Monday, March 03, 2008

weekend work and weekend food

Saturday was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the temperature was in the high 70's and no one had to work. Well, I did have to run to Dodge to take Andy to the eye dr. and had to go to the grocery store...and I had to stop at Orschlens and take another long look at the baby chicks. I resisted the temptation to buy any for another day.

But, Kevin and I ran down to the farm to get some left over lumber that Dad had in the grainery. The grainry looks like a 2 room house. Wooden construction with a tin roof. It was built with my great grandfather and my grandad in the 1920's. They used it to store wheat in. When they stopped using it for grain, it was used to store feed for the farm animals and later for storage. There's old saddles stored there and even my great grandfather's wagon bows--those hooped things that held the canvas top on his covered wagon. Most of the saddles are rotting now, as they are exposed to the weather and have been since the tornado. I keep telling Kev that we should clean out the grainry rooms, put in a wood burning stove, fix the roof, put windows in, and make it our weekend getaway.

He just rolls his eyes and makes a feeble attempt to humor usual.

But it is a neat building and is solid. Anyway, when Grandad had to tear down the house after the tornado, he saved quite a few of the 2 x 4's and stacked them in the grainry. That was the wood that Kev and I picked up on Saturday afternoon. Now, these 2 x 4's are unique. They are old and are probably a hard wood. Possibly oak. Maybe something else, but they are darker than modern 2 x 4's and are much heavier. In fact, they measure a true 2 inches by 4 inches. Today's 2 x 4's are 1.5 inches by 3.5 inches. Don't ask me why...that's a guy question.

So, we loaded up ump-teen 2 x 4's. We had to leave some, as those on the bottom 2 rows had severe termite damage. You noticed it before picking up the boards, as you could see the trails. But, when you picked up a board, you immediately noticed how light they were. No termites were there, we checked. This was old damage.

We also loaded up some bridge timbers and some grainry planks. Grainry planks are 2 x 6 boards that are tongue and grooved on either end, and finished on one side. This would allow them to lock together and keep wheat from getting between the planks. The smooth sides also contributed to smooth flowing grain. We hope to use these for the floor of my chicken house.

There was some modern lumber there also, some 2 x 6's that someone stored there. I think we almost have enough wood to frame the chicken house. My chickens will have a great home made with recycled lumber. Those 2 x 4's, from my grandparents house will probably last longer than I will. You just can't get good solid wood like that these days. It feels a little odd to be using lumber from a house that I loved to build something as utilitarian as a chicken house...but Grandad was nothing if not frugal and he would approve.


One of my online friends gave me an idea of a new way to cook venison steak. I'm always looking for a simple, creative way to cook venison, especially since that's about all the meat we have left at the moment. She said she marinates it and then fries it up with onions and garlic.

On Sunday, I adapted her recipe. I roasted some garlic (a first for me,)then sauteed it in butter with mushrooms and onions. Then, I fried the steak, which I had marinated in Italian dressing. As it was close to being done, I added the garlic and mushrooms. I'm not normally an adventurous cook, so was nervous and anxious to try it out on my family. Kev and Andy declared it "delicious" and "as good as what Bob might cook." High praise indeed. It was good. Not gamey, not tough, flavorful and tender. Miss Kat didn't like it, but she's like "Mikey"; she hates everything! Our meal was topped of with mashed potatoes, broccoli with cheese and toasted french bread. No dessert, I ran out of time! Still, I'm proud of myself for finding another way to cook venison that I enjoy eating. It's definitely a meal that we'll have again.

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