Art of Proprietation

Monday, October 22, 2007

Nothing like fresh

That's fresh mozzarella cheese my wife made from our goats milk. The tomatoes are from our garden as is the basil. And it's bread she made that day. A nice meal to come home to.

My wife said the mozzarella was not hard to make, but it was time consuming. And milk consuming, two gallons of milk for about two pounds of cheese. We also got another cup of ricotta (my wife says it is marscapone because it is goats milk) that we used for lasagna today, another hit.

My wife said it was a lengthy process to make the cheese. Get it to the right temp, stir in the other ingredients. Get it to clot just right, cut the curds to the right size, drain it, stretch it, ball it, etc. But it was a wonderful cheese when I got home.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Storm Door

This weekend it was a new storm door for the kitchen, our main entry to the house.

When I bought this house, more than ten years ago, the kitchen had a ratty old aluminum storm door for the kitchen. There was probably nothing wrong with it when it was installed, it formed another layer over the entry way. But when I cam on the scene, that door had seen better days. It was missing the glass pane, the screen was held in with ducktape and the latch, well, it didn't latch. In the wind, it would snap open with a bang and then you waited for the ill adjusted closer to slam it shut again. At one point I decided no storm door was better than that storm door.

But with the coming weather, I decided it was time for a new one. I did watch the architecural salvage place for one, but nothing came up. And when I went to buy one, it became obvious as to why. I have a very out of the ordinary dimensioned door, apparently. Nobody made a stock door to fit it, and even many of the custom ones would not make one tall enough. I had been hoping to get one that would allow me to take out the header that a previous owner had installed to cut down the hieght enough to fit the old door. But even with the tallest custom door I could find, I was still going to have to cut down the hight three inches. There are worse things (like going another winter without a storm door).

The door actually ended up being much less expensive than I thought it would. I had tried one of the big box home improvement stores. Even though they couldn't get me a custom door tall enough, they were twice as expensive as my local lumber yard /home improvement store. I went with a vinyl clad, steel edged wood core door. It has an extruded aluminum frame and a 1 over 1 double sash window with a screen. And unbeknownst to me, the gasket around the frame has a magnetic strip that helps make a teight seal without excessive compression. Pretty cool.

Installing it wasn't too bad, but it did take a while. For a custom door, there was a lot of things I had to do... I can understand the shimming, but I was expecting things like the hinges would be pre drilled and ready to go. It wasn't complicated to put up, but it did take a while.

But now that it is up, what a difference. One of the first things we noticed was the suction when we open and shut other doors from the kitchen. And this morning, we could let the light in without the breeze. I feel bad that we didn't do it earlier, it would have been nice to be able use the screen to ventilate the kitchen in the warm weather. And the solid bottom panel is the right hieght to let my now walking son look out the door.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Replacement Windows

Our house is old. Not amazingly old, but old enough. Much of the glass in the house is from 1893. The windows are almost all double hung 1 over 1 (no mullions). Simple, but big panes. The last time I bought window glass, it was 22 dollars a pane, and that was at least 5 years ago. A pain in the wallet repairing windows.

But there are areas of the house that I am not willing to change the architectural features of the house by putting in replacement windows. But the little bathroom in the Elle that is in the shadow of the barn and looks out into a corner of the backyard was not one I felt so sensitive about. With the renovations in that bathroom, I had been meaning to replace the window anyway, but this summer, the mower picked up a chunk of wood and threw it through the window. Rather than repair the old wooden sash and glass, I shelled out for a replacement window. I was pleasantly surprised at the cost, about $165 for an argon filled, low e glass and tempered double panes. It was a special order (odd size 28 X 68) and took three weeks to get it. I ordered it through my local building supply company. I checked at the big box stores, and it would have been twice as much.

Installing it was very easy (lucky the house is still straight and true). Remove the old sashes, stops, ropes and pulleys. Check the new window for size. Put good caulking around it and slide it into place. Replace the molding and trim and a little extra caulk from the outside.

I am happy with the result. This is a window that will help keep the bathroom warm, minimize condensation, never need painting, functions very well. But I have to admit I will not be replacing the windows in the rest of the house anytime soon. It definitely has a more modern feel that I would not want to spread throughout the house. There are a few places that are largely out of sight that are appropriate for these windows, though. For the rest, I am lucky that the old windows are mostly in good shape and protected by good storm windows.

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