lambs ear out of the closer half, and you’d never know it.

lambs ear

I was late in removing the old growth from the front beds, saved it for last, because I worry about Fargo being out front, near the road. And because I didn’t want to see all of the grass and the weeds hiding under last year’s dead flowers.

old growth

Fargo was quite helpful, as usual.

Fargo always helping

At least it will look better from the road, just don’t look up close.

cleared and raked

It would be easier if we used chemicals, but we don’t. I have spent at least an hour weeding, almost every day, for the last two weeks, and you would never know. But once the flowers, and the plants that are supposed to be there, really kick into gear I will be back on the love side of the scale.

The hubster thought it would be fun to share that his dinner tonight, was wild roasted turkey (he brought home from a hunting trip last week and prepared himself), on a sandwich with home baked bread, a sweet potato from our garden and homemade cookies for desert. All of the hard work does have its rewards!