Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Starting with the heart of the home.

Since I love cooking so much, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to arrange a 10x10 foot kitchen to make it maximally enjoyable for cooking.Within a budget, of course. I must have watched a couple dozen videos n kitchen design, We met with a couple of people about cabinets, and ended up with a local business that gets custom cabinetry from an Amish company. Once those got installed, the granite we'd ordered arrived and was put in.

And then, after much delay, the kitchen appliances finally arrived. They had a hard time getting the big truck up the driveway, so the two guys hand-carried the dishwasher, stove, and refrigerator up the driveway.  I don't even understand how that is possible. My husband and I had some initial disagreement about appliance color - he preferred stainless steel and I preferred black. Did you know there is a thing now called black stainless steel? Lucky for us, because it was the perfect compromise.

We decided to forgo upper cabinets for aging-in-place reasons. I don't want to be up on a ladder reaching for things. But we didn't want the appliances taking up too much counter space, so we built a corner shelf to hold the toaster over the microwave.

We also put in a pair of live edge shelves to hold our dishes, glassware and coffee mugs. We decided on a counter depth fridge so it wouldn't intrude into the kitchen space. 

All the cabinets are either drawers or cabinets with pullout shelves, including one with a pull-out trash can at the peninsula. I used one of the shallow drawers next to the stove for spices. They are in alphabetical order except that I always put parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme together. Because Scarborough Fair.

There is actually nothing I don't like about this kitchen. It's really easy to work in and feels much bigger than it is. Plenty of light, plenty of counter space, and we don't even have all the cabinets filled. Nothing is nested in anything else, so everything is easy to grab and put back. Our very first night in the house I made seafood risotto and the extended period of time I spent at the stove stirring it was just a joy. 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

They call the thing rodeo.

So now that we're locals, we decided we had to take in the rodeo when it came to town. This was a first for both of us. The line to get in backed up well along the highway.

It was sort of a county fair atmosphere - a petting zoo, one of those mechanical bulls, food trucks, and live country music. I'm not sure I've ever seen so many cowboy hats in one place in my life.

After we'd gotten our dinner, we found seats in the arena. It was packed and we had to climb up into the bleachers. The South is a deeply flawed place, to be sure, and there were political jokes and long, long prayers we just had to tolerate. But, when I started making my way up into the bleachers, instantly half a dozen hands reached out to help me along. The same thing happened when we had to climb back down. To a person, everyone was friendly and helpful.

While they got the bulls loaded into their chutes, the announcer and the rodeo clown kept up a show to entertain folks. This included an audience sing-along, with one song including the instructions to hold up our phones in flashlight mode like lighters. We sang along (and my husband laughed when I didn't miss a beat when the song was "Friends in Low Places") and cheered when the rodeo started.

The riders waited their turn. The announcer commented that the most dangerous part was probably when the rider was on the bull in the chute, because they were trapped in an enclosed space with an angry bull.

First up were the bucking bulls. Those were some big, scary animals. One even crashed through the gate and rampaged around the arena before they got him corralled back into a chute. The cowboy hopes to be able to stay on the bull for 8 seconds, holding on with only one hand. Some were tossed off almost immediately, and then rolled (or limped) to safety while the two pick up men on horseback and the rodeo clown diverted the bull. Only a few of the riders wore helmets.

Next, the broncs. The bareback riders were required to come out of the chute laying back with their legs at the horse's ears. There were also riders who used a pommel-less western saddle. 

Last before intermission was the mutton-busting event. This is when small children are placed on the back of a sheep and hold on as long as they can. In this clip, it's a four-year-old girl. I'm not going to lie, this was adorable. And while it might seem abusive, there was one young fellow who started crying as soon as he was put on the back of a sheep and his dad whisked him off and hugged him and the crowd cheered for him, too, so there was clearly no pressure for the kids to do anything they weren't comfortable with. We got a funnel cake before we left, and I popped back in to watch a little of the barrel racing. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did, but we will definitely go back next year.

Well, it's bulls and blood, it's dust and mud,
It's the roar of a Sunday crowd.
It's the white in his knuckles, the gold in the buckle
He'll win the next go 'round.
It's boots and chaps, it's cowboy hats, 
It's spurs and latigo.
It's the ropes and the reins, and the joy and the pain,
And they call the thing rodeo.
It's the broncs and the blood, it's the steers and the mud,
And they call the thing rodeo.
       -Garth Brooks

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Okay, here we go.


We moved into the new house a couple of weeks ago, before it was entirely finished. Actually, it's still not entirely finished, but it's quite livable. And I lam thrilled with everything about it. This house looks and feels bigger than it actually is. It's just a hair over 1200SF, which is small by today's standards. But plenty of room for us even with family visiting (as we found out a week after we moved in when my older son unexpectedly visited and we hosted him, my younger son, and my younger son's girlfriend). I have loads of work to do outside and we are also working on getting things sorted out inside, and I will be putting together posts about all of that. In the meantime, I want to catch up with everyone here.