Friday, July 29, 2011


Yes, we have done some work during this hot month of July. It feels a bit underwhelming after doing big, flashy jobs like framing and roofing...but I sell ourselves short sometimes. We are still trucking along and making progress.

We now have a door...and a knob (I'm embarrassed to say how excited I was to pick out the knob).

And we replaced 4 of the 6 original windows in our house. No more drafty winters!

And we (and by we, I mean not me, but Will, Tim, Guff, B-Carl and Carrie) tore down our front porch roof.

The front of our house is the last of the demolition we have to do. THANK GOD. It's probably also going to be the hardest. Hopefully by the end of August I will have a new front facade to share.

Oh. And we're going on vacation. That's right. VACATION. Beaches and reclining chairs and cable TV and microbreweries and sweet rail to trails. We're taking a much-needed break from our house remodel and celebrating the completion of my Masters in Social Work. It's been 3 years of full-time work and part-time school, with a lot of life peppered along the way. Folks have been asking what I'm going to do now that I'm best guess at this point is watching So You Think You Can Dance on wednesday nights with the gals.

See you when I return...

Monday, July 18, 2011

this isn't food hyperbole, it's "the refreshing beverage i've been waiting for my entire life"

Sorry y'all. No construction pics. It's been a busy month on Sunset Hill. Things are still moving forward, just with the kind of slowness that sets in when temps start reaching 90+. We have a work day this Saturday though, so please stop by if you'd like to lend a hand!

In other fun, have I mentioned yet that we've been enjoying two new beverages on a regular basis? We started our cow share a few months ago and are really enjoying it. The milk is great, and the cream is even better. We've been making yogurt out of it too (see earlier post on how to make crockpot yogurt).

I've also been making kombucha, which is thrillingly disgusting and exciting all at once. See?

Since it's too expensive to buy at the store, homemade kombucha was the logical alternative (ps--my mom is soooo cool that she was making this stuff at home back in the 90s way before it was all the rage). If anyone out there would like to start making it too, just let me know and I will give you a mushroom to start!  Be warned: you will have to touch the thing in the picture.

Here's how to make it (with things I bet you already have), in case you're considering:

DIY Kombucha
What you need:
1.  A glass jar big enough to hold at least 1 gallon of liquid. (*CANNOT have any other materials on it! I started with a glass jar with a spigot and it funked out my kombucha).
2. A stainless steel pot for brewing tea.
3. A stainless steel ladle.
4. A kitchen rag.
5. 1 cup white sugar. You can't use any hippie sugar, sorry.
6. Some caffeinated tea. (*Doesn't have to be unflavored. I use 3 Lipton's family-size tea bags).
7. 1 gallon of water. (Some purists say it has to filtered. I just get mine from my unfiltered tap.)
8. A mushroom from me!!!
9. 1-2 cups reserved kombucha (I can give you this too).

What to do:
  • Brew 1 gallon of tea in your stainless steel pot according to directions. Add 1 cup of sugar while it's still hot so that it dissolves.
  • Let it cool to room temperature.
  • Place the mushroom in your glass container w/ 1-2 cups reserved kombucha. Add room temperature tea.
  • Cover with a kitchen rag and rubber band. 
  • Leave it alone for 7-10 days. Pour or ladle kombucha into glass jars and let cool in fridge. Strain if you're grossed out by the seaweed-looking stuff.
  • Drink and enjoy!
I just let my mushroom sit in the glass container w/ 1-2 cups of kombucha while I brew my next batch of tea. After two batches of kombucha (or sometimes one--the mushroom seems to grow quicker in the hot summer months), I usually get rid of the old mushroom since a new one will grow. Pass along your old mushroom to a new kombucha-making friend!