May. 25th, 2017 10:56 am
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Starting some time before we bought our current house, the whole stone walkway (with the doorway stoop) has been slowly settling for years, until it’s below the level of the driveway and the lawn on either side. So, in wintertime during a thaw, it fills with about 3" of water, which then freezes solid. After complaining about that for a while, I finally decided that it was time for that to change.

So, over the past few weeks, I’ve been digging out and lifting the flagstones (most of the stones are about 1½" thick), in preparation for putting fresh gravel underneath them to raise the whole walkway back up.

Finished lifting the stone walkway between the house and the driveway over the weekend, as well as the front stoop. The last stone (right in front of the stoop) was the hardest, being about 3' x 4' and 3" thick (it’s an old lye-leaching stone). Rather than lifting it, I basically just shifted it about two feet away from the stoop using a 4' straight pry bar.

The stoop has been [mostly] repaired and put back on a refreshed bed of sand and gravel.

The lye stone is in place on refreshed sand and gravel, set higher than the rest of the path to make a low step in front of the stoop (which is about the same size).

The remaining stones have also been laid out. I’m not completely happy yet with the final height of the stones, so I'll be adjusting the gravel amount under them for a day or so before starting to fill in the spaces between the stones.
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Last post to LJ.

From now on, all posts will be to Dreamwidth only. Look for me on — I may actually do some more posting there.

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Test cross-post from Dreamwidth (not that I've been doing a lot of posting on LJ).
fitzw: (ScytheUser)

One of the pictures has the following in Welsh: "Trueni nad oes ymbarél sbâr", where the paired English sentence says, "The procession of the Gorsedd of Bards crosses the Eisteddfod field".

What the Welsh says is, "Pity there is no spare umbrella" (it's raining in the photo).
fitzw: (ScytheUser)
Since yesterday's post, I've added a few more “accomplishments”:

  • Woke up early to the sound of a smoke detector chirping, that I had missed when replacing the batteries last month (the bedroom is on the top floor, the detector was in the basement)
  • Built another frame for closing up the porch.
  • Broke the newel at the bottom of the porch stairs.
  • Picked up a few items at the hardware store, including wood glue.
  • Repaired the newel at the bottom of the porch stairs.
  • Put a new gasket in the hot water valve for the shower so that it would stop dripping.
  • Did a load of laundry.
  • Washed some more dishes.

Currently waiting for lunch and a little singing get-together. Then more work.
fitzw: (ScytheUser)
Yesterday, I did the following:

  • Drove [ profile] helwen to the airport.

  • Finished putting away the carport.

  • Mounted a board on wall of carriage house (anchor point for plastic sheeting).

  • Finished putting away cotton candy supplies to basement.

  • Made supper for myself.

  • Moved bins of recyclables to front room.

  • Washed some dishes.

  • Connected with C about taking down the old satellite dish (using new antenna now).

  • Put "Take out compost" to the list of chores.

So far today, I have done the following:

  • Took recyclables and trash to the Transfer Point.

  • Picked up next package of town trash bags from hardware store.

  • Picked up 12x16 tarp for covering items on patio for snow season.

  • Covered items on patio with new tarp (needs to be tied off).

  • Put fencing around the two holly bushes (the deer will not eat them this Spring).

Time for a quick break.

Adding to today’s entry:

  • Worked with C removing old satellite dish.

  • Cut lumber for framing to enclose porch.

  • Assembled one of three frames for porch.

  • Paid a bill.

fitzw: (ScytheUser)
Our family/clan gathering for the season was held yesterday at W and S's house. Four generations present, with three members of my mother’s generation present, and I lost count of how many young children were there. An age range of over 80 years. Several family members were ill with Autumn colds and could not attend.

There were two roasted turkeys there, with one having been soaked in brine before roasting, and the other being basted with butter and herbs. Both were good, but there were definitely differences in the final result.

There were the typical dishes of the season: Squash, potatoes, glazed carrots, a squash casserole (with mushrooms and tomatoes), cranberry sauce, whole wheat rolls, salad, two kinds of gravy (one with wheat, one with cornstarch). For dessert, there were several different kinds of pie, including two apple crumbles (one gluten/sugar/nut free) and a blueberry pie, and sugar cookies.

We brought two dishes: One harvest cake (buckwheat and butternut squash — not a dessert), and one lemon meringue pie (with rolled oat crust, so that it would also be free of gluten — my mother had two slices), both made primarily using maple sugar (there was cane sugar in the meringue — I haven't quite worked that out yet). One of the best years for baking those, even though I accidentally switched the amounts for the baking powder and baking soda in the harvest cake (or maybe partly because of that).


May. 8th, 2015 10:13 am
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Happy birthday to [ profile] embermwe!
fitzw: (ScytheUser)
So, what do you get when you walk for 2.5 hours behind a lawnmower?

You get about 1/3 of the lawn mowed, and very tired legs (it amounts to walking about 8 miles).


Feb. 10th, 2013 04:04 pm
fitzw: (ScytheUser)
Finished shoveling off as much of the sugarhouse roof as we were concerned about in advance of any rain tomorrow. Nephew L stopped by and help with the last half hour. We decided to not jump off the roof into the snow pile (we would have sunk up to our waists). All told yesterday and today, shoveled snow off that roof for 5.5 hours, and there is still some there, and that after yesterday’s shoveling out our front walk, a path to the back porch, the path to the barn, the van, the enclosure for the propane tanks, and the back path and stairs at the farmhouse. Nephew C is currently doing the plowing at the farm, for which I am extremely grateful. [ profile] helwen helped with clearing off the van and shoveling around it so that it could move.

We want to do some snowshoeing today before dark, as an outdoor winter activity, but we probably won't be out for very long.
fitzw: (ScytheUser)
A short note for now.

We are in the process of moving from the apartment at the farm to the new house at the other end of town (just 10 minutes away). The weather is seriously not cooperating: light snow and sleet, but with a thick coating of ice overall.

Today, my mother has a doctor's appointment in a town 30 minutes away, and I am the designated driver. She likes to combine trips, which usually means that it will take at least half the day for the trip. Today, it will be the Post Office, the UPS Store, a jewelry store, the bank, and the doctor's appointment (not necessarily in that order). And the roads are icy. Hopefully my brother will have gotten the snow tires onto her car.
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Good weekend, all told. Setup for cotton candy was mostly completed Friday night, with only a few minor glitches (including a mixing spoon for the cotton candy mix that disappeared somewhere between the house and the town hall where we set up — found it hiding under a seat in the van Sunday morning).

About 275 cotton candy were made on Saturday, and about 325 on Sunday, for a total of about 600 for the weekend. That was just about right for maxing out our contribution to the scholarship fund (10% of sales up to a set amount, which we reached).

The experiment with varying the proportions of maple and cane sugar in the mix worked well, although I will probably continue to experiment with the recipe. We normally use light amber syrup in our mix, whereas the group at the Big E use dark amber syrup. I tested using medium amber for a few of the batches this year, and I could definitely smell the difference, but I don't know that any of the customers noticed anything different (we get a number of repeat customers during the day, so there was an opportunity for some people to try both mixes).

The festival was open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, we had a continuous stream of customers from about 11:30 to about 3:30. On Sunday, it was as if someone flipped an off switch at 3:00 PM exactly (I checked the clock), and we only had a few short periods of sales after that. Unfortunately, one of those periods was while [ profile] helwen was away from our area, so I had to handle those by myself.

The mix keeps well, so we will put the leftover mix in storage for next year.
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Picked up the feed yesterday as planned. Lately, plans and actuality haven't had a lot in common.

Today, usual tending of chickens and eggs.

Also, removal of window-mount air conditioners, even though it's almost warm enough today to make use of them, because the grapevine beetles are using them as a route to invade the house. Opened the windows in the chicken rooms in the barn so that the beetles can invade that space (free chicken feed!).

Loading the van with the candy machine, work tables, and supplies for the Fall Festival. Then will need to drive all of that up to town and unload and set up for the weekend.

Whether or not we go to kung fu tonight depends on how we feel after getting ready for the weekend...
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OK, not keeping up — not totally unexpected, since it’s been a busy week and I’m out of practice.

I’ve been continuing to take care of the chickens, deal with the eggs, tend the wood-fired boiler. I’ve tested the cotton candy machine for this weekend, and made two batches of powdered maple sugar (one from light syrup, one from medium syrup) that I will be combining with granulated cane sugar for the mix for making cotton candy.

Tomorrow, my brother should be bringing by a long trailer to be loaded up with furniture, equipment and supplies for the booth for our sugarhouse for the Ashfield Fall Festival. It’s currently raining, and is expected to be raining tomorrow as well, so I’ll either get the canvas roof of the carport to cover the trailer or set up the entire carport around it, whichever is more expedient and more effective.

I need to go to the farmers coöp tomorrow to pick up more feed for the chickens. I typically get 10 or 12 bags of feed at a time, and keep them 30-gal lidded bins to keep the raccoons away from it.

A couple of weekends ago I picked up a replacement box timer for the electric lights in the chicken rooms. The old time was probably older than I am, and the motor for the dial finally died this summer. We provide lights for the chickens during the shorter sunlight days so that they continue to lay eggs, so that folks in town still have local eggs during this time of year (most of the egg farmers around here have small flocks and no lights).

We started going to kung fu classes again a little over two weeks ago, after several months away (recovery from injury for [ profile] helwen, scheduling conflicts for me). We haven’t been as conscientious about our practice over the summer as we should have been, but we’re doing better than we should be IMHO.
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  • Tend wood-fired boiler
  • Trash and recycling run
  • Feed chickens
  • Gather eggs
  • Wash, candle, and sort eggs
  • Deliver more eggs to hardware store
  • Test cotton candy machine
  • Test cotton candy recipe

NB: Can't test the cotton candy machine, because maple cream is being made (vibrations cause problems while the syrup is cooling)
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Today's chores so far:
  • Feed chickens
  • Gather eggs
  • Wash, candle, and sort eggs
  • Deliver more eggs to hardware store
  • Add fresh bedding to hen nests
  • Sift granulated sugar
  • Kung Fu class in evening
  • Dinner out after class to celebrate Sifu Li’s birthday
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I haven't posted one of these for a while — thought I would see if I could get back in the habit.

For today:
  • Reset traps for rats in barn
  • Feed chickens
  • Gather eggs
  • Wash eggs (done by [ profile] helwen)
  • Candle eggs
  • Sort eggs by weight
  • Deliver eggs to hardware store (for resale) and local restaurant (with Helwen)
  • Make granulated maple sugar for cotton candy
No, really, that granulated sugar iswas in process — I'm typing this on my laptop next to the industrial stove.

  • Feed chickens
  • Gather eggs
  • Wash, candle, and sort eggs
  • Deliver more eggs to hardware store
  • Add fresh bedding to hen nests
  • Sift granulated sugar
  • Kung Fu class in evening
  • Dinner out after class

ETA: First batch of granulated sugar is done.

An update

Sep. 19th, 2012 10:47 am
fitzw: (ScytheUser)
[I'm trying out the new Post format that LJ has just released — I'm not sure yet how I feel about it.]

After a two-three month hiatus, we went to Kung Fu class on Monday night. One of the first things that I did in class, while doing the warm-up circuit training, was hyper extend/dislocate my left thumb. I've done that regularly for the past two years, but in August, not in September, and not in class. I was lulled into a sense of complacency by making it all the way through August this summer without repeating the injury, and then the thumb gave out while I was doing fingertip pushups. *sigh* Too much too soon, I guess.

Other than that, I did fairly well. My maubu/horse stance is much better (although I still ride a very skinny horse), my pubu is good. My roundhouse kicks still need to be higher, of course.

This is a "mix up" week. Normally basics/hand forms are on Mondays, weapons are on Wednesdays, and applications are on Friday. This week, applications are on Monday, hand forms are on Wednesday, and weapons are on Friday. We will be missing Friday because I have a contract that starts at 5:00 PM on Friday (client site needs to be down while I'm doing the work, so it had to be scheduled for a weekend).

But we're back in class! I have definitely missed this.
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Farewell, my friend.
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“A primitive holdover is not a bad thing if it still has a freaking use!”

Quote from [ profile] helwen.
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