Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy 2015!

See the burning embers in the lower right? I know, it's hard to take your eyes off that adorable hat.
I'm posting this a little early, because who knows what typos I'd come up with at midnight. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, like I can make it to midnight anymore!). We celebrate tonight with a bonfire of questionable (possibly toxic?) combustibles, and with an exceptionally toasty home on a chilly winter night. Nevermind that we only have half a floor in the cabin. But we ARE making progress on that project. Give us a few more weeks ...

In the meantime, I got restless, watching Mason do all of the work on the floor, so I decided it was time to sand and paint the "dining room" table.  Multiple projects makes for a merry household.

So here's to 2014, and let's hope 2015 can bring just a little more peace, joy and happiness to the world. Our world? We've got all that, and more, by the case!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Under Construction

Out with the old ...
And in with the new!
Operation Wood Floors is underway and the house is a disaster area. But that didn't stop us from celebrating Christmas our favorite way -- German-style, on the Eve, with libations, of course. If there are real kids around, then Christmas morning is a must; but when it's just us kids, we're all about the Eve!

We (i.e. Mason) installed about one-fourth of the new flooring before we hit a snag: uneven subfloor boards. So don't expect to see any great progress too soon. One step forward, two steps back.

Burned out on Christmas music (remember, I work retail), today we turned the radio dial over to "Hippie Radio," which I'm sure is some nationwide computerized radio station but today it hit the spot. Nothing like the Temptations' "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" to rev up the construction crew. I danced around to songs of my childhood, while Mason relived his teen-age years with The Five Americans' "Western Union." Mason ripped up floorboards, while I made homemade pizzas for lunch. It was a good day.

We also were treated to the gift of sunshine, which hadn't shown her beautiful face around here for about a week. The solar panels, batteries and our souls were thankful.

And to end this Christmas day, we will begin watching "The Wire," which we somehow have never seen but received all three seasons as a Christmas gift. Thank you Godin!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Winter Vacation!

First step: Removing all of the tags from the flooring.
Today I begin a three-month hiatus from the garden nursery, and I'm in a ridiculously good mood. The sun is shining broadly through our homestead, my playground, and I see nothing but fun projects ahead.

First, there are holes to dig for the last new plants of the season, then Christmas caramels to make. Trees to cut down for Winter 2015/16, then the biggest project of the year: installing wood floors in the cabin!

Our woods floors will be as cheap as you can get, because while our cabin is our castle, our castle is just a cabin in the woods. We'll slap some oil-based paint on the pine flooring and call it country chic. First up is ripping up the old laminate and subfloor in the cabin. We've never installed wood floors, so once again we dive into the unknown. What could POSSIBLY go wrong ...

More later, but now it's time for a three-mile hike with Nick the Dog.

Yes, life IS good.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Acorn Update

Acorns: It's what's for dinner.

Look's like the neighborhood squirrels and chipmunks also decided our grill was a great hiding place -- until I went to cook Mason's steak. Then the next day, Mason lifted the hood of his truck to reattach the battery (long story, don't ask) ... and sure enough, the entire engine manifold was covered in acorns.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Signs of Winter

All the leaves are finally down, except for a few of the oaks, which wait 'til spring to shed.
The tipoff that winter was nearing came this morning, as we readied for Nick's walk. I use the word "morning," but in truth it was noon. OK, 10 minutes after noon. Twenty-plus years of working nights has many lasting influences, like never moving too fast in the morning. Besides, we had delicious homemade yeast-raised waffles to enjoy. (Cindy and Dean: We have greatly improved our recipe; you must come again to see how damn good these are.)

The tipoff to winter wasn't the layers of clothing we needed. Today we kissed 60 degrees, thank you very much, Minnesotans.

The tipoff came when Mason gave his boots a routine shake-out -- because we get some pretty good-size spiders around here, not to mention scorpions -- and about 15 acorns came pouring out. Apparently the resident squirrels felt his thermal-lined boot would make for great storage come January's chill. The second boot was stocked full, too. We immediately transitioned into our panicked squirrel voices to imagine his/her dismay when he/she comes calling in January.

After our "morning" walk, I spent two hours picking up acorns that fell by the bucketful this fall -- an alleged sign of another hard winter to come. Oh, joy to the world.

In other news, we enjoyed four days at Thanksgiving down in the Florida Panhandle, where we visited a buddy of Mason's and our Chattanooga friends who just bought a very impressive boat, which Nick almost seemed comfortable on.

Highlights of the trip? A 50-inch rattlesnake relieved of its life on Mason's buddy's farm (yes, we're snake magnets), and eating an insane amount of seafood. Lowlight? When we got home on Thanksgiving night, our fridge was empty, so Mason ate a Boston Market turkey and dressing dinner that was in the freezer ... and it gave him food poisoning!

Now, we're back to our usual antics: brewing beer, slinging plants at the nursery and puttering in the yard. I'm back in the kitchen, too, sparing Mason from the evils of processed food. Nick's scoring too. I've taken to making him homemade dog treats from the spent grains we use in our beer-making process! 

We had to chop this guy's head off before he finally stopped writhing on us.

I need to buy a dog-bone cookie cutter; my hand-shaped biscuits are a bit wompy-jawed, though we suspect Nick doesn't really mind.