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Finally started making the cushions for the window seat. It’s been occupying dreams for a while, and I have a plan, so now I get to see if the plan works.

Plan A

First I cut the foam into three pieces and I started working on the largest piece first. Smaller piece would have been easier to work with, but I love a challenge.

I laid out the fabric and cut the piece which will go on the bottom of the window seat cushion. Securing the piece of fabric to the foam meant it won’t wander around and I didn’t need to do any fancy measuring.

Then I pinned the hemline. This was lots of little pins.

Mish is wondering what that pile of blue stuff is sitting in his window seat. Plus wondering what I’m doing but that’s not important. The blue stuff, now that was important.

Back to the project.

All the pins are in place.

I decided to hand sew the hem, rather than using a sewing machine. Why? Well, it seamed (seemed) like a good idea at the time. 😀

The hand sewing ready to commence.
First end sewed and turned the corner, down the long side.

I left the T-pins in place and removed the small pins as I went along, sewing around a 1/4 inch wide hem all the way around. A couple of hours later I was done.

Next step was to lay the foam on top of a larger piece of the cushion fabric and fold up the sides and ends, and work on the corners to get them to lay flat.

The bottom piece which was hemmed previously was laid on top of project to see how it looked, what problems had occurred during the initial construction. T-pins keep everything in place as I went.

First problem identified, the fabric wasn’t really properly centered. Sigh.

Unpinned everything again, and re-centered it, and pinned it up again, and decided on a different method for dealing with the corners. I haven’t done any more cutting because I may have use a different method altogether if I can make the corners lay flat on the bottom of the cushion.

Laid it in the window seat to see how it looks.

And obviously the fabric isn’t a taut as it should be, so more re-pinning is going to be required.

We also got the new rug for the room, which I’ve been waiting for the last couple of months.

The room is looking lived-in, aka messy.
Mishkin really likes this new rug. He spends quite a bit of time in the room now, laying around and claiming it as his own.

So my hare brained idea for the window seat seems to be working out ok, so far. I’m on Plan C now because I haven’t figured out how to deal with the excess of fabric at the corners. Will only get concerned when I get to Plan 9.

Picked another batch of strawberries today, most of which were destined for freezing. One batch will be dessert tonight. And I solved a problem of having run out of chocolate covered strawberries (again). This is an on-going problem.

Washed and dried off, ready for processing.

I had set aside six of the largest for their highest and best use.

Freshly covered with chocolate, and into the refrigerator to get hardened up. They’ll be ready to eat tomorrow. Yummmm.

Finished a knitting project earlier this week, yet another bead knitted purselet.

I called this one Raspberry Pi and tried to make a Pi symbol out of beads.

If you squint just right you might be able to tell but chances are high it’s too artistic an interpretation. I had some pretty Garnet beads in a rectangle shape and some little round ones, plus larger Hematite beads just for extra bling with the Chrystal beads. These are so much fun to make.

We also got to eat some of the very first Black Raspberries (also called Black Caps) from our plants. Those will be producing a lot of fruit very soon and they make amazing jam.

Framing is complete.

The construction framing is done and the garage is dried in! Given the number of garage buildings we see in this county that are in this exact condition, technically we could be done. But we aren’t; we are probably setting a bad example.

Next week the electrician will be here and we’ll have power to the building. We have both interior and exterior lights and heaters for the electrician to install.

Yesterday the roof framing was completed and the waterproof covering was nailed into place.
Today they added the exterior waterproof covering for the building itself.

They won’t be back for a little while, having other jobs to do while we wait for a roofing component to arrive. All we have left in the yard are two piles of materials. One is metal roofing and one is concrete board siding. They could have done the metal roofing but one component was missing and of course it was the thing that goes on first. So, we wait for that to come in.

We need to get paint for the exterior, but there’s no hurry at the moment. Rats.

Yesterday I started working on finishing the window seat.

Stain was applied to the top, and the first coat of varnish was applied and left to dry.

Both are water based and so there’s little in the way of odor and no noxious gases are being released.

Today I need to sand it and apply the second coat of varnish, and then decide if it needs to be sanded again and another coat of varnish. We need to get quarter-round molding for the side and back edges. We will be lining the interior of the box with aromatic cedar boards and that will finish this little project.

Today Dan also picked red currants.

First actual harvest, prior to getting cleaned.
Stems and leaves removed.

There still aren’t enough currants to make jelly so I will just freeze these and add them to the harvest from next season. The plants still have a lot of growing to do and they are also putting on new stems which will produce a good amount of fruit.

Lots of strawberries to be picked tomorrow. No rest for the wicked, apparently.

Seeing red.

Yesterday we had to go to Home Depot to get things needed to complete the garage construction, and we also stopped at our favorite orchard to pick up a box of pie cherries and raspberries since our own pie cherry tree didn’t set any fruit this year (being still a tiny baby tree), and our raspberry canes are doing who knows what but not setting any fruit. Maybe next year for those plants.

When we got home I cleaned just enough cherries to make this…

A cherry crumble! So delicious! We will be enjoying this for several days.

Today we worked on cleaning, pitting, and freezing the remaining cherries from the 20 pound box of the fruit. Since each cherry isn’t huge, this was a lot of work and it took us both more than two hours to finish the task.

We filled up a small glass bowl with cleaned and pitted cherries, and then put them into small freezer bags. Each small bag ended up around 18 ounces in weight, and we have fourteen bags in the freezer for all sorts of things this coming fall and winter. Black Forest Cake! I remembered that recipe today. I wanted to make one of those a couple of years ago but commercial cherry pie filling in cans has all sorts of crap in there including gluten. So… yay! Ours are just plain organic cherries so no junk in them. These will be so much fun to cook with.

I looked at the red currants and they need another day or possibly two to finish ripening.

The black currants were ready, however, such as the harvest is.

Not very many but I can add them to other small harvests of fruits and make tarts with the combined flavors. These are now cleaned and in the freezer.

Next project was to make raspberry jam. Yesterday after we got home I put the raspberries we bought into a large mixing bowl and added 3/4 cup of sugar for each cup of fruit, and stuck in the refrigerator. This afternoon I put the mixture into a pan and started cooking it down, to reduce the volume and convert it into jam.

This smells heavenly!
Cooking jars, lids, a stainless steel ladle, and a stainless steel funnel and jar rings. The lids are in a smaller separate pan.

Once the raspberries and sugar cooked down I ladled the mixture into hot dried off jars, set the lid down on top and tightened down the ring.

Two jars of jam cooling on the tea towel Diana made for me!

Both jar lids have said peenk! I love that sound; it means everything worked as it was supposed to. So tomorrow I’ll label them and we’ll have some homemade jam.

In the meantime Dan is picking strawberries. Lots and lots of strawberries. I’ll be cleaning and freezing those this afternoon.

Today was definitely a red letter day.

The roofing trusses were delivered and installed in place, awaiting plywood sheathing and then the waterproof covering and the metal roofing on top of that. That will be a major step forward, as the garage will be dried in.

Looks so unfinished, but in reality a ton of work has been completed.
The little holes in the blocking boards are covered with wire to block birds and mice from getting into the attic space, which still allowing air flow.

Since we’re not insulating the garage this point, it doesn’t really matter having air flow, but down the road we will definitely be finishing the inside of the garage. We will be finishing the inside of the storage space now as we may decide to use it for cold storage of root vegetables, next year. There will be a heater in both rooms of the garage.

This is a nine foot ceiling, making both spaces feel much larger than they are.
This will be the last day we can see the sky from inside the garage. So exciting!!!

Yesterday while we were waiting for the truss company to deliver these building components we were busy doing other things.

We picked strawberries and took care of some laundry.

Some shirts that cannot go into the dryer get to spend the day on towels on the counter top. A very busy kitchen.
Another batch of berries which were rinsed off and waiting for me to chop their little heads off and prepare them for the freezer.

So far I’m up to one week in April. There are at least two more harvests of this size already ripening on the plants, then they’ll take a little breath and do some growing, and then start producing again. We will definitely have enough berries in the freezer for strawberries once a week, year round!

Some wild flowers, aka weeds, growing all around the house in areas where there has been no mowing.

The purple ones are vetch, highly prized by chickens. They love love love to eat vetch. I told Dan that definitely we could support a good sized herd of chickens and he said no chickens. Again…. I hear that a lot.

They are quite pretty.

Today the contractors will put the plywood down on the trusses and install the waterproofing. That will protect the plywood from the rain which is coming.

Saturday we’ll go pick up the paint we need for the exterior of the building, and pay a visit to Smallwood Farms to get pie cherries and raspberries! I’ll freeze both for other desserts over the winter. Cherry cobbler, and a crisp, and a pie! Or maybe just pies. Depends on the request I get at the time which one I’ll make.

Still haven’t seen any fawns, but the meadow grasses are so high that it’s likely one or more of the many does we see wandering around out there are being followed by a wee deer.

Framing is complete.

The garage framing is done. It’s a simple building, four exterior walls and one interior wall separating the garage from the storage room, two personnel doors, two windows, and a garage door. Very simple.

A pile of framing materials, roofing materials, siding, and miscellaneous things with which to build the garage.

These materials sat in the yard for over a week, waiting for the concrete to dry. Watching concrete drying is a very similar experience to watching paint dry. Late last week the guys came and removed the form materials and filled in the hole in which the garage foundation was built, preparing for construction to begin.

They also kind of smoothed out the yard. Alas it remains a mess which we’ll have to fix next spring. Oh well.

Bright and early Monday morning they arrived again and began working. In very short order the first three walls were up!

The first walls were built and a majority of sheathing was applied to stabilize the walls, and doors and windows were cut into the sheathing.
The fourth wall is still laying on the garage floor. It will be nailed into place on Tuesday.

The gray pipe in the wall on the right side of picture is for the electrical service to come into the building. A panel will go above the pipe and then the building will be wired for outlets, lights and switches. That won’t be done until the roofing has been completed and doors and windows are all installed. The doors and windows have arrived and are sitting at the building supply company waiting to be delivered.

East wall of the new garage.

These are the two doors, one into the storage room and one into the garage. An interior wall will be built on Tuesday to separate the two spaces.

Roofing materials are in the front right side of this picture and the wall where the large garage door will go is partially framed but not in place.

Tuesday they finished up construction in short order and by the middle of the day they were gone. Wednesday the roof trusses will be delivered and the truss company let us know they have three deliveries in this area so we will either be first, last, or in the middle. There’s really nothing as refreshing as clear and concise communication showing a high degree of organization with some companies.

What a difference a day makes! All framing is complete.
Nice view to the east from the garage window.

The Aspen tree obscures the front porch. There will be a sidewalk on this side of the garage and then it will run across the front of our house to the porch.

Interior wall is built, defining the two spaces within the building.
Two buildings now adjacent to each other and a poor dead plum tree.

Next year we will replace this tree and might fence the front yard with tall fencing similar to the garden fence. That will make it possible to plant flowers and other bushes and also perhaps to set up our bird feeders for year-round. It will keep the deer out of the yard as they pretty much adore any flowers planted in this area. It might also discourage the bears and skunks from having parties on our front porch.

While all this building has been happening, or paint was drying, we were also doing other things, mainly strawberry related. June 18th was a pretty good harvest!

Strawberries, cake and a small batch of saved berries to be covered with chocolate.

Since this harvest we’ve had a couple of other larger harvests, most of which have been cleaned and frozen for the coming winter. The ones that didn’t get frozen were dessert on those days.

My goal is to be able to have strawberries and shortcake once a week through the winter and into the spring, until June when the new berries are ripe. It’s a good goal! I’m up to three weeks into February so far.

Who knew! Our first strawberries were ready to be picked!! And it was only the middle of June.

A bit more than a pint of strawberries.

And the flour I ran out of also arrived today, in time to make a cake for the strawberries to sit on. So exciting. We’ll have a regular amount of strawberries from now until the middle of October if last year was any indication of how long we can expect the harvest to last. A lot of that depends on frost, how hard and how early. This is the banana belt for this area and we are very optimistic.

Pretty soon the bulk of the strawberries will get ripe and I’ll freeze the bulk of them so we can enjoy them for months over the winter.

Today we need to find the floating row covers. The Robins haven’t figured it out yet, that there are strawberries. This is just a matter of time and the Robins will be even happier than we were to see them.

Soon the Red Currants will be ripe. The Gooseberries take considerably longer and we won’t get to pick those until late July. There aren’t enough Josta Berries or Black Currants to get excited about this year, though the plants look great. Our Red Raspberry plants look pretty pathetic. Not sure what’s going on with them. The Black Raspberry plants look awesome and are blooming like crazy so we’ll have lots of those to play with in August.

So what else happened yesterday. Oh yeah.

This.

Concrete arrived in the belly of a huge truck. It is very wet and dark at this point and soupy. Walking around on it without rubber boots would ruin whatever foot wear. I imagine on bare feet it would feel awful.

It took hours of hard work. Mishkin found the truck very interesting and spent a lot of time staring at it out the windows. This is surprising as normally anything like that sends him scampering for our bedroom and zipping under the covers where he looks worried until he figures it is safe to come out or I go roust him out.

Not quite half way through adding concrete to the middle of the foundation where the slab resides. They filled the trenches around the slab first and then added concrete to fill it up and level it off.
Hours later and done!
View showing where the garage will sit in relation to the house.

Today our marching orders are to water down the concrete when it gets to be hot in the middle of the day. My understanding is this will make the garage grow. I could be confused about that.

New project under way.

The garage project has begun, and on Wednesday the concrete will be poured. A whole lot of work has gone into getting the form created and ready for concrete.

Lots of boards and rebar and heavy plastic for under the concrete.

They used a laser level to get everything nice and flat. Very exciting seeing it at this point in its existence.

Once the concrete is cured, they will remove the boards and back-fill around the exterior of the foundation, and start building walls. The curing period is 10 days to 2 weeks.

We also got the new roofing installed!

It’s a pretty dark grey that changes how it appears depending on the light conditions.

Also we finally got the Starlink satellite dish up on the side of the roof so it is no longer sitting out in the yard. This seems like a big accomplishment! We couldn’t get that done until the roof was completed. Remodeling is like this. You want to accomplish (A) but have to do (B) and (C) and oh-we-forgot about (D) first.

While the work outside was going on, I made cornmeal, peach and cinnamon, and blueberry and cinnamon muffins.

I had plans on doing a bunch of other baking but I ran out of flour. Clever. Also known as good planning. Oh well, more flour will be delivered late in the week (hurray for Amazon!) and then I’ll be able to make the rest of the things I have on my list.

House smells good! And we have internet. 🙂

First project is done.

Well, almost done. Still have a lot of little projects like staining and varnishing the top of the window seat, and making a cushion. Fortunately neither is time sensitive.

This is all the furniture we’re going to be adding to the room, and it all fits!

At some point there will be a rug but probably a month away from that. The ingredients for the cushion on the window seat are sitting on the sewing machine and under the loom.

Looking the other direction.

Also went up the road to take a picture from the upper corner of our property to see how visible the new addition is. Not very.

You can see the window on the addition, but that’s about it. It’s more apparent from the road before we turn into our driveway.

Tomorrow the next project begins, building a garage and attached storage area. They are bringing heavy equipment and will make a disaster area out of our existing driveway. In about three weeks, all things remaining equal, they will be done.

Finished-ish….

The contractors are done with their part. We have lots of our own little finishing project things to do like repainting areas in the new room where there are scuff marks on the wall made when they installed the flooring; finishing the wood inside and out in the window seat; painting the wall where the window was removed in the kitchen and around the door frame where the exterior door was removed and a smaller interior door was installed; and varnishing the interior door. But, except for all that stuff, it’s done!

This is the window on the west side of the room in relation to the window seat.
Window seat and the inset pull for opening the seat to access the storage area.

I can’t really believe what a nice space it is for sitting! We bought some four inch thick foam, and fabric, with which to make several cushions for this space, one to sit on and two smaller cushions to lean against. The windowsill is the perfect height and width for a cup of tea. This is going to be a favorite spot to read and do embroidery on the window seat cushions. The sound of the creek is a very nice and soothing sound when the window is open.

Lots of cleaning and some sanding and fill work on the handle area to do before I can varnish it. Need to get some stain which means a trip to the store.

I thought about lining the box with aromatic eastern red cedar tongue and grove boards but for now just going to varnish and stain it instead. This is where we can store the pillows and bedding for the couch bed.

Windows and door looking to the east. We’ll put our antique wood table against the wall under the windows.
We moved some furniture into the new space. This couch doubles as a queen size bed when folded out.

There are three more bookshelves to move from our bedroom into this new living space. Two will sit on each side of the room, across from each other. The 8-harness table loom will sit at the east end of the room next to the treadle sewing machine. And I’ll set the other two spinning wheels on the other side of the window seat. It will be awesome to be able to use these things without having to re-arrange a bunch of other things in order to do so.

Having space to move things out of our living room meant we could re-arrange things in this room as well.

You can see the exterior wall through the window above the chair. Dan still needs to re-install the exterior light next to the door. Add that to the list!

Will get around to hanging more pictures once the painting is all done. We have ordered two rugs , one for the new room and one to replace the rug in the living room, which will not be delivered until sometime in mid July at the earliest.

Mishkin spent a lot of the evening wandering around the house wondering “Why??” Cats spend a lot of their lives wondering that exact same question but only when they’re awake. He did find his toys which are still under the chair where I put them. He is apparently happy with that because he pulled a lot of them out overnight, to play with them.

Our new room feels like a part of the house, already. We opened the two windows in the new room, and the windows in our living room yesterday evening. The cross ventilation is excellent! We’re going to really enjoy that in the summer evenings when the cool air flows down the mountain, following the creek.

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