Mean in green
I'm Kevin. I live in Salem, Mass with my wife and little boy and I build software.

Big Blog Recap and Miscellaneous... Stuff

Wednesday May 30, 2007

My homemade potrack... and magnetic spice rack. Painting our homemade chalkboard. Homemade silverware separator -> Click for more Melissa and the worms Me and David in the garden Me and Meliss before lobster mmm... steamers Making mozzarella

Wow. It's been awhile since updating this thing. Lots of stuff going on right now, so here's a big photo recap for your viewing pleasure... or to help you kill time at work.

Where to start? We've been busy with lots of DIY projects. We needed a potrack, but the $100 ones at Home Depot just wouldn't do. So, I took a wire pantry shelf, some S-hooks, a few feet of chain and voila! The best part is the magnetic spice rack. I found some plastic workshop jars with magnetic lids that were just begging to be part of my Franken-rack. It actually turned out nice, and surprisingly hasn't gone crashing onto the stove in the middle of the night.

The next fun project was a little chalkboard made out of scrap lumber from Dave's (Melissa's Dad's) workshop. We found some chalkboard paint at the hardware store and after a few coats, we added some clearance kitchen drawer knobs for decoration, hung it up and it worked like a charm.

Now the interesting one. We'd been going for a month sans-silverware separator... imagine the horror! So, while walking home one day, we found a broken wooden drying rack - the kind with slats for plates. Needless to say, my wheels started turning and my pack rat mentality took over. I took the slats apart and glued them together to form usable boards. Then, using a cheapie miter box, I cut dado joints and formed them into separator that fit snugly in the drawer. (Melissa informed me of the type of joints I was using - she's a smarty) then using a couple of smaller pieces, I braced it from the front and back. Pretty cool for recycled garbage! Click here to see more in-progress pix on Melissa's site

What else? Oh yeah, the worm bin. Melissa met a guy who runs a vermicomposting business just south of here. The best part is that she traded her honey for a pound of red wiggler worms. We'd been talking about putting together a worm bin for awhile. Jeff and Sarah have a nice one that seemed to work well. So, she's been keeping them moist and feeding them everything from coffee grounds to watermelon, which they apparently love. We've got worms.

Last Saturday we helped Dave plant his garden. He tilled up a huge garden between the house and the new orchard which should feed an army over the summer. Tomatoes, beans, garlic, pumpkins, squash... you name it, it's in there. After planting, we watered the 19 new trees in the orchard. Once those things start producing in eight years, Dave and Peggy are going to be absolutely inundated with apples. Apparently, a fully mature tree will produce something like 30 bushels of apples a year. That's a lot of apples.

OK. Moving on... I had my first lobster cooking experience over Memorial Day weekend. After a lots of sunshine and gardening with Dave, Melissa's friends Hank and Jill put on a fun evening of steamers (that's steamed clams for all you Midwesterner's :) lobsters and one small paper towel fire. Fun stuff.

To finish off the weekend, we had a pretty chill Memorial Day. We went for a long walk around Casco Bay and the Old Port to enjoy the beautiful day. After getting back, Melissa got to try out her new cheese making equipment. She'd been talking about making cheese for quite some time, and I've been talking about eating cheese for an equally long time, so the climate seemed to be perfect. She decided to start with mozzarella since it only takes 1/2 hour. After mixing raw milk, citric acid and rennet, she brought it up to 88 degrees and separated the curds from the whey. Then after some stretching, kneading and adding salt... cheese! I must say - not because I have to - that it was the best mozzarella that I've ever had. We had a dinner of cheese, avocado and ripe tomatoes. Brilliant meal.

A'ight. That's about it for tonight. I'm blogged out... and if you've made it this far, you must be too. Stay tuned for some exciting news right on the horizon!

Be well.