They have come and they have gone: Luna and Janus our daughter and son-in-law, Imp and Elf the grand-babies, Benny and Bim the esteemed canines and Blackie the cat.
They arrived in a vehicle packed and bursting, pulling a trailer carrying a minimum number of belongings, like cribs and high chairs and a bed. They arrived tired from packing and closing up their house in the south. They arrived tired from all the celebrations of Imp and Elf’s first birthday. They arrived and we were very happy to see them.
After an evening of first birthday celebrations it was off to bed early, and up before dawn to gather their gear together and resume the next length of their three-day journey. I expect they are very tired today, as they will have arrived at their new home by now. I won’t call, as I think they are probably sleeping the trip off.
My latest attempt at making Salsa has yielded disappointing results. Not having been able to find the Bernardin Salsa Mix in the local grocery store, I proceeded to make up my own recipe; a little of this and a little of that. The salsa tastes wonderful, but the texture is like soup. I think the tomatoes were too ripe to start with, making a chunky salsa impossible.
Then the issue of canning jars came into play. Having used all my newer canning jars, I dragged out my thirty year old mason jars. I still have enough new lids to continue canning with them. The problem lies in that to hot water can successfully you need an inch of water above the tops of the jars. My old canning jars are just too tall to allow this in my newer hot water canner. I tried putting the jars into another, deeper pot, but feared that they would crack sitting directly on the bottom of the pot and the heat. So, I have removed the jars, two of which have just sealed, and will keep them in the refrigerator. We will use them over the course of the next month or so, so they should be quite safe.
Yesterday Attila and I hit a milestone. Three years ago in August we began the process of removing the original, badly damaged, fireplace, to replace it with a masonry fireplace. We were promised, by the installer that it would be ready to heat our house before Christmas 2004. The manufacturer, TempCast were as good as their word and had all the materials to us in plenty of time to have the job completed on time.
We learned later that the well-known building tradition here is, “behind schedule and over budget”. Our experience bore this out perfectly. The masonry heater was partially finished and functional on the first day of spring 2005, too late to supply heat for the previous winter. We had to make due, that first winter, with our little wood stove in the basement. It was a lot of work and a little worrisome, as we only had nine cords of wood. Luckily we made it through.
The fireplace cap and back wall have been an unfinished grey concrete for almost three years now. On Saturday I painted all of it a flat black, using a high-heat resistant paint meant for stovepipes. AND yesterday Attila chiseled through the concrete wall below the fireplace and installed the ash dump clean out door. Miracle of miracles, after three long years the masonry fireplace is what we consider finished.
We are ready to begin curing the heater for the winter heating season, come Thanksgiving weekend.
Would I install a masonry heater again? Oh yes! We love it. Would we hire our original contractor again? NO! We would install it ourselves, at least partially. Or alternatively, hire one of the masons recommended by TempCast for the job. If we are lucky though, this one will do just fine for quite some time to come.
|RECIPES :: Cast
No high chairs?
Imp, Elf and Benny in the foreground.
(To think that just a year ago the two of them slept together, cuddled up in a laundry basket!)
On the Screen
Pressure 102.5 kPa / falling
Visibility 15 km
Dew Point 8.5°C
Wind Speed W 5 km/h
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