Monday, June 30, 2014

Chickpea Tabbouleh

Tonight for supper I made chickpea tabbouleh which we ate in wraps along with shredded chicken. It was *so* good that I decided to save the recipe here.
2 16 ounce cans of chickpeas, drained
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
5 radishes, chopped or shredded
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
½ cup chopped green onions
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
Mash the chickpeas until 3/4 are broken up, add the rest of the vegetables and mix well. Add the salt & pepper, mix again. Drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice over and mix for the last time. 
The recipe made enough for us to have for supper with leftovers for lunch tomorrow. It has got to be one of the most economical wholesome meals I've ever tried. I spent less than $12 total!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

In Which We Camp Out In The Living Room

We had decided last year that the drywall in the downstairs bedroom would have to come down, we thought we'd probably put drywall up again but the multiple rotten wallpaper layers should be removed first. And remember that I already had multiple holes blown through the drywall from previous Exploratory Missions. The boys and I began demolition this week, only removing as much drywall as I could finish in a day. Once the drywall is down there are multiple wallpaper layers over a layer of fabric and then below that is the original wallpaper that the Smithsonian dated to 1840. This bottom layer has to be sprayed with a vinegar solution and then scraped, after that it has to be washed several times to get the traces of glue and wallpaper remnants off. The paper had been patched in several places, we removed a patch and you can see how light and pretty it once was.

At the bottom of this paper there are traces of salmon colored paint, which is faintly visible on the trim board as well. Can you imagine what this room looked like 170 years ago?

We had several unexpected discoveries. One was that the boards over which the wallpaper is glued, are hand planed. I'm fascinated by that and loathe to cover it up now.

A partially scrubbed wall

The unscrubbed section

We also decided to remove the one and only closet in the whole house. It takes up an entire end of the room and makes the bed placement really awkward. What we found confirms some of our earlier suspicions that the cabin part of the house was moved here from elsewhere. Behind the drywall/wallpaper layers were boards that didn't match the others, we took one down and discovered a doorway!

Micah looking into the crack where the doorway was.
My theory is that the cabin was moved here in the late 1830s to very early 1840s, instead of lining the doorways up (which would have given the house an odd jog along the outside wall) they cut a new doorway to match the door in the back part of the house. Then they had the hand planed boards added in the bedroom solely so that wallpaper could be laid (I can find no evidence that they were ever painted or sealed in any way). At some later date some of those boards had to be replaced and that's when they put up these whitish boards.

Looking down inside the wall where the doorway was
The right side of the doorway, still with the nails where the jamb boards were attached

When we were scraping the paper we found section after section of intact paper and took various photos of the seam lines (that's what confirms the early date). The paper is 19" wide and 42" long, seemingly little effort was made to run the paper straight up and down, most of the seam lines have a noticeable list to them.

We moved our bed to the living room last night where it will stay until we're done with the walls. Since I don't want to cover the hand planing again I'm tossing around just sealing the boards, or maybe giving them a light paint wash.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Last of the Plaster (almost)

 Our Memorial Day weekend project was taking down the last of the plaster upstairs. We had one whole bedroom still plastered and the hallway upstairs, I didn't get a whole lot of shots before we started working, but here's the general idea. The hole in the ceiling is where Levi stuck his foot through, he and Micah had to go in the attic to kill all of the red wasps before the real work could commence.

 We tried to save the piece of plaster that this date was written on, Gill cut carefully around it and lifted it out. It just turned to powder in his hands and ran through his fingers.

 Removing plaster has got to be one the the filthiest jobs ever. I'm so glad that we're almost at the end of taking it out.

 After the plaster was on the floor the boys and Gill shoveled it out the upstairs window onto tarps.

The bare walls, that's the clapboard siding that you're seeing.

 A few views of the roof, the rafters aren't pegged as they are in other parts of the house, but there isn't a ridgepole here or anywhere.

When the Thornburghs decided to add onto their home in the 1850s to make it into a Federal style dwelling, what was the outside wall became an interior wall. What you're looking at is the outside of the cabin and a chimney that was on an exterior wall. It now runs through the center of the house. The hole is what was cut so you can access both attics.

This is the chimney on the west side, although it's the newest chimney it's in the roughest condition. We are planning to remove it this summer.

After the plaster and lath were out we washed and washed and washed the floors. And then we washed them some more. :-)

Now onto insulating and then putting up drywall.