Sunday, September 1, 2013

Labor Day Weekend, Day 1

I woke up at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday. It was cloudy and overcast, but the Channel 4 weatherman assured me it would not rain today. Tomorrow’s the rainy day, at least according to his forecast.

So, I putzed around a bit, drinking coffee and taking care of little stuff. I skipped breakfast, knowing I had my Saturday errands to run and figuring I’d grab something while I was out.

So, I shaved, showered, dressed and headed out at 8:45 a.m. First stop was a haircut. When I walked outside afterwards, it was raining!!!

Then I went to Kroger’s for supplies, both for the holiday weekend and the coming week. Next stop was Westborn for fruits and veggies. I did make one impulse buy: mock chicken legs (or city chicken as my Mother used to call it). I love that stuff!

Finally, I hit Costco for more coffee. Then I drove home and was unloading everything when I remembered: I completely forgot about breakfast! 

But the rain had stopped (I hope), so after I put everything away, I changed into my shorts and t-shirt and headed outside.

I moved the car back outside. I took my sanding top off the sawhorses and set them outside. I had to move some fallen branches before I could set the horses where I wanted them, BTW.

First I added the bottom board onto the sides and cut a 30 degree “V” in it for looks. Why add a board onto the bottom? The carpet on the front porch occasionally gets wet if the rain comes from the East. So, I bought a wolmanized picket board (made for a fence) that the sides can sit on and hopefully not eventually rot.

Then I started staining all the boards. I was using three kinds of stain: Sedona Red, Dark Walnut and Ebony. And, I was using three techniques: Apply stain and wipe it right off, apply stain and let it sit a while to darken before wiping off and, finally, wetting down the board with water (both to raise the grain and to prevent too much of the stain from working), then putting on the stain and wiping it off.

The Sedona Red stain was a compromise with myself. I had bought barn red spray paint and was going to hit the edges of a couple of boards before staining (to simulate barn wood). But, I decided just to stain the edges red, here and there, instead.

I went through 10 kitchen towels and three cheap paint brushes (there is no point in buying good brushes when you are staining this way).

I must say, the hands-down winner to making new wood look old was the Ebony stain, applied after the water wash. 

One big disappointment was that the stain completely wiped out the burned look I had got from the propane torch (unless it was so subtle I couldn’t see it).

I finished up just after 5:00 p.m. I took a bucket of scrap wood cut-offs out to my fire pit, dosed them with diesel fuel and lit them up! I sat there on my crooked bench and waiting until they burned down to hot coals. Then I threw another bucket of scrap wood from this project on to the fire. I waited until they burned down a bit and then went inside.

So, I had my obligatory Labor Day bonfire! Did you?

Back inside, I started the weekend wash and then started dinner. I was making something I’d seen on Facebook. One of my pet Facebook peeves is that people see some recipe that sounds interesting, so they share it. That’s okay, I guess. But nobody ever makes it and then lets me know how it turned out! That would be good information!

Anyway, tonight I was making “Fried cabbage with Sausage.” I put a stick of butter in the Dutch oven and added in a small head of cabbage that I had cored and chopped. To that I threw in a small sliced onion and half of a green pepper that I diced. (Well, I diced the whole thing. The other half went into the freezer for soups or chili).

I cooked that on medium-high for about five minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking. Then I added a pound of smoked sausage (the recipe suggested kielbasa, but smoked sausage was all I had) cut into coins, one 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes, salt, pepper and a good splash of Franks Red Hot sauce.

I stirred everything together, covered it and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, I made some quick Southern Cornbread. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any buttermilk. I set my cast iron fry pan in the stove, after I put a spoonful of bacon grease in it. I preheated the stove to 400 degrees F. while I mixed the wet and dry ingredients separately, the together. I pour the batter into the fry pan and baked it for 20 minutes.

I took it out and let it rest for another 15 minutes. This time, I remembered to put a kitchen towel on the handle so I wouldn’t grab it by mistake!

When everything was ready, I plated it and ate a very satisfying supper! The recipe said the hot sauce was optional, but I think it made the dish! Great tasting and a great way to stretch a pound of sausage into a big meal.

It was after 8:00 p.m. when I finished eating. I finally watched the movie "Ocean’s Eleven." When that ended at 10:00, I moved out to the living room and read in my chair until after 1:00 a.m.! Then I went to bed.

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