Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Let The Deck Building Begin! And Lise's Deck Builder's Soup/Stew

Woo hoo, so excited, we are building the deck today.  Well, beginning to build it!  This is the progress we made at the end of the day, when the rain was coming.  The deck boards are only sitting there, they are not secured, but we wanted to get a visual of what it would eventually look like. 

This is what we started with this morning at 7:45 am. 
I can not give you all the details of how the deck was built, just pictures of the progress.  This is Ronnie, a carpenter by trade, and after watching him work for a day, I can easily say and expert craftsman!  The beginning of the project is setting the ledger (holds things to the cabin wall supports), then lining up the first post (holds the deck up), which is critical in getting the rest of the deck just right. 

Once that first post is set, the rest of the ledger is completed corresponding post for the other corner of the deck is lined up and secured.

Then the posts in between, along with girders (these go between the posts to hold them together and square) and then the joists (these are what hold the floor up) all begin to come together.  It is interesting to me, in watching this take place, how logical it all is.  But the tricks of the trade to make things progress smoothly and easily are truly an art!

There is a lot of ducking, stretching, reaching, lifting, bending, leveling, measuring, aligning, hammering and grunting that takes place.  Also adjusting, remeasuring, fixing, etc...  Did I mention laughing and joking?  Lots of that!  Oh, and eating, but we'll get to that. 

You are looking at joists that Mountain Man was securing in this photo.  It was a task, trust me, but he did it!

In the end of the day, we have the beginning of a deck.

During all this, besides lending a hand every now and then, and taking pictures for the history books, I cooked for the small gang of builders we had (Johny, Ronnie, Charlie, and Ron).  I made Lise's Deck Builder Stew/Soup, corn bread, and Toll House cookies made with both milk and white chocolate...you have to keep the builders happy (and energized), after all!  The corn bread and Toll House cookies were basic recipes; I must say both turned out deliciously.  The soup was a basic put what you think will work in a pot and hope for the best recipe.

Lise's Deck Builder's Soup/Stew

1 onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced (could use more but this is all I had)
2 tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 package beer brats (or Italian sausage)
1 bag frozen veggies (peas, carrots, beans, corn)
1 can black eyed peas
1 can pinto beans
2 cans large northern beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chicken broth
1 large cube vegetable bullion (makes 2 cups)
1 fresh zucchini, diced (added with about 1 hour left to cook)
1 fresh summer squash, diced (added with about 1 hour left to cook)
herbs de Provence
dried whole oregano, crushed
dried whole basil, crushed
whole fennel seeds, crushed
all spices/seasonings are to taste

I am not going to give you pictures of the whole process, I don't think you need to see all that.  It is a basic process of beginning with your raw veggies, saute in a little butter and oil until softened.  I add the spices at this stage.  I pull these veggies out of the pan once they are cooked and set aside.  I find this approach allows things to cook independently before combining flavors, which enables each flavor to evolve independently.  Brown the beer brats and then add the raw tomatoes (don't remove the brats for this step), this will help pick up all the good sticky bits from the browning of the meat.  Now add your veggies back into the mix, all the canned ingredients, and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer, covered.  About 1 hour before you will be serving the meal, add your fresh zucchini and summer squash.

This was a scrumptious, hearty soup/stew.  Serve it with freshly made corn bread, and you have a winner.  Some like the cornbread on the side, some right in the soup/stew.  Either way, YUM!  I also brought them Toll House cookies and fruit in the mid afternoon (working at keeping their strength up!).

I say soup/stew, because it was much thicker than a typical soup, but not as gravy like as a stew...you can make up your own mind!  Truth be told, I staged this picture tonight, as I forgot to take a picture of the final dish, and while it is not steaming it actually looks pretty good, maybe I should stage more food photos rather than taking them when serving...something I shall consider!

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

1 comment:

Dad/Pepere said...

Can't decide which I am most excited about...the deck or the "stew"? For now, the stew wins...but the deck looks like it is really progressing nicely...good work Mountain Man!