Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A 2009 Checklist

I wrote in my last post that my next project was to thoroughly clean my house. Last Saturday, I spent time washing all the surfaces in the kitchen that included walls, floor, cabinets, and appliances. Before putting back all the notes and magnets back on the refrigerator, stop long enough to review the notes and found this note named “NEXT YEAR 2009 TO DO LIST”.

Reviewing this list has brought back memories and there are still many unfinished items.
  1. Finish Swan: Years ago I brought my Mom a topiary swan frame from and used sphagnum moss to fill out the frame. She received this one Mother’s Days. In 2008 the Kickapoo River flooded town of Gays Mills, my Mother was lucky the yard, garage and basement were flooded but not living area of her home. The topiary swan was sitting in that dirty water and all the old sphagnum moss was removed and need to be replaced with fresh moss. I did finish working on the form in the spring of 2010 and it now back in her garden every summer.
  2. Put together the Turtle: Another topiary frame, Rittenhouse use to sell a turtle basket frame. The turtle was finished in the summer of 2010.
  3. Fix electric outlet hole on the outside of the house: The hole until this year plugged with a broken shovel handle until this summer. I filled it in with foam but need to fill in the remainder of it with wood putty. This is the wall I stripped off the paint and will finish next spring or summer.
  4. Paint dryer hole cover: Before I brought the house the washer and dryer were placed in the northwest corner of the basement. A previous PO finished the north side of basement and the washer and dryer were moved but the old dryer vent was never closed off. I filled in the vent hole sanded it down and painted late 2008. So I must have made this list sometime in the fall of 2008.
  5.  Make Bamboo Trellis: Completed in the spring 2009, this is the trellis which I weave my squash vine through.
  6.  Wash unfinished south basement wall: completed in 1/3/2010
  7.  Fix crack in wall: South basement wall, 2/3 of the wall was finished early spring 2010 and the remaining wall this spring 2011.
  8. Fix Cracks in floor: Complete over the 2009-2010 winter. See Moisture and Water Problems Part 3 
  9. Paint Finished Craft room floor: See #8.
  10.  Wash Closet Walls: Not done closet show in Moisture and Water Problems Part 3 
  11. Paint Closet Walls: See #10.
  12.  Shellac Closet doors: My bedroom closet has wooden bifold door which only ½ of the bifold door is done.
  13.  Hang Closet door: Not done do to #12 not being completed.
  14.  Lay out garden around telephone pole and box: Still on my To Do List but other things become more important so this keeps dropping down on the list.
  15. Call for a Watch Dog before digging up the garden around telephone box: Waiting for #14.
This is the fourth winter I been working and the basement and hopefully the last. I found that if I just put waterproof the basement as a project and had to wait four years to cross it off my TO DO List it would be discouraging. So I have been breaking down large projects into smaller projects so I feel like I accomplished something.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

House Progress Report

It took about a month for my back to heal. The only thing I decide to work on was getting the house and yard ready for winter.  My brother helped lifting up and putting in the storm windows.  He was a big help with this and cleaning up the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.  We hauled four large lawn bags to the community compost. 

After Arthur went home I worked on cleaning the gutters.  We have two large white pine trees on the south lot line.  The neighbor on that side of the house commented that he like to cut those pines down.  I could not understand why he would like to do that when I first moved in but now I do.  White pine trees are dirty trees examples are the dipping sap all over my back deck, shedding pine needles and cones all year long.  The second week in October is the worst about third to half of the needles turn yellow and fall off the tree.  The long needles continually clog up my gutters and cause the water to pour over the sides.  I will not cut those pines down because they keep my house cool and protect my house from the hot summer sun.  If you want to include white pines in your landscaping, do plant them within 30 feet of a house.  There is one good thing about them the cones make wonderful decoration.  I used them in my Christmas garland wrapped around the front porch railing.

All the gardens are cleaned up except the garden with the broccoli, red cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.  I plan on harvesting that garden this weekend.  We had several nights this past week where the night time temperature reached the low 20’s.  The Brussels sprouts should be nice and sweet with the hard frost.

The last two weekends I have been working on getting up the outside Christmas decorations.  I brought two four foot candy cane and put one on each end of the front porch and also tied the pine cones to the garland.  This year I brought lights and a timer for the back deck and wrapped them along with the garland.  I still need to set up the deck timer which I will do this weekend.

My next big project will be to clean the house since it has been negligent all summer.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Eggplant Sausage Casserole

 Eggplant Sausage Casserole


1 lb medium tube pasta
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cube
2 lbs turkey Italian Sausage without casing.
1 large onion chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup fresh basil, minced or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon paprika
1 15-oz carton ricotta cheese
4 cups (16-oz) shredded mozzarella, divided in half

Directions: Cook pasta according to directions and set aside.

In a large skillet cook Italian sausage over medium heat until no longer pink, drain off fat and set aside. In same skillet add olive oil and sauté eggplant, onion and garlic until soft. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, basil and paprika. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Now stir drained pasta to skillet and then mix in the cooked sausage.

Oil a 13”x9”x2” baking dish and spread half the sausage mixture into the pan. Spread half the ricotta cheese over the mixture then sprinkle 2 cups of the shredded mozzarella cheese over it. Repeat the layers a second time ending with the mozzarella on top

Bake casserole at 350F for 40 minutes. Let the baked casserole stand at room temperature at least 10 minutes before serving it.

Makes 12 servings.

Here another recipe my Mom gave me.  It is an easy way to use eggplant in a meal.  I reduce the fat in the recipe by using non-fat ricotta cheese and low-fat mozzarella.  This is a simple easy casserole to prepare and tastes great!