14 August 2007

This weekend's big score! (and a project or two)

We have been talking about building a small patio in the back yard, off of our kitchen door, since we bought the house last year. We had looked into several options, but everything was pretty expensive. Then my friend Becky emailed me a link to this beautiful project that used old concrete slab and painted it to look like stone. Not only looks good, but "free" (if you don't consider how hard it is to move giant pieces of concrete).

Then, they started tearing down a scary old building just down the street from us and "ta da!' they pulled up the old slab foundation. So, this weekend, J's grandparents brought in the trailer and our giant friend G showed up to help and here is our pile of slab for the patio.

And here it is kind of laid in place. I had the boys put things in the general space that they will end up and then I am going to level them and make sure the spacing is okay. We may have to round up a few more pieces to fill in, but it is coming along. The circle area is for a hot tub that we have had, but haven't had a place to hook up. The stairs go to our back door off of the kitchen.

After all of the slab is in place, we will get a mixture of fine gravel and sand to pour between the slabs. Then we will install the hot tub and maybe I will even get some benches made. Yea! So, no garage sales, but still a big score for the house...

My other big weekend project was finishing my apricot canning. I just canned them all in a light sugar syrup and it took no time at all. I have to point out the the canning funnel and jar tongs that I found at a garage sale last year made it sooooooo much easier (and cleaner). Isn't the blue pretty with the orange apricots?

Here is a quick rundown of the process:
  1. Start to heat water in canning pot to boiling
  2. Slice apricots in half and remove pits; place in an anti-browning solution for 10 minutes minimum
  3. Drain and place in large saucepan. Mix 2 quarts of water with 2/3 cup of sugar; pour over fruit in pan until covered. Bring to a boil.
  4. Fill jars with boiling water.
  5. When fruit starts to boil, empty water from jars and fill with fruit and juice to 1/2 inch below top. (note: really pack the fruit in, when it looks full, shake the jar to make thing settle and continue to fill. I ended up with a few jars that were mostly juice and only half fruit.)
  6. Put lids and bands on jars and put into canning pot of boiling water for 25 minutes (20 for pints)
  7. Remove and let cool.

Here is all of the bounty I have been able to can so far. It is very exciting!


dig this chick said...

Amy! It all looks great. Can't wait to see the patio when it is finished. Did you peel your apricots?

The Hip Homemaker said...

Thanks! I didn't peel the apricots, just cut them in half to pull out the pit.

Anonymous said...

How did you level the cement blocks?