Monday, May 28, 2007

Never Dull


I have found, since starting this building project that being my husband’s helpmeet is a very interesting and variable job. Training and raising our children, teaching them at home, keeping house, cooking, practicing hospitality, visiting older people and the like, in the name of our family seemed a good job description. But now, I am finding myself stretched to reach new ground in helping my husband be successful at whatever he is about.
I am overcoming my fear of machinery as I measure and cut the tongue and groove he is installing for the soffit. It is cedar, bought a few years ago at a great discount, and now it takes it’s place next to the log walls, stunningly framing in around the roof. I, with fear and trembling, climbed the ladder to the third floor to help him get the insulation started. The view from up there is wonderful, but, wow is it ever a long ways down!!!
Here I am driving the 4 wheeler. This was the very first time. With burning season over, the stumps and such that were left from our burn piles needed to be choked and hauled to one large burn pile until fall. I admit driving the 4 wheeler is pretty fun.

Next, I got on my dad’s tractor and dozed the last remaining burn pile over so that I could extract the last large pieces out of it. When that was done, I graded it level, or, as level as a novice could. This was all very helpful to Brian who is busy with the house, using the rented equipment, meaning his time is of the essence.
With Savannah and Rose very capable of babysitting the little boys and Bethany for a few hours, I am able to help Brian, which is a nice change from my usual line of work, and it made him smile to see me on the tractor!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

At Work Again


The end of April we were able to get back to work on the house. The rafters weathered the winter better than anticipated; we only had to replace a few. Extra hands were much appreciated for this job, and we prayed everyone working so high up would be safe. Next came blocking the rafters and securing them to the perlins with hurricane straps. Lastly, the leveling of each rafter was a slow and tedious process, but it’s got to be done.

Sheeting the roof, with a pitch of 8/12 at 30 some feet in the air proved difficult and dangerous. We hired a local crew to assist, and again prayed for safety. We rented a fork lift to hoist the plywood up to the eve, and a snorkel lift (also called a cherry picker) to hoist BIG ED. This lift has been really beneficial to help raise the metal up to roof level, ease getting the soffit in, as well as the gable ends framed, and the staining of the logs. The price for a month long rental was much better than that of a weeks rental. So we kept it for the month of May. It has been well worth it.

With a work crew at the building site, and our own tribe of children to feed, we were fixing lunch for 15 every day. That led to some interesting dishes, one of which we call “Dirt Cheap Tacos.” Two trips to Mexico have influenced the way we cook now. In Mexico anything in a tortilla is a taco, so this is how we came up with what everyone declared a delicious meal, and by the way they kept coming back for more, I believe it was.

Dirt Cheap Tacos: (Feeds 15 hungry people)
3 cups dry red beans.
4 cups dry brown rice
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, with chiles
1 cup sour cream
2 cups grated chedder cheese
2 T. taco seasoning
oil
corn tortillas

Boil beans in water for 2 minutes, soak for one hour, simmer until done, about 2 hours.
cook rice in 8 cups water. This will take about 45 minutes.
Remove excess water from beans, adding 1 T. salt to beans and stirring thoroughly. Mix these with the rice. Also add tomatoes in juice, sour cream, cheese, and taco seasoning, stirring well. You can set this aside and warm it later, or use it while it is hot.
In small frying pan, pour in enough oil to cover most of bottom of pan. On medium high heat, fry tortillas, one at a time, until slightly crisp. Put these into a hot dish with a lid to keep them warm until you have enough tortillas to serve your group. Just a small dot of the rice and beans mixture ( maybe a cup)will be plenty filling for your tortillas. These are good enough plain, but would be wonderful with salsa/ guacamole.