Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Reno: End of Day 4

They've starting closing in the walls with plasterboard. And they've begun adding a door to the pantry, which I'm really excited about! In the basement, the new support posts have gone in and all that's left to do is the final pour of concrete. Not so exciting, but something that has needed doing since we moved in.
Today, I'm waiting for the pellet stove installer to arrive. We are having the one from this room moved to the living room and a new, bigger one, for this room. Then I'm off to get tiles for the fireplace surround and lighting.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wild Kingdom

This is what we hear every night lately, It's a Great Horned Owlet - a baby owl - calling for his dinner. (You can hear it, too, if you click here. then, click on 'Nocturnal Shriek'. (I can't figure out how to get an mp3 file into my blog). The same site says that the young owlets start roaming from the nest when they are 6 or 7 weeks old, the age of the little one in this picture. At this point they can't fly very well and won't for another 3 or 4 weeks and they are called 'branchers'.

The adults continue to feed them for several weeks after they leave the nest, slowly weaning them. This second picture is a bit older juvenile.

They will stay as a family group until fall, when the juveniles disperse widely - over 150 miles, perhaps. The breeding pair will maintain the same territory for a period of years, although they are solitary except during nesting season.

We heard them last year, too, so the pair is sticking around. The Son of..., who knows birds, says we should look for them in the evening. They are often visible against the sky then.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Reno: End of Day 3

The Kitchen Wall is down. There's structural framing above the opening. More concrete in the basement. And where the hall door used to be, is now framed in and will become bookcases.

Fallen Tree in the Backyard

We've had a week of rain here and the soil is waterlogged. We had a big tree at the back of the yard that was leaning at a drunken angle and overnight it fell. You can see it at the back of the photo.

The Reno: Day 2

Day 2, the progress looked less dramatic, though it was important. They cut a concrete hole in the basement floor and put the first layer of new concrete in it, to form footings so the upstairs stays up.
They also knocked out part of the kitchen wall, except for the stud framing, which awaits a visit from the electrician, the completion of the structural work.

That's Bob on the left and Eric on the right. They built our deck, too. They're spending the summer with us.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Just thinking

I just figured out that by eliminating the little, dark, unused hall, we actually added 110 square feet to the adjoining room. No wonder it looks so much bigger. It actually is much bigger.

The Reno: Day 1, After

Look! No wall between the stair and the fireplace. The black wall is the kitchen side of the wall to the kitchen. It will come down tomorrow.

The wall they took out today was drywall and the area underneath it is finished wood floor. There's only a little area that will need repair. That wall was added at some point. The kitchen wall is original, it's an earlier kind of wallboard, almost looks like bulletin board.

The Reno: Day 1, Before

When we bought the house, this room was one of the main attractions. There's a window seat on a south facing wall a fireplace and lots of bookcases. Today the bookcases come down and the wall they are on, disappears - the room will then be open to the staircase. Also the wall between the kitchen and the little room comes down. The builders are here now laying down tarps, unscrewing things that can be unscrewed etc. I"m going out in a little while and when I return... it will be fun to see what's happened.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Baby Tooth!

The Bride had a special moment today. She was talking to Daughter of.. on the phone, when Daughter of put her finger in Granddaughter of's mouth and discovered that her first tooth had broken through. It's not yet visible, but it's there -a sharp little protrusion.

It's hard to be a long-distant grandparent, so it was lovely to be able to share that moment.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pantry Update; Part 2

Here is the pantry, started in May but finished a couple of weeks ago. New color (a lovely blue) shelves repaired, everything cleaned up, all packages saying "use before August 2000" tossed out etc.

Later this week we are having a door put on it. I'll post more pictures when it's done.

Four Grain and Honey Bread - fresh from the oven

Isn't it beautiful and it tastes as good as it looks.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

To celebrate Father's Day, we went for a drive - looking for good waves for the COG to photograph. He also wanted to use his new underwater camera housing, which is good for days with lots of blowing salt water and sand as well as underwater. He's a little dot in the distance in the first picture.

For the photos he took, I expect you can look at his blog.

The Bride, meanwhile, sat patiently in the car, sewing new buttons on a new raincoat that had ugly buttons when she bought it. It was a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

First Share - Community Supported Fishery

This is (I think) a redfish. It's what we got for our 1/2 share the first week in our CSF.

The CSF is a great idea and we are so delighted to be a part of the first year. It was developed through an association of Fisherman's wives in Gloucester. The deal is, you pay for a share and you are guaranteed a certain amount of seafood once a week for 12 weeks. The fishermen, thus released from the necessity to fish for the Big Fish Celebrities (Haddock, Cod, Swordfish, etc) can fish in areas that are not depleted and are closer to shore. Thus, it's safer for them and better for the environment. And we can be sure that the fish we eat is sustainable, so it's better for us, too. A win all the way around.

I am baking this fish whole (sans head and fins) with bacon and bay leaves inside and outside. The fish arrive gutted but unfilleted. I didn't have to fillet it because I was cooking it whole, but I did remove the head. I was told that I might have to scale it, but there were no scales on it, so I guess they must have done it.

Next week, I'm going to try to fillet it. I want to get really good at it by the end of the summer.

The Season Begins - our first share from Appleton Farm

Two lettuces, a bag of spinach and a bag of arugula, salad turnips (the little white radish shaped things), Easter Egg radishes, two bunches of broccoli rabe, a bunch of scallions and one of beets.
and, from the pick-your-own section, 3 quarts of strawberries and about the same of snap peas. They are laid out on paper towels to dry out before storing because it was raining slightly.

Hey, COG, this is for you

I took this picture of buttercups for the COG, as Rose and I walked on the South Downs near Brighton.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

What we are missing today in Brighton

Today is the annual Naked Bike Ride event, in which 800 people are expected to take part. Following negotiations between the WNBR (World Naked Bike Ride organization) and the Brighton police in 2007, full nudity is permitted, although many of the riders will merely be Nearly Naked.

The COG is making plans to attend (as an observer) next year.

For more info about this important event, and a picture, click here.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Missing Sister

While Sister Rose and I were having a great time in Brighton, we were aware that Sister May was not there with us, and we missed her. After a few days Rose noticed that we kept sitting at tables with 3 chairs, as if saving an empty one for Sister May. Like the Round Table and Sir Galahad.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rose and The Bride in Brighton

We are staying in a fantastic holiday rental flat just opposite the sea, in a beautiful building with tall tall ceilings and lots of light. It's also historic. In this building, the first photographic studio in Brighton was set up. This was in the early days of photography, when the quality of the light made a huge difference. It was very expensive to have your picture taken, so the clientele was Posh. Prince Albert had his photo taken here, the first photo ever of a royal person. So Rose and I feel a little princessy,.

The Mary Rose

In addition to the HMS Victory, Sister Rose and The Bride went to see the Mary Rose museum and ship in Portsmouth. They were so glad they did because the museum will close in September 2009 and not reopen until 2012. They are building a big new museum.

The two pictures are Before and After shots. It's a little hard to make sense of the After shot because only about 2/3s of the hull survived intact, and it's on its side here.

The Mary Rose, if you don't know, is a 16th century warship, supposedly Henry VIII's favorite ship, which sank with all hands (over 400 men and boys) (and a dog) in the Solent in 1545 while fighting the French. It's not known why it sank, there are lots of theories. However, it had been a successful battle ship for 35 years before it sank, so the question is - what happened this time that was different.
The result of the sinking, though, was to capture a moment in time. When it was discovered and, later, raised with over half the hull intact, they recovered tens of thousands of artifacts of everyday life at sea.

Patrick O'Brian fan alert!

The HMS Victory.

Be Afraid, COG

Be afraid, COG, The Bride has met a manly man near the HMS Victory. His hygiene could be a problem, but he really knows how to swing his cutlass.

Back in Brighton

The view from my hotel room window, on one of only 2 rainy days here.