Monday, September 29

brush pickup

I checked the calendar this afternoon only to find out that it's brush pickup week here in the township. So we all went outside this evening and gathered our "brush". Jake did most of the hauling; Brian trimmed the trees; and I trimmed all of the perennials back. We have quite a pile of stuff in the front yard. I still haven't finished cleaning out the vegetable and herb gardens yet, but I guess there's still time for that.

whirlwind trip

Brian sister had a baby this summer (her 3rd boy). The baptism was scheduled for this weekend, so we headed to NY after lunch on Saturday. We went to her place for a visit Saturday night and then did the baptism festivities on Sunday (church/dinner after). We left town mid-afternoon yesterday and got home last night. We made really good time coming home so we stopped in Altoona for a sit-down dinner at Ruby Tuesdays. It seems like anytime we're coming from that general direction that's what we end up doing.

I'm off work today, partly because we have to pick up the dogs (in Stahlstown, which is 40 minutes away) and partly because I like to take the day off after we get back whenever we are away. I have a lot of catching up to do today, but that's what the day is for, so it should be a good one.

Friday, September 26

here's to a winey fall

My chocolate raspberry kit finally came in so I picked it up today after work. I'd like to have it ready before Christmas, so I started it tonight. It should be an interesting experiment.

In other wine news, I saw an ad in last Sunday's paper for Conzatti's. They were taking orders for imported Italian grape juice (for wine). So, I stopped there on my way back from Thomas Feed Mill and ordered 2 buckets of juice--Pinot Grigio and Valpolicella. It'll be in, in mid-October. Plus, I still have another wine kit left from the beginning of the year (I've only made two batches so far this year). Given all of this, we're going to have a whole lot of wine at the end of 2008/beginning of 2009.

Monday, September 22

still at it

I've really been in a cooking mood lately. This is probably because I haven't had a lot of time to cook up to my usual standards in recent months due to our ridiculous schedule. But, things are letting up, so I've been spending some extra time in the kitchen. This weekend, I continued my streak and made baguettes, which I turned into a tasty sandwich for today's lunch. And, tonight, I made an apple tart--it's in the oven right now. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Sunday, September 21

long time, no blog

It's been a typical week here--chock full of work, work, and more work. Brian just completed a huge project at work last week, so things are looking up around here--more time for all of us. Things are moving along with the office remodel, too. We're working on the kitchen now. Everything's been torn out and now we're putting it back together. This afternoon, we primed the kitchen walls and it looks better in there already. We're hoping to wrap this project up next month and then we're going to take a nice long break before we involve ourselves in any more major office projects.

Jake's really enjoying basketball so we're going to sign him up for a basketball league that starts in December.

Buster is responding well to training, but still needs some work.

I have a lot of work to do in the yard. I got to work in the garden a little over the weekend, but not as much as I would have liked.

Other than that, we've just been doing stuff around the house. Nothing exciting.

Saturday, September 20

the end (almost)

I picked the last of the tomatoes this evening and removed the tomato plants from the garden. I also did some more clean up in the herb garden. I still have a ways to go with all of this but things seem to be slowing down a little around here, so I should have more time to finish up this fall (which starts next week, incidentally).

Sunday, September 14

more tear-out

I caught a few minutes outside yesterday evening. It's a shame it's getting dark so early these days as I surely could have spent more time outside last night. I did some weeding in the pond area--it was full of dandelions. And, I picked a few cukes and tomatoes and removed the cucumber plants from the garden. Unfortunately, they were just about done for the year. You can't complain when you're still picking cucumbers in mid-September, though. While the gardening season might be coming to an end, I manage to drag it out in some fashion for most of the year, so I guess things are not as bleak as they might seem. I still have a bunch of clean up to do; garden paths need to be made; my 2009 garden needs to be planned; the garlic needs to be planted; seeds need to be ordered; gardening books need to be read; and before you know it, it will be time to plant the seedlings again.

normal weekend

We had a typical weekend. We spent some time working at the office. Yesterday, we tied up a couple of loose ends and we got some office furniture from Brian's parents. That will help fill some empty spaces within the office for sure. Today, we worked in the kitchen. Brian finished removing the cabinets. I started patching the walls and removing the wallpaper. My parents stopped by again this weekend and did some more cleaning.

Jake and I did some cooking, too. We mixed up a batch of mint-chocolate chip ice cream on Friday evening. It turned out pretty well. We used fresh mint from my herb garden. So, that's two weekends in a row that allowed me to cook something "fun". This fall/winter, my goal is to bake bread every weekend. While I'm sure that won't quite happen, it should happen often enough so that I can fill my freezer with some fresh-baked goods.

Friday, September 12

the spongebob squarepants movie

We haven't had a family movie night in quite a while so we did one tonight. We intended on watching Finding Nemo, but the tape was broken so that didn't happen. Jake ran through his movie catalog and came up with the SpongeBob movie. We were all on board with that. Brian and I both wanted to see that movie, but have only seen bits and pieces while Jake was watching it. Anyway, the movie was pretty good and got a few laughs from all of us. Though I've decided that I prefer my SpongeBob in smaller quantities.

Wednesday, September 10

dog trainer

I finally convinced Brian to bring in a dog trainer for Buster. God knows we could have done this months ago, but better late than never. Our veterinarian referred us to Classy Canine Services, so I set up a session with the trainer for this evening. I thought for sure she was going to come to the house, take one look at Buster, and then announce her retirement from dog training tomorrow. But, instead, he responded quite well to her methods (she uses positive reinforcement). Brian and I were both quite pleased with how the evening went. And, we got a lot of instruction on what to work on in the coming weeks. I'm sure this will take a few sessions, but things are already looking up.

Sunday, September 7

cooking up a storm

Yesterday afternoon, I made cheese! Actually 2 kinds of cheese--fresh mozzarella and ricotta. A friend of mine tried this a while ago and it turned out great for him, so I couldn't resist--I just had to try it myself.

So, I was wondering what to do with all of the cheese. The cheese book had a recipe for lasagna, so that seemed like a good idea. But, I figured if I was going to have this great, home-made cheese, I couldn't just go out and buy sauce, so I made my mom's sauce recipe this afternoon and then assembled a lasagna with all of my freshly made ingredients this evening. We'll have it for supper tomorrow. I also tried out a bread recipe that used whey (a product of the cheese-making process). It was pretty good. We had it for supper last night with some salami, cheese, and olives. Nice. I also froze a loaf to be consumed at a later time.

Oh. The reason I was able to do all of this is that we didn't go on the Dog Run yesterday because Brian had to work. And, today, Brian and Jake went to a Steelers game today so I had a free day to myself.

dog run

We fully intended to go on the Dog Run this year, but Brian's all backed up at work, so he spent the day working instead. Later in the afternoon, Brian and I took a ride on our bikes, so it was just as good, if you ask me. After supper, we headed to the Dog Run party for a few hours, so we still got to participate in the festivities. This was only the 2nd time we went to the party. The first time we were there early, this time we were there late. It's nice to get there early so you can check out all of the bikes, but being there late was fun, too. They had an incredible fireworks display around 10:00. Then they awarded the raffle prizes. It was hard to hear the names they were calling out, but I think it's safe to assume I didn't win the Harley Davidson Nightster.

Saturday, September 6


Jake signed up for a basketball clinic. It runs for 90 minutes each Saturday this month. He's there right now, in fact. We have never been ones to push sports onto the kid, but we've always said if it was something he was interested in, we certainly wouldn't hold him back. I'll give him this much--he definitely has the build for basketball. Today, we'll find out if he likes it.

Monday, September 1


Another book from Ed McBain. This was a pretty good story. It was also short and to the point, clocking in at 185 pages. Even so, it took me a month to read it. I actually read half of it last month when Brian and I went to Berkeley Springs. But, life got in the way since then (that, and I'm all caught up on my magazine reading!) and I didn't finish it till last night. I finally had some motivation to do so--another book from Joe Hill, 20th Century Ghosts, has been burning a hole in my coffee table for a few weeks now.

labor day weekend

The weekend in review...

Friday was pretty laid back. Brian went to Virginia to get another tattoo (not that anyone would notice another tattoo on him at this point). He didn't get back till after 10pm so the evening was pretty much shot at that point. Jake stayed at my parent's that night because he was going to a Penn State game with my dad on Saturday.

Saturday morning we got up bright and early and went to the office to work on the bathroom. We finished installing the floor and did most of the paneling (we ran out). I primed the existing trim, too. I'm sure we did some other things, but I can't remember what. After we got home from there, our usual Saturday routine fell into place--housework for me; work for Brian. After supper, I went outside and worked in the garden for a few hours. I was having a lot of fun out there, but it got dark so I had to stop working. Brian wanted to go to the Folk Fest that evening, but I was enjoying the yard so much I talked him into staying home and hanging out by the pond. It was nice and relaxing. It's kind of sad that that's only the 2nd time we've been able to do that.

On Sunday we went to church and then went to the Ethnic Fest in Cambria City for lunch. The place was packed. We had to wait in line for almost 30 minutes before we got our food. But, I guess it's good that many people were in attendance. Later in the afternoon, we went to Lowe's to pick up another piece of paneling and a few other supplies, and then headed to the office to do some more work. We got the paneling installed and started on the trim. We ran out of floor trim, too. I guess we should have figured that seeing that we ran out of paneling (we bought the same amount of each). I started painting the trim, too. That night we planned in going to the Folk Fest. We fired up the bikes and got as far as the light at Goucher and Franklin when Brian pulled over. He was out of gas and had to engage his reserve tank. While we were sitting there, my bike stopped running and wouldn't restart. Brian ran to get gas in his and then came back and was able to get my bike started after a few tries. It is overdue for a new spark plug, so hopefully that is the issue. Anyway, till we got home, we were no longer in the mood to go to the Folk Fest so we scrapped that idea.

Today, we went to the office to work again. The bathroom is about 99% done. I have a few odds and ends to do and we're still missing that one piece of trim. My parents offered up their help so they were there, too. My dad cleaned up all of the boxes that were in the kitchen and then started removing the cabinets. My mom cleaned the foyer. Brian finished installing the trim in the bathroom and then worked in the kitchen with my dad. And, I did some more painting in the bathroom and cleaned it. So, it was a pretty productive day. And, I'm glad to say that the kitchen remodel is officially underway. Tonight Brian has to work and I'll just be doing stuff around the house. At least it's a short work week.

final harvests

I've been doing some harvesting in the garden and tearing out the plants that are no longer producing (as well as doing some weeding--there are more weeds than plants in the garden at this point). I got a bunch of tomatoes the other day--I expect to get more before all is said and done; a few more cukes; a nice bag of carrots; and a couple of beets.

I think I might make some roasted tomato sauce from the harvest. I made some the other week for pasta and had just enough left over for 2 pizzas. And, those were the best pizzas I ever made. So I'm anxious to try it again.

I ordered some garlic to plant this fall, but I'm a little worried as it's on backorder. I sure hope they at least send me some of my order otherwise I will be SOL--I definitely don't have enough of my own garlic to replant.

It's kind of sad that the gardening season is coming to an end. This summer just went way too fast.