Monday, September 24, 2012

Guest House Renovation

Renovation of our guest house has been at the bottom of our priority list these past several years. We've had so much to accomplish on the main house that although we were anxious to fix up the space in which our guests stay, there just wasn't the time to do it. 

This past spring we decided that it was finally time to cross that task of our to do list. Once we started thinking of the things that needed to be done, we called Dale, our local structural engineer. In the above photo, he and Mike are checking the foundation. As you can imagine, Mike was thrilled when I got the camera out to capture them. 

If math is not your language, I wouldn't recommend trying to join in on a conversation with two engineers. I stood there for awhile and when I realized that I had nothing to contribute, I just let them be. 

At first we had big plans...removing the roof and expanding the second story, creating a little half story for an extra bedroom, etc. Then we came back down to earth and decided that much could be improved with a few of the most basic windows, new door, and refinished floors, new sink, and faucet, and paint, paint, paint and more paint. 

As do all of our projects, the guest house renovation has taken much longer than anticipated (notice that these photos were taken last spring). I believe the goal was to finish it before my brother and his family arrived this past June. A lot was completed but many things were new door, no kitchen faucet, no ceiling lights, refinished floors...

This little project of ours has reminded us of how stressful renovation can be. We thought that because the structure was separate from the main house, we would be less affected by the typical anxiety inducers, such as noise interrupting the babies' naps, endless scheduling, coordinating and consulting with contractors, delays, and the list goes on - but this was what you might call, wishful thinking..

In the end, Mike has been doing a great deal of work on it himself. Floor sanders and power washers needed to be rented, lots of painting had to get done, many discussions and ruminations were needed over design elements. And then of course, there were all of the other million little things that needed to get done. How quickly we forget! But we are nearing the end now. 

Photos will follow...eventually

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September Garden

The cucumbers keep coming...

These are a little overgrown as Mike was out of town for over a week and I lost track of the garden. My mom was here while Mike was gone and I accomplished one million tasks (cleaning closets, dusting, doing laundry). However, picking cucumbers wasn't one of them! 

Mike carved the babies' names into one of our pumpkins. It has become our tradition to make something special for the babies' birthday in December with pumpkins from the garden. Last year it was pumpkin pie, but this year it will be pumpkin cake - yum!

We picked the last of the green beans. 

We slice fresh tomatoes on just about everything. One of my favorite ways to eat a summer tomato is to have it in a sandwich with avocado and lettuce. I ate about a million of these when I was pregnant with the babies. 

Another favorite tomato dish is fresh made salsa. I don't follow a recipe per se. I tend to use the taste test method - a method that can alter the serving portions significantly. 

Plump red tomatoes, diced (about four medium ones)
Fresh diced cilantro - about a 1/2 cup 
One jalapeno diced, without seeds - this typically results in medium spice
Red onion, diced - about 1/4 cup
Sea salt - to taste 

Add more or less of one thing or another. 

And again, lots of taste testing! 


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Morning Blackberries

I love blackberries, but the ones I savor most are those that we pick right outside our door. There's something about wandering out through the patio in your pajamas with an empty bowl in hand, and coming in with fresh, morning chilled fruit to begin the day, that makes them extra sweet. 

We've had a bumper crop this year.  We've been picking for over a week now, and as you can see, there are plenty of pink berries continuing to ripen. 

Best wishes on enjoying yet one more of the seasons of bounty in late summer.
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