Saturday, July 6, 2013

Composting Used Coffee Filters

Today I debated if I should even write a blog on this.  I know many of you will think that I have gone off the deep end and need serious help.  As you know I compost almost everything.  I have several compost piles outside in different stages of readiness, and I have a worm farm which uses some scraps and paper.  Worm Farming, An Unusual Type of Farmer   Even though they say tea bags and coffee filters are able to be composted, I was finding that they don't break down very quickly.  I developed a method to solve this.  When I take the coffee grounds and filter out of the coffee pot, I scrape off the used grounds either in the compost container or keep them separate to use on the hydrangea and other acid loving plants.  Then I put the used filter on a plate and microwave it for two minutes.  The smell of coffee fills the room and it dries the filter. 

Coffee grounds and dried coffee filters
I then shred the filter in the paper shredder.  It take almost no time and everything is broken down to a more manageable size ready to compost.

Shredded Coffee Filters

So if this is my last post, you know they have taken me away in a straight jacket, if not for the subject matter then for taking photos of used coffee grounds and shredded paper.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Feeding the Ducks

Our daughter lives on the Fox River also.  She lives several miles down river and in town.  They have daily visitors coming to see them.  They are the area ducks.  The word is out that whenever anyone comes out of the back door, it is time for a snack.  When we were visiting last weekend, we went down on the pier to see how high the river was.  It is still pretty high, but it has gone down a little. 

My daughter and I checking out the river.

What a life, just standing on a log watching the river flow past.

Then it started to rain but the ducks didn't care.

We headed up to the house and so did the ducks.

It was a short shower and the rain stopped.

Ewan showed us the corn they were going to feed to the ducks.
He began throwing the corn out there.

A little more corn and here they come.
 Soon the ducks finished all the corn and returned to the river until next time.

Dylan borrowed my camera and took a few photos of his mom's roses.  He did a good job.  They are so pretty.  It was a good day and proves that you don't have to live in the country to enjoy what nature has to offer.  It's everywhere, you just have to look.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Staining our log home

Owning a log home does require some upkeep.  The house has to be stained every few years to keep the logs from drying out.  We usually do it ourselves, but it takes a long time to power wash the house and then brush on the stain.   This year we decided to hire someone to do the work.  We hired a person and his son.  They are familiar with log houses.  He has built several and was the person who built on our dining room.  Putting a New Addition on a Log House

The first thing they did was power wash the whole house.

All that spray is making the windows look really bad.  They will need washing for sure.

After they power washed the house and knocked down all the beehives and bird nests, they left and let it dry for a couple days.

When they came back, they covered all my plants and the windows with plastic.  I was so worried that they would damage the flowers.  We did have some stain sprayed or dripped on the leaves, but I hope it won't do a lot of harm. 

They tried to cover the plants with plastic.

I know they tried, but some of the plants got dripped on and are suffering some damage.  I think we should have waited until fall, so the plants would be dying off anyway.

The leaves of this hosta look oily.

You can see stain dripping off the leaves.  Oh dear!

Two of the buds are dead and falling off already.

After putting plastic over all the windows, they were ready to stain.  They used a power sprayer, and they were finished before we knew it.  What would have taken us all summer, took these two workers less than seven hours each.

Dining Room area all sprayed and drying.

Everything back to normal.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Making bowls and pens

As I was looking through my photos trying to think of something to blog about today, I came across these photos.  My son in law is a master of many things from scuba diving to mountain climbing.  He always likes a new challenge.  This past winter when we stopped over to see them, he was out in the garage working on something.  He had purchased a lot of different types of wood, but we had no idea what he was going to do with them.  This is what he was doing.  He was turning the wood on a lathe and making wooden bowls and beautiful pens.

 Bowl of apples they have on their dining room table.
He gave me a couple small bowls to put on my mantle.
Here are several pens that he and Dylan have made.

My grandson Dylan thought it was pretty cool to see how a plain piece of wood or acrylic could be made into these useful items.  So he learned how to do it also.

These small pieces of wood can become a beautiful pen.

Dylan concentrating, trying to get it just right.

He made several pens for Christmas gifts last year.

Pens don't have to be made of wood.  Acrylic blocks can be purchased and turned on the lathe also.  Then the pen parts can be purchased at Woodcraft or other stores of that type.  I have no idea how to do it myself so it is more than amazing to see the process and the final product.  I am hoping that some of the unusual types of wood that we have on our property can be turned into a pen or bowl someday.

Here is one of the pens Dylan made.  He turned it, sanded it and polished it all by himself.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Chicken with Avocado Salsa

On Sunday I was visiting my daughter.  She was going to make this recipe for their dinner.  I asked if I could use it in my blog.  She is a good cook and I knew it would be delicious and it was.   This looked light and fresh and summer like.  A perfect recipe for July 2.  I had her take photos along the way.  Sometimes she just makes the salsa and they eat it with tortilla chips

Chicken with Avocado Salsa


2 lbs. Chicken Cutlets
Olive Oil Blended with Minced Garlic or Dried Parsley
Thyme and Basil
Juice of One Lemon
1/2 C White Wine
2 T Soy Sauce

Mix olive oil blend with thyme, basil, lemon juice, white wine and soy sauce in a bowl. Pour marinade over chicken cutlets and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Place chicken cutlets directly on grill or use grilling pan.


2 Ripe Avocados (peeled, seeded, and cut into small cubes)
1/2 C Fresh Lime Juice
1 Large, Ripe Tomato (diced) or Grape Tomatoes (diced)
Small Can of Corn (drained)
1/2 Red Onion (chopped)
1/4 C Fresh Cilantro (chopped)
1/2 t. Salt
1 T Sugar
3 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Whisk lime juice, olive oil, sugar and salt in a bowl until blended. Add avocados, tomatoes, corn, red onion and cilantro.

Salsa Ingredients.

Everything prepped and ready to mix.

 Pour salsa over chicken and serve.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Never Assume

As most of you know by now, my husband built a screened porch last summer.  It is a very pleasant place to sit most of the time.  It is a place to sit and enjoy the fresh air without the mosquitoes and flies interfering.  However, when the weather is very hot and humid, it can be uncomfortable.  That is why we installed a small ceiling fan with a light.

Even though it was a good idea at the time, it has been a disappointment.  It just doesn't move enough air.  At first we thought that the blades were going in the wrong direction.  It should be clockwise in the winter and counter clockwise in the summer.  That wasn't the problem.  Next we thought that perhaps the blades needed to be longer, so we traveled to the nearest Habitat for Humanity store in Oshkosh.  They had a set of longer blades, and we bought them.  OOPS!  The set had five blades and when we got home we saw we needed six.  A few days later we returned to Oshkosh and luckily they had another set.  Now we have ten ceiling fan blades.  We figured we would use six and sell the extra four at our garage sale.

We took the old blades off.

Laid them all out nicely.

We opened up the new blades.  They weren't white but that was ok because the purpose was to move more air.

At this point, we took them over to our dining room table to reassemble the blades.  Another OOPs!  The holes didn't line up.  So here we are after two trips to Oshkosh @ 45 minutes each way equaling three hours, $10 for the cost of two sets of blades, getting the ladder out and putting the fan back together.

Same as when we started.

What makes this especially disturbing is my husband thinks everything out to the smallest detail.  He drives us all crazy sometimes because he can't do anything half heartedly.  It's all or nothing with him.  This time he just listened to me and tried to be spontaneous.  It didn't work.  He could just kick himself and said "see what happens when you assume".  You all know the rest of that quote.  "it makes an ASS of You and Me".

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sam Goes to Camp

My grandson Sam just completed third grade this past spring.  He is eight years old, but will turn nine in a couple weeks.  He had the opportunity to go to overnight camp for the first time.  The camp was only two nights and almost three days.  It was called Super Heroes camp so it was right up his alley.

He has loved all the super heroes since he was a little boy.  He especially likes The Flash.  I went with my daughter to drop him off.  I hadn't been back to this camp for a long time.  My daughter went here when she was in third grade.

As soon as he got out of the car, he was ready to go.
He was listening intently to all the instructions.  
 Staff member asking questions and getting to know Sam.
Then off to the cabins.
Or Headquarters ( HQ for short).

The cabin was set up with  Mission Rooms (where the bunks were).

Soon it was time to leave.  Sam hugged us and took off with the staff members.  My daughter had never left him like this before and felt strange driving off.  For the next two days, we often wondered how things were going and if he was having fun.  I guess there was no reason to worry.  This is the first thing we saw when we returned to pick him up.

Sam with his Super Sam cape socializing with another boy.

He had a great time, and the first thing he asked is if he could come back next year.  Then as we were leaving, he had to show his little brother around the camp.  We all could relax, he was a happy camper.

Sam or Super Sam as he called himself is showing his brother around.