Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Adventures in Ohio

Jordan, Clara and I are finding that Ohio is full of hidden adventures. Our latest adventure happened one night during Clara's 4 am feeding. While I was feeding her, I kept hearing a bell and banging. Finally, (remember, it was 4 am!) I realized that someone was ringing our doorbell and knocking on our door. I woke Jordan up to go check it out while I stayed upstairs with the phone in hand ready to call the police, just in case. It was our neighbor, waking us up to tell us that someone was trying to break into our trailer and car. Luckily no damage was done to anything, but it did prompt us to get very serious about building a fence around our property. This past weekend, we cut down a bunch of trees that lined our property and our neighbors. Those trees had to come out before we could put up a fence. Here are some pictures of the adventure:

While prepping for the big job, Jordan discovered this hidden treasure. Anyone need a lawn mower?

Clara was supervising our work. She is a taskmaster!

Here's David being a monkey and cutting off the branches before the big TIMBER.
Jordan and David went at the first tree with an ax for quite some time and were getting very tired. Then one of our neighbors saw them working out there and came out with his chain saw and helped us cut down all the trees. With the help of our neighbors, it went by much faster!
Here is the finished product. This was taken from our back porch. OUr entire back yard was full of trees.

We have now cut all the trees up. The next step is taking out the tree stumps, then we can put up the fence!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Amish Land

This post is mainly for my sister Tanya. She loves the Amish. Strike that. She is semi-obsessed with the Amish. She is fascinated by them. When we went to the Ohio State Fair last weekend, there was a produce booth run by an Amish woman. You could tell she was Amish by the way she was dressed. I texted my sister to tell her I saw a real live Amish Woman. She texted me back "No freakin way! LUCKY!" She was really jealous of me. She wants to come and visit us here is Ohio partly so she can go to Amish country and buy some real Amish goods. Like I said, semi-obsessed. Anyways, the reason this post is for her is because Jordan and I went to an Amish restaurant for dinner tonight. Our anniversary is Monday, also the first day of school, so we decided to celebrate a little early. We chose to go somewhere we had never been before, so we chose "Der Dutchman" an Amish Kitchen restaurant. Here are some pictures to prove it:

See? I wasn't lying!
That is a REAL Amish buggy and yes we did bring Clara with us on our anniversary date!

Those are REAL Amish rocking chairs! And they are oh so comfortable too! The wood is contoured like your back is so it doesn't feel rigid.

Well there you have it, our first real exposure to Amish Land. I am sure there will be many more ventures to that magical place, especially when Tanya comes to visit! We can't wait!
(If any of you are now intrigued and want to come visit Amish Country too, we do love visitors!)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Random Post

Well, I am sure some of you thought Jordan and I had dropped off the face of the earth before his last post. And by popular demand, here are some pictures of Clara. I promise I will post pictures of our house once I deem it decent enough to take pictures of. There is still a lot of unpacking to do and with Clara, that may be a while. So until then, here is a random post with a few pictures!
Christmas in August? No, it is just the Ohio State Fair. Clara slept almost the whole time
Clara and her cousin Harry at the Fair, having a fabulous time!
Just a super cute picture of Clara in her pajamas being happy. I love it when she is happy!
Another cute picture of happy Clara! She is starting to smile a lot more and respond to people! She is so fun!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Grilling in Columbus

Hello. After a long time with no posting -- thanks to a cross-country move, craziness unpacking, a fussy baby and a lack of Internet connection -- I'm happy to say we're back.

I'm sure Crystal will post pictures and updates of the house and the baby, but I wanted to share my latest DIY project.

I'll preface it with Crystal's love for fire first and fire-roasted foods second. When we were looking at houses, I told her I'd build her a fire pit in our backyard, so when we moved in, I got the materials and tools and went to work.

The process involved first digging a hole, then filling it halfway with gravel and topping that with sand. I used about 150 pounds of each. After using a tamper (a tool I now own but may never use again) to make my gravel and sand as firm as possible, I laid a ring of landscaping blocks on the sand, making sure it was level all the way around. After laying the first ring of 12 blocks, I mixed up some mortar and used it to lay another ring on top of the first.
After that was done, I mortared in a third row of blocks, but this time put in three 8-inch pieces of rebar below three of the blocks, with a few inches poking out into the pit in order to hold a grilling grate above the coals.

After a couple days of curing, the fire pit was all set and (with only a little bit of cleaning up because some of the stupid alley cats in our neighborhood thought my sand pit was a litter box) we grilled up some delicious pizzas and corn-on-the-cob.

All told, it took me about 4 hours to build the whole thing, not counting a trip to the store to pick up enough gravel and sand for the whole project -- my hole was a lot bigger than I expected!
I hope to have many enjoyable experiences cooking (and eating!) with our new fire pit. It will also allow me to have less grass to mow!

Here are some pictures of the process:

Finally, for anyone interested, here is the place online where I found the best instructions for the pit.
Also, I really like having the removable grate, so I have a regular fire or a cooking fire. And, yes, those pizzas are incredibly delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I'll make two deals with anyone reading this post. 1) If you come visit, we'll have those pizzas. 2) If I come visit you, I'll help you build a fire pit like it for yourself. It cost about $100, but that included the tamper and the shovel. I think you could build one for about $60. Not bad, considering a run-of-the-mill charcoal grill will cost that anyway. (One of the things about the pit that I really like over a grill is that instead of cleaning out the dust or ashes after cooking, you can just mix it in with the sand and start fresh next time.