Trapping a Groundhog

We’re trying to trap a groundhog that lives under our shed.

There must be a maze of tunnels under the shed.

We tried last year and never caught him.

The trap when it has been sprung.

We borrowed our neighbor’s humane animal trap and are giving it another go. Our neighbor suggested that he had success with carrots as enticements.

The trap is baited with cantaloupe to draw the animal in.

Another friend, however, caught his rodent in a day with cantaloupe.  Not only did he set the trap with the melon, he also rubbed it all over the outside of the trap.

The trap has been positioned near the hole.

Hoping to show you our friendly varmint in the cage. SOON!

Do you say woodchuck or groundhog or whistle pig?

101 in 1001 #4 — The Start

Here is my new list beginning May 10, 2017 (first list ended 11/13/2011, second list 8/11/2014, third list 5/9/2017) until February 5, 2020. Completed items are in blue, black is the color for original post.

  1. Get a dog.

    My favorite breed: long-haired daschund.
  2. Have ancestry confirmed through DNA.
  3. Write a personal mission statement.
  4. Stain the interior wood doors.

    All bare wood doors need to be stained.
  5. Hang a door at the entrance to the laundry.

    This solid wood door with 4 lights might fit the opening in the laundry room perfectly.
  6. Take a trip to the UK.
  7. Get rid of 50 books.

    No matter how many books I get rid of I still seem to have more.
  8. Evaluate and upgrade home electronics.
  9. Make the guest room ready for guests.

    The treetops room needs to have all clutter removed before it is ready for guests including my shoes piled in the corner.
  10. Revisit my will, trust, and POA.
  11. Visit National Wildlife Visitor Center
  12. Visit Cryptographic Museum
  13. Make a stone patio with firepit.
  14. Host a swap meet.

    We’ve had book swaps and soup swaps. Maybe we’ll try something new.
  15. Get rid of 101 items.
  16. Hang photos in upstairs hall
  17. Take dance lessons
  18. Host a Casablanca party/movie night.

    Someday I’m going to have a Casablanca themed party.
  19. Host a dinner party for 8
  20. Organize trip to a Caribbean island
  21. Work on family recipe book
  22. Visit a waterfall Cunningham Falls, Thurmont MD Planned for July, 2017
  23. See the Southern Cross in person
  24. Go to the beach for a long weekend

    The last time we were at the beach (in California).
  25. Host a scavenger hunt.
  26. Make a month’s worth of meals one weekend. Plan for September, 2017
  27. Make a home maintenance calendar.
  28. Set blogging goals.
  29. Work on wardrobe: buy what I need, get rid of what I don’t, make a          list of everything
  30. Sort out things in attic by attaching children’s names, give away,    sell, etc.

    The attic is overdue for a major tidying.
  31. Learn to copyright (watermark) photos
  32. Complete legacy file
  33. Make a photo album of Mommie
  34. Paint some canvasses
  35. Chapel in the yard at The Glade

    There must be an appropriate spot for a small chapel in our yard.
  36. Ride on a Vespa
  37. Locate and catalog local thrift stores
  38. Develop a cleaning schedule
  39. Write a novel based on work
  40. Increase net worth by 25%
  41. Visit Statue of Liberty

    Now we need reservations.
  42. Paint landscapes/seascapes on canvas/wood
  43. Take a cruise.
  44. Memorize a poem.
  45. Make a household inventory with photos
  46. Finish laundry room
  47. Give heirlooms to children – hope chest, china, desk/chair, Christmas china, sleds – 1 for each

    3 sleds
  48. Finish painting trim in pink bedroom
  49. Make a master menu for 14 days of meals
  50. Wash all the windows in the house

    We have a lot of windows.
  51. Paint dining room table – finish sanding, prime and paint
  52. Use my God box.
  53. Build bench for mudroom.
  54. Build shelves in master bedroom.

    We must finish the bedroom shelves.
  55. Landscape the front yard
  56. Read 2 biographies
  57. Read 2 classics
  58. Design Etsy boutique packaging
  59. Fund my Revocable Trust
  60. Achieve my personal weight goal
  61. Get rid of 5 big items from the house:
    Refinished cedar chest ready for the next generation.

    Cedar chest, Skittle game, Rocking horse, Chandelier, Easel,  Dollhouse, Saddle/horse gear

  62. Design and print business cards
  63. Celebrate our 10th anniversary.
  64. Organize papers, bills, and contracts from renovation
  65. Trip to Venice/Serbia/Greece.
  66. Attend 5 concerts
  67. Visit Smith Island (or other Maryland island)
  68. Start a new blog: “Let’s Fake the Music”
  69. Lead a Bible study at home
  70. Plan my funeral
  71. Hang exterior shutters
  72. Build a structure for trash cans and recycle bins
  73. Upgrade deck off master bedroom with new surface and railings

    The master deck.
  74. Make curtains for master bedroom
  75. Install all trim
  76. Paint all trim
  77. Finish painting exterior details (oil tank, vents, etc.)

    The oil tank wants a 2 coats of shingle paint.
  78. Clean out car
  79. Clean up all paint cans
  80. Clear out the basement
  81. Remove 10 boxes from the attic
  82. Set up a better home office

    Perhaps we can set up the office area in the pink bedroom better.
  83. Refinish sleigh bed
  84. Build frame for full length mirror

    This mirror needs a frame.
  85. Renovate pink bathroom
  86. Renovate powder room

    Let’s update the bibliotheque.
  87. Paint all interior doors grey
  88. Have 5 parties.
  89. Coffee table for conservatory
  90. Paint secretary

    I think painting will improve this secretary.
  91. Finish living room curtains
  92. Dye hall rug

    This rug is a little bland.
  93. Fix hall water wall
  94. Paint green vanity

    The dressing table in the master bathroom might not want to be green anymore.
  95. Refinish tall dresser
  96. Finish cushions in dining room
  97. Clear out mud room closet

    The closet has become a storage spot for lots of stuff that doesn’t belong.
  98. Whiten my teeth
  99. Plant sunflowers

    Looking forward to a fence of sunflowers.
  100. Fast for 24 hours
  101. Private

101 in 1001 #3 Final

On August 12th of 2014 I began my new list of 101 tasks that I would like to complete in 1001 days for the third time. (First list ended 11/13/2011, second list 8/11/2014) until May 9, 2017 which is today.  Not everything has been completed but much progress was made.  Completed items are markedComplete! with the date of completion.

Here’s the entire list:

  1. Paint upstairs hall. Complete! 9/28/2014 
  2. Hang photos in upstairs hall.

    If these photos could only hang themselves up.
    If these photos could only hang themselves up.
  3. Take dance lessons.
  4. Get video camera and upgrade blog. Complete! 3/30/2016
  5. Install stair runner.  Complete! 2/19/2017 

    Stair runner.
  6. Host five game nights. Trivia Night 4/16/2016, Fiesta Bridal Shower 5/6/2017
  7. Host five other parties/get-togethers:  Thanksgiving Breakfast Get-together, Christmas Dinner 2014, Boxing Day Party, New Year’s Morning Popover Party, Movie Screening. Complete! 6/10/2016
  8. Host one New Year’s Eve Party. Complete! 12/31/2014

    Everything was bright and sparkly for New Year's Eve 2014.
    Everything was bright and sparkly for New Year’s Eve 2014.
  9. Host a dinner party for 8.
  10. Organize trip to the Dominican Republic.
  11. Work on family recipe book.

    Perhaps I could improve the organization and readability of my recipes.
    Perhaps I could improve the organization and readability of my recipes.
  12. Eat vegan for one week. Complete! 6/20/2016
  13. Host a swap meet. Book Swap Complete! 5/7/2016
  14. Host a tea party for my Birthday. Complete! 2/27/2016
  15. Host a book club. Complete! 7/19/2016
  16. Find a waterfall.
  17. See the Southern Cross in person.

    The Southern Cross.
    The Southern Cross.
  18. Make bread. Complete! 4/2/2016
  19. Make mayonnaise. Complete! 8/27/2014
  20. Make a local restaurant list of at least 10 items: Bon Fresco, Coal Fire, Hunan Express, Maria’s Bajas Taqueria, Mission Barbecue, Petit Louis, Soup’s On, Eggspectation, Tino’s Italian Bistro, Centre Park Grill  Complete! 4/13/2017
  21. Visit the Grand Canyon. Complete! 3/28/2016.

    Grand Canyon
  22. Say “yes” to everything for a whole day. Complete! 3/28/2016
  23. Do an anonymous favor. Complete! 9/20/2016
  24. Go to the beach for a long weekend.
  25. Take 3 Bible studies: The Journey to Christmas, 24 Hours That Changed the World, Restless, Momentum, Jeremiah, What Love Is, Follow Complete! 2/17/2016
  26. Host a scavenger hunt.
  27. Make a month’s worth of meals one weekend.
  28. Put a note somewhere (like in a book) for a stranger to find. Complete! 4/20/2016
  29. Make a home maintenance calendar.
  30. Set blogging goals.
  31. Comment on 50 blogs.  Complete! 10/30/2014
  32. Get an iPod or mp3 player. Complete! 3/24/2016
  33. Work on wardrobe, buy what I need, get rid of what I don’t, make a list of everything.

    Now that I have a closet I can start to organize my clothing.
  34. Have a colonoscopy. Complete! 5/22/2015
  35. Sort out things in attic by attaching children’s names, give away, sell, etc.

    The xylophone stands about the right height for our soon-to-be 4 grandson.
    The xylophone has been given to our 3-year-old grandson.
  36. Learn to copyright (watermark) photos.
  37. Complete legacy file.
  38. Make a photo album of Mommie.

    My mother and me.
    My mother and me.
  39. Paint some canvasses.
  40. Chapel in the yard at The Glade.

    Great is Thy Faithfulness mirrored window would work in an outdoor chapel area.
    Great is Thy Faithfulness mirrored window would work in an outdoor chapel area.
  41. Ride on a Vespa.

    I might want to buy one.
    I might want to buy one.
  42. Treat a friend to lunch. Complete! 4/30/2016
  43. Locate and catalog local thrift stores.
  44. Design master bedroom décor and coordinate master bath. Complete! 11/1/2015

    The coordination is finished -- the implementation is imminent.
    The coordination is finished — the implementation is imminent.
  45. Develop a cleaning schedule.
  46. Dermatologist for major renovation. Complete! 6/30/2016
  47. Write a novel based on work.
  48. Increase net worth by 25%. Complete! 5/9/2017
  49. Organize etiquette books. Complete! 4/15/2015
  50. Read Bible daily –Read Bible in 1 year. Complete! 4/27/2017
  51. Have right knee problem corrected. Complete! 1/29/2015
  52. Establish a gym workout for 5 days a week. Complete! 11/23/2015 
  53. Theatre weekend in NYC. Complete! 2/24-26/2017  

    The grand drape for Wicked is a map of Oz and surrounding territories.
  54. Visit Statue of Liberty.

    I've been to the Crown but I want to go again with Charlie.
    I’ve been to the Crown but I want to go again with Charlie.
  55. Paint landscapes/seascapes on canvas/wood.
  56. Take a cruise.
  57. Memorize a poem.
  58. Make a household inventory with photos.
  59. Finish laundry room.

    Working on the laundry room.
    Working on the laundry room.
  60. Give heirlooms to children. Grandmother’s china, hope chest, sleds, desk and chair.

    Refinished cedar chest ready for the next generation.
    Refinished cedar chest ready for the next generation.
  61. Finish painting trim in pink bedroom.

    The pink bedroom called the Diva Room.
    The pink bedroom called the Diva Room.
  62. Make a master menu for 14 days of meals.
  63. Wash all the windows in the house.
  64. Paint dining room table or sell it – finish sanding, prime and paint. Complete! 8/30/2016
  65. Paint kitchen table or build new oneComplete! 10/23/2016 

    Our newly built kitchen table..
    Our newly built kitchen table.
  66. Totally organize pink bathroom. Complete! 10/15/2014
  67. Renew passport in 2015. Complete! 1/10/2015
  68. Do the weekly challenges at UnF your Habitat.
  69. Use my God box.
  70. Build bench for mudroom.

    I'd love to build this bench.
    I’d love to build this bench.
  71. Build shelves in master bedroom.

    The bedroom shelves.
    The bedroom shelves.
  72. Paint the master bedroom. Complete! 9/7/2014
  73. Get a smartphone. Complete! 3/23/2016
  74. Tile the conservatory bathroom Complete! 12/10/2015
  75. Tile the master bathroom Complete! 12/10/2015

    What a change the tile makes covering the Hardiebacker board!
    What a change the tile makes covering the Hardiebacker board!
  76. Get a new car Complete! 4/28/2015
  77. Landscape the front yard

    The front yard needs some foundation plantings to soften up the edges of the house.
    The front yard needs some foundation plantings to soften up the edges of the house.
  78. Read 5 biographies:
  79. Read 5 classics: To Kill a Mockingbird
  80. See 3 concerts: Beatlemania, Four Seasons (Vivaldi), John Williams,   The Music of Led Zeppelin, 3 Army concerts including 1812 Overture, Sutton Foster, Broadway Divas Complete! 5/29/2015
  81. Design Etsy signature packaging.
  82. Fund my Revocable Trust.
  83. Spend an afternoon at a botanical garden.
  84. Get rid of rubble pile and grade driveway. Complete! 2/3/2017

    The ruble pile and pile of mulch have both been leveled.
  85. Have dinner by candlelight. Complete! 12/24/2016
  86. Achieve my personal weight goal.
  87. Send anonymous flowers to someone. Complete! 5/1/2016 
  88. Give a 100% tip. Complete! 9/20/2016 
  89. Get rid of 5 big items from the house. Complete! 5/7/2016
    Ironing Board
    Kitchen cabinets
    Old books
    Foosball table
    Washer/Dryer
  90. Build a beautiful master closet. Complete! 5/9/2017
  91. Rent Cottage. Complete! 10/31/2014

    Glade Cottage would be perfect rented to a grad student from the nearby university.
    Glade Cottage is being renovated by my friend who will become the new tenant.
  92. Design and print business cards.
  93. Celebrate our 5th anniversary. Complete! 9/12/2014
  94. Organize cookbooks. Complete! 4/26/2016 

    Neater and easier to access.
    Neater and easier to access.
  95. Hang gallery wall in kitchen hall. Complete! 10/29/2014

    The gallery wall from the kitchen to the mudroom looking toward the front of the house.
    The gallery wall from the kitchen to the mudroom looking toward the front of the house.
  96. Organize papers, bills, and contracts from renovation.
  97. Apply to county for tax abatement due to renovation. Complete! 11/7/2014
  98. Take car for a tune up. Complete! 9/17/2014
  99. Detail my car. Complete! 4/17/2016

    A friend detailed my car inside and out.
    A friend detailed my car inside and out.
  100. Drink a glass of water every morning. Complete! 4/30/2017
  101. Private

The new list, #4, begins tomorrow.

What is your most recent long-term accomplishment?

Tres Leches Cake

One of my favorite sweets is Tres Leches — three milks — cake. I wanted to serve it at the Fiesta Bridal Shower because all the food had a South-of-the-Border theme.

3 milks and vanilla

I decided to use the recipe from “Cook’s Country”. My notes are in green.

COOK’S COUNTRY TRES LECHES CAKE

Milk Mixture:

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cake:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks and softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar

Frosting:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Milk mixture: Pour the condensed milk into a microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on medium-low, stirring often and replacing the plastic wrap several times, until slightly darkened and thickened, 9 to 15 minutes. I heated the condensed milk in 2-minute intervals at 20-30% for a total of 12 minutes.  It was thick and caramelly.

I used a 4-cup measuring cup to heat the sweetened condensed milk in the microwave.

Gradually whisk in the evaporated milk, cream and vanilla.

The milk mixture is about one quart.

Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Milk and butter

Heat the milk, butter and vanilla in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted. In a large bowl whip the eggs with an electric mixer on medium-high speed and gradually add the sugar; beat 1 minute. Increase speed and whip until the mixture is very thick and voluminous, 4 to 8 minutes longer.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add the melted butter mixture, beating until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture in two additions, beating until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium and whip the batter until fully combined and smooth, about 30 seconds.

Scrape batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and gently tap the pan on the work surface to settle it.

At this point in the cooking the toothpick came out covered with batter and I wasn’t sure it would cook all the way through.

The batter is thin. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

The toothpick test works well.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

I used an 8″ by 13″ pan which was a little small.

Using a skewer, poke about 50 holes in the warm cake (you do not need to poke all the way through).

I didn’t know how 4-cups of milk mixture would fit into the cake-filled pan but it did.

Slowly pour the cooled milk mixture over the cake. Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes, then refrigerate until the milk is completely absorbed and the cake has cooled completely, about 3 hours.  I refrigerated the cake overnight.

Frosting: Let the cake sit at room temperature 30 minutes. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream, corn syrup and vanilla in a medium bowl to soft peaks, 1 to 2 minutes. I used commercial vanilla syrup instead of corn syrup and vanilla. Spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cake and serve.

Cover the cake with sweetened whipped cream.

Instead of spreading the cake with the soft cream I whipped it a little stiffer and piped it on the cake with a pastry bag. I used more than one cup of heavy cream to finish covering the entire cake. Makes 18 servings.

We served the Tres Leches Cake with diced mangoes and strawberries.

Four people asked for the recipe and everybody else said it was delicious.

Do you have a favorite recipe?

Sunflowers, Iris, and a Money Tree

We decorated the house with lots of bright colors for the Fiesta Bridal Shower.

I love sunflowers with yellow centers.

I purchased $12 worth of sunflowers from Trader Joe’s.

Real flowers and metal flowers in the living room.

Then I surveyed the yard for possible flowers and foliage to augment the sunflowers.

Sunflowers and lilac foliage.

I found lilac branches (the flowers had all faded).

Pale yellow azaleas probably won’t last long in the house.

Pale yellow azaleas.

Sunflowers, purple iris, lilac leaves surrounded by faux grapes.

Purple iris were just started to open so I picked a bunch hoping to force some to open.

The floral arrangement on the island was a low metal planter with cut lemon balm, lemon thyme, iris buds which are very modern looking.

Purple iris, yet unblossomed, smelled great teamed with lemon balm and lemon thyme.

Looking from the living room into the dining room and kitchen.

The house is so pretty with fresh flowers.

I quickly spray painted a small weed tree.

One last plant I also found in the yard is a money tree.

We clipped money onto the tree with spring binder clips.

I spray painted it and set it up in a tall vase in the conservatory.

A money tree is a wonderful gift and easy to pull off.

It was a big hit.

Do you have a favorite spring flower?

Pea Trellis

The first trellis in this year’s garden is for the sugar snap pea crop.

In the past the pea crop has been sparse.

In past years the peas have not germinated very well.

The trellis starts with supports driven into the ground.

This year almost every seed has sprouted so Charlie started a bamboo trellis with 1 by 3 supports.

We keep a selection of free bamboo at hand.

Then he selected bamboo from our collection to tie together into A-frame trellises.

Bamboo trellis over the pea square.

Finally he strung up the trellis so the pea tendrils will have something to wrap around.

This trellis is a beauty.

Do you build temporary outdoor structures?

The Big Picture

The big picture window in the Cottage, that is, is being replaced.

The Cottage windows are getting replaced for more efficient ones.

The carpenters started this project after the other 4 single windows had been replaced.

Removing the old windows.

They removed the triple window one sash at a time.

The gaping hole where three windows used to be looks like an open garage door which is what a think used to be there.

When Charlie sent me the “in progress” photo I noticed one of the shingles was chipped (to the left of the window) so I texted him to ask him to repair it while the trim was off.

Charlie removed just one chipped shingle.

He Dremeled the nailheads off, removed the old shingle, and replaced it with a salvaged unbroken shingle.

The dark shingle will easily blend when its painted like the rest.

There are a few more cracked shingles which he will also replace before the tenant repaints the entire exterior in June.

The triple windows in the house were ganged together as one unit, these went in one at a time.

Meanwhile the window installation continued. The sill under this window was also repaired due to some rotting wood.

The new windows are positioned in the hole.

The new sashes look very much like the old ones except they were single panes and these are double-glazed Pella TermaStar windows.

The original windows were charming.
The window only needs trim.

The new ones equally so.

What is your most energy efficient quality?