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Archive for June, 2012

I am not much of a sweet tooth in the morning as I like a real meal to start the day of right. After all, for breakfast your should eat like an emperor. I generally like eggs in the morning with veggies and sometimes meat. This is a bit more fancy version of my morning breakfast. It’s quick and easy to make. It is almost as good at the omelettes at a local, very small and intimate breakfast place. I crave their omelettes more than we can afford to go there, so I just get busy in the kitchen myself.

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Onion, mushroom, roasted read pepper and feta omelette

The recipe for 1 omelette:

1/4 onion, sliced

1/2 roasted, red pepper, sliced in thin strips

4-5 mushrooms, sliced

2 slices of feta cheese

2 eggs

butter for the pan

Fry onions in butter until they start browning, add mushrooms and continue frying until mushrooms are done to your preference. Remove onions and mushrooms from pan, add a little bit more butter, mix eggs with fork and add to pan, allow egg to flow all over pan, cook covered until eggs are done. Turn of heat, add onions, mushrooms, roasted red peppers and feta cheese to one half of the omelette, fold over other side, cover and let sit for a minute or so. Serve and enjoy.

You can make this omelet with 3 eggs or just egg whites if you like. Cooking on well seasoned cast iron is best but other pans will work as well.

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Or “my own trash is my treasure”.
I have been in the mood of not buying materials for my projects. We already have so much left over building material from all our other projects, there are some things that can be reused from things I built before and I don’t need anymore and we are making less money this year due to the cuts to the Focus on Energy program in Wisconsin by the Backwards Walker administration.

I had a few projects for the garden in mind. I wanted to build another trellis for the new “bean screen” raised beds so I can also grow squash in there. And I wanted to build a compost bin to supplement “Darth Vader”.

Let’s start with the trellis.

Trellis for squash

I found some sticks with a good form on one end in my neighbors brush pile on the curb. I sharpened the none forked end and stuck that into the ground. I laid a 2×2 across the two forks.¬† I had previously used to build 3×6 chicken wire box to go over my strawberries and it originally come from a build-in cabinet we took down in the hallway. I then laid these green garden stakes I had used for the fence around my other strawberry bed from the garden bed to the 2×2 and tied everything together with some artificial sinew I found in my art supplies. Last I laid the chicken wire across the garden stakes, tucked it in a bit and tied it in a few places. The chicken wire was previous used in the chicken wire box in mentioned above. I spent about 0 dollars and almost no time¬† on this.

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It’s strawberry season and we have a nice little crop from our garden. This morning in my usual Saturday morning tradition I made a batch of my oatmeal pancakes and served them with strawberries and cream.

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Yummy cakes. Pottery by Upham Street Pottery

The recipe for the pancakes is very easy and forgiving to experimentation:

Oatmeal Pancakes
1 1/4 cup of buttermilk, plain kefir, drinkable yogurt or milk
1cup rolled oats (avoid quick oats)
A handful of ground walnuts
2 eggs
2 tbl canola or other flavorless oil
1/8 to 1/4 cup spelt flour or other light whole grain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Oil for the pan

Mix oats with milk/ yogurt/ kefir and let stand for at least 5 minutes. Add nuts and other ingredients. Use wisk or spoon for mixing. Ladle onto hot griddle or pan, cook until golden brown. Serve with strawberries and cream.

I often add frozen and lightly thawed raspberries right into the batter and just serve the cakes with syrup. This is really our staple version.

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I often need to look at previous posts or older pictures to remind myself of how much progress we are making. It’s been two months since my last post and although progress is slow, I can see that some things are getting done. Some have more progress than others.

Gutters: We ordered the gutter materials back in March so we could be ready to work on this project as soon as the beam was at a good stopping point. We have gotten one section of the porch roof installed without a down spout for now. This first section is our learning section. How much pitch do we need, rivets vs. crimping of the end cap and down spout transition, height of the gutter in relation to the roof edge, etc. We are very happy with this first section. The color is a perfect match to the trim and fascia and the gutter fits well. We may need to flash in the gutters but we figured that’s something we can do any time. We also learned that on the north side of the house, the long straight run, is higher in the front than the back. We installed the gutter parallel to the roof where it will have the right pitch.

First section of gutter along on side of the porch. No downspout yet but a splash block at the bottom.

Temporarily installed gutter along north side of house.

Beam: all the new beam parts and posts are in. We still need to connect the old beam to the new with bolts and threaded rod and put in spacers between the two parts of the beam but we are saving this work for a rainy day or a too hot to work outside summer day.

2 sets of double posts.

Two posts on one side and 1 post on the other plus a new beam under each side of the walls of the stairway.

Porch ceiling: I took down the porch ceiling last summer. The exercise started with me just planning on scraping the ceiling so we wouldn’t have lead paint chips in our dinner. I got so frustrated scraping that I promptly switched to pry bar and hammer and took down the ceiling. This spring we had a lot of birds visit our exposed rafters and one bird couple stayed and laid eggs. The European Starling is now raising four baby birds in our ceiling. We think the babies will fledge within the next week and we have started installing the ceiling. We got fir bead board that I finished in the same stain as the soffit. All I do is run the belt sander across the sides and hand sand the grooves. Then I just apply one coat of stain and let it dry. A. has been using trim screws through the tongue instead of nails. The ceiling joists are long and bouncy and nailing would have been too hard. A. also put in hurricane ties and other ties to bring our porch up to building standard.

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Porch ceiling almost done, just waiting for the birds to fledge

I like the warm color of the natural beadboard finish

Garden: I have been plugging away at the garden. I built two small raised beds for the top of the retaining wall. I planted beans here in a row and will probably add some winter squash with a trellis. The idea here is to have the beans grow up on supports to make a visual screen from the ugly apartment building on the other side.

Raised beds with trellis for beans

This method seems to have worked well for our neighbors so I thought I’ll give it a try. The one thing I don’t like about our backyard is that it is totally exposed and that we have zero privacy back there. I don’t mind it so much for the garden but I would like to eventually have a permanent screen for the upper portion so we can hang out back there. In the garden, I am creating more space for vegetables. I have more tomatoes this year and I am utilizing more of the space around the perimeter for veggies. I have been removing more Daylilies and I am also trying to kill more grass by covering it up with cardboard and hay. I would like to not have to mow back there at all and even though the hay paths will require some maintenance every year, I hope that it takes less overall time than mowing every week.

Garden with more space for veggies. Paths are not quite done yet but getting there.

Some apples on the espalier Honey Crisp.

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