Browsing Archives for May 2008

On my way home from work a few days ago…

As I turned down our driveway…

I almost ran over my son’s bicycle…

And had to veer suddenly off the road to miss it!

And that’s when  I took a picture of the dashboard…

Because I was distracted by the sight of a strange man appearing out of what seems like mist, but it is not mist, it is actually just a very poor photo…
And here is another very poor photo…
But back to that strange man who was wearing shredded clothing and sporting a bad haircut.  
Who appeared to be painting my barn!
I had grown so accustomed to the “Bleeding Kansas Barn” that I was speechless!

No one seemed to mind that I was rendered speechless, especially the strange man with the shredded, stained clothing and the poor haircut.
A few days later, I took some more photos of our new red barn.

And then I took some more…

And yes sorry, just a few more…

I woke up on Thursday morning, looked out the window and saw a familiar truck parked in my driveway.  A truck that was a fixture around this place for over a year.  A truck that I used to tuck little envelopes inside of, under a spare pair of pliers or a hammer so that it wouldn’t blow away.  Envelopes with checks inside to pay the owner of this truck for all of his hard work. 
Because this truck belongs to the man who built our house.  
When I saw that truck, I threw some clothes on and rushed downstairs to snap a few photos.  I had to take the photos quickly,  because I was not going to be able to hound them all day long with my camera as I now have a job.  When I told our builder, Dennis and his crew that I would not be able to take pictures of them working on the house all day long, they just sat down on the grass and started sobbing.  
I had no idea that my taking pictures of these men working on my house meant so much to them!  
Okay – actually that is not true.  Actually, when I told Dennis and his crew that I would not be able to hang around them all day long taking pictures while they worked and ask stupid questions about what they were doing and why they were doing it and how they were doing it, and what they were going to do next… and  oh dear!!! if you don’t mind…  I would like to change everything you just did… etc…etc…  
When I told them I wouldn’t be able to hang out with them all day long… they all got tiny little smiles on their faces.  
Yes… tiny little secret smiles and I could kinda tell that on the inside they were dancing an Irish jig and hoisting massive mugs of frothy brew above their heads and tossing nearby barmaids into the air, and catching them and then dancing a Russian jig while balancing a shot of vodka on their heads and then tossing a Siberian husky into the air and catching it and hugging it tightly and then…  Okay – well maybe the whole Siberian Husky thing is a bit much…  but I don’t think they were very disappointed when I told them that I was not going to be able to document their every move.
I am pretty sure they were not disappointed at all.
Not even a teensy bit.  
But I was…  
Look –  Jordan grew a beard over the winter!  
Anyway… what I mean to say is that they spent Wednesday installing the screens on our screen porch and giving the front porch one final coat of paint.  It was so nice to see them.  I am so glad that Dennis and Jordan built our home.  Even if I did torment them the entire year they were building it, by being a constant nuisance with my camera, and my changes, and my questions.  
They tolerated it amazingly well.  
Dennis keeps talking about retirement.  He seems to talk about it particularly a lot whenever I am around.  But in my dreams, the Country Doctor and I build another house about fifteen years from now.  A much smaller, much more affordable house. 
 And how could anyone except Dennis build it???
Who’s up for another construction project being blogged!?!?!  
Raise your hand!  

I think that counts as a hand raising. Yes… I think it does.

They finished before I got home.  I didn’t even get to say goodbye!  But I did get the address of the new house they are working on now.  Moohahahahahahah.  Moooohahahahahaha!!!

A Proper English Tea

May 12th, 2008
This is my friend, Liz.  Liz is from England.  She makes really good cakes. 
Liz lines her cake pans with parchment, because that is what the really good cake makers do. 
The really good cake makers also warm up their eggs in the microwave before they crack them into their cake mixes… which by the way DO NOT COME FROM A BOX!
Liz used self rising flour for this particular cake, which is a Victoria Sponge Cake…or you can also call it a Victoria Sandwich.  But it is not a sandwich… this is just English cake lingo.  
Here is Liz dividing her batter into two pans.  
After baking for about twenty five minutes, Liz’s cakes looked like this.  
Next Liz made a butter cream icing, which is comprised of butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk.  Liz just wings this recipe.  She has made butter cream icing so many times she actually fell asleep at the mixer.  Ethan was her sous chef.
While making the icing, one of Liz’s sons Miles brought in a frog to show us.

Then Miles spread some raspberry jam on one of the cakes.  
I have no idea what happened to that little frog.
Here is where the sandwich part comes in.  You see the two cakes with the butter cream icing and the raspberry jam “sandwiched” in between.  
Powdered sugar on top.  

While Liz was making her cakes and icing from scratch… I made this very, very, very complicated berry compote to serve alongside the cake.  To make this intensely difficult compote you open three bags of frozen berries.  Then you place the berries in a bowl.  Then you microwave the berries for about two minutes.  Then you mash them up a bit.  Then you wipe the sweat from your brow.  Then you put them on the table.  I hope this recipe doesn’t intimidate you too much.

Here is our Mother’s Day tea.
Here is our cake.

Here is Nicholas the sideways French student that is visiting Liz and her family for two weeks.  

Liz and I took our cake outside to celebrate ourselves as we were clearly the only mothers around.  The smudgy blur across Liz’s face is due to having a camera around eight children while baking, which is why we escaped to the deck in the first place.  Do you think my sunglasses are big enough?  Wait… don’t answer that! 
 Liz’s recipe for Victoria’s Sponge came from a book called Baking Really, Really Complicated Things That are Probably Too Hard for a Person Who Normally Uses a Cake Mix… or something like that.  For a recipe that is similar to Liz’s you can go here, however, I have no idea what a “knob” of butter is.     
Please do not feel badly if you are too intimidated to even try my berry compote recipe.  I recommend baby steps.  Baby steppin‘ frozen fruit.  Baby steppin‘ open frozen fruit bags.  Baby steppin‘ shove frozen fruit in microwave.  
Name that movie!  It is one of my all time favorites.  
Later this week – more on N., the sideways French foreign exchange student who visited our fake farm and  learned the art of American boyhood which involves guns, gasoline, firecrackers, bats, balls and did I say guns yet???  
Au Revoir!  
The Country Doctor’s Wife