Monday, November 29, 2010

hey ma, lookee what i made!

i recently pieced this quilt using the fabric line city weekend from a free pattern that i found on-line here. I'm happy with the springy, fresh look these fabrics gave to this easy quilt. i used ice frappe in kona cotton for the stars and sashing. (if you've not had the chance to use this fabric, run right out and get you some. really. it's that great!) I've been inspired lately by quilts here and here, and solids seem to be the way to go...

it was fun and easy, and i might try it again using some of the moda's bistro charm packs., with chocolate colored stars.

if stefanie sent you here from little lady patchwork, thanks for visiting! if you're interested in another free quilt pattern, (block-o-the-month style) you can go see it here. it's a calendar quilt that i designed, with only one block to piece a month. be sure to zip on over and check it out for all the details!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

the stove that started it all...

well, here it is! the stove that catapulted the summer kitchen to the top of our to-do list. it's a 6 burner propane stove, with 2 ovens, a griddle and a broiler. that should be enough cooking power to keep me out of trouble! (when it's hooked up, that is!)

last Wednesday we had a small crew come and help Dave and G pour the cement for the floor. actually, it was only Kyle and our pastor, Darryn. but it sounds so much more official to call them a crew, doesn't it?

Dave had much of the prep work done: rebar and wire on the bottom, and the ramps for the wheelbarrows to go over. (check out kyle showing off with his 2 wheeled barrow!)

darryn was a huge help, and he jumped right in there helping Dave smooth (skreet?) out the cement.

the whole thing went really fast and soon they were up to the little "front porch".

kyle ingeniously made a bull float from some lumber that was lying about, and before you knew it, the crew was ready to come in for some coffee and donuts-

... but not without taking a picture first!

of course, we had to let the girls immortalize their hand prints in the cement. another reminder how fast these two little girls of ours are growing up!

later that afternoon, just as the cement was starting to set up, Dave went out and brushed it with the push broom. we wanted to have a floor that was easily cleaned, but not so smooth as to be slick when it's wet. the "broom finish" on the floor is perfect for what we wanted.

B was so happy to help her daddy put on the cement sealer.

so for now, although it's far from done, the summer kitchen is quite functional. we just butchered our 11 turkeys this morning, and the job was so much easier and more efficient. (not to mention more professional looking for our customers!)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

because now that summer is over, clearly, it's time to build the summer kitchen

the summer kitchen was on the to-do list, but it was very close to the bottom. however, after we were blessed with the gift of an industrial propane stove, we decided that we should build the summer kitchen sooner, rather than later, in order to be good stewards of God's provision.

Dave paced out the walls of the summer kitchen, making it a nice size. then we made it just a bit bigger, (14' x 14') since that's how things seem to go around here! (just last week, B told Dave he needed to make the tractor shed a little bit bigger! even though he built it 33% bigger than he originally intended, it's still too small!)

besides the wonderful blessing of our stove, i also wanted to get the kitchen done in time for turkey butchering November 23. it looks so much more professional to be butchering on stainless steel counters with a sink and running water, as opposed to working on a wobbly card table in the side yard...

Dave and G quickly got the posts set, and the framing done.

next was the rafters and green tin roof.

already we can see so many advantages to having this building- butchering pigs, chickens, deer and turkeys, canning/freezing, church picnics, and as a staging area for the produce both for the CSA and farmer's market.

here Dave and G are digging out the extra dirt, preparing for a layer of river bottom stone.

now, most people when they look at this window, would think that it's a wonderful idea to have a little window up high, for ventilation.

however, if you're like most people, you would be wrong. this little window is for shooting groundhogs. the view of this window is that of the lower garden, affording Dave a perfect spot to hide out and shoot those pesty little varmints!

A and B call this little attic/storage area their tree house. already they've had snack and play time up there.

of course the girls are happy to ride along with daddy in the tractor or wagon. the bucket on the tractor sure makes it handy to load those nice gravely stones. Dave and G spread the stones over the floor of the kitchen, making it a good base to pour the concrete onto.

lastly, Dave rented a tamper, and tamped the living daylights out of the stones on the floor. this way (in theory) the cement slab will not settle and crack.

tomorrow we have 4 yards of cement coming, along with 2 friends and their wheelbarrows to help pour the cement. along with fresh home made donuts and coffee, it should be a pretty interesting day!

Monday, November 15, 2010

renegade pumpkins...

most of the pumpkin seeds that i planted this year did not grow.

but we still had a good year, pumkinly speaking.

a feature of our pumpkins, both at farmer's market and in our CSA boxes, were the "pre-carved" variety.

early in the season, while the pumpkins are still green and tender, take a thick nail or ball point pen, and write in the skin of the pumpkin. i carved several phrases, mostly "welcome", "welcome to our home" and "welcome to the (name of the family participating on our CSA)'s.

these pumpkins were popular sellers, and appreciated gifts, too. another benefit is that you can still use them for pies, as they don't rot like the traditionally carved ones do. next year i plan on doing lots more like these, as it's "value added" for them. some of the pumpkins went for $10.

and besides, they're fun and they look great on the porch steps!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Baby B thinks Beets are the Best!

one of our more successful and popular crops this year was beets. as in Detroit dark red beets.

they were popular with the customers- both as beet greens and baby beets.

but most of all the beets were adored by B. she loves beets. LOVES. BEETS.

the first time i took her out to the garden to help me harvest beets, she had a great time. the look of wonder on her face when she pulled her first beet out of the ground is a look I'll never forget.

more amazingly, she had that same look of amazement every time she pulled out another beet. every. single. time.

we made a few quarts and pints of pickled beets for the winter, but B couldn't wait. she wanted a bowlful of buttered beets right away.

most people in our family don't like pickled beets, but rather the pickled eggs that traditionally go with them.

however, i think i should have done some more pickling of our produce this year. just yesterday B ate a whole pint of kosher dill spears- nearly single handedly!

next year i guess i should plan on planting more beets and cukes!


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