Building A Home, Not Just a House

What a beautiful transformation! Follow the building of Vastrap Farm to see the rewards that are possible with hard work, imagination, and love.

What made building a bit more difficult was the fact that we used 13 inch sandstone blocks in the alterations to match the existing house. Large sandstone blocks are typical of the old buildings in our area, but these days people tend to build with smaller blocks almost the size of bricks. We decided to stay true to the original since there were still 13 inch blocks strewn around the mountain behind our house left over from when my father-in-law employed a full-time stone mason in the 1960s. The blocks were carved out of big chunks of sandstone fallen from the cliffs above. He must have been a very productive guy because he carved all the blocks for the renovations that Bill and Karine did in the 1960s (including the building of a squash court) with more than enough left over for us!

via Memories of the Vastrap renovation | Vastrap Farm.


Goats Want What They Want

via Baby Drinks Bottle of Water! | Chickens in the Road.

This picture from Chickens in the Road reminds me of a scene I wrote recently in my cozy mystery A Bull by the Horns.  Only Larry isn’t a baby and he’s reaching for spilled grain instead of a bottle.

Madeleine tried next, hesitant at first, but delighted when Moe’s soft lips began to nuzzle her offering.  Kikki shoveled out a huge handful of grain, thrusting it toward Larry who was trying to push Curley away from Stephan’s palm.

“Wait, Kikki.” I tried to stop her, but it was too late.  The greedy buck grabbed for the food but nipped fingers instead.  Kikki shrieked and pulled away, spilling grain both in and outside of the fence.  All three goats dove for it, Larry characteristically head butting the other two to get there first.

Kikki started crying hysterically, holding her hand out in front of her.

“There, there.” Stephan tried to comfort her by putting an arm around her shoulders. “See? No harm done.  He’s barely made a mark.”

Larry’s blunt teeth had left depressions in her skin but had not broken through.  Kikki, however, continued to wail as if her appendage hung by a bloody thread. The offending goat stuck his head through the fence wire, practically strangling himself as he lipped dirt and fallen seed from the other side.

Maggie Monday: Rotating Parsnips In

I love Au gratin potatoes, but I’ve never grown, or even tasted parsnips. Think maybe it’s time to move out of my comfort zone? This sure tempts me to.

Rantings of an Amateur Chef

Several years ago I decided I would start using a wider variety of vegetables. I walked through the produce section and would buy something new and then go home a look for a recipe to cook it. Often it necessitated a return trip to the store to pick up an extra ingredient or two, but because of it I have been able to add some new veggies to the rotation. One of those, parsnips, only made a single trip to the house. I cannot recall what I made, but it wasn’t something that just grabbed me. I think I need to give them another try, and thanks to Maggie, I have a new recipe to try them. Here it is…

I don’t prepare potatoes often as we try to watch our carb intake. However, when I do make them, I go all out. What the heck- if you’re gonna splurge…

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