91 down : 274 to go

What a day! Yesterday I had remarked about all the work we’ve been doing lately. We got #3 off to school on time and on the bus today. I still have 1 dining room wall that needs paint, today we got one step closer by moving a very large piece of furniture that had been in my way, which also resulted in taking down an Ikea coatrack that we’ve had forever. Once the indoor work was done we again wandered out to that cinder block wall we’ve been tackling. Together we determined a workable pattern and made a Lowe’s run for the supplies needed to get finished. We also bought tomato plant stakes (I know it’s a little late for that, but we got it to work). Best part of our outside job was the trial run of the bike wash. I am happy to report that it does work, it does not leak at any of the joints, and the boys got properly soaked after a few runs. In fact, we were surprised by how well it worked, even after we turned the water down low to save a little.

Dinner was the only break we had all day. It was a good break too. We had…

Spicy Cheddar Burgers with Chile Mayonnaise and Cumin Roasted Fries

★★★★★

Burgers

  • 2 ⅓ lbs. lean ground beef
  • 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Chile Mayonnaise

  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 4 oz. jar diced green chiles
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 4 kaiser rolls, toasted
  • Tomato slices

Fries

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 3 large baking potatoes, (2lbs) cut into 1/2 in. strips
Burgers: Heat large cast iron or other heavy bottomed skillet on medium high 5 minutes.  Get grill started. Combine beef, cheese, 1/4 cup cilantro, chili powder, 3/4 tsp salt and pepper in large bowl; shape mixture into 6 patties. Place in skillet on grill and cook 4 minutes on each side for medium rare, or to desired doneness.
Mayonnaise: Meanwhile puree together lime juice, chiles, mayonnaise, remaining cilantro and remaining salt in food processor until smooth. Serve burgers on rolls with chile mayonnaise and slices of tomato and avocado.
Fries: Preheat oven to 450º. Combine oil, cumin, and salt in large bowl; add poratoes and toss to coat. Spread potatoes in single layer on (2)baking sheet coated with cooking spray and bake, turning once, until tender and golden brown, 30 minutes.Makes 6 burgers

Source : Redbook February 2002

This was very good. My fries ended up being cut more like shoestring fries and I had a little trouble with them sticking to the pans, but they were tasty. The mayonnaise mix is really good, we even dipped our fries in it. The original recipe called for avocado along with the tomato.

After dinner we were back outside finishing up the wall. We used liquid nails to hold it all together and stacked it all up. (This was done before dinner, we left it settle while we ate.) Then we started fitting the open holes with wire for planting. When I found the original picture for this idea, I tracked it back to the website it originated from. There I discovered it was just a picture with no instructions for how it was done. It looked simple enough, but how were we suppose to plant things in those cinder blocks that were hanging over the ground? There’s a hole in the bottom, dear Liza, dear Liza! So let me tell you how we did it just in case you try it for yourselves! 

#1: After the blocks are stacked and arranged the way you like and your plants are selected, you will also need : ¼” hardware cloth, landscaping fabric, masonry gravel, potting soil, tin snips, good leather gloves, scissors.

#2: Cut the wire to a size slightly larger than the openings. Bend the sides to create a little basket and fit it down in. This works well for the stacked blocks. For those blocks that are hanging out with an exposed bottom we drilled an angled hole, inserted a nail with a head larger than the openings on the wire cloth, essentially hung the basket over the nails. Be very careful, the wire cloth is sharp!

#3: Cut landscape fabric in squares slightly larger than the openings and nest down inside the baskets. Fill with a scoop or 2 of the gravel, top with soil, add your plant and fill in soil around the edges. Give them a good watering.

In the end we were very pleased with the results. The original did not use the solid caps like we did. We thought it gave us a nice finished edge and also a place to sit out candles and place drinks. We chose plants that (we hope) won’t require a lot of maintenance. Sedums, lavender, thyme, basil, sweet potato vines, ornamental peppers, and a few other perennial succulents. We were trying not to pick anything that would get flowers on it in the hopes that we wouldn’t have bees and such up around the patio. We didn’t find any, but think herbs that repel insects and a citronella plant would have been great.

Patio side just finished

Back side with trailing plants

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