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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Making Mischief 'N Stuff

We still have winter up here on Cascade Bluff, enough snow to require occasional shoveling and plowing. Our helpful young plow guy, Casey, popped by with his chains on to plow our road today after we got a new 4-5 inch layer of very fluffy white stuff. He brought his Chesapeake dog, Duke, a year old and all bouncing energy... wish I'd got a picture of him! 

Sadly, the road plowing is timed perfectly as tomorrow we head back down the hill and back to Bloomington for three weeks. We will be back in Feb for a visit, and according to the Farmer's Almanac (that has otherwise been pretty much dead wrong this year) Feb 2012 is supposed to be snowy and cold. Okay by us, as long as "cold" doesn't mean 40 below.

I thought I'd post more pix of how we've been getting into mischief up here, with our "new" workshop and our never ending curiosity about what would it be like to try.... well, tiling a metal table, for instance...

These are our first try at tiling.  Not bad, if I do say so myself! The tables are funky metal from that whacky flea market sort of place in Albuquerque, "Jackalope" -- if you haven't been there, imagine the most overstuffed store full of really colorful and somewhat outrageous things from all over the world with a southwestern spin... The tiles are a mix of some we bought years ago for the house in SW Utah that we never built,  some samples we picked up at various places and saved, and some recent additions...
Learned all about tile adhesive and grout...
 ...about making the colors fit when you only have a smattering of each...
 ...using up a variety of samples...
 ...and making sure I didn't crack these, they are very fragile...
 Last time we were in Albuquerque we bought some tiles with numbers on them for our spot in the north woods...
Our friend and neighbor Pat made that lovely wreath for us, by the way...

 Now if you just happen to wander by you'll know you are at the right address!
 Remember the Elf? Well he got out into the workshop, too... Here he is resting against our new bench vise... Not every woman you know owns a bench vise, I'll bet... But please take notice of the TABLE on which the Elf lounges comfortably... We BUILT that! Ooo-Rah!

 Now I know (sort of) how to use a jig saw to make corner cuts...
  

This really sweet bench is made of remnants of Douglas Fir posts, a stair tread and some other pieces. Val came up with this design just for me, and it is now in our front hall! Isn't it beautiful?
 This is a much simpler hunk-o-wood style bench, of two enormous rustic timbers and some scrap we bolted together... It will be moved in the spring to our favorite lookout spot on the trail. It was interesting to cut through those 14" wide timbers with my 7-1/2" circular saw... and cut, and cut... and then use the hand saw...

 The Elf helped Val make our first bench of scrap wood, the one we actually had plans for (and actually followed them...)   Discovered that scrap wood that's been sitting outside getting that nice gray patina isn't always the straightest lumber in the world... But then since we're not the straightest folks around, it all works out...

 Indoors we both got "new" bookshelves in our respective office space, instead of bricks and boards, these are timbers and boards...

Here's the whole collection of new "furniture!"
And you thought we were going to just make some birdhouses, didn't you? 
 But hey, as usual, it isn't all work work work up here. We love this weather (yeah, we know, most of you think that's a little crazy, but so what -- when our friends and families think we're off the deep end, we know we are on the right track!) 

Looks like frosting on the cedars...

 Friends Kris and Mary (the Elf Lady) came for a visit and Val took them snowshoeing...
 When it was time to leave, we shuttled them down the big hill in Babe...
 I kinda wonder if Val wasn't looking for a good excuse to drive the tracks!
 Between snowstorms we've had typical January in Minnesota weather -- cold and blue!
 Someone visited during the night... Who are you?  FYI -- saw another couple of wolves!
 An inviting trail...
 We call this "Cedar Avenue"... The deer love it...
 The last vestiges of the holidays... A beautiful wreath from my sister and brother in law...

 And a blog posting from Cascade Bluff wouldn't be complete without a few shots of the sunset. This was from Jan 10th -- unretouched! It really was that red!

 And it just got better and better...
We'll be back for more in mid-February. Til then, check out my new blog, 

I'm just getting started with recipes "developed" up here in America's Northernmost Test Kitchen... with a fabulous sunset view! 

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