Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thankful we have a home to renovate

Most of this week we worked on two home improvement projects:  1) The fabulous outdoor room, and 2) the 100% restored fireplace.  I will post pictures of each of them as they come along, but for now I will report that in order to prepare for the two different contractors we have hired for these projects, and to save us some money, I spent some quality time (like to the tune of 6 hours) with an electric demolition hammer, i.e. a jack hammer.

Using one of these and a shop vac in the house is not recommended unless absolutely necessary.

After I had thoroughly contaminated our house with mortar dust, I used the jack hammer to remove some of the excess* concrete from around the vinyl fence posts and the neighbor's garage footing before a snow storm hit.
 * At least I hope it wasn't structurally necessary.

Then Drew and I did some more manual labor digging holes for the trellis wall beams, until we finally rented a post hole auger.  The rest of the time has been spent lovingly removing 8 layers of paint from the fireplace and salvaging matching old wood from this crazy place called George's Architectural Salvage.

So boy did we deserve the pie.  For Thanksgiving we went to friend John's house in Park City. I made a pecan*, two pumpkin, and a brown-sugar rhubarb.  I used a 75% butter crust recipe I had not tried before.  It was very tasty, but it hardly made enough to complete the pies.  Next time I will make 1.5x the recipe.  The rhubarb I had frozen after harvesting in ~June from our puny garden.  This pie had a meringue topping, which turned out OK, but not great.  I didn't really care for the pie on Thanksgiving night, probably because it was up against pecan and pumpkin after tons of delicious food, but the leftovers were pretty tasty.

*It was the best I have ever made because I accidentally doubled the amount of butter in the filling.

You can see the pies here.  Drew really loves my pie, it just doesn't look like it.  

John is a great cook.  There were two kinds of potatoes, two kinds of stuffing, a Waldorf salad, and New Orleans dirty rice.  Drew was physically ill after all that, but he still had room for pie.

Here are John and some of the other guests preparing the meal.

Friday I went for a girls-only ride and Saturday Drew competed in his first cyclocross race.  We'll post about them next.

It was a good Thanksgiving week.  We are thankful for friends that cook, that we have this 100-year old house to renovate, and that we have the physical ability to do it.

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