The Building Begins



Delivering the Wood

Delivering the Wood

You can imagine that this was an exciting day for us.  Our house (now it’s actually called an “addition” – more on that later) was about to start.  After so many years and so many plans, and changes, and money… here it is….the day!  This guy – we named him Mr. Happy – never smiled.  We figured he hated his job…but we were ecstatic!

Three days later our builders arrived.

The Beginning

The Beginning

Little Choptank 2016 D April 127

Little Choptank 2016 D April 130

Every day there was some progress – all that took about seven days, not counting the weekend.


More wood deliveries

More wood deliveries


The plywood starts

The plywood starts


Meanwhile, John and I decided we wanted to build one of those mileage directional signs.  We had pallets around – some of them pretty beat up, but we were able to salvage a lot of pieces.  And using Pinterest as inspiration, he cut some into shapes, others just with a point, and I painted them and looked up mileage.

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He cemented the post down by our little beach area, I think it came out pretty good!

When the plywood was done, the next step was the walls!  I know, we’re getting a little nutty here, but this was thrilling!

Little Choptank 2016 E May 043

Little Choptank 2016 E May 046

With the framing going up, it really started looking like a house.

View from the water

View from the water


There’s the Crab Shack, cute, little Katrina Cottage.  If you’ve followed along you already know the cost of building the stand-alone house in the middle of the property wound up being too expensive. (You can read about that here) And if we wanted to do a stand-alone where this “addition” is now, we actually wouldn’t have been able to!  Rules have changed, and we would have had to build farther back from the water. There were also many more rules and regulations that would have to be met…such as sprinklers in every room.  Now sprinklers are a good idea, don’t get me wrong.  But we feel they should be the choice of the homeowner.  They are also very expensive, AND…down here, we all have wells for our water.  The well would not be able to keep up with the demand if there should be a fire!  So, some people (we’ve been told) have added huge tanks to hold water!  At great expense!  Crazy.  So, we went down to town hall to find out if it would be possible to “add-on” to the Crab Shack, and even though we all love it, we are changing it a bit inside and adding our “house” to it!  More on this in a future post.

So as the framing is getting worked on, we get this delivery….roof trusses!  The truck was gigantic, the driver was extremely adept at maneuvering, and then he just lifted the back of the cab and let them fall off!  I was shocked!  But don’t worry, they were fine.

Roof trusses

Roof trusses


He just drops them!

He just drops them!


Next post, we’ll see the trusses getting installed, and some more awesome drone pictures!  Come back and see!  Meanwhile, enjoy the white heron and a beautiful sunset.

Little Choptank 2016 G July 012.jpg cropped

Little Choptank 2016 G July 089




Eggplant, Spinach and Roasted Pepper Panini




On a recent trip back to New Jersey, John and I went to lunch at a place we had never been to in our town – Bon Appetit Deli and Catering.  We thought it was solely a catering place – but we found out they decided to open the deli and put in a few tables a couple of years ago and the food was delicious and the specials were – well, really special!

Now right up front here I have to admit this is not a quick, throw-together type of Panini.  It takes a little prep, but if you like to cook, and enjoy making a special dish once in a while, then this one is a winner.  Plus, if you really plan – you could make extra eggplant cutlets and either make a parmesan right then for dinner, or freeze the eggplant cutlets and have them for another Panini or for a future eggplant parmesan dinner.

Peel and cut your eggplant in long slices.  I guess you could do rounds if you want to, but they had them this way, and that’s the way I did it.

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Whisk a few eggs in a dish, and put some breadcrumbs in another dish….you know the drill.


By the way, you know this white gook that you have in every egg?  I wonder if there’s a term for disliking that thing because I remove it from every single egg I use. Whether I’m making a cake, or breakfast, or just using the eggs for dipping, like this.  Now that I think of it though, when I make hard-boiled eggs, I never wind up seeing it after they’re cooked!  Where does it go?  Something I will be pondering I’m afraid.

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Saute your spinach if you want to do it in a clean pan first, then saute your eggplant cutlets.

Little Choptank 2016 C March 135

Little Choptank 2016 C March 130








Drain your roasted peppers. And get your provolone slices ready.

Now, for the pesto mayonnaise.  I always made my own pesto.  I grew basil in my garden, and at the end of the season I picked it all, cleaned it all and made batches and batches of pesto.  I’d freeze them in little plastic containers and they’d last right up until the next growing season.  Then while we were fixing up the house to move, I didn’t plant my herb garden.  I tried several kinds of store-bought pesto, and although they were all…okay… there wasn’t one I found I would buy a second time.  Then my cousin Irene told me about Costco’s pesto!  Yes – you read that right!

Costco Pesto

It’s delicious! I freeze it in little baggies like Irene told me to, it’s a little messy when you take it out, but it saves space in the freezer, and here in the Crab Shack I don’t have much freezer space.


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Okay, now assemble your Panini:

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Little Choptank 2016 C March 147  Little Choptank 2016 C March 149Little Choptank 2016 C March 151

After grilling it in your Griddler, or Panini maker, or broiler, or even in a regular old pan on the cooktop you get this:

Little Choptank 2016 C March 153

Little Choptank 2016 C March 157

I hope you will love it as much as we did!  Enjoy the weekend!


Eggplant, Spinach and Roasted Pepper Panini


  • Eggplants
  • Eggs
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Oil for sauteing
  • Spinach
  • Roasted Red Peppers (from a jar)
  • Provolone cheese slices
  • Pesto
  • Mayo
  • Panini rolls


  1. Clean and saute the spinach, add salt, pepper and a little garlic powder to the spinach
  2. Peel and slice the eggplants the long way, egg and breadcrumb them and saute till golden
  3. Drain the red (or red and yellow) roasted red peppers
  4. Combine pesto- I'd say 1/4 cup with 1/4 cup mayo. You can add as much or as little as you like
  5. Spread the panini bread with the pesto mayo on both sides
  6. Lay the eggplant slices to cover the whole panini
  7. Add on the sauteed spinach
  8. Put the roasted pepper on top of the spinach
  9. and cover all this deliciousness with slices of provolone cheese. You may use mozzarella instead, or muenster, or swiss or whatever you want! I won't mind.
  10. Put your beautiful sandwiches in your panini maker, or on your Griddler, or in your broiler if that's what you have and cook till the cheese is melted.
  11. Eat and enjoy! Yum!



Back to Work



I’m thinking it’s about time I get back to blogging.  With the holidays, and packing up for our move, writing has kind of fallen by the wayside.  But now there’s a little bit of progress to report, so hopefully you’ll see consistent articles in the future.

(I write that as if I’m not the one in control.  Hahaha.  Hopefully some blogs will get written, let’s look at the page and see if something magically appears.) 

We always go into the city to see the tree

We always go into the city to see the tree

We had a very nice, if low key holiday. We took our annual trip into New York City.  We went to the Shake Shack for the first time, then to Rockefeller Center, to the store in the N.Y. Public Library, and then to Bryant Park.  The weather was good and the four of us had a great time. 

This year I decided not to take down every single Christmas decoration since we weren’t hosting Christmas and, well, because I just didn’t feel like it.  Our plan over the past few months has been bringing down boxes from the attic, cleaning them out, and then packing them up for the “move” by putting them in the garage.  And our attic was stuffed.  So now it’s the Christmas boxes.  I actually still have them in the living room, some still need to be weeded through.  It’s hard getting rid of some of the old decorations.  They go back a lot of years, and even if I don’t decorate with them anymore, they still bring back memories. It’s not easy letting go. 

St. Patrick's is getting a makeover

St. Patrick’s is getting a makeover

We thought our metal building would be done by now, and we were going to bring down lots of our stuff, so that when we put the house on the market (target date is this May) the house will be somewhat empty, and when the actual move happens, there won’t be that much to take.  I’m not taking a lot of the furniture.  It fit in this house, and I’ve had it for 20 years but we’ll get new stuff for our waterfront house.  Which, you will probably remember, isn’t even built yet.  We will be moving into the “Crab Shack.”  Then, hopefully in the fall, after interviewing builders and finalizing our house plans, we will start to build!  It’s so exciting. It’s THIS YEAR that we’ll be building our new house!  I can hardly believe it!  It’s been 7 years since we bought the property, and the time is almost here!  Of course living in 1000 sq. ft. cabin for a year will be a bit challenging.  Especially because I’ll want to bring a lot of my “stuff” into the Crab Shack with me. (Winter clothes, small kitchen appliances (and I have a lot), all the stuff from my office!)  But I have a feeling most of it will be in bins in the garage.  I plan to mark them well, with “things to leave in front” actually placed in the front of all the other bins.  Will that actually happen? Eh, it’s a toss-up. 

Bryant Park

Bryant Park

Skating is FREE!  You can rent skates, but if you have your own, it's totally free!

Skating is FREE! You can rent skates, but if you have your own, it’s totally free!

So, on to the metal building update:  we met with Nick from Diamond State Pole Buildings in October.  That’s OCTOBER, over three months ago!  We thought the building would have been up before Christmas.  And it was no fault of Nick’s.  He sent his guy to our town hall to apply for the permit, a service they provide when you buy a building.  But here’s the catch.  When you are building anything on the water, there are rules and regulations and protocols you must follow before anything gets approved.

The Chrysler Building had just that minute turned on it's lights.

The Chrysler Building had just that minute turned on it’s lights.

So did the Empire State Building

So did the Empire State Building

We needed to get a surveyor down to the property to map out the surrounding area, and presumably to draw in where the building would be.  But, this area has parts that are in the “buffer zone.” Yes, the dreaded “buffer zone.”  You are discouraged from building in the buffer zone, it would be a whole other rigmarole to get approval, and we had enough property that the building could be moved a little to make sure it was in the safe area. (Yes, maybe some of the regulations are warranted, it saves the shoreline from erosion and the Bay from pollution.  We get it.)

The water around the boat froze.

The water around the boat froze.



However, we now needed another guy to come down and draw up where the buffer zone actually was, and to test the soil to make sure it could hold the weight of the building.  And this is where we lost track.  That person was unknown to us, it was around the holidays, and nobody but us cared about the time factor.  We lost a month waiting for him to get down to the property and submit his drawings.  When that finally happened (two weeks ago) we realized that we now had to add plantings (trees and shrubs) to the property in the amount of square footage of the building.  You take away with one hand; you have to give back with the other.  So I researched plants native to Maryland (a requirement) and drew up a map of our property placing the trees, large and small, and the shrubs, and we went down to Maryland to our town hall to submit our plan.  After meeting with three different people in two different parts of town, we got verbal approval.  However, the actual permit won’t be issued for two to four weeks, at which time Nick will order the building, taking another two weeks to get delivered.  Seeing the pattern here?  SLOW.  Everything is slower than you want, and you need a lot of patience!  I said to John that when we move down in May we should start applying for our building permit for the house, which we won’t need until October.  And hopefully we will get it in time!  

Lots of geese flying in

Lots of geese flying in

Ice is gone, all is well

Ice is gone, all is well


Burning Down the Barns



You may remember that we had two old barns, in addition to the house, that needed to come down.  Because of zoning and building laws, which we’ll get into in another post, the main house has to stay until we are actually ready to build the “new” main house.  But these two barns we wanted to get rid of right away so we could put up a new garage, and a guest cottage, which we thought of at the time as the boat house.  Not really a boat house to house a boat, but we liked to call it that anyway.  As it turns out, the plans and cost of that boat house became so astronomical, we had to change it all completely, and we would up with what we now term, “The Crab Shack.”  But I digress…

The two barns were, to say the least, disgusting.  I don’t know why I don’t have pictures of the inside because I usually take pictures of everything! (Like the shed snake-skin I found in a bush– in its entirety!  I thought it was amazing, although nobody else but John thought it was impressive.)


Anyway, we had a dock builder over to give us a quote, (hey, we all have our priorities) and the guy gave us a wonderful tip…. the fire department in town would burn down both buildings for a nominal fee, and use it as a learning experience for the new recruits.  We thought that was a great idea!  As it turned out, our builder/contractor did have to tear down one building because the fire would have been too large!


So, the first building comes down.  Then it got pushed over to the other one.  The fire department showed up very early one morning.

Little Choptank Dec.07 002wtmk


And started the blaze.

Little Choptank Dec.07 003wtmk


They were all ready with hoses in case it got out of control.  They had to monitor the weather of course, we didn’t want a windy day!  And here it is full-out…..

Little Choptank Dec.07 005wtmk


It’s all over…..

Little Choptank Dec.07 010wtmk


Little Choptank Dec.07 013wtmk

Next, we’ll start building the garage!