Moving Forward

Please check out my new blog: Let’s Fake the Music.

Let’s fake it together.

I’ll be writing and posting there exclusively from now on.

Thanks,

Jo

PS  Let’s Face the Music will still be available for research.

Furnishing Grace Cottage

I’ve decided to give the new project a name: Grace Cottage.

Grace Cottage

I’ve also been looking around my house for furniture and other items that might be useful down there.  Here’s the list:

Furniture from The Glade to Grace

  1. Twin bed and mattress/bedding 

    The bed frame, mattress, and boxspring that used to be in Sug’s Cottage is heading for the Eastern shore.
  2. Desk

    The desk in the pink bedroom was bought for my son when he was a boy.
  3. Laundry bags
  4. Closet pole
  5. Extra lamps

    I have a few old lamps that might be useful.
  6. Small table in attic
  7. Silverware in kitchen
  8. Hutch in laundry room 

    The hutch top from our laundry room might be useful in the new Cottage.
  9. Curtains
  10. Roller shades
  11. Mailbox 

    Our old green mailbox can replace the one that is there now.
  12. Big wall mirror 

    I have a large wall mirror that we removed from the pink bathroom.
  13. Sofa 

    Sug is sending her sofa because she is planning to get a new one.
  14. Air mattress and pump
  15. Twin sheets

I’m trying my best to simplify but I get some opposition.  Yet I persist.

In what do you persist?

Victorians in New Jersey

The town of Cape May is located at the very southern tip of the Jersey shore.

Cape May is at the southern tip of New Jersey.

It is quaint and quiet.

Hotel prices change with the seasons.

Many of the houses there including inns and B and Bs are classic Victorian structures.

Old houses in my neighborhood are brightly painted.

I live in a historic district in Maryland where many of the homes date from the 1880s and were built in the classic style.  One of the most distinctive qualities is the colorful painted finishes.

The beach is fine white sand.

Charlie and I enjoyed driving along Beach Avenue.  We parked and got out at the beach.  We took a short stroll on a very windy day.

Corner of Beach Ave and Brooklyn Ave in Cape May, New Jersey

After visiting Cape May we plan to come back for a longer stay.

Do you have a favorite vacation spot?

Wildwood

Charlie and I have traveled about 3 hours from home to Wildwood, New Jersey.

Topping at the ice cream bar.

We’re staying at a hotel on the boardwalk a couple of blocks from the Convention Center where Charlie will be playing for a variety of events.  The first party was an ice cream social.

The beach from our 7th floor multiple-room suite.

In the meantime I am fulfilling #24 of my 101 tasks in 1001 days: Go to the beach for a long weekend.

Can’t wait to show Charlie the “painted ladies” in Cape May.

This afternoon and tomorrow all day we’ll be free to explore so we’re also planning to visit Cape May just 5 minutes down the road.

We saw lots of classic cars on our trip to Cuba in 2018.

Tomorrow is the Spring Boardwalk  Classic Car Show.  It should be fun.

What are you doing for Mother’s Day?

Faucet Snobbery

I prefer a high-arc faucet.

The tall spigot in our Paris apartment.

Charlie and I learned to appreciate them on our trip to Paris in 2011.

Even the Cottage has an Ikea high-arc faucet in the kitchen area.

We have installed them in the house on every sink.

This bathroom will get a new faucet.

Now that we are planning to upgrade a new old house I have decided to change out all of the faucets while we have a plumber on the premises.

The kitchen could use a new sink as well as a new faucet but for now we’re just switching out the faucet.

The 3 sinks all have old-style faucets.

Delta Foundations high-arc bathroom faucet — $30.

I placed an order with Home Depot for 2 identical and inexpensive bathroom faucets by Delta.

Kitchen faucet

I went a little more upmarket with a Moen Noell kitchen faucet because I also like a lever control in place of two handles in the kitchen.

What details are you partial to?

Preliminary Chores

Next Monday I’m buying a house on which I chose not to have a contingency due to condition.

The front of the house is the best view at this time.

We had a comprehensive inspection and unfortunately the house is in very rough condition so I have made a “let’s get started” list.

The electric box is on the side of the house.

Even before the inspection I had the electricity turned on.  And the estate agent had the bank send a man to dewinterize the house including turning on the water.

We were happy that the well pump worked when the electric was turned on.

Happily the electric works; the water runs and is potable.

The sides and back of the house are dirty and in some cases falling apart.

Urgent Projects:

  1. get list of contractors from real estate agent:  Electrician, Plumber, Roofer,  General contractor
  2. remove tree on power lines

    This evergreen tree has fallen on power lines which can cause a potential problem.
  3. call plumber – look at water heater, furnace, propane heater, all plumbing
  4. clean up old tractors, mowers, debris, etc., photograph and list on               Craigslist

    Fixing the sheds will have to wait.
  5. call oil company
  6. make plan for cleaning each room
  7. pull up carpet per room
  8. clean bathrooms

    The bathroom is very dirty but the dirt comes off easily.
  9. clean kitchen – test appliances

    Our inspector checked the stove and it works.
  10. clean laundry room – test appliances

    We’re not sure why the water heater doesn’t work.
  11. power wash deck, translucent stain

    The deck seems to be sturdy and dirty.
  12. check out dock by pond

    The dock near the pond seems to be weak and sinking.
  13. completely clean screen porch

    This porch is screened in but in rough shape.
  14. call roof contractor

    The roof is leaking steadily into the kitchen.
  15. tear down kitchen wall and ceiling

    The kitchen wall is soaked and needs to be removed.
  16. tear down bathroom wall
  17. Call internet/phone company

That should get us well on our way.

What system in your house is most important to you?

Chapel Garden

Last Saturday we dedicated our outdoor chapel area with 30 or so friends and relatives.

The benches are permanent seating.

We were concerned that it might storm and threaten our plans but the rain held off until the middle of the night.

We offered a mixture of chartreuse coleus, pink and dark pink impatiens, and 3 colors of nicotiana.

During the service each person was instructed to choose a plant, write a dedication, and place the plant in the spot where he or she wanted it to be planted.

Some of the other labels were very personal.

Charlie was amazed at the care everyone gave to the task of honoring a person or time that is meaningful.

The flowers were planted in the places where they had been set along with their markers.

Since it rained all day Sunday the flowers could not be planted but today Sug got right on it and planted all of the flowers.

Each person could also take home a plant for his/her own garden.

There were some left over which we placed in the empty spots.

The pink flowers are nicotiana — they came in 3 colors.

Our meditation garden is set up for our private use.  The flowers will provide a colorful serenity to the area and hopefully will attract our beloved hummingbirds.

Whom would you like to honor?

If You Like Strawberries . . .

Let me preface this post by saying I love tiramisu.

Lady fingers soaked in coffee with mascarpone cheese, eggs, and whipped cream is traditional tiramisu.

However, I was looking for an easy dessert that featured some springtime lightness.

The lady fingers are dipped into a mixture of strawberry preserves, water, and balsamic vinegar.

Into a google search I put the words: cream, strawberries, lady fingers.  The result was a recipe for strawberry tiramisu.

These lady fingers, also called

The most difficult part of the recipe was finding the hard ladyfingers; I searched 4 grocery stores until I finally located them.

This layered dessert is easy to assemble.

It takes no cooking or baking and has no raw eggs.

The crispy lady fingers soften up overnight.

I thought the recipe was worth a try since it only needs to be assembled and can be made a day in advance.

Happily the third dish of dessert was left for us to eat after the party.

If you’re only serving one dessert, this is THE one.

What’s your go-to dessert?

Beef Brisket for a Crowd

I like brisket but I’ve never made one before today.

I cut the brisket in half so it would fit in the pot.

For tomorrow’s party I cooked a 4.5 pound brisket.

The pieces browned in the oven while I made the very simple tomato sauce.

First I let it come to room temperature (about an hour). I couldn’t decide whether to cook it in my large paella pan or cut it in half to braise in a Dutch oven.  I decided on the Dutch oven so I wouldn’t have to fool with foil.

I used unsalted crushed tomatoes from Trader Joe’s.

Then, following this recipe, I browned the meat in the oven while making the sauce.

Fresh rosemary smells so nice.

I used fresh rosemary from my pots near the porch and chopped it in a small electric herb grinder. I used about half the herbs and spices since my piece of meat was about half size.

The recipe makes a ton of sauce which would be good on rice or quinoa.

I replaced the wine in the sauce with bone broth because my family doesn’t like wine-flavored sauces.

The meat cooked for about 4 hours and is very tender.

The brisket cooked for 4 hours and came out nice and tender.  I let it cool then put it in the refrigerator.

I ate a little bowl of the spicy sauce.

The sauce is delicious and very spicy.  Instead of blending the sauce smooth I decided I like it chunky.  Tomorrow we’ll heat up the sauce and serve the meat at room temperature.

When was the last time you cooked a piece of beef?

Replacement Dogwood

A couple of weeks ago Charlie had to take down a dogwood tree in the front yard.

The same dogwood today has no leaves like the others in the yard.

While it flowered this spring it has not leafed out as the others have done so we decided it must be replaced.

This dogwood tree is so young it has never flowered yet which should make it a good replacement.

I asked Charlie to move a young dogwood from a spot near the street into the now empty spot.

Charlie carefully dug up the tree and loaded it into our yard cart..

The hole was a couple feet deeper into the yard so it wouldn’t interfere with overhead electric wires as it grows taller.

This area of the yard used to be shaded until all the tall oaks died and were removed.

Charlie planted it and watered it very well but it became droopy.

Since the tree was not growing straight Charlie used stakes and strings to make it plumb-ish.
Between heavy rains and the hose, we’re trying to keep the leaves from drooping further.

Dogwoods are a little finicky but can be transplanted if well cared for.

Do you rearrange plants in your yard?