Long Awaited Pressure Cooker Arrives Along With the Concrete Truck

When it rains it pours! Oh, what a tease! No, we haven’t had rain for over a month now and everything is miserably brown and dry despite the constant watering. Since writing that sentence, we received a brief shower last evening that measured only .15 inches on our gauge. The prediction for rain today has yet to materialize even tho we had some rumblings of thunder earlier in the day. We had the first triple digit day for the year on Friday. In contrast to that, we had more than a month of triple digit days last summer!

No, I was referring to all the activity here at Seven Oaks on several very active fronts in the past week. The outdoor renovations continued with good success last week. There was demolition work as well as reconstruction which means progress on all levels. As you saw from the last post, the step forms were ready for concrete but the footing for the outdoor kitchen area had not yet been dug. The guys worked on digging that first thing Thursday so as to be ready for the concrete truck to arrive mid morning that day. IMG_5138

Footings for the future walls do not need a form so they just needed to dig deep enough to be below the frost line, which for our area is 30″, and then to make sure their footing is wider than the structure that will be built on top of it, so digging for this was accomplished in a relatively short amount of time since they were using heavy equipment.

The concrete group consists of a very hard working crew of Mike, the owner, his two sons, Mitch and Philip, and a helper, Josh, who have all tirelessly labored under high heat and humidity but with good humor. They correctly interpreted my drawings for the steps, sidewalk and future outdoor kitchen area and worked their foundation areas with precision. Many guys wouldn’t care as much about the part that will be covered by the finish stone, but these guys were perfectionists. IMG_5143

The concrete truck arrived on time and backed up on the old driveway as far as possible to deliver the load.IMG_5144

The crew scrambled to disperse the concrete and get it leveled with a good degree of speed since concrete sets up incredibly fast, especially with some heat. IMG_5152

So fast that within two or so hours after the step pour, they were taking the forms off and brushing the finish on the steps. They did a nice enough job that Dave wondered why were were going to cover up the concrete with stone!IMG_5163

They also removed the old, crumbling sidewalk stone to prepare for the next step…installment of blue stone.IMG_5164

They created a large pile of debris that will be many times larger next week when they remove the rest of the current driveway material before creating the new driveway.IMG_5165

That was a hectic day of job site issues for me so I was scrambling back and forth with trying to oversee the crew at my house while overseeing the crews on other jobs. While I was out and about, Dave sent word that my new pressure cooker had finally arrived!

Yeah! I had been frustrated by the delay in delivery and had called the company that sells these in order to inquire about the timing for delivery. They said they had a run on these items recently….I guess more people are doing what we are with canning and preserving their own food, especially at this time of year when the crops are at peak as far as bounty. I could hardly wait to get home from work and open the box. IMG_5166

Drat, of course, lots of reading had to be done before jumping into using this new piece of equipment but I managed to process 5.5 pints of tomato sauce that evening. It was interesting to note that my Blue Star Range cook top is so powerful that even on one of the less powerful burners, I had my flame set at ‘low’ and was maintaining the 10 pounds of pressure on the cans as prescribed! Wow! IMG_5169

The concrete crew was elsewhere on Friday which allowed us some much needed time to go and collect some wood pallets to organize some of the stone material we have stored on the back driveway turn around. The idea here is that when they come back next week to start demolition on the driveway, we have to have this material situated in such a way that they can move it with relative ease. Pallets are the answer since they could easily forklift everything out of the way and to a better spot or to get rid of it altogether.  But we didn’t have any pallets sitting around. So, I made a couple of calls to some of my construction friends and ended up with a wonderful reply, “Nancy, come get as many pallets as you would like!”

So Dave and I were off to collect some pallets from our mason’s stone yard and stacked them in his truck without a moments thought even tho it was 102 degrees!IMG_5174

The harvesting continues with many, many melons of all sorts. I am so thankful that the weekend arrived so I could address some of the preserving that was waiting for my attention.

Here are the melons that I cut up yesterday and shared with our weekend guests (Kate and Jason!) and my mother.IMG_5183

They are tasty beyond belief!IMG_5184

After cutting up pounds and pounds of melons, I attacked the green beans and froze just short of 6 pounds of them. IMG_5186 IMG_5187

I also froze 3 pounds of green peppers and made 4 half pints of Sriracha Sauce. IMG_5188

It was not long after these melons were cut, that Dave brought in 10 more, just like them with many more to come.IMG_0678

Yesterday’s harvest put us over 1,040 pounds of produce for this season with much more to come since the melons are just starting to arrive and we will plant the fall season crop next week.

I’ve been writing this post for a couple of days now since all of my activities have prevented me from publishing. Besides enjoying the company of Kate and Jason who are in town for a wedding this weekend, I had one lovely, early morning surprise that I want to share.

The anemone transplants that a friend, Jill, shared with me earlier in the summer are actually blooming now despite the stress of the transplant in addition to a rough summer of weather. Thanks so much, Jill for sharing these beauties! I look forward to their future bounty since I planted them outside of our bedroom window and know I will enjoy the view of their pretty little blossoms for years to come!IMG_5181



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