Sunday, October 31, 2010

Birthday Girl

There she is! Dinner is done and time for gifts... finally! She read all her cards first. "7" is her favorite number.

Quite the haul and ready for a cold snap.

Strawberry-kiwi with a touch of banana. Finnish birthday cake with honey. De-lish. Two strawberries on top to her specifications. We had to for-go the mint leaf garnish vision, as no fresh greens at hand. Lydia had her hand in every part of the birthday meal. She was a great helper.

"7" pretty lights. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Lydia.

Blow!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Kitchen Progress

Beginning to feel like home.

Cardboard Golf

The golf course has been perfected over the last few days. Hours and hours of entertainment.

Look at that jump! "Cannonball Jump"
"Pretty cool!" Gabe says. Find the ball. Right down the center.

Headed inside. Marshal managed to take the kids to the pumpkin patch across the highway from us last Saturday. They brought one home for me for pumpkin pie. Maybe I'll get to the point of cooking beyond survival mode one of these days.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Few Days' Progress

Painted cabinets, Birch countertop, new sink, Jenn-Air downdraft, and refrigerator not in the picture. The kitchen is partially transformed. I was so surprised how uplifting the white paint was to my mood. I realized how much time I really spend in the kitchen. It truly is the heart of my home. My life is pretty consumed with nourishing my family out of the kitchen. I felt continually heavy in the shadows of it. The white is bringing in the light from the window over the sink so much better. I'm covering the inside of the house in white. I bought five gallons yesterday of Calla Lilly white that I found so pleasing in Port Orchard. The bath is in Clear Moon, and Marshal is painting Clear Moon in the large closet tonight. My cabinets, Daisy White, are as pleasing to me as a bright yellow-centered white petaled bouquet. Now don't all those whites sound lovely?
On a side note, the backsplash is NOT art deco yellow. It is raw exposed torn up sheetrock and 40 year old glue. I'm thinking of putting semi-gloss ultra pure white bead board back there from the counter to cabinet. In the meantime, maybe a wallpaper border from Wal-Mart I saw yesterday?!
Laundry entry room is coming along too. More Ikea Birch countertop is under the paper. Marshal and Steve installed the washer and dryer underneath today. Marshal had a load in the wash within five minutes. He had to make sure he hooked up the hot and cold water supply lines correctly! It is like Christmas as kids, putting in new appliances!
Here is my man enjoying his beet soup (see posting below), and a partial view of our kitchen night before last.
We hadn't brought the few chairs back in since finishing the floors. The table was the only piece of furniture in the house, just brought in a couple days ago. Notice the little table for two that Gabe made from the garbage and scrap pile. He also made a bird house that he hung on a fencepost on the property line. I like his ingenuity and craftsmanship although the building materials he crafted from, not so much. He wants his table for two permanently displayed. Hhmmm, if only the top wasn't that detestable spongy glue-filled fiber board that I couldn't wait to remove from the house and discard for keeps.

My Beet "Soup"er Girl

Lydia loves beet soup. I found the simple Beet Soup or Borscht recipe from the Joy of Cooking to all our liking. I modified it by sautéing the finely diced onions, carrots, and beets in butter before covering with water and simmering for a short while. Then I add home stock, shredded cabbage, young beet leaves if I have them, a couple Tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, and voilá! We drain the pot rapidly.
Our dear neighbor Sue bobby pinned the blossom above Lydia's ear. It matched her coral red Crocs perfectly.

Fir Floor - Old Beauty

Marshal spent last weekend on his hands and knees rubbing Osmo Polyx Oil finish into this old fir - about 2000 square feet of it! That is one coat. Cousin Steve helped him with the first coat. This room, Marshal applied three coats to. Two nights ago, I was feeling quite chilled with the invasive cold dewy fingers that creep inland from the sea at dusk. I asked Gabe to build a fire. I took this photo a bit later, and relished the visual warmth of the glowing floors as well as the physical warmth of the fire.
It has been a long drawn out process of painting cupboards and drawers. I painted most of the kitchen cabinets yesterday, three coats. What's the saying, "Three's a charm?" I'm enjoying the color, Daisy White, a historic color according to Kelly-Moore.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Kefiring

Gabe is straining kefir grains. Gabe and Lydia love the rich probiotic beverage made from raw grass-fed Jersey cow milk from Bellingham. Kefir grains mulitply rapidly when happy, and they are readily given away. Kefiring is catching on nationwide from person to person. There are many resources for information on the internet. It is an easy way to introduce oneself to the nourishing, healthful world of culturing. Pour milk over the grains in a clean glass jar, cover but don't seal, and leave at room temperature for 24 hours. The milk proteins and sugars are pre-digested for you, resulting in a plethora of B-vitamins and the rich nutrients of the whole raw milk. Kefiring will work with any milk, although many of the vital nourishing qualities of raw milk are absent if using a pasteurized milk.

I just like this photo. My hubby's hands are cutting into an artisan sourdough loaf. Someday I'd like to make my own sourdough! What treasures from the earth and air God gives us for life - yeasts and bacteria, salts from ancient beds and seas, green herbs....

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Birthday Boy

Our Gabe turned NINE yesterday! He was a happy birthday boy, growing like a weed, as his dad says! The day was beautiful. Provided a pleasant morning for taking the chickens for a stroll in the green grass outside the coup.
He spotted the balloon twisty kit at the supermarket the day before, shopping for traditional Crosse and Blackwell mint sauce for his requested lamb birthday dinner. The balloons were a nice twist to the morning. They provided creative fun, and festive hats!

Apple crisp and homemade vanilla ice cream were the unconventional chosen birthday dessert. He blew out all nine candles! Lydia below looks like she was in on the action. She was sleeplessly excited for brother's birthday the night before.
It was a satisfying day complete with Dad home timely to grill the lamb steaks, our special neighbors, fast friends, joining us for the celebration, and presents to match Gabe's hopes. A blessedly sweet day for a blessed son.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sunrise - Sunset

Picturesque farm. Gabe's exclamations drew my attention to the "orange" sunset lit trees of the neighboring farm.

Sunset reflected in the windows. Kids jumping for joy. New shingles today. Exterior is nearly buttoned up for the winter.

October 1st Sunrise


Views from the deck. This was a special morning without the seeming common place marine layer above. The fog hung in the valley as the sun rose this morning, awakening a cloudless October 1st day.

Cedar Siding Was In

Yesterday's accomplishment. The preexisting door was reset and sealed in. New siding looks too pretty to paint! Nothing like fresh clean wood!