Monday, June 16, 2014

We're back!

 Well, its summer again. Time for work, time for gardening, time for putting up food for next winter! I know, I know, I utterly failed at keeping the blog updated all winter. Life is busy, and honestly, we haven't done much since last fall.

During August last year, I built shelves to go on top of the new wood floors I installed. Over 18 feet of shelves along one side of the homeschool room and another set of shelves for the tv area. We also built a pallet couch for the tv area. Doors are on the list for... someday. Beyond that, I tried my hand at brining my own corned beef this year. It was SOOOooo  good that I decided I needed to try to make beef bacon too. Brine the slices of brisket, smoke them, voila - bacon! Its so incredibly easy, I will never pay 12.99/# for beef bacon again! Maybe I'll write up a tutorial for that soon. I found instructions for brining brisket in Darina Allen's "Forgotten Skills of Cooking" cook book.

One other thing I did this last winter:  move the littlest boys out of their tiny bedroom and back in with the oldest 2 boys AND THEN move ALL of my sewing and art materials back into the tiny room. I tried to combine the art supplies with the homeschool stuff after completing the floors and shelves, but we were so crowded that it was December before we were able to work on school! I spent the winter break moving everything around and disassembling the triple bunkbed. I stacked it on the porch. It's still there.

When we bought this house, Mr. Ireland met all of my enthusiasm and frustration over the house with the phrase "Give it 5 years." Boy, was that annoying! But... he called it. This will be our 4th summer working on the house and we have at least one more to go. If we didn't have 5 little kids, animals or gardens to care for, homeschool work to do, any hobbies or outside commitments, maybe had endless funds.... Sure, we would have been done 2 years ago! I'm learning. I'm trying to be patient. I am so glad that Mr. Ireland is a VERY patient person, because I am sure I have been driving him crazy with my urgent need to have everything done NOW!

We are trying to approach the (huge but dwindling) restoration list from a different angle this year. We are going to tackle 3 big projects together, one for June, July and August, and then I will work on the other projects as I have time. Mr. Ireland has his list also.
Big projects:
June - the downstairs bathroom! This is HUGE! I have had a bathtub in my kitchen for a year and it will finally be gone. I plan to do Jam Week as soon as it is gone!
July - the dining room ceiling. It is time. I think there might be a critter living up there.
August - the big bunk bed project. We moved all 4 boys in together and they have been troopers, sleeping on beds and mattresses that sometimes get put away. We have plans to build something like this:

 In between all of that, we will be working on the garden, landscaping, little unfinished but important projects around here. If all goes well, the plan for next year will include remodeling the kitchen, trimming out rooms throughout the house and maybe the master bedroom will get flooring. Mr. Ireland is already talking about a shop and paved parking area.

That sums up what we have been doing and what we have planned this year. I hope you will check back soon. Its going to be a busy summer.

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