This Weekend’s Work


Bring on the Army!

The visit from the city earlier in the week lit a fire under my butt. So I called on some of those priority fixes…

  1. Stabilize The Cottage by finishing the south back wall with siding (the old lap siding had deteriorated too badly to keep), fix a small hole in the west wall, and finish the front porch.
  2. Get the two trees cut down (the maple tree in the dog yard that was very shallow-rooted and too close to the houses and the tall cottonwood tree near our fire pit)

I made some calls and picked an excellent tree guy Vic Vickers and also a highly recommended contractor – Lon Dorsey for the work.

They were able to come by, take a look at the property and give me quotes that were affordable. Little did I realize how quickly things would move – when I accepted their quotes, both parties said they could be here on Saturday!

And so here we are, Vic and his workers tackling both trees at once. And Lon Dorsey’s crew working on the porch today and knocking out the siding on Monday.

It is all quite exciting.

Gas Main Work

Meanwhile, our street is looking rather frightful. The city is replacing what I can only imagine is the original gas line in the area. This has entailed digging up enormous swaths of sidewalk, and then expanding to large, deep holes in the street pavement, all on the south side of the street.

Each time I’ve had to take my dad to an appointment it feels as if we are threading the eye of the needle, carefully moving around monstrous gaping holes and torn up sidewalk before crossing the street (far too slowly for my comfort) to get into the van on the opposite side.

The upside of this that we will have a brand-new safer gas main. The downside is of course, very limited parking options, a mess of mammoth proportions, and huge yellow pipes being assembled on our land.

The cost for all of the tree work was dramatically reduced when we told them we would not need them to haul it away. This means plenty of work for us over the next few months. We will create hugelkultur and mushroom growing biomes (more on that in another post). It saves us hundreds, and puts the wood to work.

I should have stronger upper arm strength by the end of it!


Magic in The Kitchen

Color me excited, but I made two new recipes today and I was oh so very proud of myself!

I had bought a head of cauliflower with the nebulous idea of making cauliflower cheese soup. I had forgotten this, and the cauliflower, for several weeks until this morning at breakfast.

Breakfast on one of the weekend days usually turns into a menu planning session. And since we were so busy yesterday, this morning ended up being the day for it. As I was thinking of meals, I spied my newest cookbook, one I picked up at World Market a weekend ago…

I hadn’t made anything out of it yet, but when my eyes fell on the recipe for Vegetarian Samosas, I was dying to try it out! It also asked for some cauliflower, so my mind was made up – dinner would be Cauliflower Cheese Soup and Samosas.

They turned out fabulous, but I marked the changes I would make next time. Oh, and we didn’t have black mustard seeds, yellow mustard seeds worked just as well.

Mix cuisines? Why not?!

Dave ate FOUR of these suckers. I look forward to obtaining some tamarind pulp so that we can make the tamarind dipping sauce next time. And a huge thanks to my husband for helping me create this recipe!

The Cauliflower Cheese Soup was kind of a fusion between a cream of vegetable and cheese soup. So I borrowed some ideas from two recipes in my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. Here is what I came up with:

  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely diced
  • 1/4 of an onion, finely diced (the rest of the onion went into the samosa)
  • 1 head of cauliflower, diced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 cup American cheese, shredded (or torn into pieces)
  • 1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

Combine the chicken stock with the vegetables and bring to a boil over medium heat, cooking until vegetables are soft.

In a bowl, whisk the milk, cream, flour and seasonings together. Add to the broth and vegetables and stir until it has thickened and is bubbling. Reduce heat to its lowest setting and add the cheeses, stirring until fully melted. Serve immediately.

Two wins in the kitchen today!

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