Saturday, October 31, 2020

Because 2020, Why Else?

It snowed yesterday. Not just a light dusting, either. Five inches of snow. In October, in eastern MA. The last time it snowed around Halloween was about 8 years ago and not nearly this much. We lost one decent sized branch because our trees are still covered with leaves and the snow is very heavy, and all the other branches are weighed down and bent toward the ground. It's very pretty. Everything is melting now as it should be in the 40's today and the sun is shining. 

I'm not sure how the bees are doing. I'm glad I got out there to insulate the hive before this happened. There were a bunch of dead bees at the entrance to the hive, but not a huge amount. I hope they are OK. I did see one bee moving inside the entrance and I'll check on them in a few days when it's warmer. 

The construction had to be put on hold for a week while we made sure our contractor, who was ill, didn't have COVID. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, last week he did some of the framing and the electricians came and did most of the wiring. I think they have more to do next week, but it's a start. There will be no shortage of electrical outlets anymore, as the new building codes specify how many I need and it's way more than I'll ever use. Maybe when this is done we can have the coffee pot, kettle, and toaster run at the same time? Wouldn't that be nice. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Construction Update

The aforementioned instant pot is incredibly useful. After making a venison stew last week, yesterday I made egg noodles in it, set them aside, and then made chicken piccata. Well, a simplified version of piccata, but it tasted good and didn't take long. The egg noodles mostly cooked but some were more al dente than others. 

As far as the house goes, the bulk of the plumbing is done, and we're supposed to have the electricians here soon. Yesterday our AC person came by to discuss where to put the vents. When we put the high velocity AC in 16 years ago, we were not able to have vents in the living room because he couldn't get the ducts across the firewall we found on the center joist. Now, while the wall is open, we discovered he can run the ducts underneath it and into the living room ceiling so we are planning on getting two vents in the living room and leaving two vents in the kitchen. 

We need to pick out vanity mirrors asap.

Lastly, it's been chilly at night so I went out and installed the mouse guard on the hive and used styrofoam panels to insulate the hive. I'm worried that if they use up their honey stores now, they won't have enough for winter. A little extra insulation won't hurt. It doesn't look super pretty but it works!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Goose Stroganoff a la Instant Pot

Did I mention I have no kitchen?

Right. Well, my in-laws gave me a Yedi pressure cooker (basically an instant pot) for my birthday which arrived last week. The first thing I did with it was hard-boil some eggs which are handy for a quick lunch. Then I set to studying the recipe book and thinking of things I could make in it. I had some frozen game meat that my brother-in-law had given me so I thawed some and planned on making the "Meaty Noodles" recipe which is really just stroganoff. 

After thawing what I thought was a chunk of venison I discovered that it was actually goose breasts (complete with birdshot). I decided to go for it anyway and make this dish. I got all the component parts chopped up and placed into containers until it was time to cook. I had leftover egg noodles from last week in the fridge so those would be heated up at the last minute.

I will say this, the instant pot is easy. It's nice to be able to cook while I don't really have a stove and this whole adventure feels a little bit like camping. At least we're indoors. What does it matter if the working toilet and the working sink are on different floors?

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

T Plus 36 Hours

In just 36 hours, my kitchen has gone from this:

to this:
and in the process we've discovered some fascinating and creative plumbing and electrical solutions from prior renovations that will likely pose some challenges. Not to mention three layers of floor before getting to the subfloor. 

Also in that time we've had the power out in the upstairs bathrooms that required us to pull out the paraffin lamps and camping lanterns (power is back, but it took a while today). And spent a full day unable to reach the basement without going outside. The basement is where the food and water are.

Tomorrow, we're told, the half-bath off the kitchen will be demolished and the plumber should come to work on the plumbing of the original bathroom upstairs, the one with the soldered brass pipes. If that can be completed in a day then the other bathroom, the one with the shower, meets its end on Thursday. 

Saturday, October 3, 2020

T Minus 46 Hours


It's really happening! We got the go-ahead from the building inspector and demolition starts in 2 days. There still is a lot to pack up in the kitchen but I've been working on it for a bit already this morning. And, I made my last batch of applesauce because, of course I did. 

Honeycrisps and a few Empires, brown sugar, smooth. Five pints. 

I will pack up the canner and move it to my back-up kitchen where it can keep Legion and my Kitchenaid mixer company. Along with the vacuum sealer and any other bulky thing I can think of. Maybe the pizza stone?

Anyway, back to wrapping glassware...

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Batch #2

Using every spare moment I had today, between picking up the farm share, running to the store twice, and driving around for both the children, I managed to make another batch of applesauce, this time with brown sugar because I don't yet want to open the new bag of white sugar. Plus I am making this Sicilian-Style Fish Stew with fish my brother-in-law gave me that he caught, and changing pretty much everything else. No golden raisins? How about barberries? No onion? Use a leek! Add escarole!


In between packing boxes in the kitchen, I am also trying to finish up canning projects before I don't have a stove in the house. I will have access to a kitchen nearby, but I'm hoping to not have to use it too often. I'm sure there will be a lot of take-out and some meals I don't have to cook (paté and cheese, for example). But apples are in season and we went apple picking yesterday, which means applesauce.

Usually we wait for the elderchild to be home from school in order to go picking. This year being different in so many ways, of course, means the elderchild does not get to come home at all until December. So yesterday we dodged a pretty impressive rainstorm (we literally got to the farm 5 minutes after it passed over us) and picked a half-bushel of mostly honeycrisp apples. Last night I made an apple crisp for dessert. Today I made a batch of applesauce. Five pints.

One of which will be dropped off to the elderchild later this morning. While it's still warm.