Wednesday, July 28, 2010

VK in the C-dale!

Ah the best of times!

So "best" that I just haven't had time to write. Kajsa and Gizmo arrived safely on July 15th and the fun has been nonstop since then. With some work sprinkled in here and there. House work that is. Work work has been forbidden since the Swedes have been around. 

Since we hung our humming bird feeders up it's been just outrageous. These little guys are eating us out of house and home. And we love it. The ladies are very territorial and chase each other away. The dudes are more rare and there is no end to the excitement when one of them comes around. Ruby throated beauties!

So far this is the only picture of him. Birding can be very stressful especially when you got finches and hummingbirds everywhere and I kept snapping without checking sposure. The result is a grainy mess but he's still a handsome fella.

In other birding news I caught a snap of a strapping catbird posing like some musketeer.

And the gold finch activity is never ending since we hung two finch sacks (you heard me - finch sack). 

We changed the feed in one of our feeders to straight up safflower seed, following Rosemary's advice and within minutes the house finches gathered for a snack. How do they do that???

This is him and his lady.

So what are we busying ourselves with you might ask. Well...

We drink syrrans mojitos? Yes please. Keep em coming.

We go to Ukrainian festivals in Kerhonkson and eat beige food. Tasty though!

We go to High Falls and discover a gem of a town!

We go to Lake Minnewaska and get a respit from the heat by taking a dip!

We (and by "we" I mean mostly Gizmo...) make PIZZA! 

We go to streetfestivals in Rosendale and see bluegrass and chick rock. 

Another chick that rocks.

Lovely Rosendale.

And we do some work on the house and in the yard and everyone chips in and helps!

And we go to Martha's Vineyard. Where there is no peeling paint and no knot weed. Just beaches and good food and Rosemary! A well deserved break for sure. 

Farmers market in West Tisbury.

Breakfast at Beetlebung in Vineyard Haven.

This is how exciting a breakfast at Black Dog can be!

Sakletare (thingfinders) on Squibnocket beach. (We saw seals too!)

And our birding adventure follows us there in the shape of this American Oyster catcher.

James has been working on the outside of the house and he is doing fantastic. With the help of Billy B they got the front eave stripped and ready for paint. The windows are right behind and looks like the bay window may get primed today! 

We're in the business of making insurance companies and neighbors happy here at 19 Maple Ave.

I took the kids on a slow ride to the city and the stops included Dia in Beacon (good stuff) and Mint in Tarrytown for some licorice.

In the city we took a stroll on the Highline at dusk and went shopping in Chinatown.

Highline view with cartoon moon.

Too many choices.

If you happen to speak a little Swedish you can follow the adventures on both Kajan's and Gizmo's blogs. Or just stop by to look at more pictures.

Sis/Giz leave on monday so we have a busy weekend ahead. Highlights include building a stone bench from the bauta rocks we found in the pit, Marc Ribot at the Falcon and tubing in Phoencia!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tiny birds and big changes

Aaaaand where do I start?

Just gonna rattle it off I guess.

But first let's travel back in time for a second... To February 2009 when we first encountered Big Pink.

Yup. That's who we fell in love with... By the time we moved in we had the front porch of course and this week little sis over by the pastry shop finally got new gams. I know she's been waiting for this day.

James spent the week in Clintondale (lucky dawg) prepping the trim to be painted. He's getting help from Billy and between the 2 of them we are soon gonna have a dark green house. James busied himself with the bay window and got much done!

She's about ready for a paint job!

The J's also worked to finish Tom's side, our south gable.

There was a window where the white patch of shingles is and the trim around the door is also done. Still left to do: The two small windows up top will be moved to around the corner (pastry shop and bathroom) and we have ordered 2 taller ones to replace them. 

When there was a drop ceiling in the green room it didn't seem weird that the top of the windows reached about James' adams apple, but now that we have nothing but space - they look a little dwarfish. And lastly - the little rounded attic vent will finally become a real window

The boys built the frame where the bathtub is going to go.

This is the closed up window from the inside. Our plumber Scott has already started laying pipe. (Are there a lot of innuendos in this post or is it just me?)

Phew - I think that is it for work around the house. To be continued this week...

We had ourselves a 3 day 4th of July weekend and we got a lot done around the house but there was also some NIIIIIIICE relaxing and humming bird spotting... That's right. They apparently LOVELOVELOVE our trumpet vine and oweeeeeegot lots of it. Of course after the first sighting the city folk (us) got in Suzy Q (the new car) and headed straight to Lowe's (the building supply place up the road that feels like my 2nd home sometimes) and bought feeders and nectars! If they had had humming bird costumes that James and I could have dressed up in to attract them I think we would have bought one each and some extras for visiting friends. Very cute little buggers and something new to look out for.

Speaking of cute little buggers...

We had only one guest for the holiday but my was it a distinguished one.

Weasley, of Little Dog Orchard fame. An absolute pleasure to have around and there is really only one downside - the realization that 19 Maple Ave needs something furry. (See! Is that dirty - I don't even know anymore?

This fantastic muppet like creature is a little closer at hand, living in the cottage and all, so we often partake in his amazing fits and starts. The other day he got a hose bath and we couldn't figure out if he was playing again or if he really just thought it SUCKED.

I have a few stories to tell about UNWANTED furries around the property but I'll save that for another post. 

So who knows if I'm just getting up there or if the country has turned me into a semi hermit but crowds - meeeeeeeehhhh - don't really dig'em, so staying around the house on the 4th with a man and a borrowed dog was all I needed. I made pork loin and we watched fireworks by the mountain house. And we brewed. It's been a while so it was new and exciting again. The funnest part was doing it outside (we like to do it outside) on the burner kind Dirk has lent us. 

Our neighbors across the street, Suzanne and Butch, had a fantastic garage sale Memorial Day weekend and we picked up a lot of good stuff. One thing being this terra cotta cooking pot. So for the 4th we DIDN'T BBQ, but instead I made something highly reminiscent of my Scanditrash roots - pork and taters with a lotta salt and pepper. 

I made a rub with crushed garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. I precooked the potatoes a little and then put them in the pot with some cut up onions, along with the seasoned pork loin. Some fresh rosemary twigs on top and SKJUTS - in the oven! 400 degrees, about 25 minutes on each side. So juicy - so delicious - so easy.

We also took a small drive for ice cream to Tantillos farm. Softserve with homegrown peaches and raspberries.

Meeeeeeeh... I thought it was awright....

To round out a perfect (although STIFLING) summer weekend in the country, we stopped and picked some road side Blackeyed Susans and brought home. I'm Swedish and I take Allemansr├Ątten with me wherever I go. (All mans right - to pick berries and flowers and mushrooms in the woods where one finds them)

We are back in the city for a week of work. Always with this work stuff getting in the way of fun. But soon it'll be weekend again and we'll be going home to the country.