Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Midweek update

So much is happening so fast, I had to put in update, so I wouldn't have a lot this weekend.

On Sunday we rounded up some friends to help us put in the big windows for each of the punch outs.  The photos below show a before and after shot.  In order, it's Mike D, my Mom, Jim K, me and Kent in the opening of the window. 

This is the final product.  Well, sort of final, we still have to trim and stuff, but you get the picture.  This window was frickin' heavy and tight.  We had to hammer it in.  Plus it's about 8 feet off the ground, so of course, I had visions of it falling off and crashing into a thousand shards of glass.  Thank god, I'm not a psychic. 

Now the house is fully enclosed.  If we get a wood stove soon, we can hook it up and have heat.  Woo hoo.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Building: Take Two

Here is your weekly House Building update.

I came home on Thursday and the boys had finished the second punch out.  They even put the kitchen table in!  This is going to be the dining area.  The big open window will face west and right outside is a huge lilac bush.  It will be beautiful in the spring.

This is the window seat punch out that was in the blog last week.  We are finally finishing it up.  PJ and I put the roof on Thursday and Kent finished up the siding on Friday.  Eventually, everything will be resided, but the T-111 will hold up for now.

The deck is finished to the point where we can stand on it to put in the windows.  We bought rough cut wood from a local miller.  It is some beautiful oak.  Can't wait to sand it down, and show off the finish.

Here we are just getting started.

Kent in action!

Here the deck is finished, and two of the windows are in.  This is a south facing wall, so we selected these windows to let in southern light.  We will put a short roof over the windows to shade the house in the summer.  But wintertime; let in the light.  

We still need a sliding glass door for the gaping hole there.  Baby steps...

PJ in action.  The glasses are good, young man, but where is your ear protection??!? (Kent is always on us about that.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Building Take One

Many of you are asking how the house building is coming, so I am posting a blog about it.  I'll include lots of pictures over the next few months, so you can keep up.

In case you haven't heard, the plan is to transform the garage into the new living space.  We are going to take the roof off and add a second floor for 3 bedrooms and a bath and put the roof back on.  The first floor will be a kitchen, family room, and entry way with bathroom and washer/dryer.

The starting dimensions are 24x24 feet.  We are going to add six feet out towards the existing house, a few punch outs, and a deck.  Our total living space will still be under 12oo square feet.  This is pretty small, but still bigger than the 800 square foot house we are in now.  Eventually, we will knock down the current house and make it a garage/storage space.

Here is a side view of the garage as if you were standing in Tony's side yard and looking west.  This punch out is going to be a window seat.  There will be one on the other side that will expand the dining area. 

The first thing we did was reinforce the posts from the garage on the South side.  Kent and I dug trenches 30inches deep or so and poured footers.  Let's just say that digging sucks.  I don't even dig in my garden if I can get around it.  But we have beautiful footers now.  Then we laid the cement block down and piled up the dirt.
In this picture, the deck is framed out.  This wall faces south, so we are putting in a sliding glass door where the big hole is in the middle and 2 big windows on either side.  This weekend we may get the wood to finish the deck.  Hopefully, we'll get the windows in next week.

I hope this video works.  It shows the inside.

If you call our house and we don't answer, we are probably outside working.  So stop by, say hi, grab a hammer...

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's harvest time

Last Friday I had the opportunity to help a local farmer with his harvest.  To be honest I wasn't sure what I was getting into, but my friends Jenny and Travis were going to visit Brandon at his farm, so I wanted to tag along.

I got to know Brandon this summer when he came out to play frisbee.  I had heard about his experiments growing these grains that aren't native to North America, but can be part of sustainable agriculture.  These crops provide the best bang for the buck, since they are all high in protein.  He received a grant to grow grains in southeast Ohio, to see if this is something that can be viable for the area.  He is growing amaranth, quinoa, millet, and buckwheat.  I only got to help harvest the amaranth and millet. (Oh yeah, and some heirloom corn that is going to be used at the local bakery for tortillas.)  

But back to the A and M.  The amaranth is beautiful with this intense maroon plant and flower.  Here is a picture I borrowed from some online source.  Some of the types are completely maroon.  Even the leaves.

After harvest, it must dry to make it easy to get the seeds out of.  Then it gets threshed.  Which is basically stomping the heck out of it.  Then you get to sift it through a mesh to separate the seeds from the rest.  This gets tough but can be meditative.  So the threshing part is more party like and festive.  Winnowing (the separation state) is more focused.

The same process goes for millet.  Though, we only harvested and threshed the millet.  Didn't winnow.  

So that was my farm experience.  

Sunday, October 12, 2008


The other night I had very vivid dream.  I often have dreams that I remember but not as much as this one. You'll have to bear with me as I give background about the characters.  Although one character you will all know and I why he is in my dream, I have no idea.

It started out with me walking uptown, most likely to work.  I ran into Ryan Sittler, a guy on the OU frisbee team who was working with a local landscaper.  (Now this doesn't seem too weird because he works at a local farm, so landscaper/farm, same venue.)  He was removing some stumps in front of Stephen's restaurant, which is located across the street from where I work.   I stop and say hi, and Stephen comes out to say hello.  (I know Stephen from when I worked at the eye doctors.  He is a friend of my old boss and plus he's a fellow siciliano.)  We chat and then Stephen turns into Chris Collinsworth.  Chris is the coach for a soccer team that is sponsored by Stephen's restaurant.  Chris is trying to recruit me to play on the team.  Of course, I would love to play, but I am old and the knees aren't cooperative these days to play.  I decline, but he pushes on.  He convinces me by telling me that Jamie Landheer and Mel Sheetz are playing.  

A little background here.  Jamie and Mel are outstanding ultimate players that I dearly love to play with.  Apparently in my dream, I figure if they can play awesome ultimate, they can play awesome soccer.  So I decide to play.

Our first game comes up and the three of up don't even play in the first half. So of course we are losing by two.  In fact there is a young girl playing.  I have to doubt Chris' coaching abilities at this point.  However, I never get to prove myself, as I awoke, or moved on to another dream. 

Then I saw Stephen at the Farmer's Market the next day.  I didn't see Chris Collinsworth though.

Analyze that.

Monday, October 06, 2008


Here are a few photos from a couple of weeks ago.  We were in Cincinnati to see my bro, who was in town for the first time since last christmas, and my cousin from Alabama.  I hadn't seen her in a long time either.

We all met at Nonna's house for an afternoon.  Mary Beth and Rex and Carolyn were there too with their kids.

Joey and Lucas.  A little out of focus, but I like it anyway.  They have an older brother too.  They are all lanky kids.  (who would make great Ultimate players, hint hint)

Here is Jeff with one of Carolyn's youngins.  Jeff was pretty good with the 3 Carmody kids.  They seemed to see him as a jungle jim.  Jeff didn't seem to mind either.

These two remind me of Jeff and I.  Two peas in a pod. 

We also spent a little time with Tif and Roy on Sunday before we went back home.  I love this photo of Hazel on her new swing set.  

The newest edition to the Stephen's family, Jade.