I’ve got the basics of the floor plan figured out. The decisions that need to be made are:

  1. Regular closet vs walk-in closet. I lose a little floor space with the walk-in, but it might be worth it.
  2. Kitchen and laundry room with dining room beside it or eat-in kitchen with laundry beside it.
  3. Normal second story bathroom or Jack-and-Jill bathroom

I also realized that instead of running joists from outside wall to outside wall (20′ feet), I can turn the internal walls into bearing walls and run the struts the other way (12′). This means I can use solid lumber instead of engineered joists. The engineered joists are better, but a little expensive. I will need to crunch the numbers both ways.

The kids and grand-kids have requested that I put the a garden in this year. Instead of a large, main crop garden I am looking to put in small kitchen garden with intensive planting. As such, I have gotten back to work on my garden guide.

Posted in Gardening, House

Recipe – Dark Fruitcake

This recipe started out from the Better Homes and Garden cookbook. The major changes I have made were to increase the quantities of fruits, nuts, and spices and to add some new spices.


  • 12-oz of frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 36-oz of raisins
  • 4 cup chopped nuts
  • 2 pound candied fruit
  • 1/2 cup spiced rum or similar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 4/3 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2-1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees with a pan of water at the bottom.
  2. Combine orange juice, molasses, and raisins in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in nuts, candied fruit, and rum.
  3. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add spices, then flour, and then soda. Stir in fruit and nut mixture; mix well.
  4. Grease pans well. Fill about 3/4 full. Bake for 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours. Cool cakes in pans, remove and let sit overnight.
  5. Wrap in cheesecloth and brush with rum. Place in plastic bags to age for at least one month, brushing with rum once or twice a week. 


Posted in Recipe


Did a little more foraging this week. Was only able to find handful of hackberry fruits. A pleasant find, but it means that there won’t be much more foraging to do until next year.

Ran banklines this weekend. Didn’t catch anything, but I did try to cut two fingers off.

All in all, a rough week. Here’s to next week being better.

Posted in Daily, Fishing, Foraging


Been busy with business trips lately. Had wanted to go hunting this weekend, but wasn’t able to. Foraging is going well. While in Iowa, I was able to gather Ginko and Hackberry seeds. And yesterday, I was able to gather Honeylocust and Yucca seeds. Currently doing an inventory of what I have gathered so I can get them planted soon.

Posted in Daily, Foraging


I have been doing quite a bit of walking over the last month (which is completely unrelated to starting to play Pokemon Go). A side effect of this is that I have developed my grandfather’s habit of gathering black walnuts.

Initially, there really wasn’t any reason for it, I just like the way the green husks smell. And the wife makes extract from them. But it isn’t feasible to forage enough to be more than a snack. Then I realized that I could plant them on my property. 

This has progressed into a hobby of foraging for seeds to plant. So far I have gathered:

  • Black walnut
  • Oak (uncertain about the exact species)
  • Hawthorne (I think)
  • Crab apple
  • Russian olive
  • Sumac 

Besides providing free seeds to plant, it gives me an additional incentive to explore and to learn more about foraging and wild plants.

Posted in Uncategorized

Recipe – Wassail

This isn’t my original recipe for wassail, it’s loss is part of my motivation for uploading all of the recipes I use.

  • 1 gal apple cider 
  • 1/2 gal orange juice
  • 4 (2 inch) whole cinnamon sticks 
  • 1/4 t ground mace 
  • 1/4 t anise seed 
  • 1 t ground cinnamon 
  • 1 t ground nutmeg 
  • 1 t ground ginger 
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 2 lemons, sliced thin
  • 1 lime, sliced thin
  1. Combine apple cider, orange juice, and brown sugar into a Crock-Pot set on high.
  2. Add in spices and continue to cook.
  3. Slice lemons and lime and add to Crock-Pot. Do not peel them and try to get any juice that comes out in with them.
  4. Continue heating for about an hour before serving. Temperature should be just below boiling. Once hot enough, reduce heat to low.
  5. These can be served as is or with a shot of rum or brandy added. 
  6. Wassailing is a fertility and apple crop ritual. So flirting, dancing, and/or singing while consuming is encouraged.
Posted in Recipe

Recipe – Molasses Milk

  • 4 c milk (I use soy)
  • 4 T molasses (medium grade, will try blackstrap when I get home)
  • 1/2 t pumpkin spice
    1. Begin heating milk on medium heat. Add molasses and spices.
    2. Stir while heating. You can heat all the way to just before boiling, but it’s a pain to keep an eye on. I just heat until lukewarm and the molasses is dissolved.
    3. Can be served hot or cold. Just nuke it in the microwave if you want hot. Store remainder in the fridge.

      Molasses Milk


      Posted in Recipe
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