Monday, May 30, 2011

Filthy, but not rich

Dirt, grime, road grease, unidentified red stuff, if level of filthy defines a good weekend, then this was a great weekend. Like most of our memorial day weekends we were busy. Between running, riding, eating, drinking, and general hanging out, we worked getting the house ready for the upcoming tiki party.

Sam thought the fou dogs just didn't stand out so they got a few coats of a bright green. The new door won't be in place for the party, but it will be the same color.

Friday night we ate lots of peas from the garden and grilled jerk pork chops on the big green egg. Again it did a great job. Saturday we smoked ribs and they were wonderful.
The old poor excuse for a grill less than a month ago.

The new updated version with a concrete top made for the big green egg.

I made a polyurethane tiki mold from a lamp we got for christmas. Hopefully I will have cast an army of tiki men tiki torch holders by the party.

We made some excellent bacon and brown sugar waffles for breakfast this morning. While eating Sam was reading the latest edition of Atomic Ranch and got inspired to do some landscaping. The side of the house under the overhang is just a desert and never has looked very good. Sam spent the day grading, cutting edging, and laying weed screen.

And lots and lots of rocks. That side of the house looks much improved.

We are starting to get some heat and the garden is really perking up. Of the 10 tomatoes we have planted 8 haved already bloomed.

Even the biggest cucumber is blooming.

Other than the peas getting out of control the garden is doing pretty well.

I mowed the front lawn for the first time and it looks amazing. Everyone wanted to roll around in it, some naked, but the grass isn't that healthy yet.

The stage is set, the food is planned, the weather looks hot but good. Next weekend the tiki party is on!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth

This weekend we made a quick trip to Wisconsin for a wedding and couldn't pass up a great opportunity to stock up on beer. Between Jerad's recent trip to the east coast and our trip to Wisconsin, the circle might have the best beer selection in Kansas City. Here are the beers we will be enjoying.

Sprecher (Milwaukee)-Mai Bock

Tyranena (Lake Mills)-Bitter Woman IPA

Rocky's Revenge brown

Chief Black Hawk porter

Three Beaches honey blonde

Minhaus (Monroe)-Fighting Billy bock

Central Water (Amhurst)-Shine on session

Ale Asylum (Madison)-Ambergeddon

O'SO Brewing (Plover)-Big O ale

Lakefront (Milwaukee)-Organic ESB

Potosi (Potosi)-Pure Malt Cave ale

Snake Hollow IPA

Grays (Janesville)-Hone ale

Oatmeal stout

New Glarus (New Glarus)-Spotted Cow (of course)

Two Women lager

And a black ale home brew from Sam's brother

Twenty 6-packs in a convertible? No problem.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Answer is Three Years

The question is, How long does it take living in Kansas City before you buy a smoker? A week and a half ago I picked up a Big Green Egg smoker/grill, this weekend was the maiden voyage. I woke up early on Sunday morning, fired it up and then went and ran the Five Trails Half Marathon in Leavenworth. It was ridiculously hilly. The only flat spots on the course were the tangents up or down the hills. Anyway, I had been training for this one for a long time and had a good race. I averaged 7:40 miles for about an 8 minute PR.

After the race I headed home to tend the grill. I rubbed down a pork butt the previous night. Before the race I filled it with charcoal and it didn't take long to light. The temperature went from 0 to 700F in about 10 minutes. I choked it back, threw the meat on and headed to the race.
The big green eggs have air feeds on the bottom and top. These openings were pretty much closed the entire day. Once the temperature got to 250F it remained there all day without any tending.

I'm sold. The pork butt was delicious and very little work. After I pulled it off I opened the vents and let the temperature climb. It got hot and burned of all the drippings which made the neighborhood smell great.

So besides running and smoking, we did some work around the house. Things to note in the garden, the first cucumber reached the trellis. Five tomatoes are blooming.

The peas show no signs of stopping. They are big and I had to use me as a reference for size.

This is my PVC vertical pea trellis. I was only planning on two levels, well it is up to four and 5 feet tall.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hey Look! We are famous

in a semi-obscure kind of way. Both of the blogs have google analytics but I rarely look at them. Today at lunch I logged on and realized that about a month ago we had another huge spike in hits. Turns out Apartment Therapy's re-nest blog did a post on our herb planter boxes, which were modeled after Thomas' salad table. Kind of funny since these are leftover scrap from Jerad's garage and about $3 in parts from Home Depot and take 5 minutes to put together.

Since they were so popular here is an update. The back concrete wall gets lots of sunlight, but is also a squirrel highway. In short order they cleaned out everything but the thyme. So Sam picked up replacement herbs and the boxes have been moved to a wall on the patio and out of the squirrelway.

The dimensions are 20"x20"x3.5" and about as big as you would want it. I can move them around without a problem carrying them like a laundry basket. Sam might not think they are so mobile.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Most Productive Weekend of the Year

We spent the entire weekend working outside in the yard. Running, bike riding, demoing a grill, and a couple copperhead snakes later, we are exhausted. Saturday we went for a run and worked in the yard. Sunday we went for a bike ride and worked in the yard. We got a new grill and Sam got a new bike. All in all it was a very successful weekend.

Sam worked cleaning out the bottom beds and got them replanted. The tall ones are elegant feathers.
This was our poor excuse for a grill. It is 61 years old and needed a face lift. The grill doesn't have a lid and burns through charcoal way too fast and the brick is in bad shape. We finally bought a new grill/smoker and this is going to be it's new home. So time for a remodel.

Unfortunately the mortar was is really bad shape and quite a bit had to get removed to get back to competent material.

I stripped all the loose bricks and cleaned the existing ones up. There were years of crud washed into the cracks and more than a few worms.

Saturday was spent relaying all the loose bricks and my back was really sore from sitting on the cinder block chair.

The grill/smoker we bought is the big green egg. It is a 1-2 inch ceramic-lined grill that can be heated up with a little bit of charcoal and then stays warm for a long time. I made a template and will be placing a concrete top to finish things off.

The garden is really coming along. We have been eating lettuce and the peas are getting close too. The fight is still on with the chipmunks.

Looks like we will be eating from the garden from now until December.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Great Weekend For a

Nap. I was working in the yard on Saturday and came in to this. The cats convinced Sam to help them take a nap.

And at least Saturday was a good day to work on the yard. Radishes are coming along well.
This week I had a major battle, or a major loss, with the squirrels. They ate my potted tomatoes, all my herbs, half of the flowers, and destroyed a bunch of the onions. I purchased some hot pepper spray to keep them off of the raised beds. We will see if it works. This tomato is trying to come back.

We have been eating salads out of the garden. Baker Creek's rocky top salad mix is very nice with lots of different kinds mixed in.
The peas are growing like weeds. I am going to have to build a third level for them since they are already over 3 ft tall.