August 28, 2008

Going to put up more timbers this weekend

Heading back to Beatons tonight to continue the timber raising that we began last weekend. One of the reasons we choose to go with a timber framed structure, is it's enduring nature, durabilty and strength. While we'll get plenty of use out of the sauna and future cabin, we are really building it for the next generations.
Pictured above is a 400 year old timber framed building in Bremen, Germany. Nestled in with other centuries-old buildings, these buildings really stand the test of time. I so fell in love with the Altstadt (Old City) when Todd and I visited.

August 27, 2008

Ratatouille and summer veggies

The garden has finally started to produce some veggies this year. Since the floods in early June, southern Wisconsin has had very little rain in the past eight weeks. The vegetable garden is desperate for water. Yes, we water, but it's just not the same as Mother Nature's great summer rain soaking storms.

That said, Raine made Ratatouille for dinner tonight. Our future chef found the recipe in this month's Bon Appetit magazine. The recipe calls for grilled fresh veggies from the garden (or farmer's market), fresh basil and grilled chicken.

The grilled egg plant, onion, zucchini and peppers mixed very nicely with the grilled chicken breast. A great late night summer dinner!

August 26, 2008

Crafty family members

I come from a long line of crafters. My grandmothers could sew, knit, crochet, paint, and DYI just about anything around the house/farm. Pictured above is my Uncle Bear's contribution to the craft world. The bench above is made from head/foot boards of old metal beds. What a great idea to recycle the metal into a modern yet country-cute bench.

Barn raising good time


That pretty much sums up last weekend's work at Beatons. My Dad and Todd worked their butts off raising the timber foundation of the sauna haus. With six posts glued into the concrete foundation, plummed and squared, they then proceeded to lift the several hundred pound cross beam timbers to their 8.3 foot high ledges.

From this foundation, the rafter and ridge beams will be placed next weekend to start to frame in the roof. The pictures don't really show how much physical labor was involved, but wow, My Dad was just an amazing master of the timbers. And Todd was no slouch either.
I was the chief painter this weekend. That involved, cleaning, baking and painting the hundreds of metal connectors that will be used. We went with a matte black finish on the metal work. It contrasts very nicely with the reddish colored Douglas Fir timbers. I also got to seal/paint all of the timbers to protect them from the elements.

Click on the gallery below to see larger pictures of our timber raising weekend.

August 18, 2008

Where to find a cheap and good food store

I’ve been shopping at the Aldi grocery store for a good 10 years. There’s been one in Madison since the early 90s, but I really started using this store when I lived in Holland in the early 2000s. This German company has discount food stores throughout Holland. On a weekly basis, I would go to Aldi, put my 1 Guilder coin in the shopping cart to release it from the chain of carts, bring my own bags and go to town on buying the household basics. The prices where always the lowest while the quality was quite high.

When we moved back the states, I continued being a committed Aldi shopper. At least once a month, I buy my basics like olive oil, (voted the best in Holland for several years running) at $4 a bottle, baking supplies, fresh orange juice, produce and German and Belgian chocolates.

This weekend, I found a package of two turkey breasts marinated in a Dijon sauce for around $3.50. Tonight I cut them into medallions, browned them, sautéed mushrooms, onions, added white wine, cream and butter to finish off the sauce. The meat was absolutely tender, and melted in the mouth.

If you have an Aldi in your city, give it a try. It’s nothing fancy, everything is boxed and set on pallets for the most part, however, the quality and price is just right. If you can’t get to an Aldi, you can always try its sister store, Trader Joes. This store is the purveyor to the wine and cheese set who love eclectic and upscale foods. And yep, the Albrecht family in Germany own both.

August 16, 2008

Cleaning day....I think

It's my first summer weekend that I have absolutely nothing on the agenda. So I have no excuse not to do some serious cleaning around the house. I've been neglecting the dusting, vacuuming , window washing for a while now. And with both girls home today as well, we should be able to make a good dent. The windows pictured above are full of outside dust, handprints, doggy nose drool and cobwebs (I think...) We won't even talk about the state of my kitchen. And after a week of out of state friends visiting, people over using the pool, impromptu dinners, things have gotten out of hand. So right now I'm working up the motivation to start the cleaning blitz.
Here's a cute shot of Teiko, my window slobbering drooler, wondering when he's going to get his morning walk.

August 15, 2008

Website updates

Frequent visitors will notice the new look feel to my blog. It took me about an hour to customize the CSS for the blogger template that I've used. I like to shake things up every once in a while to give my site a new flavor.

Also this week, I updated one of my company websites to give it a fresh look. you can see it here: Matador hadn't had a face lift in a couple of years. I still have some work to do on content but the code is pretty clean.

August 11, 2008

Tortellini with Porcini Mushrooms

So our daughter, the aspiring chef, made dinner for us today before heading to the restaurant where she works. Since she was about 8 years old, she has loved cooking and baking. This summer she got a job working at a brand new restaurant in Madison, called Talula. She started as a dishwasher, "moved-up" to friday night fish fryer and week night dish busser. She is one of two women in the kitchen and wants more. This fall, she may actually move to the sauce and line cook. Ultimately, Raine wants to go to chef school. Her dad and I would like to see a baccalaureate degree first. Then, she can cook for us and her customers for ever!

Anyway, today, before going to work at Talula's, Raine was our personal chef for the day. She made our dinner, inspired by this month's magazine issue of Bon appétit. In it, she found several recipes to make our Monday night an epicurious delight!

She made Tortellini with Porcini Mushrooms, and a salad called Frisée and Apple salad with dried cherries and walnuts. Deserts is still waiting but it is fresh vanilla custard ice cream with fresh berries and sauce.

The magazine just came out, if you wait a couple of days, they will post the recipes on-line. I guess, that's the benefit of actually receiving the paper version....

Anyway, the meal was delish! and I'm one lucky woman to have her own personal chef!

August 6, 2008

Digital scrapbooking - kinda fun

For my Grama Boo's birthday last month, my mom wanted to give a unique present. She had a great idea to make a photo collage of her parents from their highschool days. Yes, G-Boo married her highschool sweetheart, Lloyd right after her graduation, much to the displeasure of her family.

I suggested going digital so we could preserve the photos and add some graphic embellishments to the look feel. My mom had some great photos, I found a couple as well but the pièce de résistance was the letter Lloyd wrote in G-Boo's junior year book. Mom wanted that to be the focus. So I scanned everything in, cleaned up the scratched photos and cropped the hand-written notes and began laying out the images in Photoshop. I also found some great on-line websites that have more than you can image in digital artwork and embellishments. The one that I really liked and was easy to navigate is called the Shabby Princess

August 5, 2008

A long weekend 'Up North'

Raine, me and the dogs headed up to Beatons last Thursday night for a long weekend. Todd and Ryann joined us late Friday night. Friday was Bonnie's birthday and she invited us out for a fish fry at the Root Cellar on Lake Gogebic. As you can see we had a pretty great time .
Bonnie's best birthday present is her new pup, Niinimoshenh or Moosha for short. The name means 'my sweetheart' in the Ojibwa language. Moosha is a Golden Retriever and is just a cutie-pututie. She latched on to Teiko right away.
Teiko was very gentle with the pup and was pretty fascinated by her. He even taught her where to go "potty" outside and had a few teaching moments of canine etiquette. This would happen when Moosha began doing something that Teiko didn't want her to . It wasn't a growl but more like a deep-chested rumble that was very quiet, but had Moosha obeying immediately. It was really interesting to watch how Teiko spent time with the young pup. Bonnie even asked if she could keep Teiko for a week to help her train Moosha. But it wasn't all play this weekend. Todd and Eric spent three days getting the timbers ready for the sauna house. The timber raising and buildout will be over Labor Day weekend. This weekend the guys cut all the rafter and beam pieces so the timbers will be ready to fit together. I spent Sunday morning re-staining the shed and outhouse while Beth hauled tons of rocks for a new stair well.On Monday, Beth and I built a log and stone stairwell into the side of the hill that leads to the new pier. It's so totally north woods! And couldn't have been any cheaper to build - All it took was several hours of hauling logs and stones and digging out trenches to set the logs. the material is free for the taking on the property, it's the labor and aching muscles that has a cost....

So a busy and fun-filled 'Up North" weekend. I've posted more pictures from the weekend at my picasa gallery. Click on the photo below to go there.
Beatons August 2008

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