Saturday, March 6, 2021

Good Help Is Hard To Find

The saying good help is hard to find is an under statement.  We will be able to stay in our home for a long time if only we can find a dependable, tidy, and competent handyman (or a handy woman).  Our family would help out if we would ask, but we don't want to be constantly relying on them.  Certain home owning tasks are not as easy as they once were.  We have been looking for someone to clear our overgrown hill which goes from our deck to the water line.  This is my son in law and grandson trying to get through the overgrowth to get the canoe in the water. 

When trying to contact workers,  people don't call back or they don't show up.  Last August, I finally got someone to come out and give us an estimate.  He was very animated and convincing about his qualifications and neatness.  He failed to mention that he likes to give estimates but is full of excuses when he doesn't show up.  The estimate was written the end of August, and it was not very detailed.  Verbally he mentioned what it included.  This should have been a red flag, but he said he would come around October 1 so I overlooked it.  I waited until the middle of October to call.  He said he was busy.  He said it was windy.  He said taking a big tree down wasn't included in the bid etc. etc.  Two more months passed and he still hadn't shown up or contacted us.  Just before Christmas I called and told him to forget it.  I don't think he ever intended to do the job.  He was all talk.  I realized it was a hard job, but he should have just said no if he didn't want to do it.

Then around the beginning of January 2021 a flyer came in the mail advertising a local company which we had never heard of.  The card said they would do land clearing, brush removal and tree removal.  It was just what we needed.  I called them and they came and gave us an estimate.  No pressure, just an estimate which was much less than the first guy.  I called him back in a couple days and told him to put us on his schedule.  He said he could do it between the middle of February and beginning of March.  Lo and behold, he actually came.  He timed it when there wasn't too much snow left but before it thawed and got muddy.  This young man worked really hard all by himself.  My daughter teased me and asked what I consider a young man.  She was right.  Even 50 years old would be a young person, but this kid was 20 something.  He worked for 4 hours straight without taking a rest break.

It is hard to see how overgrown this area is, and it doesn't look as bad in the winter with all the leaves and grasses dead.  Looking out the window, it was very hard to see the water.

 As he cut and trimmed, he piled the brush on edge of the ice.  

He asked if we minded if he burned the brush.  It would save a lot of hauling and burning couldn't be done any other time of year.  

When all the brush and small trees were cut, he cut down a very tall oak tree.  It fell right between a couple other trees we wanted to save.  It's amazing how they can direct how trees fall by how they make the cuts.

When the tree was down, he cut it in sections.  He then brought his skid loader to haul the logs up the hill.  We are saving the logs to cut up for firewood.  

Now our work begins but if it takes all summer to cut up these logs it is fine.  There is also some burnable material left at the bottom of the hill that we might try to retrieve.  We have a pretty large supply of firewood already and with a little luck, we are finished burning for this winter.  It never hurts to plan ahead.

 Our view looks so different  The before and after view.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Having the Right Tools

For some reason at this stage in my life Sunday's are long days for me.  Those who still work don't want Sunday to end because it means Monday morning is close at hand.  There is no mail to fetch and no talk shows to watch.  The weather isn't warm enough to sit outside so therefore, I decided to write another blog to pass the time.  Yay, right?  Don't get excited because it won't be much, but I mentioned I would write about my favorite things every once in a while.  I have several.  When I started writing this blog on December 12, 2012, I reported almost daily what was going on in my life.  I still report the most mundane things, but not as often.  I mentioned very early that I would write about my favorite small appliances and gadgets.  I have done that many times, but I still have a few in mind.  My first review in 2012 was very brief.  It was about the Vidalia Chop Wizard ( and I still love that gadget.  The one I'm writing about today is similar but I use it for different things.  The Vidalia cuts vegetables for certain recipes.  The small squares are suitable for making soup or larger squares for stews.

My idea to write about this gadget began with a Facebook post as many of them do.  It showed how to use an old knuckle buster for decoration.  I really don't know the real name for this.  We always called it a knuckle buster because you had to be super careful using it or you would bust up your knuckles.  It is a cheese shredder, cabbage shredder or potato slicer.  For those who don't know what I am talking about, here is the tool.

This is the decoration I made.  I just turned it upside down and hung it on the wall.  I couldn't find a decent towel to hang, but I will.

It's cute enough.  I probably won't leave it up for too long.  I had just done this, and I saw another post about shredding cheese in one of these and how you should turn it on its side to catch the shreds.  I saw several comments and was amazed that people still use them.  Mine has been in my box of antiques for years.  I suppose it's very portable but I remember them being a bear to clean.

What I use doesn't have a name either.  I should say I don't know the name because everything has a name.  I had a version of this fifty years ago, but only upgraded when QVC presented this several years ago.

It is just a series of disks for slicing and shredding.  It's basically the same concept as the old fashioned utensil with no risk of cutting yourself and it requires almost no effort.  It is so easy, I always shred my own cheese.  Manufacturers put potato starch or cornstarch on pre-shredded cheese along with a product to keep mold from forming.  Some manufacturers even put cellulose on the cheese.  It keeps it from clumping in the package, but I really don't want anything like that added to my cheese.  

First determine what you want to do.  If you want to make scalloped potatoes, attach the slicing blade.  Put the potato in the hopper and shut it.  Then just turn the crank.  You can slice carrots the same way or make hash browns with the shredding disk..

The process is so simple.  It takes all the work out of making these kind of meals. I was watching a presentation by a friend recently.  She said when she compliments her husband on doing a woodworking task he says it's all about having the right tools.  My husband says the same thing.  It's all about having the right tools for the job.  The same is true with cooking and life in general.  Life's coping tools are just as important as kitchen tools or woodworking tools and today mine was staying in my pj's, watching Anne of Green Gables for the umpteenth time and writing another blog.