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2009.12.11

December 11, 2009

It’s gotten awfully chilly around here – today’s in the single-digits with the wind chill, and although there’s no snow on the ground, it’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas.

This morning I dug my Caliometry and my Inside-Outside Scarf out of the winter bin before I headed into work.   I was hoping to pull the Peekaboo mittens out too, but I didn’t see them, and didn’t have time to dig.  Perhaps that’s a sign that I need to make a new pair of mittens.

Then again, I was a visual-field test of clashing stripes and colors as it was, probably just as well that I couldn’t find them.

~~

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it already, but last weekend we finally FINALLY insulated the basement ceiling.  Okay, half the basement ceiling.  But still.  It took a couple of hours, and it was one of the grubbiest, grimiest jobs I’ve ever done indoors, but it seems to be paying off.  Where a couple of weeks ago the thermostat said 68, but it was 65 downstairs and 72 upstairs, this morning the thermotstat said 68, it was 67.6 downstairs, and 69 upstairs.   I’ll take it.

Of course, I wouldn’t go so far as to say the house is completely buttoned up for the winter.  For one thing, the kitchen windows are all single-pane glass.  The previous owners replaced all of the other windows in the house, but not the kitchen.  I imagine it’s because they’re non-standard sizes, but geez.  So I’ll be coating them with a nice layer of shrink-wrap, in hopes of avoiding having a whistling breeze in the kitchen all winter.

I’ve also realized that the stairway is now the coldest part of the house.  It buts up onto two different exterior walls, neither of which are insulated, and the understructure of it is in the basement, so we’re still trying to figure out what to do about it.

One last fly in the ointment is that the thermostat gets direct sunlight for a good chunk of the day.  We had our eureka moment about that this week, when we realized the whole house was 66, the radiators were cold, but the thermostat said 69.  Sigh.  So we’ve got to figure out some sort of housing for it that provides shade but doesn’t radiate heat.  Suggestions, anyone?

~~

I cooked a smoked shoulder last weekend – I’d gone to the store hoping for a country ham, but no such luck, every ham they had was “Already Fully Cooked”.  Oh well.  So a smoked shoulder (aka picnic ham) is what I came home with.  We made do; it was delicious.

And because it was an eight-pounder, we had plenty of leftovers.  We put the bone and some meat aside, and we’ll have pea soup on Sunday.  And there are still a few stray slices of ham in the fridge, which will be good enough for lunch tomorrow.

I had diced up a few slices of it on Saturday, and squirreled it away for an attempt at a new dinner:  penne with peas and ham.   I got it from this cookbook.  The author has a show on tv, which I find painful to watch; but the cookbook is really useful.  She shows you how to make a few nights’ dinners out of one main cooking session, which is right up my alley.

Naturally, I can’t seem to find a link to the recipe giving her credit anywhere online, but I found this one, which seems to be a verbatim copy of hers.

I diverted from the recipe only twice – once to omit the mustard, because neither of us cares for it and we don’t keep any in the house, and once to add a bit of cornstarch to thicken up the sauce.

It was pretty good, a great way to use up odds and ends out of the fridge, and didn’t take any longer than making a regular pot of pasta would’ve.  Score!

This weekend we’ll hopefully get the kitchen windows squared away.  We’re having the family over on Saturday for Larry’s birthday dinner festivities, and hopefully doing precious little else.  I’ve got a small knitting project on the go, so I’m planning to spend some quality time with that.

Have a great weekend, and bundle up !

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