Making a To Do List Your Bitch

I’m tired, sore, and don’t feel like leaving my couch for a few days…BUT WE GOT SO MUCH DONE THIS WEEKEND!

Momma MisHappenings came up Friday morning and we started the crown molding project in my bedroom.  We decided to put in a three piece crown, because Momma MisHappenings really likes molding and feels like you can’t ever over do the molding.  I also like molding, probably because I grew up in a house filled with nice, homemade moldings.

I don’t have the skills required to create molding from scratch.  I have just enough talent to run a miter saw and a nail gun.  Momma did all the coping…..which is really an advanced maneuver.  The Engineer and I did most of the cutting and installing, atleast on Saturday and Sunday.  Momma and I did all the wall pieces on Friday while The Engineer worked.  Almost none of my home improvement projects have gone as smoothly as this molding did!  All three pieces were cut, coped, and install by noon today!  I originally had visions of getting the bathroom all done too, but A. I didn’t buy enough of the first two pieces of trim and B. There are way too many corners in my bathroom and they take a decent amount of time to get fit nicely!

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The nail holes all still need to be filled and touch up paint needs to happen in several places, but all in all the whole project went pretty well.  Molding is a fairly complicated process, and there are plenty of old world technical skills required.  Most of our issues revolved around the fact that the actual crown pieces came from two different production lots.  They were just slightly different in their angle and profile.  However, slightly different is one thing when the pieces are laying flat.  When you are trying to cope and fit corners evenly and with no gaps…..slightly different quickly changes to a huge pain in the ass.  With some extra sanding and filing we got pretty decent corners all around and I can touch up the small gaps with caulk or spackle before I retouch the paint.

I won’t explain in detail how to do the crown…..mostly because other people can do it much better than me.  Again, I’m rolling with just enough skill to get things done, but my teaching abilities are not really up to par.  If you’re interested in installing molding I’d recommend The Joy of Moldings.  He has an excellent blog that will teach you how to cope corners and how to layout the pattern for your crown.

I’m not as glue happy as The Joy of Moldings guy.  My Dad only ever glued scarf joints….never coped corners and never ever did he use glue to attach moldings to walls and ceilings.  I don’t have the advantage of knowing how my townhouse is constructed, and because I didn’t buy a stud finder until we were 2/3 of the way done with the molding, I did end up adding some panel adhesive onto the cornice pieces on the ceiling.

My Dad also never used a nail gun, but he was faster and more skilled.  I need to make up time somewhere, and shooting in nails works fine in that capacity.  Plus, since I didn’t originally know where the studs were, after we bought the stud finder at Cosco I went around and shot in a bunch of extra nails actually into the studs.  More holes to fill I suppose, but when the nails are that easy to install I suppose you get a bit liberal with them!  However, shooting nails around willy nilly has it’s downfalls, and just like every other time we’ve attempted a project pieces had to be ripped down and nails pulled out.  Nothing has been as bad as the time I nailed my pocket door open…..but still……struggles were had.  It was nice to get the project wrapped up this weekend.  Today is my parent’s wedding anniversary, so it was nice to spend the weekend with my Momma doing something my Dad was so skilled at.

It actually worked out really well having a tube of panel adhesive open.  Saturday morning, the guest bed upstairs broke.  The frame itself was purchased by my Grandma when she was still living at home with my Great Grandama.  So I’m sure it predates her marrying my Grandpa.  My Uncle had added a couple pieces of wood to act as risers for the box spring supports, and one of those old pieces shattered.  Luckily we were able to cut some scraps into new risers and glued the whole thing back into place.  I also used a small amount to reinstall a loose kick plate in the kitchen.  One bedroom of crown molding, a kitchen reinstall, and a bed repair…..not a bad day in the life of a $3 tube of adhesive!

Another item that got checked off the to do list that has been looming for years is the gallery wall in my dining room.  The Bitch Faced Bestie will be so proud!  The frames themselves have only been stacked up on the dining room floor for 3 years…..better late than never I guess.  Realistically I had been waiting to find all the pictures I want for the frames, but I think having them up will remind me to actually look for art to put in them.  I have a general idea of the pictures I want to hang, I’m just having a problem finding what I want.  So, I’m sure I will slowly start collecting art for my gallery, but even just having the frames up is making my dining room area feel much fancier!

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There is one frame missing still from the upper right hand corner, so don’t mind that hole!

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Paint and Pie

IT’S FINALLY FALL!

It seemed like cooler, sweater weather would never arrive, but I guess good things come to those who are patient!  With the changing of the seasons comes my deep burning desire to spend time cleaning, organizing, and crafting in my garage.  Things that have been laying around all summer I suddenly have a burning need to organize.

The first craft of the fall was trying out chalk paint on some metal decor.  A few months ago I purchased a metal candle holder from Hobby Lobby.  While I do like the original color of the candle holder, it wasn’t really the right shade of blue for my house.  What better to do than throw some chalk paint on it and see what happens?!

Overall, I would say the mini project went well.  The only thing I would change was maybe the amount of distressing I did before I waxed the piece.  The paint chips off rather easy, so in buffing in the dark wax, several extra chunks of paint went flying off.  I’m not sure that in this case the candle holder could be “over” distressed, and since I didn’t have a specific outcome in mind….all is good in the chalk painting hood!  If you were going for a lighter distressed look, I might actually skip the initial distressing step.  Apply your wax, and then if you feel like you need a little extra maybe distress with sandpaper as a final step.

Another glorious part of the shift in the weather is a change in nightly meal choices!  I’m not one of those people who can eat soup and casseroles with its 100 degrees outside, so as the temperatures have been cooling I’ve been ramping up the oven!  Last night I tried out a new recipe…..shepherd’s pie!  I had never had a shepherd’s pie before, but The Engineer has had them and was having a craving.  Coupled with the fact that we watched Gordon Ramsey make some on Kitchen Nightmare meant that I needed to try my hand.  All in all, I think it turned out pretty well!  Used up a bunch of leftover veggies, and anything with cheesy mashed potatoes is a good life decision!!

Shepherd’s Pie

  • 2 pounds ground meat
  • Onion, chopped
  • 3 large handfuls of baby carrots, chopped
  • 5-6 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1ish glass of red wine
  • 6 Tbs worcestershire sauce
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-12oz can of tomato paste
  • 3 cubes of chicken bouillon
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 6-12 oz of water
  • 3 Tbs thyme
  • 1/2 12oz bag of frozen corn
  • 1/2 12oz bag of frozen green beans
  • 1 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 2 pounds of potatoes, peeled
  • 5 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup of milk

While I do understand that this isn’t a traditional shepherd’s pie as it doesn’t contain lamb, I’m pretty confident that this recipe would work with any red meat.  The most important quality of the meat, according to Gordon, is that it’s well drained and free of grease.  Elk, for all intensive purposes, is basically grease free and I have a freezer full of it now, so that’s what I used.  If using any wild game meat, remember that you will probably need to add some olive oil to your pan before adding in the meat.  Brown the meat and toss in all the fresh veggies, onion, and the garlic.  Continue cooking until you’re sure the meat is completely cooked, and the onions have gone slightly translucent.

Dump in the worcestershire, tomato paste, wine, bouillon and water.  You could also use any stock you have laying around the house, I just had the cubes to use.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and the thyme.  I used several fresh sprigs from my garden, but dried would also work just fine.

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When you use fresh herbs and your fancy starts showing!

Simmer your meat mixture until the carrots and celery become tender and the mixture thickens….about 45 mins.  Stir often so that the bottom of the mixture doesn’t scorch to the pan.  While that’s simmering, rough cube the potatoes and add them to a pan and boil until fork tender.  Drain and add to a mixing bowl with the butter, cheese, and milk. Basically, just make mashed potatoes the way you always would….only with the addition of cheese.  Maybe you make them with cheese all the time…..I don’t, so that was a little upgrade!

Add your frozen veggies and just let them warm up a couple minutes.  Pour the mixture into a 9×13 baking pan.  The entire mixture didn’t all fit in my pan, in hindsight it would have, but I made a small, additional baking dish and threw it into the freezer for later.  Top the mixture with the mashed potatoes and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.  If the top isn’t as brown as you’d like, turn the broiler on and babysit your pie carefully until the desired level of golden brown is achieved.  Dish up and enjoy your meat, potatoes, and veggies!!

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I raked my potatoes with a fork before baking and topped them with extra black pepper because it’s The Engineer’s favorite!

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PIE!

Small Town Shopping

A couple weeks ago I was home to go to the dentist.  Yes, I know….I should probably just find a new dentist instead of using vacation days to go home just to see the dentist.  However, I have more vacation time then I ever know what to do with and change makes me nervous sooooo I think I’ll just keep going home.  I tried a new dentist once……worst decision ever!

Anyway, I was there for the weekend spending time with Momma MisHappenings and we did a little bored shopping to pass the weekend.  I’m a big online shopper, mostly because I hate having to leave my house, and most of the premium shopping opportunities are on the other side of town.  Also, sales people who bug me while I’m just shopping annoy me.  How is it when you don’t need them they are swarming around you, but if you actually have a valid question they scatter…..like bees…..they can just sense the struggle I guess.

I don’t mind going to small town stores though.  I know that you sometimes pay more, but my theory is that if you don’t support the small town options you won’t have any left.  I grew up in a smaller town that saw multiple businesses come and go over the years.  For some reason, coffee shops and bakeries seemed to have an especially hard time in my town…..which is a shame because adult MisHappenings loves coffee shops and bakeries.  Don’t get me wrong, I still do plenty of shopping at Walmart, but I believe life is all about balance….budgets, shopping, ya know…..things.

There’s a cute little store in my hometown called The Lemonade Stand.  It’s sorta shabby chic style with custom distressed furniture and cute decor and furnishing items.  They were open and then closed due to a family death, but I’m glad that the owner reopened the store.  It actually just recently reopened so I suggested to Momma that we swing through and see what had changed.  I ended up finding a couple cute things.

I’m trying  to make my upstairs loft/office into a sort of a Merlin’s laboratory or like Hogwart’s potions class style room.  To a point…..I’m not going to hang permanent cobwebs on my bookshelves or anything, but just the general vibe.  I’ve slowly been collecting stylized bottles and other small pieces that might work in the space.  The Lemonade Stand had a couple cute little things that I snatched up, and a cute little cement M for my Engineer since he was at home puppy sitting the Pupperoni girl.

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Ahhh…cute lil cement “M” for The Engineer

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Hopefully, I can get in an get this turned into mercury glass, like a fancy little test tube stand!

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The upstairs desk needed a garbage can, and this little rusty, distressed bucket seemed like he’d work great!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Momma had seen advertisements of a little consignment store down in Nebraska on Facebook, so we decided to take a little road trip down to check it out…..if Runza was going to be involved.  The store ended up being very cute.  It was much larger than I would have guessed, but they had a good mix of consignment items and new purchased items.  Momma and I wandered for awhile and scoped out the scene.  I could have spent way more money than I did, but I feel like I made some good purchases!

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This centerpiece came in three lengths, this was the mid length.  It’s all hinged so you can set it out in basically any shape you want.

I found a cute little reclaimed wood cabinet.  It has what appears to be an old cabinet door as a back panel, and then the rest is just pieced together.  It matches the upstairs bathroom which is blue with bird accents.  So, for $18 I got a cute new cabinet for the bathroom.  Besides, he had a pretty thick coat of dust, so it’s obvious he had been at the shop for awhile.  A new home was definitely in order.

Throwback and New School

The Engineer is at a work sponsored golf event for the night, so the lil Scout-a-Roo and I are blogging together on the couch old school style.  Throwing it back to our single girl days!  Not that we both don’t love having The Engineer around, but sometimes it’s nice to throw on some Sex and the City, pour some wine, and have yourself a nice girl’s night.  I have no idea what The Engineer is eating, but I had sushi and Roo had her regular crunchies with the added bonus of some leftover elk steak chunks and leftover elk burger.  Everyone was eating really good tonight at Casa (Mis)Happenings

Alrighty….down to business!  Technical errors from last week mean that I owe you a double blog of sorts.  It’s been a busy few weekends around here.  House projects, gardening, trips home and shopping with Momma…..so many things to do, so little time!

Slowly but surely I’ve been working on improving my backyard and patio situation.  It isn’t that my yard is bad, it’s well maintained, but I’m on a fairly busy corner and my yard is lacking in privacy and shade.  I want to extend my little patio pad, probably with some sample slabs from The Engineer’s company, but that seems like a lot of work…..especially when it’s still so hot out!  I don’t really need the shade, but on days when I want to be out reading, tanning, and enjoying a beer it would be nice for Scout to have a place out of the sun. Cue…..

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It provides plenty of shade, but is out of the way when it needs to be.  I got the umbrella stick part and the canopy from Cost Plus World Market, and the stand came from Menards.  I really only got the umbrella because it was on super sale one weekend, but I’m glad that I finally pulled the trigger on buying one!  I saved like $70 on the whole thing!!!  If you’ve never been to the World Market, you really need to find your nearest one and scope the scene!  I’ve bought a ton of stuff there…..jewelry, furniture, pillows, rugs, and food.  Everything is a bit in the style of Anthropologie or Restoration Hardware……but WAY CHEAPER!

Another major house update I accomplished recently was finally settling on a rug!  Momma has thought that my living room as always needed a rug.  Partly I’m sure to break the space up a little since I have a fairly open concept living room, kitchen, and dining room.  Secondly, to lighten up the super dark wood flooring the previous owners picked.

I’ve had a couple problems picking a rug.  First, most rugs in the size I need for my living room, at least 8×10, fall no where near the price point I’m willing to spend on a chunk of carpet.  Secondly, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed…..but there are way more ugly rugs than good looking rugs!

The colors I chose for the living room also didn’t help the rug hunt.  I have very dark floors, a metallic pearl couch, turquoise accent chairs and secretary, and a dark plum reading chair.  I wanted a traditional feel, but in modern colors.  Sort of like if Marie Antionette owned a townhome, simplified her need to gold, and embraced a modern color pallet.  Finding a traditional rug in those colors was a bit of a struggle.  Most were the wrong shade of blue, had weird pops of orange…….which why though……., or they were too dark to contrast with my floor.  Enter the Anastasia Collection by Loloi Rugs…..

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Stock photo from loloi.com because I’m bad at taking decent pictures.

The only name  can find for this rug is AF-05 Silver and Plum.  The base of the rug is a very light, slightly metallic silver, but against my floor it takes on a warmer shade of taupe-y silver.  I’m not sure that taupe-y silver is an actual color, but it is what it is I guess.  The turquoise in the rug perfectly matches my accent chairs, and the various shades of plum and eggplant coordinate nicely with my reading chair.  The only thing I don’t love with it is my little ottoman puff thing, but I could easily recover that.  It’s a pale cream floral print, and I’ve never been a huge fan of layering prints.  I know it’s a thing, but it just always seems weird to me.

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Laying out the monster rug, and someone wanted to help press out the wrinkles…….

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Wrinkle squishing was a serious job….but someone had to do it!

As you maybe can tell from the pictures, the rug looks darker in any light other than direct sunlight.  It also depends a little bit on which direction you brush the rug.  All in all, I really like it.  It keeps my couch from sliding backwards into the wall shelf, and it’s thin enough that it doesn’t feel like a chunk of shag carpet laying on my floor.  Momma keeps asking if I need a rug pad…..I’m not sure what that would accomplish, but the rug isn’t sliding around or moving so I’m leaning towards the not needing one side.

I’m not quite sure that we threw the rug down in the right location.  I mean, it’s underneath all the living room furniture which I know is important, but I’m still not super sure.  I’m sure that the next time Momma MisHappenings comes to the house we will fidget it around some.  I feel like that’s the sort of information Mommas are suppose to know…..how to connect a room with an area rug and how long to boil corn for.  Yes, I had to text and ask how long to boil corn for…..I cook a lot but every once in awhile you come upon something you took from granted and never had to make.  Apparently corn on the cob was that thing for me.

Besides moving furniture and laying out rugs, The Engineer and I also canned last weekend.  Well……mostly I canned and he watched.  He did help prep ingredients and wash green beans, but he decided he couldn’t stuff jars because his hands didn’t fit.  Dilly bean jar stuffing is a bit of an acquired art, so I guess I can’t really blame him.  He did take plenty of pictures, but please ignore the mess in my kitchen.  Between biking, breakfast smoothie making, canning, and just my regular messiness……my kitchen and I were disasters by the end of the day.  All in all we made 9 quart jars of dilly beans, and 7 jars of banana pepper rings.  Most of the banana peppers are in pints, but I had some random jelly jars laying around so I filled those up too.  Some of the jars even contain beans and peppers from my little garden plot.  It’s been nice to get veggies in quantities you can actually do something with, although I did still buy 8 pounds of green beans and a bucket of banana peppers from my favorite supplier at the farmer’s market.

Pirate Bunnies : Murder, Pillage, and Plunder

The Engineer and I planted a garden!  Most years I’ve just planted a few veggie plants in patio pots.  This year, we went all out with an actual dug in garden!  I had been meaning to get this done for a couple years, but I’m lazy and didn’t have a solid plan to deal with the sod once I dug it all up.  Cue…The Engineer’s truck!  He maybe drove around with a slightly soggy, boggy situation in the truck bed for a week…..but I offered to help him get rid of it and he wasn’t feeling my initial dump off location!

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The prime location!

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Day 1 progress…..The Engineer is good with a shovel, and I’m a good sod puller!

We got really ambitious after getting the HOA board’s approval.  It seemed like a nice early warm spring, so we got to work right away with visions of epic gardening in our heads.  Well….idk about his head, but in my brain I was going to have a big garden with lots of happy plants that would supply me with tasty snacks and food all summer long.

The sooner you start the sooner you get to eat yea!?

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There were a few days when I started to question garden placement…..things got a bit soupy.  Also….notice the mostly dead spirea that I eventually dug out.  Extreme gardening happening at Casa Miss Happenings! Slowly, the swamp dried out and we got everything tilled and planted.  It turns out that the soil in my yard is mostly clay, so I ended up adding several bags of top soil into the garden.  I didn’t buy great soil, actually….I bought the cheapest kind Menards has.  This was maybe a bad choice?!  I’m not sure, we will find out……live and learn I guess.

The years crop included  4 tomato plants, 3 varying pepper plants, two large rows of green beans, and some spaghetti squash.  I also planted a pot of kale and mixed lettuce, a pot of kohlrabis, and two pots of herbs which include two different types of basil, thyme, and oregano.    I also have two decorative pots of pansies and petunias.  I hate petunias….but they are what grows here so whatever I guess.  Everything seemed like it was coming together….and then disaster struck!

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Remember how I said we started early because things seemed warm and happy and springish?!  Well……I maybe got a bit over ambitious.  I ended up loosing my first batch of tomato plants because I forgot to bring them into the garage during one of our spring cold snaps.  So…..there was that!

2017 Plant Deaths — A Running List

  • 3 Cherry Tomato Plants

Tomato plants are cheap, so I quickly rebounded from that initial downfall.  Everything really seemed like it was coming together…..I had gotten the dead spirea dug up and thrown into the back of The Engineer’s truck.  One night we may or may not have driven out into the country and tossed the plant and the leftover small pieces of sod into a ditch.  The large chunks of sod went to a coworker’s new house while they await landscaping….her dog needed a pee patch!  Sometimes The Engineer and I like to do “dirt kid hood rat things”….actually, that might have been our first ‘delinquent’ move together. The couple the dumps sod together stays together?!

After we conquered the sod and dead tomato issues…..came the bunnies.  Fucking herds of spicy pepper loving bunnies.  The Engineer even talked to some guys who gardens at his work and they assured him that bunnies are no problem because they don’t like the spicy peppers.  Well……the bunnies in my yard ate my peppers from spiciest to mildest.  I’m not sure what they says about them……but I’m sure if you ate one they would be well spiced and delicious!

2017 Plant Deaths — A Running List

  • 3 Cherry Tomato Plants
  • 1.5 (approximation based on remaining growing time) Pepper Plants

To combat the herds of capsaicin loving furry woodland creatures, we had to build emergency fences around all the pepper plants.  All 3 of the initial plants survived, but the banana pepper took the hardest beating.  He’s trying really hard to recover and grow, but I’m afraid he won’t make it before winter comes.  The Engineer decreed that a flowering and fruiting banana pepper plant was a garden requirement, so we bought a new one and transplanted in where the abused plant sat.  We moved the little abused one into the corner and gave him a protective cage.  He’s starting to leaf out slightly, but when you’ve been eaten down to a 3 inch stump in the ground….you’ve got a lot of growing to catch up on in a short growing season!

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Maybe if we have a winter like this…..my abused pepper plant could recover fully.

Everything seemed to be going along well for a couple weeks…..and then disaster struck again!  The bunnies attacked and murdered my pot of kohlrabi……just murdered them and threw their tattered and torn leaves all over the back yard.  Honestly, I’m not even sure why I even bothered to plant a pot of kohlrabi…..last year they didn’t grow at all!  Well….I mean they grew leaves…..but I didn’t end up with the desired, baseball shaped orb of deliciousness.  Round two seemed to be growing well this summer, so I thinned the plants to create more growing room.  Then……as if they sensed the vulnerability in smaller numbers….the bunnies made a night attack!  Ughs…….

2017 Plant Deaths — A Running List

  • 3 Cherry Tomato Plants
  • 1.5 (approximation based on remaining growing time) Pepper Plants
  • 5 Kohlrabi Sprouts

I watered the pot for a couple days, but none of the thinned out roots looked like they were going to take off again.  I ended up planting a few rows of kohlrabi seeds at the front of the garden, and I’ll just have to wait and see what comes of those.  Funny thing…..we actually bought a new pepper plant for the pot of soil because we thought that the bunnies had somehow gotten under the protective fence on my abused little banana pepper and finished him off.  We pouted around for a couple days thinking we had been out maneuvered by some bunnies…..only to discover that the little guy had gotten covered over by some dirt!

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We also replaced several plants around my property with boxwood plants.  We dug up 3 sad little day lilies and a decorative grass out of the front yard bed and replaced them all with tiny, little baby boxwoods.  We had to drive all over town one weekend to find four matching boxwoods….but I love them.  Boxwood just has a particular smell that reminds me of vacations to Virginia, they are always green, they are low maintenance, and look like something, and mostly they are just my jam.  Don’t know what to plant…..why not a boxwood?!  I also replaced the mostly dead spirea with a slightly larger boxwood….hahah cuz of course I did!

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2017 Plant Deaths — A Running List

  • 3 Cherry Tomato Plants
  • 1.5 (approximation based on remaining growing time) Pepper Plants
  • 5 Kohlrabi Sprouts
  • Various Flowers, Lettuce, and Kale Leaves

Last night we had a pretty major storm, and I was pretty nervous about the survival of all of my veggies.  I’m happy to report that everything survived the wind, hail, and rain.  Now, if I can just keep the bunnies away from the beans and my lettuce we will be all good in the hood!

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Squash and two happy little bean rows…..who’s getting excited for veggies?!?!?

Quick Costco Enchiladas

A couple weeks ago, The Engineer and I bought some Good Foods jalapeño artichoke dip from Costco.  By some, I of course mean a Costco sized amount……33 oz.  It wasn’t really the best for just eating….flavor wise, but it got me thinking that it might work to make some enchiladas.  Yesterday we made a trip to Costco to gather up the rest of the necessary supplies.  It was our first actual “shopping” trip to Costco.  We had been before, but yesterday involved a cart and an actual list!  We looked like actual adults who know what they are doing in life…..it was amazeballs.

I made them today and they were good….and easy….which was ideal because I spent most of the day being a bit on the hungover side of life.  Apparently last nights concert was just a bit too much for me.  Since I’d never made them before, and we were trying to use up some dip we didn’t like I wasn’t sure they would turn out.  I didn’t take any pictures of the process, but honestly it’s easy enough you don’t need much in the way of instructions.

THE THINGS YOU’LL NEED

  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken
  • Jalapeño Artichoke Dip
  • Half an Onion
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Tortillas (about 10)
  • 2 4oz cans of diced green chilies
  • 2 cans of red enchilada sauce
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Chile Powder
  • Salt and Pepper

First things first, you’ll need to shred the chicken.  I removed the skin and then just ripped the meat into bite sized pieces, but there’s no need to be too specific about anything.  Place all the chicken into a large bowl so that the other ingredients can be added to it and mixed well.  After you have the chicken shredded up, add approximately half of the jalapeño artichoke dip.  I didn’t measure as I added, but it was 4 large dollops……enough to sort of moisten everything and get it to combine.  It ended up being about half of the container of dip.  Dice half of an onion and throw that in the mix as well as the two drained cans of diced chilies.  At this point, you can season to taste…..I ended up adding maybe 1.5 teaspoons of garlic, cayenne, and paprika, maybe 1.5 tablespoons of chili powder, and a good amount of salt and pepper.  The Engineer thought they were a bit hot, I thought they were good….so just season to your own taste.  He also decided that he wanted to add some shredded cheese into the mix as well….so we stirred in maybe half a cup.

This can be prepped ahead of time.  I just threw the bowl in the fridge and let everything sit and combine together for most of the day while we napped, watched Netflix, and attempted to recover.

To assemble, spray a 9×13 glass baking dish with non-stick spray.  Scoop a generous amount of the chicken and cheese mixture into the center of a tortilla.  Roll and place into the baking dish.  We fit 9 tortillas into the baking dish, but it was a bit of a squishy fit.  This left one tortilla and one tortilla worth of chicken mixture.  We rolled it up with a small splash of enchilada sauce and tossed it into the freezer.  It will make a good, quick lunch for one of us eventually.  Honestly, you could probably just roll and freeze them all into chicken queso burritos if you wanted something that could just be thrown in the microwave fast for on the go lunches.

Cover with the two cans of enchilada sauce and a generous sprinkling of shredded cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 mins until everything is hot, melted together, and delicious.  Let cool a few minutes before serving to let them firm up a bit.  The Engineer had his with sour cream and a little extra cheese, I just had mine plain out of the pan.

Prune at Your Own Risk

Granted, this isn’t about my townhouse, but it’s still home maintenance so I’m throwing it into the home section.

Learn from my mistakes people!!!!

Spring Clean-Up Week is still a thing in my hometown.  Everyone collects all the random junk that’s been floating around the house, and tosses it out on the curb for strangers….or the city….to collect.  This is a small town thing, and it’s sorta a sight to behold.  Just piles of stuff on curbs as you drive around town.  At our house this is always prime yard clearing time.  Everything gets pruned, raked, and dug into submission.  This year I came home to help do the basic yearly stuff, as well as take down two trees that were dead.  We got the big flower bed that runs the width of our backyard all cleaned up, and I even got a bunch of old tree stumps dug up and thrown out into the junk pile.  Once the back was all done it was time to move onto the trees.  Tree removal came with the promise of a chainsaw, however that plan didn’t really end up working out all that well…

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Needless to say….we were off to a great start…..

To start with, I know little to nothing about plants.  They are pretty much either alive or dead.  Anything that needs any appreciable amount of maintenance is not at all the plant for me.  Things like woody shrubs, boxwoods, yews and the like are easy.  You basically leave them alone, and prune them up a bit if they start to get a little out of control…..but that’s achievable for me.  Flowers, privets….which apparently grow a million miles a year….., and apparently trees which need constant pruning off the roof are not for me.  I was however, looking forward to using some high powered cutting force and putting it to work.  Usually, trimming and cutting down trees at Momma’s is a sawzall level activity….and it kinda sucks, in a brain rattling sorta way.  Yesterday though, I got a brain rattling that I wasn’t prepared for.

Like almost everything that we’ve inherited from Grandpa’s house in the course of my life, the chainsaw had seen better days.  Now, I’m not anything close to a chain saw expert, but I think the chain was too long, and possibly installed backwards on the saw.  At the very least, it was incredibly dull.  The saw only got through one branch, mostly by burning instead of cutting, before a massive intervention was required.

To our credit, we did really try and get it fixed, unfortunately, the Ace here in town doesn’t sell the proper chain for it, and the techs who do the sharpening of old chains are all off until Monday.  Skirting around the fact that it seems strange to have your machine techs all off during the weekend….ya know when most people have time to be wielding their chain saws around….Momma and I were still left with the slight issue of the two dead trees.  The clear solution was to obviously tear them down by hand.  Clean up week only lasts so long, and loading up the branches and then paying to toss them at the dump just seems dumb when you have the option of not having to deal with them past piling them up on your lawn!

Since they were mostly dead, I discovered that any of the branches I could reach I could mostly pull down by hand.  This worked fine until I had to start jumping to reach some of the higher branches, this again worked out just fine…but we started on the smaller of the two trees.  Eventually we got to the central, more vertical, thicker, trunky type branch.  This required some sawing…..the battery for our sawzall is basically shot, so we were left with the hand saw.  I now understand why people used to just crawl into caves, live in tepees and tents, and why the sod house had such an appeal…

CUTTING DOWN TREES BY HAND SUCKS MAJOR ASSBUTT!!!

These guys are badasses, and my hat’s off to them….but I’m apparently a weakling and I’d rather live in a tent than have to saw down trees and make lumber to build myself a cabin.  Anyway, that’s sorta besides the point, but we had to put in a fair amount of work to get these two, realistically small trees down.  The last branch of the smaller tree eventually gave way after one warning crack and sorta whipped Momma across the mouth on it’s way down.  We weren’t really prepared for it, but she was fine, and so we just sorta carried on.  Once we got that tree piled up on the end of the driveway, we turned our attention on the second, larger tree.

The obvious solution was to try and see what was dead and could just easily be pulled down.  So, I picked out a fairly small branch, although all of these branches required jumping to reach…..this will become important.  So I sorta hop up there and grab onto this little branch…..and then there was a crack…..then I was suddenly falling to the ground….and I landed, and took a rather large section of tree to the top of the head.  Apparently, the smaller branch I had been after didn’t feel like breaking, but the whole side of the tree felt like giving way.  So….there I am…..laying on the ground…..eyes watering….and somewhat trapped under a tree.  Momma sorta wanders over and pulls the branch off me, and I promptly declare that my arborist services for the day are done.  Fuck this tree and this whole situation….it can sit here until it falls down naturally.  10-20 years outta do it I think and that’s frankly fine with me at the this point…..

 

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The offending section of tree…I was attempting to break off that piece up the trunk and to the right……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For scale…..in case you think it’s more of a twig…..that’s my size 11….big enough to make even some men quake in their child-sized boots!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, my parents didn’t raise me to be a quitter….so I was forced to rally and show that stupid dead tree who was boss.  While Momma did some pruning of the branches I pulled down….apparently the city has strict length requirements on their pick ups…..I proceeded to saw and pull down the rest of the branches.  I began utilizing a sort of “half cut,” jump, pull, and move technique.  I was unwilling to spend anymore time than necessary using the stupid hand saw to try and get anything done.  So I’d saw just until I thought I could jump and use my body to pull them down.  It worked fairly well until I once again was down to the largest, central branch.  This involved having to scamper into the tree, sit on a couple of the broken off branch stumps….cuz that seems safe, and sawing most of the way through.  This was mostly unpleasant because I ended up down wind and at eye level….less than ideal honestly.

Eventually though I did get everything down, and we got everything piled up on the curb.  Hopefully, once the chain for the saw is sharpened, Momma will be able to get the branches cut into smaller pieces for pickup.  A working chainsaw should be able to make simple work of whacking the branches into chunks.  Eventually, we will have to cut the trunks off closer to the ground and then into pieces, but again….hopefully a working chainsaw will make easy work of that!  Momma has plans of turning the larger trunk pictured below into a sort of plant stand holder which I think should work well.

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A days worth of worth of hard work I suppose!