Sunday, August 22, 2010

In a Jam, not a pickle

With the bounty of free fruit ripening up, I declared that this would be a canning weekend. I've been keeping my eyes open for a screaming deal on roma tomatoes but alas, no deals are to be had...yet. But the deal on blackberries and plums was too good to resist. Justin and I picked about 4 quarts of berries on Thursday and I went back out for another 2 quarts on Saturday and turned the whole lot into several half pints of jam.

Canned and ready to be eaten or given away as gifts! Half of the lot is plain blackberry and the other half is blackberry-cinnamon-cardamom jam.
On Sunday, we headed out for a little walk to my favorite plum tree that doesn't appear to be owned by anyone. The plums are small, about the size of large cherries but they have good flavor and they are plentiful. As, I write this, I'm simmering them down with some ginger root to make a tasty preserve. The canning will have to wait until the work week because the plum stew must cool so I can separate out the pits.

Mmmm....stewed plums.
We scoped out the cucumbers at our local fruit stand and they looked pretty picked over. My own cucumber vines in the garden have a lot of little gherkins but only one vegetable worthy of pickling. So, I'll be waiting until my cukes come in or I find a better selection elsewhere. In the meantime, I'll be searching for some *free* dill weed. There's an abundance of fennel around my neighborhood but I haven't stumbled on dill yet...and you call yourself a weed!

One other fruit I'm hoping to find a free source for is figs. We have a fig tree and it has yielded two ripe figs so far but it only has 5 figs on it total--it's pretty young. I'd like to make a fig jam since it makes a lovely hors d'oeuvre with goat cheese and bread. Let me know if you live on the hill and have more figs that you can handle.

And during all of this picking and simmering and processing, my lovely partner painted and painted and painted some more. He likes to zone out to his tunes with a paint brush in hand. Good thing because I've lost steam on the painting.

One more coat and some touch up and our garage is ready for her debut!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Trimmed out

We added the final coat of the yellow this morning before it got too smokin' hot out. Just as the mercury was rising to unbearable levels, we got a coat or two on the windows and garage door. We'll have this project wrapped up by the week's end, I predict.

That old garage, she's lookin' pretty slick now...all matched up to the house.

Just a few more hits of white and blue and a little window box and she'll be looking good.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Color coordinated

We're pretty proud of ourselves...check this out:

The swamp man returneth and cleaned our garage.
All cleaned up and ready for her makeover:
Foundation coat, aka primer:
Top coat to match the house:
Now we're off to the store to see if we can find some inexpensive windows to replace the clunkers we have while the paint dries. More tomorrow...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

An unexpected weekend

This weekend, we found ourselves unexpectedly at home and with very little for plans. We had planned to head out to the peninsula this weekend to Justin's family cabin but when everyone looked at the weather report, the rainy forecast scared us away. Much better to sit at home on a rainy day than out in the middle of nowhere. Which, is just about what we did. Justin napped and read his book for the majority of Saturday. Meanwhile, I schemed up some ideas around canning and craft projects and sold our old sofa on craigslist--the first step in our bedroom makeover in the works. On Sunday, the skies dried up a bit and we found ourselves scrounging around, trying to find on odd project or two to keep our D-I-Y urges satisfied.

Justin couldn't resist tearing into our garage to replace some rotten fascia. Believe it or not, we are probably only a week away from taking on this garage as the next big project. We'll be painting soon enough.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Milestones & Neighbors

My 100th's pretty clear I've had something to say! It's a fun reminder that this blog has become a regular endeavor...a frequent stopping place.

Well, enough with the analy, let's get on to the fun: we had our first block party!
As part of Seattle's "Night Out", we hosted a party for the 14 houses on our block sharing our alley. We had great turnout and met a few new neighbors and I think a fun time was had by all.

Here's an early-on shot of everyone taste-testing all of the delicious dishes that the neighborhood whipped up.