Minor updates & temporary kitchen thoughts

Yesterday I built a raised temporary garden bed out of cheap lumber and store-bought topsoil, and today Lis and I transplanted the plants from around the deck that we’d like to keep into it. Construction is sure to destroy the current beds, and we fear the plants wouldn’t be far enough along at the start of construction to be able to transplant them.

I ran one of the soapstone samples through the dishwasher, and sure enough it removed all traces of oil, as predicted. I then sealed it with three different stone sealing products — one water-based, one solvent-based, and one “enhancing” sealer. Only the water-based sealer provided effective protection against darkening from oil. The other two provided decent protection against water.

We’ve started to give some thought to our temporary kitchen, and generally how to survive food-wise during the remodel. The logical place for a temporary kitchen seems to be the basement.

We’re planning to have a laundry tub installed in the basement at the beginning of the project. This will require a waste pump because of the elevation of the main sewer pipe, but is well worth the expense because we’ll find use for it long-term, if for nothing else than washing out paintbrushes.

The current fridge will also find a permanent home in the basement; after the remodel, it will be off most of the time but provide valuable backup storage and a temperature-controlled fermentation chamber for brewing.

I’ll probably clean off one of my two small workbenches for counter space and storage, and perhaps grab some of the existing countertop. I doubt any of the kitchen cabinets will survive de-installation, unfortunately, so I doubt we’ll be able to re-purpose any of those.  We do have a few nice wire shelves in the basement already, and we may try to find room for one more.

Coincidentally, friends of ours are in the market for an over-the-range microwave. Once construction starts, we will trade ours for their countertop model, which we’ll be able to use in the basement.  Our toaster oven is a nice large one with a convection feature, so that will also be useful. I think we’ll put the crock pot to good use too.

I have a cheap-ass electric hotplate, which I’ll probably supplement with an $80 induction hotplate. There’s no ventilation in the basement, of course, so it’s not like I am going to be stir-frying. But for a pot of pasta and some sauce, those two will suffice.

We hope, of course, that our primary cooking will be on the grill, as it tends to be in summertime anyway. And we can always break out the Coleman stove.

Lis made a suggestion that I think is a good one: we should take advantage of our chest freezer and cook ahead a supply of reheatable meals — primarily for lunches, but also a big help when we’ve got some project-related task we need to get done.

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