Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Joy of the Season

We always schedule our dentist appointments as a block in the afternoon in a nearby town mostly so we can do it in just one trip but also to eat out at some places we don't normally eat at. This particular one we have eaten at a couple times in it's old location in town but it closed down and eventually reopened outside of town and closer to an orchard where it uses the fruits to make hard cider for the restaurant. So we stopped for a meal after our dental cleanings to pack all the nooks and crannies back in with delicious food. It was a nice day so we sat outside on the patio to enjoy the scene from above.

After several weeks of dry winds, everything was getting parched so it was nice to go down to the farm garden and see the above sight. There are no functioning rain gauges there anymore but I suspect it was close to two inches. Everything should shoot right up now in the summer heat.

Above is our second garden harvest of the season. Our first consisted of some peas and a single kohlrabi. This time we harvested what remained of the peas, some more kohlrabi and dug a hill of new potatoes.

Some of the sweet peas went into a pea risotto with scallops for lunch. 

 The rest along with the kohlrabi went into a summer salad that we ate later on for supper along with some old smoked pork chops we found in the bottom of our freezer during a cleaning session. Eating fresh veggies from the garden is always one of the biggest joys of this time of year.

Monday, June 28, 2021


c. 2012

Awhile back I posted a picture of our landscaping job after our kitchen remodel and someone requested a picture of how our house looked before all of that started. I'm not very good about taking pictures before I start a project, especially one that is a long term project like the exterior of our house has been. But in this case I was lucky because before we actually bought the house, I walked around it taking pictures so we could mull it over. It was pretty hideous but after sleeping on it a few nights, we thought that it had potential and we made an offer that was accepted by the owners, who happened to be our realtor, who was living there at the time. Above is one of those pictures taken almost exactly nine years ago.

c. 2014

This picture is an intermediate picture. The old landscaping was torn out and replaced. It was all mature and starting to show its age plus smelled of urine from a lot of dogs using it as their urinal. The sidewalk had harbored a colony of moles, had sunk and was uneven. With aged grandparents who frequently stopped by to visit, it was a tripping hazard and so it was replaced along with the driveway and garage floor, also in equal disrepair. Another project had been to reside the house. The old Masonite siding had been neglected over the years and was water damaged and falling apart in many places. The fake columns on the sides of the windows were also rotted and falling off. The house was very drafty. So all that was torn off, I wrapped the house and resided it with cement siding. The picture shows all of this after it had happened. I hadn't yet painted the siding (it came pre-primed) nor had I built the trellises yet.

10 Jun 2021

Above is the most current photo. The kitchen addition has been added on along with the front porch. The roof eyebrows are gone (they were half rotted and a potential leak hazard) and the roof has been replaced along with new gutters added. The landscaping is in place and my grass seeding job is starting to look better. You can see that I have painted the siding and the mentioned trellises built and installed. The center landscape bed with the large pot in it will eventually have bulbed flowers of some sort planted in it but my wife didn't get them planted in time for this year. On my to-do list yet it to build a porch swing and perhaps some porch furniture and maybe a fence in between the porch columns. We are still undecided at this point. Our initial plans had one and it would kind of give us a bit of privacy but with the landscaping installed, there isn't the dramatic step off the porch anymore. It is just a regular sized step down to the gravel which I kind of like versus having to walk around if a fence were there. 

10 June 2021

Here is one more picture of the front from the road out front. It shows a bit more of our front lawn and two of the five trees planted to shield the front of our house from the road that leads off down the hill and into the neighboring valley. These two trees are apple trees which produced a lot of apples last year and taken by the squirrels. They are fenced in to prevent the deer from eating them until they get a bit bigger. Not pictures and to the right of this photo is a sour cherry tree, a serviceberry tree and some sort of plum/apricot hybrid tree that my wife got somewhere. These trees, when mature, will provide a bit of a privacy screen and also why we are still on the fence about putting a railing on our porch.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Hodge Podge

My oldest daughter turned 15 and wanted to spend the day with a few friends at a state amusement park that has been around forever. I have memories of going to it nearly five decades ago. Some things has changed but the wooden rollercoaster ride in the background was one I rode on as a kid. I couldn't help but ponder the millions of dollars in lumber it now holds in todays lumber market.

One thing that has changed is that they now rent cabanas in the water park portion of the park. Since the three teenage girls obviously didn't want a dad with them all the time (and truth be told I lost them within 15 minutes of our arrival), I rented one for the first time along with a lunch shown above. I could sit in the cabana on a comfortable chair, under a ceiling fan and spend my day reading while the girls did their thing and stopped by once in awhile for food, drinks or to change into their swimsuits. It was hands down, my favorite trip there outside of when I was a kid and actually liked to ride the rides.

If  you noticed a shortage of comments on your blog a couple weeks back, that was because my brother stopped by for a visit for several days and since my office is the spare bedroom when I fold the murphy bed down, I don't have access to my computer and I don't own a tablet. Thus my internet time was cut to zero for a few days. During that time, my brother and I did some work on the farm, visited our grandmother in the nursing home and drove around checking the crops. Above is a cornfield and it just struck me as classic SE Iowa so I took a picture. 

 We vastly expanded our garden this year and part of the reason is to just try a lot of things to see what works. Above is a kohlrabi plant that seems to be doing really well. We like eating shredded kohlrabi in summer salads. We did a lot more work in our garden but we were so pooped at the end of the day, I neglected to take any pictures but the one above. I hope to do better next time.