Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Building Project- Days 49-53

It's been quiet on the building project around here. The inspector won't inspect the framing until the electrical work is done. It hasn't yet begun. Also, the windows and doors aren't arriving until later this week. The only thing that's happened this week is a bit of cleaning up. That's it. I don't even have a new picture.

Everybody gets a nice rest.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Miscellaneous Monday

Things have been so busy that I haven't had a chance to post some pictures I wanted to share.

First up are shots from the garden.

Tomatillo growing

Bird egg bean almost ready

Bees on sunflower

Closer to bees on the sunflower

JalapeƱos galore!

Here's a warning to all those who don't like garden pictures: I'm itching to get out in the garden with the camera today to capture some beautiful pumpkins and squash-- just in case the deer get through the netting laid on top of the pumpkins and don't mind the taste of the hot pepper spray we sprayed all over.

Next up is a picture of our cats. They don't really have individual names because we couldn't all agree on them. Most of us can't even tell them apart. Collectively they are The Black Ninja Cats. They are deadly to many, many outdoors creatures and leave offerings on our porch frequently. They do, however, "allow" a possum or two to share their food at night.

Our Ninjas

And speaking of critters. . . my son captured this frog at the worksite.

Camouflaged little frog

And who could forget about the eclipse? Around here it wasn't 100%, but we did get to see it. My oldest daughter and I were out and about at appointments and shopping, and people were so kind to share glasses so we could see it.

Here at the house, my husband was more creative. He and the rest of the kids built a contraption with foil and a long paper tube and a cardboard box and a recycled church bulletin to capture these images. My son said it was hard to get the camera at the right spot to take the picture, but I thought he did a good job.

In big news this week, our dishwasher is finally working again thanks to Mr. Gordon, our most excellent appliance repairman. He asked Peter to screw in the final screws. I just had to take a picture; you know how important that was to our little 3-year-old man! We thought he actually tried to leave with Mr. Gordon, but he told us he just wanted to open his van door for him.

Working on the dishwasher

I've often wondered if a dishwasher is actually helpful. I've had one ever since I moved out of my parents' house, but does it really save time and effort? After living without one for probably close to a month, I can say that my verdict is "YES!" I love our dishwasher and am so happy it is working again.

And last, but not least, out 14th wedding anniversary was last week.

Selfie at the game

How did we spend our anniversary? We went out for a baseball game with all the kids because that was when they had free tickets from the summer reading program at the library.

Beautiful night for a game
And as has happened every single time we've gone, the Hagerstown Suns lost big time. We keep hoping that next year will be the year we see them win. It was a sad game, but Big Tony entertained us with song and dance in the last couple of innings.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Craving Routine & Cucumber Salad

Over the course of my tenure as a mother, I’ve learned that I crave normal. Routine is easier on me and on the children. Same old, same old. I just can’t get enough of boring.

Of course, life around here is never boring. This summer brought chaos to our house, even more chaos than our seven children normally produce. For the last month or so, each morning before 7 a. m., we hear air compressors, nail guns, hammers, saws, or a machine (whose name I don’t know) that knocks holes in bricks. A backhoe now lives in our backyard, and my clothesline is temporarily dismantled.

The kids couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m fairly certain they couldn’t be more underfoot, but the carpenters take it all in stride, giving even the little ones important jobs along with a smile or two. So far my children have chipped way at mortar on bricks, held boards and chalk lines, carried wood and nails, and operated a forklift-crane sort of machine on a delivery truck. They also make sure to set out a water cooler and cups each day for the workers.

And despite the fact that their mother keeps trying to pull them away from the action to do their chores, the kids can (and do) tell you about each step of the building process so far. Their questions about what what comes next are endless, and every other sentence out of their mouths is about their new heroes, the men working on the new addition to the parsonage. 

The names of the workers fall from the lips of the children so often that you’d think they are family; they’re so nice to us that I wouldn’t mind if they were family, especially since, thanks to their skills and hard work, we’ll soon have some extra room in our home. 

This is the kind of chaos I can live with.


The garden is in full swing around here. Cucumbers, beans, zucchini, peppers, and even the blighted tomatoes are daily on our table. My husband’s favorite garden delight this summer is cucumber salad. I make a sour cream dressing that’s simple and soothing in the summertime heat. Simply peel and slice your cucumbers (and tomatoes and onions if you have some) and pour this dressing over the top, give it a quick stir, and you have summer in a bowl. My grandmother also used this dressing over lettuce.

Sour Cream Dressing for Cucumber Salad

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp.  cider vinegar

Mix all ingredients and pour over cukes.

*This column ran in the Hancock News on August 24, 2017. (The pictures were not in the newspaper.)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Building Project- Day 48

Yesterday I spent lots of hours picking beans, so once again, a boy took pictures.

Roof cap-- check!

"Dog house"-- check!

Okay. I know. This last one needs some explanation. Yesterday Tom told me he'd be building a dog house out back. The "dog house" is really the cover for the entrance to the crawl space beneath. But it's a lot more fun to call it a dog house, don't you think?

I have no clue what's happening today on the building front, but I'm planning on avoiding the garden. Of course, I'll be shelling and canning beans inside, but at least I won't be picking beans until tomorrow!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Building Project- Days 42-47

Not because I'm a slacker, but because of beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and mountains of laundry (plus a few doctor's appointments and a baseball game and a broken dishwasher), I have fallen a long way behind on my chronicle of this building adventure.

The progress can be summed up in a couple of words: roof and roof. Actually, the masons were here again to put a row of bricks around so Jimmy could fill in around the foundation, too.

I'm afraid I don't have these pictures sorted by day, but these first few I took last week.

Another cool truck with a forklift-crane

Shingles going up!

New masonry work and dirt filled in

End of Monday (I think)--Doesn't that roof look nice?

That's the end of the pictures I took. The day before yesterday and yesterday, I sent boys out to take pictures. This is just a sampling of what they thought was important enough for pictures.

This is the pipe for radon that's required in Maryland. It's between closets.

This is Jimmy's dump truck. The backhoe wasn't parked here.

West side of roof--finished!


East side of roof-- finished!



And. . . scaffolding!

From what I understand, the roof cap is going on today. I should add that more work was done inside (studs and such, maybe?), but I just haven't had a chance to figure it all out. I do know that I've been hearing some rumblings of electrical stuff coming up sometime soon.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Building Project-- Day 40 & 41

Once again the garden takes precedence, and I don't have the best building summary.

I sent my dear second-born out to record what happened on Tuesday since I was busy.  He found the scaffolding interesting.

 And, like my other son, he also took some pictures of the backhoe. However, I've noticed another picture focus for my sons.

Those plans in a bucket are quite curious. I think those two boys take pictures of it every time I send them out with the camera.

Also on Day 40, some work was done on the inside.

Yesterday was a day up on the roof. I took this picture. Disclaimer: this picture was not taken yesterday. I took it this morning because I was gone in the evening and couldn't take the end of the day photo. It looks a lot like this on the other side.

The plan for today, originally, was to go crazy with the shingles. However, the carpenter got a call that the shingle delivery would be later than expected, so for now, they're working on making the seam/gutter tight on the east side so possible impending rain doesn't get through. Then, if it's not too stinking hot, they'll get to the shingles. But if it's way too hot, the shingles will have to wait until tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tin Can Man-- Before and After

Remember this fella?

Shiny and new!

Well, the elements have changed him a bit, but still think he's rather cute. He's also still functional, clanging away in the breezes.

Not so shiny and new

Rusty, but cute

Building Project-- Days 36-39

I'm a little behind on the blog front, but, thanks to a good deal of rain and the weekend, not much has happened.

Day 36 was a bit of a clean-up day, but not much building action. Day 37 was a day off, but it rained. Day 38 was Sunday. And yesterday, on Day 39, it rained most of the day.

Before it rained, there were a couple hours of working on the roof to make the joining nice and waterproof.

And because the previous ramp was needed for the scaffolding that was put up yesterday, my sons made a ramp out of some scrap wood to make it easier getting into and out of the addition. They were so proud.

I haven't checked the weather yet today, but it looks like another dreary day so far. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Building Project-- Day 35

I'll be honest: I haven't actually been outside to see the how the work yesterday ended. I had a mommy-daughter date with my oldest girl, and we went to the big town for eye doctor appointments and some shopping. A soft pretzel may have been involved.

Anyway, when we got back home, everybody else had eaten supper already, and our waffles and bacon were waiting on the table. Then I had to wrangle the overtired 3-year-old and do the bedtime routine. I enlisted the help of my 2nd-born to take pictures since it would be dark before I had time. It was already low-light outside, but I think he did a good job.

West side

East side

East side:  close-up

Inside shot

This last picture gives you an idea of the biggest difference we noticed today from inside the house: it's darker. Although the tarp isn't permanent, it darkens things up like it will be when complete. The kids like the cozy feel and think they'll be able to take naps in the current living room since it's darker. I'm surprised that I agree because I really like lots of natural sunlight; however, the new atmosphere inside here is not unpleasant at all.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Building Project-- Day 34

I realized I haven't been blogging much about things that aren't the building project. For me right now, other than my regular mom/wife duties, life is about the garden, putting up things from the garden, and eating things from the garden.

Onions that my daughter picked for me yesterday

Big ol' pile of greens we worked on canning last night

Donated tomatoes from a friend and peppers and zucchini of ours

Our garden is really starting to produce things-- especially jalapeƱos and green peppers.

Now, on to the real star of our lives. Yesterday was another big work day with more roof stuff. These are the end of the day pictures.

West side

East side

Until tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Building Project-- Day 32 & 33

Day 32 was a short day. I heard a little sawing and nail-gunning, but I think the main reason the carpenters came out in the drizzle was to meet the delivery truck.

When the drizzle turned to rain, Day 32 was over.

Now Day 33 was a different story entirely. Yesterday began with an obstacle course for Jimmy. He had to maneuver around the bluebird house, the well cover, the piles of lumber, and the clothesline-- all while carrying the roof tresses. I'm telling you, that man has serious skills!

Picking up tresses by hand and moving them into place was no easy task either, but in what seemed like no time at all, the men had several up.

One thing I'm learned about a modern construction site is that the nail gun is used more than the hammer. But you can see below that the hammer isn't entirely obsolete.

Here's another backhoe picture. My son didn't take this one; I did. I'm not crazy about backhoes like he is, but I love Jimmy's smile. That man knows how to work!

I don't have an end-of-the-day picture because, to be honest, I had a date with green beans in the garden. I didn't get back until it was a little dark for pictures. I do have some close-to-quittin'-time pictures. This first picture gives you an idea of how much work was done yesterday.

These next two pictures shows you that I was a little obsessed with close up pictures. First up is a picture of the rafters from inside the addition. 

Pretty blue sky!

One casualty of yesterday's work was my clothesline. The line itself had to come down until it's no longer in the way. That's okay because with all the dust and building, I haven't been hanging things out anyway.

Clothesline pole close-up

Another high point of the day for me was when one of the workers brought me tomatoes from his garden since ours aren't ripe yet. I ate some for both lunch and supper. Oh, and my husband grilled chicken for everybody for lunch; I always enjoy that. 

On a completely un-construction note, my parents came for a quick visit since they were close by for a doctor's appointment. It was so nice to just take time out of working in the garden and chat for an hour or two. Their visit gave me a taste of what it would be like if we had family living close by. Even my children commented on how nice a visit it was.