Weekend Cleanup

Driveway Completion

The guys are about to smooth a section with the two-by

Notice the guys deep in the wet concrete

And we have a driveway! (Actually it was finished by just about noon on Wednesday, as I tried to add to some of the earlier posts — like Wednesdayʼs). We wonʼt be able to step or drive on it for a few more days yet, but itʼs there, and even with fallen leaves and other shed tree-trash, it looks great.

It should last, too. I know they put steel rod in when they poured the cement, so I am optimistic that this driveway will be more sturdy/longlasting than the original. In fact, it seemed to me that our main guy and everyone on the crew worked really hard and with great care.

The framing was removed on Thursday. I went out to bring in our lovely, damaged blue Maquoketa recycling bin and found Scott, the guy in charge, waiting in his truck. We talked briefly, me complimenting them on the effort and care needed to perform the job correctly, him assuring me that we could drive on the new pavement this coming Wednesday.

And I do think, so far, that I can recommend the gentleman who is the boss on our job. He did good work well. Weʼll make it official once everythingʼs set — in concrete.

Awaiting more concrete down the chute from the cement-mixer truck

The finished, wet result just after the crew left.

The pictures show the guys at work on Wednesday morning (rather repetitively, but I was fascinated — especially watching them slog around in the raw, wet concrete to get everything set) and then, to the left here, the first shot of the final product once they had finished up and taken off. I never knew, having never worked with cement, that you could walk around in it (wearing rubber boots that you were willing to get concrete stuff on), but it made sense watching them. Being right there in the midst of the heavy mush was the only way they were going to get the stuff spread where it needed to be or do a big part of the smoothing process. I was also engrossed in the final smoothing (using a lightweight paddle on the end of a very long, extendable pole, which you can see well in the lower part of the first picture above on the left — itʼs orange and blue). I even observed the ultimate cleanup.

The guys really looked like they were working hard (it did not appear easy to pull the stuff with big rakelike paddles) and carefully, so I truly hope and anticipate that the new driveway will be great. With our first rainfall and when we can first drive on it sometime next week, weʼll know.

As of now, it appears that this improvement will be worth all the many, many dollars it will cost.

Next up are the plumbing and heating guys to remove the old boiler and then install our new furnace. Soon. End of the month or thereabouts weʼve been told.

Soup Update

We have made our squash soup for the third time (on Wednesday), and this one was a huge quantity (six squash/zucchinis from the Dubuque farmersʼ market a week ago and four boxes of chicken broth). In fact, I made it in two batches, three squash and two boxes of broth (and all the curry powder we had left in the house) on Wednesday afternoon, making a huge potful then. I scooped out a couple of quarts to freeze before adding the cheese (we had found reduced fat at Hy-Vee on Sunday) to the rest for Wednesdayʼs supper. And there were still leftovers.

I made more on Thursday (couldnʼt wait until Friday as I got a call Wednesday, while making the first batch of soup, for my first substitute teaching job of the year for yesterday!), and we ʼll freeze all of that whole second batch, I assume (I am writing Wednesday evening just before making Janetʼs Thursday lunch, anticipating a lack of time on Friday for the substitute teacher to compose blog verbiage). That should give us enough for about five meals (maybe).

I have gotten adventurous with the recipe, and I recommend my changes. Now I automatically double the onion and garlic and have added mushrooms (we just used the canned button babies, but I am sure some kind of fresh or wild would be outstanding) and shredded carrot (Iʼve always felt that carrot adds a liveliness to simmered foods). I am pretty sure that this soup can handle a lot of other variations, too. Try it for yourself. Experiment.

The original recipe is here.

We still havenʼt made it any other way than with curry as the principal flavoring. I shake in garlic and onion powder and our Greek spice (and some jolts of hot sauces), but principally itʼs a curried squash soup. And of course, plenty of pepper.

All the posts this week have run lengthy (yesterdayʼs nearly twice as long as I shoot for; I am sure the fallout from that FoxHunt hasnʼt ended yet), and as I frequently say, it is the weekend. So weʼll leave this one as it is. Iʼll try to get creative for tomorrow…

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

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