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Springtime in the Rockies

May 11, 2014

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It’s supposed to be almost 80 on Thursday. To celebrate Mother’s Day, we got about an inch of snow. SPRING.

Do You Sunday Dinner?

May 9, 2014

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Sunday can be such a bummer. The work week starts the next day, and it always feels rushed even if it’s lazy. “Oh, I have to get this done today because the weekend is over.” Boo.

A few years ago, I got into making Sunday dinner. There was an issue of Gourmet with a feature menu for Sunday dinner. Like all Gourmet menus, it was complex and would take forever to make, but it was so comforting: meatloaf (still my go to), salad, roasted vegetables, and chocolate cake. Now that I have less time than ever to cook during I’ve become enamored of spending more time cooking on Sunday. The is less of a bummer if there is cake.

Do you do Sunday dinner?

Peep Show

May 6, 2014

That joke just never gets old.

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Baby chicks!

We got our chicks yesterday, and they seem to be settling down in their greenhouse pen. This year we got 50 Pioneers, 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Delawares, and 2 Barred Rocks. Three died between shipping and last night, but I’m not sure which ones they were since 3/4 of the chicks look the same. I love watching them – they scurry around, fall asleep while standing, and peep peep peep.

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This is our first year of “serious” meat birds. Murray McMurray describes Pioneers as: “The Pioneer chicken is considered to be a dual purpose bird. It has one of the most unique feather color patterns we have ever seen. No two birds look alike! The hens lay large brown eggs and the males reach market weight in around 12 weeks. Grows faster and is heavier than the Red Ranger. Breast meat configuration is similar to the the Red Ranger, proportional to the dark meat, on a long keel. Live to dressed weight yield averages 70% – approximately 5 lbs.”

We originally wanted the Red Rangers (a version of the Freedom Ranger), but they were sold out through June. Even though Red Rangers and Pioneers are fast growing hybrids (like Cornish X), they are supposed to be better at foraging, and generally more chicken-y in nature. I originally wanted to do all Delaware chickens; this breed was supposedly the most common dual purpose bird before the Cornish X became THE meat bird. I’ve read that hatcheries routinely kill off heritage breed male chicks since people are primarily interested in egg layers, and I also like the idea of having a potentially self-sustaining flock. Heritage breeds take between 5 – 6 months to reach dress out weight though (or so I hear), and we got a late start with our order this year.

Fruits of Our Labor

April 14, 2014

Window

Quick post for a small project. The windows in our house are framed with 2 x 4s. Except for the one in our kitchen, the framing is covered by plaster. Because we wanted to use one of the logs from the old house in between our windows though, this one window still had exposed framing. Mr. B brought home this angle iron (I think that is what this is) 2 years ago (omg). Thanks to the to do list, he put it up a week ago. I kid you not: this took half an hour. Looks so nice now.

Since the title to this post sounded like it was going somewhere else, here is a recent picture of another fruit of my labor: 9 month old Sully, looking weirdly giant headed.

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Do You Pantry?

April 11, 2014

 

Photo by StearnsPhoto

This week: Do you have a pantry? What do you keep in it?

Until this house and the bookshelves, Mr. B and I never had much room for extra food. Sure, we had bags/jars of bulk food, and some basement shelves for home canned food (mostly jam). I never really felt like it was useful though; I wasn’t going to pull a meal out of that stuff unless you wanted pasta and cheese. Or maybe pasta and jam. You heard it here first though: functional pantries are in. Nearly every cook book I bought in the last five years has a section on food you should have on hand. Look at all the things you can make with just eggs and bread crumbs! Anyway, I’m inspired and want to make a move towards a more functional pantry.

In a move of way overthinking things, I spent some time looking around the inter webs for pantry item ideas. It runs the gamut from super bare bones to bomb-shelter stocked. I think I’ve come up with a pantry philosophy that works for us: our pantry should have anything that we want to use on Monday but didn’t buy on Sunday. That came to me one night while I was trying to fall asleep. It made a little more sense then, but I’m sticking with it. Since we live about fifteen minutes away from the store, and both Mr. B and I hate stopping after work, I want our pantry to not only have all of the stuff we use every week (spices, butter, oil), but also those things we buy a lot of yet always seem to be out of when it is 6 pm and dinner needs to get made (ginger, canned artichoke hearts, kalamata olives). Ideally we would also be able to whip up an actual meal out of the pantry too, but I’d be happy with Mr. B not needing to stop at the grocery store three nights a week.

Readers: do you pantry? What is your “pantry philosophy”?

Shelves!

April 9, 2014

Shelves

 

Remember the to-do list? One of the jobs I was happiest to see get checked off our early spring list was kitchen shelves. These were another long-planned for project in the house. When we baled the walls, we added 2 x 4 reinforcement where we wanted to put them. So glad I saved those pictures.

That was a long time ago!

That was a long time ago!

These shelves are all Mr. B. He found the metal, cut it down, welded things, dug the wood out of our wood pile, and put it all together. They are probably more heavy-duty than our cups and bowls really need, but why do anything half way?

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The wood is from the old house rafters. We used the same for our faux-rafters, and I just love the sew marks and nail holes. Mr. B steam cleaned them and sanded the cut edges, and I added a coat of tung oil. We went back and forth on sanding them down more – they are pretty rough and will be impossible to wipe down with a sponge, but sanding would have made them look like new. This will be one of those “we’ll see” situations. If they get too gross, we’ll need to sand them down all the way. In the mean time though, they are beautiful and the cups are finally on the same side of the room as the sink and coffee.

Gallery Wall

April 7, 2014

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Ah, babies. This is a project we finished in August 2013 in a fit of post-baby insanity. We probably got a miraculous four hours of sleep the night before or something.

I love the gallery walls I see on design blogs and nice house blogs but always felt intimidated by the dictates to match all the frames, or only use line drawings. Whatever. I was also concerned about my ability to arrange the pictures in a pleasing, but erratic, way. When I saw a picture on Design*Sponge (that I can’t find) though, it all fell into place: make the first row of pictures straight! Revelation  to my type A brain. In the end, I used the art I already had after years of begging from my family, and spaced everything equidistant.

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I think it really ties the room together.

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