Sunday, June 26, 2016

Update on My Outdoor Kitchen-Grill Area & Dutch Oven Space

  Since the last post I pretty much worked a few hours really early in the mornings each day.  Using the wheel barrel to bring more stone in-getting the concrete blocks and tiles.

  A work in progress for sure but I am pleased so far. The guys got the grill set up-which will be soooo awesome to use, and I laid out the red concrete tiles. After  my first attempt yesterday to lay out the tiles-I realized the grill was not set up straight-so I didn't like the look at all. 
   So early this morning-around 3:30 am I had a vision on a different tile lay out-thanks muse--so when I got up early again I redid the tiles--I love this much better and I think it will hide a bit of the fact that everything is not square. I wasn't going to ask the guys to redo the grill as that stuff is just so heavy-and in the end nature isn't perfect either.
   Here are a few photos of the progression since my last post--In the first layout I was missing one tile but in the final layout I had exactly enough The tiles in the final layout still need to be leveled and straightened a bit and I have one of those grey blocks in the back of the grill that needs adjusting-than I am good to go-I ended up with just one grey block left over. There is also a photo of my brand new very large dutch oven an 8 quart and 12 inches round-I wanted one large enough for bread baking and deep dish pies. In the final layout photo you will see my dutch oven that is smaller and it fits perfectly on one tile-the larger dutch oven will probably sit over an area where the four corners of the tiles come together.
   I still need to bring in lots more gravel for around the area, it is to finally be cooler next week so hoping I can get more of that done.
   We had brought down with us lots of rod iron tables and chairs that we had picked up at garage sales-so I plan to go through those and see what I can fix up and use here in this space-starting to come together--a very inexpensive diy project so far.  (all photos will enlarge)  Oh and that bag that is in front of the grill is a bag of sand I found here so that got added in to the gravel

Saturday, June 18, 2016

New Project Started Today-Kathy's Cast Iron-Dutch Oven Outdoor Kitchen

   Sometimes if we really want something we just need to take charge and do it-lol  Ever since we retired I always wanted kitchen cupboards in my kitchen-that is just not going to happen any more and an outdoor kitchen area.
     We had kinda planned on making a patio outside the french doors that are in the dining room area and really close to the kitchen. With the economy crashing, and now Larry's age and declining health just not going to happen either.
    However, I really want to set up an area to use my big vintage cast iron collection to use-cook and bake in.  I love that and really enjoy it. Hubby's new thing is at our age especially we need to do the little things that makes us the happiest.
    When we retired and moved here we had brought down a large and very heavy grate which measures 52"x 36" so wow lots of cooking and baking room on this. It's been sitting out in the area where it was intended to get used, and I do keep the grass and weeds out of it so the person with the mower can see this.
    Well, since my Yellowstone trip got busted and had made me sooo sad I asked Larry how can I set this up to finally cook on??  It kinda came about too cause just out the front door area and which is fenced in we have our smoker, grill, and a little weber I used for baking-and he said just too much fire going on too close to the house-lol
   He suggested in front of my little garden area and at first I wasn't so sure about it-but now I am into this area. It is partially shaded not that far from the house really, close by to the wisteria arch area-just around the corner-and that corner is really shady with a big oak tree-so a nice place to sit while tending to fires.
   So with the steamy temperatures taking a break this morning I worked about 6 hours today.
    I had allot of wheel barrels to fill up with the compost that was in that area and move it to a garden area. then I pulled all the tall weeds close by, and then I started hauling sand-gravel mix from a pile we have with a wheel barrel. So my wheel barrel got a work out today and me too lol
   On Monday,  I am going to pick up concrete blocks to hold up the grate-and that will give me the space needed to  build a fire underneath. I am going to pick up concrete 12" tiles to make up a hearth in front of my fire-that will be perfect to rake out coals on to and use my dutch ovens with legs, maybe some hoe cakes, and the grate will hold my other cast iron pieces with no problem or I can grill on there too. So I am excited now for this new adventure in cooking and baking.
    This is going to sound wierd I am sure but I want Larry to teach me how to start a fire with flint-always wanted to do that

   Here are a few photos of this morning's work. photos will enlarge just click on them.
  First photo is the cleared area and bringing in the gravel

 This second photo if  you look way in the background and to the right you will see a little mound of brown: that is the gravel pile So quite the project for me-but our skid steer is down right now and don't to wait on it.

 This is the arch I made for the wisteria and has really filled in allot already-do to our steamy hot weather and rain. This is just around the corner from my "kitchen" area, and there is a big oak tree that will be perfect to sit under for shade and tend the fire maybe read a book.

This is my grate that will work out just perfect for my cast iron pieces with no legs and grilling.

This is what I accomplished so far today with the gravel-I need to make it a little longer in the front and then go back and make it all deeper.


I was careful to not overdo and throw my back out-again-so far so good lol

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

It Has Been Really Really Hot Here-Nice Time for Spinning Though

  We had been cooler than normal for the month of May but then a couple days ago-wake up call I live in the Ozarks where it gets hot and humid-the steamy heat has arrived. We are high 90s with heat indexes in the 100s.  A definite shock to the system and to the plants too. I knew it would arrive eventually lol

   So when my tomatoes that are in big tubs need watering I do that as soon as it is light and get them watered early.
    I have been spinning every other day at least now-to improve, and I am getting my yarn finer but still is singles so doesn't need plied yet. I have been working with a long wool roving that I really enjoy spinning and went back and bought two more pounds of it-mostly for practice and so I will have yarn to dye with too.  
    I just switched over to a rare wool from an isolated island off of Maine-and I am getting this finer. I enjoy how switching up with different breeds of sheep you can feel the difference in the wool. This is totally different than what I had been spinning.
   I also did a fun "experiment" and spun some with a fine fur yarn that I had picked up at the resale shop-really loved it so spun up another bobbin of it I think it will be fun to weave with.

Here is a photo of what I have been spinning today-the Nash Island, Maine wool-loving it and finally a finer yarn

I ended up losing my potatoes from a hard storm that I mentioned in my last post-they got bent over and ended up breaking at the base-sigh the plants were doing so well too. My broccoli plants stood up nice and have been giving me veggies for a couple weeks now. My peas are just about done and will be pulling them out soon. My pole beans and cucumbers are growing nicely. I lost most of my flowers so need to work on that next year. I also lost my indigo and weld plants too-this spring was too cold for them when I was growing them from seed. However I have madder growing and also three other dye plants that I grew from seed. So am happy about that-new plants to dye with.

I am still working on accomplishing an edible gluten free sourdough bread-it has been a real challenge. My last attempt turned out edible. It still is a heavier bread than what I would like but it tastes like a really heavy healthy bread. After I toast it I love it.
    I picked up a book about hearth cooking and baking in the 18th and 19th centuries at the Virginia plantations. I love this book as it is very detailed on cast iron cooking-so I am anxious to try out some new recipes. Here is a link to the book   This is the 1986 edition, the author has also written a more updated version since this one-but I wanted her original. 
      I ran across this book from a seller on ebay that I buy roving from, but when my package arrived it looked like a forklift went through it. My yarn was still there but the book was missing-big sigh-so I searched and found a few copies on amazon.  If you enjoy cast iron cooking and baking outdoors especially I highly recommend this book-as she tells you how to set up your dutch ovens for baking cakes, breads, and more.

    We went in for our 6 month visit with our doctor. I asked him more about my bad left thumb area as it is getting worse. Wondered if an mri would tell us more. So he brought up the xray-which are amazingly clear these days and said he didn't think an mri would tell him much more rather it would just show more details.
    He went into more explaining this time though. I have a fracture in that same area that healed over-said it happened probably as a child when I fell off my bike or something. Also have allot of arthritis, and like he had told me before the ball of a joint has moved off the base and has caused more problems. Can I fix it? He says it would have to be totally replaced and he was not very enthused about that as an option now unless I was--I am not either--so will just deal with it for now.  I am not into steroids but he suggested he could put a steroid shot right into that area and it would reduce the swelling allot and some of the pain, and give me more movement--so I will see how that works out. Now that I know more of the problem I am going to search out some herbal salve recipes to try too.

    I really really had my hopes up for a visit to Yellowstone. I called my brother and he was all up to going thought it would be an awesome trip for the both of us. Of course I got major excited did allot of research for a trip in September and then he calls me a week later with all these "excuses" why he couldn't go--bottom line his wife was jealous and left him feeling guilty for going without her-as she is still teaching for another couple years  I forgot that she would be like that-oh well such is life. 
     So I am still thinking positive and hoping to find someone that will take me with. I just have a passion right now to visit the park while I can still do some hiking and enjoy it.
   I tagged along when hubby went fishing for stripers at Ha Ha Tonka state park so I could go hiking-I enjoyed that and also tried out another trail-so am anxious to go back once it cools down.

How have you all been??, any summer vacations planned?? 


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