Sunday, July 31, 2011

Let the FUN Begin!

Until now Dave has been carrying the weight around here, while I sit and make lists. Sooo many lists. 
Today was my first day of REAL labor.
I ironed. Until I thought I might drop dead.
All the table cloths (7 really big ones) and somewhere around a million bandanas. Okay, maybe not a million, or even close, but it sure felt like it.

I forgot to take the before pic. They were a hot mess, and a much more impressive stack, when they were a crumpled mass.

I did manage to get a shot of the mountain of table cloths. 

After. All under control and safely stored in the guest room closet.

I spent an hour fluffing the tissue pom poms back into recognition. Thankfully, they were not damaged by the Great Basement Flood of 2k11, but they were smushed into two little boxes.

I'm working on gathering all the supplies and decorations in the closet. I'm almost done, but still need to get to the party store for more plates and paper cups for the kids.
I've decided that it might be cheaper, and more green, to buy more bandanas instead of paper napkins. We've already got a ton.
Most of the silverware is clean and ready to go.

16 bottles of (cheap) merlot for the Sangria.

After the ironing and fluffing, I switched over to waffle making. Since we'll have a house full as well as a bunch of campers, we'll be serving waffles with maple syrup and fruit for breakfast on Sunday.
Hey, if you're staying in VT for the night, you should come by for some waffles!!
Franklin was super interested in the waffle making. 
I made 6 batches of Belgian waffles, which sadly only made 42 waffles. I might make another batch next weekend. They're all double wrapped in foil and stored in the bakery freezer.
I got some breakfast sausages at the Farmer's Market yesterday, but I'm sure I'll need more.

Midway through my first batch of waffles, it was time for a drink.

I didn't even think to take a photo of the waffle making process, which probably would have been more interesting than a pile of wrinkled table cloths.

My drink is interesting though? No? 
I got this awesome glass at a thrift SUPERSTORE in Brattleboro a couple of months ago. I also got some cheap silverware there. Some of you will be lucky enough to use it. (not the glass, the silverware)
I lurve my Peanuts glass. Evidently this was made before Lucy switched careers and became a psychiatrist.

Here are some of my lists. A map/plan-o-gram for the tent and table set up, the menu, grocery list, to do list, things to buy list, things to buy online list, and a second to do list. 
I almost forgot!! There are also a few pages of How To Host a Pie Contest!!
I'll be posting the Pie Contest info tomorrow, so if anyone has a super monkey, fabulous pie recipe that you'd like to make and enter in the contest, check back Tuesday!!
We're also looking for Judges for the pie contest.
And just so you know, I'm not making a pie for the contest.

This is my Party Binder. I keep my lists, recipes and receipts in there. I'll be making more detailed lists as we get closer, so detailed they'll have timelines and schedules.
I'm a little bit insane, but I'm hoping this will be the best Hoedown yet, and I'll be able to relax and enjoy  some time with you all.
(those are Dave's Doritos BTW) We won't have those at the Hoedown. Unless I can make them from scratch. NOT.
In case you hadn't noticed, I'm watermark crazy. 
Don't forget to check back for Pie Contest rules and info, the menu and more exciting footage of my crazy party preparations.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

If at first you don't succeed in building a dam, try, try again.

All you faithful readers are no doubt aware of the attempt to redirect some of the fresh water from the culvert into the pond so that all the barbequers who want to go swimming can enjoy some fresh, clean water.

Just to refresh your memory, here's what Dam 1.0 looked like.

This solution worked well enough, but if you know me, you know I am the kind of person that doesn't accept "well enough". I am constantly striving for prefection.

Introducing "Dam 2.0"

As you can see, we've added the second tube, which allows for more water into the pond, connected to a complex system of pressure treated wood and nine screws. All held together with a tube of caulking.

I know I can always fall back on my civil engineering degree!

Heavy rains yesterday were a great test for Dam 2.0. The water below the dam is forced into the pond, while the rest of the water is free to flow into the brook! It can't fail.

And if it does, I know who I can get to take the fall.

There's nothing like waiting until the last minute....

If you've been to the MoHo Hoedown before, you are no doubt in constant amazement of the wonderful landscaping of our property. Especially the stairway which leads to the lower lawn...

Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but this is what it usually looks like about an hour before everyone shows up....

This year, however, we are trying to be a little more prepared, so with the heat wave passed, I was able to get out and get some yard work done in anticipation of the BBQ.

I cleaned up the stairs.

We also had three of these crazy/prickly/dangerous plants growing in the lawn.

I removed them with a rake and my cutters and dumped them on the other side of the road that runs behind the house. Out of sight, out of mind!

I was also able to cut some of the low/dead branches from the pine trees, lest any branches fall off and knock out some unsuspecting barbequers.

I'd like to give a shout out to Laura's dad for giving us a telescoping tree saw. He also taught me that the safest way to cut branches is from the top of an unsteady ladder.

What better way to end a day of yard work than a dip in the pond with the dogs!

Stay tuned for "The One Where They Build A Dam, Part 2"....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The One Where They Build a Dam....

This picture was taken in late September 2010. 

This picture was taken last week.

Heavy rains in late September 2010 really caused the brook to run high. Though it was exciting to see, it eroded the ground around the culvert which runs under the road and diverts fresh water into the pond. So for the last few months there has been no fresh water running into the pond (other than rain water).

So, with the BBQ approaching and the pond looking rather murky, it was time to call in the big guns!

Our plan. Build a dam right after the culvert to raise the water level and add a longer tube to collect the water from deeper in the culvert. Piece. Of. Cake.

 Getting to work!

Into the culvert!

Laying the pipe.

Keep it in place with some cinder blocks.

Use some additional blocks to raise the water level and....

Viola! The pond once again starts filling up with fresh water.

With a little luck the dam will hold and the pond will be ready for everyone's enjoyment during the BBQ! And I'll be more than happy to give everyone a tour when they come up. It might look something like this....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

This isn't Barbecue music....

That's a phrase I've been hearing a lot lately.

Here's a snapshot of some of the tunes you'll be hearing at the BBQ. At the bottom you'll notice we've pared it down to 16.2 hours. We started at around 20 hours of music, but not every song out there is BBQ worthy. Hence the phrase "This isn't Barbecue music....".

Anywho, you can expect a lot of late sixties/early seventies bands as this is one of my favorite music eras. We also have lots of great chillwave/indy rock bands like Grizzly Bear, Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire and Animal Collective. What! You've never heard of Animal Collective...

That was them on Dave Letterman... great, huh? Also, we will be looking for volunteers to dance under sheets during the karaoke portion of the BBQ.

I also want to give a big shout out to Brian from the Intoxicators (what, you've never heard of the Intoxicators?!? Geesh, where have you guys been?).

How can you not love a band with a song titled "Homemade Septic Tank"? Anyway, Brian sent me a great mix cd with a bunch of great BBQ songs that I never would have found on my own.

If you've got any summertime/bbq favorites let me know and I'll see if they fit in the mix. I can't make any guarantees. You'll never know if your song will warrant a "This isn't Barbecue music...."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Making the Hoe Down GREEN!!

As the past 4 Hoe Downs have gone by, we've been trying to make less waste.
While using disposable cups, plates, napkins and flatware is so darned easy to cleanup, it sure does cause a TON of garbage...and landfill.
So, in my attempt to reduce the amount of trash created by the Hoe Down, each year we'll be using more and more non disposable supplies.
I'm so happy that this year we've got glass mason jars for Sangria and fresh squeezed, strawberry lemonade.

Image from Oh Lovely Day

And regular flatware!! No plastic utensils this year, which means there will be more stuff to wash, but how great that we'll probably eliminate at least one bag of garbage?

Image from Apartment Therapy

I'm working on getting us some nice cloth napkins and melamine plates, but these things are a bit expensive. Especially the plates, and especially because I only want red, blue, yellow or white plates. We'll still have paper plates and most likely paper napkins, but hey, we're halfway there, right?
And we will still have paper and plastic cups for the kiddos!

Hey! Is Anyone Out There???

So, welcome to the HoeDown 2k11 blog!
I'm hoping at least SOME of you will be reading along.
My plans are to use this blog to tell you about what we are serving for food, what you can bring, what ACTIVITIES are planned.
Hah! Yes, this year there will be some new things going down.
For starters, I'm not making all the food. Shocker, I know. I'm getting a bunch of BBQ from Squeels on Wheels. You can pretty much count on some pulled pork, chicken, cole slaw, and potato salad. I haven't decided if I'm going to make my macaroni and cheese or not. (I probably will cause I'm crazy like that) And of course, I'll be making a big dessert spread, including another Birthday cake for Malik!
I also know that I'll be making a bunch of these:

Delicious, Tomato Pie. My friend Jen posted the recipe on her blog last Summer and I think Dave and I must have eaten at least 6 of them in one month.
It's made with heirloom tomatoes, home made pesto, using local garlic and basil, locally made mozzarella, all baked inside of a Parmesan cheese biscuit crust.
I tell you, it's the greatest pie on Earth.
I wrote about it on my other blog last year, here's the link. You just have to scroll down to see it. AND, Jen will be coming all the way from Bethlehem, PA for the Hoe Down!! We met online, and have only met in person ONCE, in New York City. But her husband Steve actually came and stayed with us for a weekend not too long ago. So, they should be a super fun addition to our Hoe Down. I'm very excited.
And how apropo that Jen is the FIRST person to follow and comment on this blog??!!
Where the hell are the rest of you?
Anyway, I don't want to ramble on here, so I'll wrap it up.
There is going to be a pie contest, there is also going to be a pie EATING contest!
I'll have more details later.
In the meantime, here are some pics from last year:

I'm still getting used to this Blogger, so no more pics for now. It's kinda crappy compared to my Wordpress blog. I'm sure I'll get used to it though...
Be sure to stop back again soon for more info and start!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Welcome to the MoHo Hoedown Official Blog!

Hello Everyone!

It's almost time for the 5th annual MoHo Hoedown.
All the invitations have been sent and we hope you all can make it.

You can follow along here and see all the festivities come together, find out what you can bring, and anything else you might want to know about the hoedown here.

Check back soon for more information!