Friday, August 18, 2017

A Fair in the Woods

 My daughter and I went to a wonderful festival in the woods last weekend.

 They create a "Garden for Sale" at the entrance.

 Everything you see is for sale, plants and all.

 You can stroll through the garden and buy what you like.

 The tree carvings were wonderful.

 Autumn was everywhere.

 Sasquatch was here in case you were looking for him.

 Toadstools and more.

 This was one of my favorite booths.

I swore I would return to buy this wooden basket on the way out. I forgot!  Maybe next year.
 I did however spend some money at this booth.

 I now own several of these wonderful baskets.

 Click to enlarge.

 Most booths are set up in little cabins.

 This came out blurry but I thought it was great.

 Wind spinners made of copper and marbles.

I have lots more to show tomorrow.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Excellent Sandwich Rolls

I like to feed my workers when I have projects going on.  Besides my recent back yard tree project, I am entirely redoing the cottage my daughter and The Chef live in. It needs it! They just started it last Friday and two of my favorite workmen are doing the job and they love it when I feed them.
I made these rolls and served them hot sausage sandwiches and cookies. 

  • 2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast
  • ¾ cup water
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk (save egg white for brushing buns)
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • egg white + 2 Tablespoons water (to brush the tops)
  1. Add all ingredients together in the order listed then knead dough until dough is smooth and elastic.
  2. Cover & let rise 1 hour or until double in size.
  3. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces.
  4. Roll each piece on lightly floured surface into a 3x5" rectangle.
  5. Take the top (long side of rectangle) and fold to the center length wise, take the bottom piece and fold to the center length wise also. Flip over, gently tuck the end pieces under and place on greased cookie sheet. Place each roll 1" apart on parchment covered cookie sheet.
  6. Let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  7. After rising brush with egg wash (to make egg wash whisk egg white and water together with fork).
  8. Preheat oven to 375 F. degrees.
  9. Bake 15 minutes or until tops are golden brown.
Fold the top, then fold the bottom.

Press them down to flatten them a bit before rising.


Cool on a rack.

You can make them smaller to use as hot dog buns or round for hamburger buns.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I Have Trees

 I have trees!  Not quite a perfect replacement for the Silver Maple but these Thuja 'Wintergreen' can grow up to 2 ft. a year.  I couldn't keep the ramp.  Those boards were huge and I have absolutely nowhere to put them. The ramp was needed though because these trees are roughly 10 feet tall with huge root balls.  They weighed over 300 pounds each.  We were scheduled to have 10 trees planted but they could only fit 5 in the space they were able to dig out.

This type of arborvitae withstands cold winters, high winds and stays very green all winter long.
It actually makes the area around the outdoor oven and sink seem spacier.

So much better than this.
 Maybe next year I can grow a row of these sunflowers in front of the new trees.

 With a border of these marigolds to hang over the stone counter.

Teddy is happy to be 'workman free'.  The workers were happy because I made them a big lunch and baked them cookies.
Now I have to sort out where to put all of this stuff.  It's not going back to where it was. At least most of it isn't.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Tree Debacle Remedy

 I'm right in the middle of the tree debacle remedy.

 Look at this platform they needed to build to get the trees to where they will be planted. I wish I had the skills to build something like this.

 I think we should keep it and hook it to the back of our car so teddy can get in and out easily. Unfortunately, all of the money to build it will be wasted when they disassemble it after the trees are in today.

This is my loaner for a couple of days.  These guys are lucky I don't have a lot of acreage where I could have played with this when they were gone. I could have done some damage.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Akron National Hamburger Festival [Blog Tech Guest Post]

Yesterday, my wife and I made the journey to Akron, Ohio to attend the Akron National Hamburger Festival.  Why did we go?  Just look at the title.  A celebration of the hamburger.  I wanted to go last year, but I think I was on a crash diet in anticipation of my wedding at the time.  This year I was not to be deterred!  

But first, some context.  This entire summer my wife and I have been on a diet.  It's been hell on my mother, who keeps trying to find ways to make us cake and other delicious foodstuffs.  It's been exceedingly difficult to say no.  I haven't eaten a carb since June.  That's an exaggeration, but not by much.   

Yesterday, my wife and I took a break from that diet.  

Viva hamburgers!

The Hamburger Festival is basically one big part of a main thoroughfare in downtown Akron that gets closed off to traffic for this event.  The streets get lined with hamburger vendors, many of whom have some fairly creative interpretations of the classic hamburger.  Evidently this event also features awards to the best hamburgers, but I don't get into politics.  I was here for eating.

Most of the hamburger places have examples of their wares set out like this.  Unfortunately I didn't try any of these particular hamburgers because they were right by the entrance.  My plan was to go all the way to the end and work my way back.  My plan was a bad one.  My tummy couldn't handle the caloric hit.  Alas!

In addition to the 'hamburger road' described above, the festival also comprised of this little city park that featured several stages and a bunch of people enjoying the sun.  My wife and I sat here briefly for a much-needed break once the multiple ingested hamburgers within us began to sing their evil little song.

At first I thought it was a bit extreme of the Akron police to send a SWAT truck to the festival for security.  Then I realized it's a food truck!

Hamburger hats!  I couldn't find any of these for sale.

Click to see an example of the menus.

The first burger we tried was, by far, the very best.  You are looking at the Gilroy 5 Cheese Garlic.  This thing was amazing.  Here's something I realized today: a lot of hamburger makers go for the 'shock factor' when designing their hamburgers.  'What if we take a hamburger, add gummy worms as a topping and call it the worm burger?  That'll raise some eyebrows!', they think.  Note: this was not one of the hamburgers at the festival.  I exaggerate to make a point.  And the point is this:  they aren't thinking about the way the flavors interact.  They're going for quantity and 'zaniness' over quality.  The Gilroy was not like this at all, though.  All of these ingredients locked arms and did the cha cha on my taste buds.  I loved this thing. 

This was the nameless festival special.  Luckily, quite a few of these places offered 'half-burgers', which made the whole experience much more navigable.  I liked the Nameless, but my wife wasn't a big fan because she doesn't enjoy spiciness quite like I do.

Being a fan of spicy, I had to try the Punch Your Mouth burger.  It actually wasn't much of a mouth punch, which made me feel good about my ability to handle heat.  Thanks for the ego boost!

This is The Leona, from A Twist of Leona.  This was our second favorite burger.  But oh my lord was it messy.  I have an issue with my hands getting messy, and eating this burger caused me some emotional trauma, but it was worth it for the flavor.  That's high praise.  

Around this point,  my wife took a picture of me.  We had both eaten quite a few burgers, and were beginning to feel the effects.

Look at how proud and self-confident I am in this photo.  It was clearly taken pretty early on in the day.  There was one, *maybe* two hamburgers inside me at this point.  Little did I know. 

This was some kind of Tex-Mex hamburger.  We were not a fan.  The flavors did not dance!

This was the Texan burger.  It features all the typical ingredients of a cheese burger, plus those fried onion things you see sometimes, as well as barbecue sauce.  It was pretty good.

This guy was making balloons, but by the time we saw him, I was entering the danger zone in terms of hamburger consumption.  

Look at that.  A little school bus converted into a food truck!  They only served funnel cakes and boy I would've loved to have tried one.  But alas, it was not to be.  All at once, my wife and I realized that we had eaten our last burger.  I bought one more Gilroy for my dad to eat, and we headed for the car.  My wife took a carb nap on the way home that looked every bit as delicious as the culinary decadence that preceded it.  I took one selfie prior to departure that I think sums up the results of eating this many hamburgers in such a small time frame.

You can probably deduce where this selfie was taken.  I think my expression pretty adequately sums up the way I was feeling by this point.  This festival was awesome, but my frail human form could only handle so much!  Next year perhaps I'll starve myself  a few days longer beforehand.