Let the Renovations Commence

Sep 25

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Please ignore the scraggly house plant that is slowly dying since we moved it outside while Neal deconstructs the dining room.  These poorly installed doors and windows have been one of the banes of life in our little yellow ranch in the woods.  By this time next week (knock wood, fingers crossed), the set on the left will be replaced with pretty new windows and a half wall.  We can't decide on a door for the set on the right, so that may have to wait until next year.

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Here's the view from inside.  Neal started pulling down sheetrock to see what horrors lay beneath.  The previous owners did a lot of rigging things in ways that don't make a guy who used to work construction happy.  The good news is that the header is a 2 x 10, which is code or code plus (Neal told me this.  I don't instinctively know it.), which means that we will be just fine, structurally, when we enter phase 4 of The Big Renovation of the Little Yellow Ranch in the Woods.  We're in Phase 2 now.  Phase 3, slated for next summer, is the addition of a mudroom and porch to the kitchen entryway.  Phase 4 is a second floor.  

Here's hoping I have some very different pictures for you in a week!  Hope you're having a fantastic Saturday, too!

 

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Pumpkin Moon

Sep 24

Pumpkins
Darkness is creeping in earlier and earlier, have you noticed?  This evening we took a drive to a nearby farm stand that also sells their delicious ice cream.  I had heard rumors of pumpkin ice cream.  Unfortunately, everyone within driving distance must have heard those rumors; no pumpkin ice cream to be had.  Instead I indulged in ginger and peach.  Maybe a little hot fudge got involved.  

As Neal and I savored what is certainly one of the last ice cream outings of the year, we heard another couple exclaiming over the "pumpkin moon".  While the Harvest Moon occurred yesterday, in conjunction with the Autumnal Equinox, making it a Super Harvest Moon, it was still pretty showy tonight, all orange and beautiful, peeking out from behind clouds.  

My camera phone couldn't capture the moon, but the pumpkins obliged.

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Farmer’s Market Ride

Sep 23

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It's no secret.  I love my Kona Africa bike.  Three speeds, pedal brakes, built in basket.  

Summer may be over, but today was warm and just perfect for taking Africa for a ride along the bike trail to the local farmer's market with Rae.  Along the way we ran into sweet Spring and her husband who were out walking, and once there, we bumped into Sarah and her most-adorable-ever kids. Reminded me of the social aspect of small city living that I love and miss. 

I came out with a boule from La Petite France and a stunning bouquet of flowers.  It made me pretty darn happy to pedal home with them in my basket!

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Artichoke Pizza: a Recipe

Sep 22

Artichoke pizza
Last night Sara came over for dinner and some knitting.  After spending the day cleaning out my closet, sorting clothes into "give away" "look at again in January to see if I want" and "pack until next summer" piles, as well as cleaning out the yarn shelf in my craft closet, I only had it in me to make a quick meal. Artichoke pizza sounded like it fit the bill:

Ingredients:

Pizza dough (I used store bought, but it's easy enough to make from scratch if you're not already short on time)

Sauce (I used leftover fresh sauce from Monday's dinner)

Ricotta cheese (I prefer the non-fat, but use what you like)

Can of quartered artichokes in water (if you use fresh, you're my hero)

Capers

Lemon (zest & cut in half)

Garlic (2-4 cloves)

Olive oil

Directions:

Let dough rise.  In the meantime, drizzle olive oil in saute pan on medium heat.  Chop garlic and saute. Rinse and rough chop artichokes and add to pan.  Stir occasionally.  They taste good if they get just a little crisp.  Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the pan, continue stirring.  Add zest near end of cooking.

When dough is ready, spread on your pan/stone of choice.  Add layer of sauce, then dollops of ricotta cheese.  Spread artichoke mixture over.  Add a few spoonfuls of capers.  

Bake in hot (450 degrees) oven until ready (I look at the dough to tell.  Usually about 10 minutes).  Remove from oven and squeeze juice from other half of lemon over.

Enjoy!

 I enjoyed serving this to Sara and Neal.  The sauce I use is Sara's recipe, and the artichokes come from a recipe Neal makes.  Really I should call it the Sara & Neal pizza.  Or something.

Let me know what you think if you try it! 

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Another Central Park View

Sep 20

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One of the magical things about Central Park is that some views make a girl feel that she has stepped back in time.  Way back.

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Romance

Sep 19

Brides are eternal.  Every bride who steps forward to her groom represents all brides who have ever done the same.  At least, that is my theory why most of us smile at the sight of a lovely woman dressed to face her new life.

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Yesterday Neal and I took a bike tour around Central Park.  While the guide provided information about architecture, I could not take my eyes off this couple, stealing a moment alone among the crush of people enjoying the pretty weather.  His tender gestures as he fussed with her hair, their kisses as they hid away behind the wall touched me.  Their romance was one of the high points of a wonderful day in my favorite city. 

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