Thursday, April 26, 2012

Our Water System

Definately not your conventional water system like you see in the suburbs...

Big Blue
Big Blue is a large water tank that stores our water supply that lasts the two of us about 5 days.  This is located on the upper level and on the other side of the wall is the bathroom.  The concept for the cold water supply being on the second level is to add pressure into the taps to downstairs in the kitchen. 

Pump for the well water to put into Big Blue
This is what takes the water from our well, and pushes it up to store in Big Blue.  It is operated with a gas powered generator at the time, but we are looking at other alternatives.  It takes about 20 min to fill Big Blue.

Hot Water creation
Our Princess also makes our hot water.  Inside the fire box, is a coil that water runs through and gets heated up with the fire in the box.  The bottom straight pipe is cold water going in and the angled pipe is hot water going out and being stored in a hot water tank on the other side of the wall.  This process is called thermosiphoning   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermosiphon.  This system works incredibly well...sometimes we just have to run the water as it gets a bit too warm!  

That is our system...we asked advice from where we bought our stove as the Amish and Mennonites use this system for themselves.  We are very happy and satisfied with it...should you decide to switch over, Karl is our hands on expert so feel free to ask his opinion and pros and cons or what he would do different...if anything.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wabi Sabi is...

Our Wabi Sabi Front Door

the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.  This is a Japanese philosophy that in in today's Japan, the meaning is often condensed to ″wisdom in natural simplicity" or in art books, it is typically defined as ″flawed beauty.″ 

This describes our front door perfectly.  We came across this door through a friend who had invited us to go clamming and have dinner on the beach.  We accepted the invitation and while on the beach, Karl came across this door that a neighbor had discarded because it no longer worked for their home.  We thought the door was very interesting and left it there and continued our adventure of clamming and dinner on the beach.  Well, a few months later as we were doing our our renovations at our place, we needed a front door.  As you can kind of see from the photo, it is not a normal sized entrance, and we immediately thought of the door on the beach.  We wondered if it would still be there...so we took a drive and sure enough it was.  We loaded it up on our 1990 Toyota (a wabi sabi vechicle) and brought it home.  It fit wabi sabi perfectly.  We scrapped some of the old paint off and left the remainder and we think that it fits great and looks perfect for our front door. 

The photo is from Karl's mom and dad because they thought the door was beautiful when they saw it and loved the story of it even more.  I think that I am definately a Wabi Sabi kind of a girl.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The latest editions...

Meet Marcus...AKA Marty

Meet Spartacus...AKA Sparty
We picked these two brothers up yesterday to add to our little world here on HillTop.  They are 8 weeks old and a great source of entertainment.  We call them our MIT...mousers in training.  We've know we have a few mice around because we saw alot of tracks outside this winter...nothing inside and I am sure these guys will not let that happen! 

Brotherly Love...Sweet Dreams

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Home Sweet Home

The comfort of homemade bread...hmmmm
We have been making our own bread now for the past few years and really enjoy the entire process.  From the mixing of the dough to the smells coming from the oven...what a treat.  We follow the No Knead Bread (www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html?_r=1) recipe and are very pleased with the results.  It reminds me of growing up and the German breads we would have at home...yum yum,! 
We have varying results with the bread depending on room temperature, water temperature and the quality and age of the yeast.  The one in the photo turned out to one of the better ones that we have done.  The cooking can get a bit tricky in the Princess as we have to make sure that we maintain a constant high temperature (at least 475 if not higher) so being on the ball and making sure the fire is stoked is very important.  We use the old cast iron crock pot to cook it in and the crust turns out perfect.  Bread or some type has a history that is over 30,000 years old...there is something to be said about that!
Happy Easter and enjoy the moments!
PS The cutting board on the left was handmade by Karl...had to put that out there!