Life in the A-Frame

Life in the A-Frame

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A-Frame building challenge

One of the drawbacks of living in an A-Frame house is the slant of the walls when arranging furniture. Nothing fits well because of the degree of slant. There aren't any straight, up and down, plumb walls. So...most of the time you have to customize your furniture and built-in items. Read: Mike designs and builds a project.

Our custom built-in computer station.

Mike designs a small workstation in our hallway. This wall space is about 2 1/2 feet wide where the little table top is and about 3 1/2 feet wide at floor level. And, at the top of the computer screen, the space is about 2 feet wide.

He did a great job. He handmade the brackets that support each side of the table. He drilled holes for the cords to fit through, left just enough space underneath for the office chair, and made sure there was enough room for his knees.

This workspace freed up an entire wall in our sunroom. I had an office area set up there on a large table and all the equipment, paper and files were the first thing you saw when you walked in the front door. Now, I have a breakfast area there and room for a large birdcage. Yes, I want some birds next. And an aquarium. I wonder if those will have to be custom built as well....

Monday, June 29, 2009

Baby Charli

Remember my son's new Daschund mix puppy, Andre? He has really grown and is almost as big as my dog, Amos. This is Andre during their visit last night, and he had a surprise for us...

Another puppy! My son thought that Andre needed a playmate because he is so super active that nobody can wear him out. He just keeps going and going. This new puppy is Charli. She is also a daschund mix. She is so tiny, and so meek-for now.

Charli got very comfortable lying on Mike's chest.

Amos was very fascinated by Charli. In between chasing Andre and then hiding from him, Amos would jump up on the couch, sniff Charli all over, and wag his tail. I think he likes this little friend.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Book reviews, Author review

*the following review may contain some "spoilers" for those who want to read these books*
I recently got on a roll and read three books by the author Jodi Picoult. I tried "Nineteen Minutes" first. Her writing style really caught my attention and the story did too. It was about a school shooting and 5 or 6 characters got to tell the story in their own words, even the shooter himself. Very sad though...
Next, I read "My Sister's Keeper". This was the saddest of the three books that I sampled. It told the story of a terminally ill child whose younger sister was conceived for the sole purpose of saving her sick sister with her platelets and bone marrow etc. The younger sister finally sued her parents for the right to have a say in all medical decisions concerning her own body. By the second book, the author's style of having all the characters tell the story in 1st person (by chapters) got a little frustrating to me. I just wanted to hear from the main character the most.
Extremely sad ending...
The last book I tried was "Change of Heart". This novel told the story of a convicted murderer who may not be exactly guilty. He apparently had a special "spirituality" that he presented at times, and wanted to donate his heart to the little sister of his victim-after he was executed. The concept was so reminiscent of the book " The Green Mile" that I wondered if Stephen King thought about suing. I admit to skipping some of the chapters because they were told by some of the minor characters. I guess I just wanted to get to the heart of the story. This book had a bit more of a happy ending than the others I read.
If you don't mind really sad endings, or the fact that the stories are told piecemeal by many characters, then you probably will enjoy these books. I did enjoy them but was left feeling very sad, and a little hopeless. I'm not sure if I'm ready to read any more of Jodi Picoult's books for a while, but will probably check one out in the future.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fun on the beach

Trying to recall some dance steps...

Drawing funny faces with seaweed and shells...

Handstands on the sand...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Good morning-live from the Texas coast

I'm on a short vacation on the Texas coast. Beautiful~Wish you were here...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A little spot of Peace

This is the time of year when I seriously stop watering most of my yard. My garden didn't produce anything this year and we've had no rain, so we only have brown grass and an almost dry tank. Again.
I keep a small green oasis though, for our comfort. and Amos'. Here is the prettiest spot we have now. It is right on my deck.

I'm going to plant even more petunias next year. They have stayed so pretty. I also planted this small white annual, whose name I've forgotten, and it has kept in full bloom with little water. It gives us a nice, peaceful, and fairly cool spot to sit and enjoy.

Amos enjoys this spot. It is cool, and usually moist-a nice place to......

lie his head down.

And, it is a nice place to keep an eye on all his territory.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Recipe #2 from Meemaw's plastic box

Aunt Vi's batter buns were a hit, and they are all gone so I looked through Mike's mother's recipe box and found this muffin recipe from Mike's sister, Pam.

Very simple recipe. I did change it just a little. I added cinnamon, cloves and ginger. And, I replaced 1/4 of the flour with whole wheat. They were delicious! Thanks Pam!

Lightly brown...

Tender... WAIT!

I forgot the butter.
These will be great with coffee for breakfast in the morning.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Just messing with you, Amos

After lunch, if I sit down and put my feet up in my recliner, Amos usually joins me for his nap. Yesterday, the camera was right beside me. So...I messed with Amos a bit.

He's ready to lie his head down but then I call his name. He perks up his ears but that is all.

He practically ignores me the next time, so I reach out and touch his nose. He turns to look at me this time, a little puzzled and maybe a little annoyed.
He turns to lie down. I touch his nose again. He perks his ears again but doesn't turn to look at me.
Sorry Amos, I'll stop now. Go to sleep Good Boy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Master of design

Take a close look at this amazing piece of architecture. The entire web is only about 10 inches in diameter. I never saw the spider that created it but-it was there somewhere, because it repaired the web after I accidentally touched it with my camera lens.

The design as a whole, connecting the BBQ pit to a nearby chair.Look at the precise lines that make up the sides of the web.

The center is more complicated. It ends in a round whole surrounded by thicker lines of web. I feel really bad about accidentally touching the web. I wrecked about a fourth of it with my camera lens. The next morning though, it was repaired. Good as new!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pole Extraction

My husband named this post on my blog. It sounds so technical! He had volunteered to move this huge corner post and fix the gate to the cattle pen for my mother. The gate needed to swing open both ways so that you could open it from either side of the pen AND get behind the gate to get away from the horses. For those of us who are afraid of getting in the pen with 6 horses eager to get out of the pen, being able to get behind the gate while you let them out is a good thing. Same thing when you are trying to let the horses back into the pen. Mike determined that the easiest way to fix the problem was to move the post back about a foot. After soaking the ground with water and digging down 2 1/2 feet, he still didn't reach to bottom of the post (My dad built the pen 45 years ago and he sunk those posts deep!). My brother in-in-law, Clyde came over on his tractor to help.

Clyde brings the tractor, complete with the bucket and big hook.Mike gets the pole ready to be pulled by putting a big chain around it.

Then he hooks the chain to the tractor bucket.

Clyde lifts the bucket and pulls the pole the rest of the way out of the ground. They move the post over to the correct place, then take an iron rod to tamp the post back into the ground. It works beautifully!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Aunt Vi's Batter Buns

I found an old plastic recipe box that belonged to my mother-in-law. I thought I would try some of the recipes and feature them here. Some are in the contributing person's handwriting, which makes them even more special to me. This is from one of the neighbors from long ago:

I stirred up the batter, let it double in size, then divided it into 12 muffin tins. Then I let them rise again.

Very delicious!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Forgotten cookies

I needed to make something to take to our Church's annual fishing party-something I could make in the morning before we went to church-and that would be ready by that afternoon. Also, I wanted it to be easy and not time consuming on my part. I happened to think of these meringue cookies. You whip egg whites with sugar, add chocolate and pecans and put them in a hot oven. Then you turn off the oven and forget about them.
2 egg whites at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped chocolate
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with foil or parchment paper. Beat the egg whites until foamy then add the cream of tartar. Beat the eggs until fluffy and start adding the sugar a few tablespoons at a time. When you have added 1/2 the sugar, add the vanilla. Continue beating and adding sugar. Beat until the meringue is very glossy. Stir in the nuts and chocolate. Drop by tablespoons full. Put the cookie sheets in the hot oven and then turn the oven off. Leave at least 2 hours, but overnight is best. (I left mine for about 8 hours and they were perfect)

These are fairly delicate, so don't let your husband play around with them too much. No, seriously, just store them in an airtight container and they will last for a very long time. If the weather is humid, it may affect the meringues and make them chewy.
Note that if you leave out the chocolate and nuts, they will still be delicious and completely fat free.