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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Just lounging around on a weekend.

It wouldn't be a Sunday without a blog post now would it?
Mid July and things can get a little slow around here, which I might add, is kinda nice.
I didn't do much this weekend.  Putzed around the yard mostly.  Drank a lot of icy cold beer too!

The garden is starting to pay off as I have been harvesting some vegetables.  This morning I picked  a bushel of yellow wax beans along with some summer squash and zucchini.

I froze a few quart bags of the beans and the rest I gave away to the neighbors.  I did save some fresh ones for dinner though.  I made them one of my favorite ways.  

First, cut and wash about 1 -1/2 pounds of beans and put them in a stock pot.  Next add in 2 cups of broth, chicken or beef.  I used beef this time.  Then 2 cups of water.  Bring to a simmer.  In a fry pan cook up 4 slices of bacon, remove from pan and chop into one inch squares, toss them in the pot with the beans.  Next saute a small  chopped onion (vidalia is my preference) in the bacon fat.  When onions are halfway done add in a clove of chopped garlic.  Once onions are translucent add to beans.  Simmer for at least 30 minutes.  I use low sodium broth so I add a pinch of salt afterwards.  You can always add it but you can't take it out!  Sometimes store bought broth can be pretty salty.

I served these with a grilled New York strip steak and some macaroni salad that I had made earlier.  A perfect summer dinner!

Tomorrow I will pick the green beans.  I will have about another half bushel or so of those.  I plan on spending the evening freezing them and turning them into Dilly Beans.  If you haven't had them they are great.  Spicy pickled green beans.  Yumm!!!!

The summer squash and zucchini I will have for dinner tomorrow.  I will slice them up and saute them with asparagus, onion and garlic in a splash of olive oil.  Toss in a little fresh basil out of the garden at the end.  I also want to try making zucchini sticks.  
I haven't made them before but I guess you slice them into 'fingers' and then cover them in parmesan cheese and a few other things and bake them in the oven.  I will let you know how they turn out. 

Photo courtesy of Aggies Kitchen

The cabbage I have been turning into coleslaw.  I love good coleslaw but I haven't found a coleslaw dressing at the store that I like, so I just made my own.  

We had fish tacos for dinner on Saturday night and I use shredded cabbage instead of lettuce.  Gives it a nice crunch.  I shred it up thin and then cut up some tomatoes, green onions/scallions and cilantro and toss it all in a bowl.  Then I drizzle olive oil over top and I sprinkle either taco or fajita seasoning and some kosher salt on top of that.  Mix well. (if it sits too long the salt will draw the water out of the veggies and you will have to drain it off so use it quick or make it right before serving)  
I fried up some cod, lightly dusted in flour and then fried some corn tortillas.  Place a piece of fish in the shell and a heaping scoop of the cabbage mix, and then dust with shredded cheese.  Then I squirt my avocado sauce on top of that which is nothing more than avocadoes, mayo, milk, cilantro and mexican seasonings (like chili powder and cumin).  Blend until creamy and pour into a squirt bottle.  I also fried up some homemade tortilla chips to dip into the leftover avocado sauce.  The fried corn and fish isn't the healthiest but it is offset by the vegetables...right?

On Friday I sprayed the entire back and side yard for weeds.  The lawn was getting overrun by clover, dandelions and chickweed.  I purchased the concentrate weed spray some time ago but with all of the rain I haven't had a good opportunity to spray it. You mix one ounce of concentrate for every gallon of water.  I used my 2 gallon handheld pump sprayer.  It took about three hours to walk back and forth spraying the entire lawn.  The weeds are already starting to die.  I will do the front yard next weekend.

Friday evening I went to visit some friends and played in a poolside euchre tournament.  It was fun and I got to visit with some old friends.  After that we headed home and we ate dinner by the campfire.  I fried up chicken wings and tenders along with chicken gizzards and hearts and then some french fries.  Washed it all down with cold beer.

On Saturday I decided I had better get going on building the structure that will cover the camper.  I have always just tarped it with one of those ugly blue tarps and it is rather unsightly.  It doesn't really work that well anyways as it traps moisture under it.  I want to keep the rain and snow off of it as much as possible so I'm building a carport of sorts.  A camperport I suppose.

I started with 4 posts and and a set of post hole diggers.
Then I attached the upper boards that connect the 4 corners.  These will also support the roof.
In order to get it square I used the 3,4,5 method.
Set your first two posts in line with each other and then run a string around the poles and secure it to a batten board.  The batten board allows you to move your string, side to side, until you hit the right measurement.
I measured down one side of the string and made a mark at 3 foot.  Then I measured down the other string and marked it at 4 foot.  Then I measure in between the two marks diagonally.  I adjust the string side to side on the batten board until the tape measure reads 5 foot from mark to mark.  After that I measure down the long line and wherever I want the post to be I drive a stake in the ground and dig my hole there.

All I need to do now is put in a few more roof joists and then I will install green sheet metal roofing on top of that.  I have one side about an inch higher than the other side so the rain will run off.

That should keep the camper nice and dry.  I could eventually sheet metal the sides if I wanted to and enclose it all the way.

I have a new tenant living under my deck.  A house wren.  I have been listening to her song all weekend.  He and She are quite the pair.  Singing and dancing on the clothesline.  They are fun to watch.
You can't see her very well but you can hear her!


Last weekend I made a new feeder station to try and entice the Orioles around here to come in for a visit.
I used a bunch of yellow solo cups and some orange halves.  So far I have only seen one.  

The cups on top are full of grape jelly.  I guess they really like that as well as oranges.  
I've been watching the birds quite a bit lately.  My steady visitors are cardinals, blue jays, finches, woodpeckers, doves, red wing blackbirds and another type of finch I haven't identified yet.  I downloaded a bird ID app on my phone today so next time I see it I will look it up.  I also see a lot of Robins and bluebirds along with my wrens.  Lots of bugs around for the insect eaters.

Other than mowing the lawn and cleaning out the shed I haven't done much of anything else.  Kind of a slow weekend.

Stay tuned for Dilly Beans!


  1. What a pretty sound the wren makes - I would not tire of hearing that.
    I smiled when I read the bit about you playing in a euchre tournament - gosh, that brought back loads of great memories from my twenties. (thanks for the flashback - might have to write about those good old days)
    I hope somewhere in all of this gardening, eating, frying, drinking and card playing you've had time to write. Oops… of course, there's this post, what was I thinking!! :) :)

    From the readings of it - life is good - and that's good!

  2. All of those recipes are making me insanely hungry. Especially that bean soup one. And that wren actually doesn't sound too bad. But I guess we can be the judge of that after you've heard it for 2 months straight, right?

  3. Icy cold beer? Count me in!
    In related news, I'm off to my annual camping trip with my brothers next week.

    1. What? No invites - geez, and here I thought of you as a "bro". Well, okay - I won't take it personal - have fun (may the bears find you and chase you up a tree). :) :)


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