Memorial Day Weekend

After a couple of very rainy weeks, getting the lawn cut was pretty critical. Last weekend there was standing water in the back yard, a little stream running down the side of the driveway and you could have floated a little boat in some of the culverts. But when we arrived on Friday the ground was still very wet in back so I looked forward to some warm and dry days over the weekend to help things out.

We heard on Tuesday that the Parres clan had decided to join us for the weekend and had started working out the meal plans. I was assigned breads and they really handled pretty much everything else. We were going to have chicken gyros, something I’d not tried before but sound like a good idea for a healthier version of a dinner Kathy and I both enjoy. So off to Global Food Mart before the trip here for pitas. Haven’t tried making those from scratch yet.

Over the weekend the kids focused on more cleaning at Jane’s house. Getting rid of the cigarette smell has become a much bigger task than I expected. Things are improving but still a good way to go. The boys focused serious time clearing areas with the Billy Goat. Now that all of the lawn care at MDF falls to them I think they better appreciate just how fast everything grows. One weekend you cut everything and it looks great when you leave. You return in 2 weeks and have to do it all over again. I must admit, being here a few days each week allows more time to simply enjoy the natural, and manicured, beauty of the area.

Saturday morning was muffin day. Dustin made some delightful blueberry muffins and since I made up a dozen pumpkin muffins. They made a good combination of sweet and savory and the family enjoyed them with other simple breakfast fair.

Beyond getting the grass cut at OMF, I wanted to redeem my failure making bread the last time everyone was here. So I adjusted where I put the poolish Friday night to keep it within the 65-67 F range and later that afternoon, voila, it worked! Seems I guess correctly that the last batch was just way over-proofed.

White bread with poolish.

On Sunday I decided to make a go of the grass with the push mower in the wet areas and for the entire front yard. This turned out reasonably well although even that left ruts in the back yard. After killing off a tank of gas I decided to finish the job and got out the Deere to take care of everything else. I also got the four maple trees mulched so they look a little more like they belong in a yard vs. the forest.

Monday morning was biscuits and gravy. I made the biscuits early so everyone woke up with the aroma of them in the air. After breakfast Vi, Cam and Zoey decorated the back walkway. It’s a shame it doesn’t stay past the next rain.

Everyone except us headed back to St. Louis in the afternoon. I didn’t need to be in the office until Tuesday afternoon so we decided we’d stay the one more night. Corona came out and enjoyed run of the house for the first time since he was here. We just enjoyed being together and reveling in the beauty of this place and a more simple life.

Good night everyone.

Way past due… again

I seem to go through phases of getting updates done. No reason I haven’t since the end of February but life is busy and writing doesn’t come very naturally to me. I have taken some pictures and will try to “fill in the gaps” over time.

We had both Parres families here this weekend. They came down to get the trees started I got from the Missouri Conservation Department. I’ll add another post with the result of that but have no pictures right now because after the rest of the weekend I was too worn out to help with that.

Work has been a bit rough recently. Just nothing going quite right on the project that will probably be my last one at AB before retirement. Add to that we’ve had rain late each week or over the weekend for the last 2 weeks so I had to get an OK to get down early Thursday evening to get it cut. Got that done and then had to wash bottles for 12 gallons of wine that was complete and my Thursday was rather exhausting.

Friday was a full work day and ended with more tough meetings late in the day. After wrapping that up I finished the lawn trimming and completed the annual cleanup of the herb garden. in between I made a poolish for white bread I planned to have for Saturday dinner along with the pasta the kids planned. The evening was very nice. Great to see everyone and Dustin did pork tenderloin BBQ after which we sat on the porch and caught up on things with everyone.

I was up early Saturday morning to get the bread going and then make breakfast biscuits for everyone. Short recap, the bread was an epic fail but the biscuits and sandwiches worked great. After breakfast cleanup it was time to sanitize bottles, bottle the wine and clean everything up again once more. Ron and Dustin had been cleaning up Jane’s place and at about 4:00 were ready to start tree planting, just about the time I finished putting capsules on the wine bottles and hit the couch to watch some Waltons with Kathy. I know I should have helped with the planting but didn’t have it in me. Note: yeah, I really need to shed 30 lbs!

Jen and Niki made dinner and fed the kids (and us) before the boys returned at about 8:30. I’m looking forward to looking at the results of the tree planting this morning.

North of the wall

After a rather mild and snow-free December and January, February’s climate has reminded me more of what you see north of the wall in in Game of Thrones. Except for the week of February 7, there has been snow or (mostly) ice-fall on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday each week. There was enough on February 3 that we decided it was best to stay in St. Louis so didn’t return until the following Wednesday.

We celebrated Valentine’s Day on the Sunday with a nice dinner and an exchange of cards since we needed to head back on the Monday the 14th. Other than that, because of the weather I’ve done a lot of cleaning in the basement and setup more shelving so things are looking very good down there. I even attached a Roku device to the TV down there. I also build a general store for the train layout and I think it looks pretty good.

Ron came by for a short time when he came down to finalize the sale of a pickup Jane owned but otherwise the kids haven’t been here since Christmas but word is they will be here next weekend. Ron and Dustin bought a billy goat mower so when thing get a little warmer and dryer in March I expect to seem them all more frequently.

Otherwise, it was good the Winter Olympics were on and we have access to the NBC station now that we’ve switched from Uverse to Directv Stream. Lot of event watching and bing watching Outlander in preparation of the new season starting next Sunday. Can’t wait!

A brief stay

We arrived at OMF Wednesday evening. There was an accident on I-44 that delayed us a bit but all we had to do for dinner was heat up the leftover beer stew so it wasn’t too bad. But I had to work Thursday and Friday and we left Saturday afternoon to get home in time to eat and drive to Powell Hall for an evening with the St. Louis Symphony. It was a pretty nice afternoon for a walk but other than that I didn’t get a much done.

Christmas is packed away

As planned, most all the Christmas decorations have been packed away. I’ve left the decorations on the mantels and the dining room centerpiece since I don’t really have anything to replace them with that’s more appropriate for the remainder of winter. But everything else is in the basement and things are back to normal. In a week I’ll put some Mardi Gras lights on the pole light so things will look a bit festive again until we get to March and by then there should be signs of spring beginning to appear.

I figured since “undecorating” isn’t my favorite weekend I’d make some comfort food to make up for it. Guinness Beef Stew is always one of my favorite wintertime foods and I added my attempts at an apple pie and mini baguettes. The stew was wonderful as usual and I was very happy with the apple crumb pie. The baguettes are going to need some more work. I’d give them a C+ for flavor but an F for appearance. But I figure it only costs about 75 cents to make a couple of them so I can try a bunch of times for cheap!

I did grab one picture at night before taking the lights down. Our little boxwoods are finally big enough to be a part of the Christmas display!