Wall art

Gallery

This gallery contains 7 photos.

Me: “How about we paint something like this? I’m thinking steampunk /slash/ Wysocki.” Artist (not me): “hmm…”

House painting

Old paint off.  New paint on.  Nine working days time three to five painters and laborers each day; glad I didn’t spend too long wondering if I could do it myself.

Scraping the north face

And, painted.

Front, scraped. (Apparently no one had worked out a paint-scraping robot yet; this was all done by dudes with long arms and hand tools.)

And, painted.

I didn't know there was anything wrong with the front porch before, but now it just screams: "sit in my clearance Target chair! Drink a Lake Erie Monster!"

Ready for our close-up

… a photoessay documenting neighbourhood happenings.

We live on a small street.  Fourteen addresses by my count, and packed pretty closely together at that.  So, a big-studio movie crew moving in for a few days was pretty exciting.  It began harmlessly enough: suspicious folk in hats or beards, delivering very-early hallowe’en decor and, apparently, shrubberies.

Before long, there were child actors delivering lines on motortrikes.  (I’m not sure if these were for two different scenes, or if the crew got tired of pulling and used a trailer instead.  Or, maybe I am, and I’m sworn to secrecy.)

Exciting for neighborhood children to watch, nonetheless.

As the sun set, it was replaced by giant and well-lit screens outside the windows, for continuing work on interior scenes.

And, a variety of lighting scenarios for outdoor (night-time) scenes.  I wonder where we can rent some of these diffuse globes for our next block party?

 

Finally, an unusual view of the street, upon returning from dog-walking.

City Fresh 8

Entering the season of large pickups.  (As defined: when I put the bags into the trunk of the Burley, it and the two boys tip backwards.)

Peppers: green bell (flavorless), cubanelles (superb), an assortment of skinny and wide light green ones.  Large tomatoes.  Medium tomatoes.  Small tomatoes.  Zucchinis, yellow squashes, thin eggplants.  Red potatoes, pattypan, chard and an onion.  Herbs and other herbs.  A half dozen still-pretty-tart apples.  A pound of green beans, an onion and red leaf and boston lettuces.  A watermelon that, upon inspection, was yellow.

Pictured with the tail end of this year’s Monster, and selected desserts from the newly opened Luna Bakery & Cafe.

For those keeping score at home (I am), that’s about a buck and a quarter per item (if, say, a pound of potatoes is an item) -competitive with stuff stored on the grocer’s shelves, I think.  (Our grocery store trips consist of dairy, dried grains and decidedly non-local bananas.)

 

A warm day in the attic

Last week we took advantage of our local gas company’s offer of a subsidized energy-use audit.  Overall, it was a very worthwhile experience.  (An aside: I’m not sure why the gas company wants to encourage us to use less gas.  But, I’m happy to.)

Energy costs in this house are synonymous with wintertime heating, and therefore insulation.  (And, I suppose, food heating, but I’m not going to start baking bread in the microwave.)  Last week was warm (I’ll spare you the photograph of our living-room thermostat reading 95F [*]), which made for nice thermal images of where the exterior air was leaking in.

That’s on our semi-finished third floor.  Yes, it says 120.  The windows were closed, and a giant fan was pulling the first floor pressure down, which in turned pulled air from the stifling, uninsulated section of the attic into the insulated part.  This was before the auditor happily crawled through said uninsulated section to examine the orientation of an exhaust fan.  Like I said, worthwhile.

I left with a medium sized list of low-hanging insulation projects, identified with the negative-pressure smoke test and recorded as a directory full of unusual looking interior photos – when I have enough tape and foam handy, I’ll enlist neighborhood kids to locate the spots.  (Hmm, conduit poking through a floorboard hole at an angle, near a nail…)

[*] Edit: no, I won’t!

Solstice

Happy summer solstice day!  At our house, today spans 15 hours and 14 minutes between the sun’s rise and set, and the solstice occurs at 1:16 in the afternoon.  Add a buffer for twilight on either end, we can expect 2.15 times as much light as dark.  Coincidence, or conspiracy?

(Also, the event always reminds me of the other Solstice, mentioned here in Wernick & Aarsvold.)

 

City Fresh 19

A few more peppers: some very sweet bells, mild yellow or green things.  An onion and a garlic (another nice-looking unidentified hardneck; should we plant it too?); cilantro, savoy and plebeian cabbages.  Beets with astounding greens.  Mixed other greens, an acorn squash, big carrots and an eggplant.  Spuds and sweet spuds.  Another apple butter, now a staple of Junior’s fall breakfast routine.  The track playing on the kitchen radio doesn’t require explanation, because it follows internet rule #272-C: if you can google it, I don’t need to cite.

The basket on the right is some of the season’s final backyard harvest (not pictured, a giant and very spicy arugula).  That’s 10.7 lb of mostly-green tomatoes, a half-dozen cukes, a useful eggplant some miniature ones.  And, a couple dozen jalapeños, which have since been poppered and happily consumed.

City Fresh 18

In the penultimate week, the veggie take is as good as ever.  Great greens and roots; I wonder if City Fresh is doing well budget-wise, having added a couple of bonus durable goods.  (But, no apples?)  Our bag looked good walking in the door from the bike trailer.  (No run this week; in addition to parsnip season, it’s asthma season.  Plus, we caravaned with a big dummy: that’s a serious veggie bike.)

On to the greens and roots.  Turnips, beets, carrots, parsnips and new spuds.  Bok choy, napa cabbage and an ordinary spherical cabbage.  Green bells and banana peppers; jalapeños and cilantro, a pumpkin and an acorn squash.  A jar of pepper butter and one of apple butter – both conspicuously labeled “craft brewed”, or perhaps the jam-making equivalent, which I suspect offers one leniency from the food factory inspectors.  All this in, I might note, my best vegetable photo of the series, thanks in no small part to the freshly-buffed Corian.

Not mentioned: an attractive head of hardneck.  Is it food?  Is it seed corn?  Only a quickly-constructed planter and 30 pounds of garden soil will tell.  Also pictured: the remaining bite or two of a tasty pie.  Remember last weeks’ pumpkins?  They’re back, in pie form.  We roasted five medium sugars (the approximate capacity of both our oven and our pyrex collection), yielding eight or nine cups of puree.  A couple of those went into the pie and a loaf of bread; the rest into the freezer for later conversion to baby food or, particularly since baby is quickly moving onto chopped veg from pureed veg, more pies.

The text is Bittman’s How to Cook Everything.  It does exactly that, more or less, and it is my most-oft-used cooking reference, web archives included.  The tidbits of background and introduction (“the basics of puff pastry”) throughout are superb.

City Fresh 17

Just a couple of weeks left before the farms freeze over (some sort of special Thanksgiving share excepted).

Peppers poblano, banana and orange mystery.  (After eighty four of them, I can spell poblano without looking it up.)  Radishes, beets (with fine greens), mixed other fall greens, carrots.  Spuds and sweet spuds.  Parsley and cilantro.  Pumpkin, acorn and butternut.  Beans.  Garlic.  Eggplant.  More apples, bringing our total supply into plan-an-apple-fiesta range.

City Fresh 16

Acorn and buttercup squashes, mixed fall greens, beets, radishes, sweet potatoes.  Green and wax beans.  Poblanos, cubanelles, banana, hungarian wax and bell peppers.  Sixteen apples.

Now I’m humming the only Sponge song I know.

A resurgence of warm (as in 70F) weather; I don’t think any more eggplants will mature in the lower 40, but a number of cukes and a few tomatoes are left on their vines, along with a dozen or more almost-ready jalapeños.