We've had a second mason come look at the steps. I think he's going to come in under the previous dude. He also won't be working in his off time which makes a huge improvement in how long it takes.
I'm planning to make an apple pie from scratch for Thanksgiving. I started last night, given some experience with misreading durations, compounded with the the discovery that recipes assume "mise en place," that the time starts when you have everything out and measured and prepared as described in the ingredients list. I won't measure everything into little pretty glass bowls, but i did measure all the dry ingredients that need to be mixed together at the beginning and began shredding the frozen butter. I have some suspicion that i should have shredded the butter directly into flour. I got a sense, at least, of how quickly the butter warms up so the second shredding will start with a freezer kept box shredder.
This is one of the recipes i'm planning to use -- not this crust -- https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/perfect-apple-pie.html. And i bought one each of the nice big loose apples. I'm trying to decide if i will peel some or all. I don't do so, usually. On the other hand, peeling the soft-fall-apart apples seems to be the point, so they fall apart.
Christine was VERY SAD that we wouldn't just buy a Marie Calendar Dutch apple pie, but yielded as i pointed out she could come home with one of those whenever she wanted to.
With the sweet potatoes, i cooked the two large purple ones that i had damaged. 28.4 oz and 9.2 oz. I've never noticed the latex ooze out of a sweet potato. This is probably because i only recently began eating them and usually just throw the thing in the microwave whole. This time - wow - sap. I cooked both of them, the large one in half, for an hour in a 350°F oven. My! First, the color keeps with an intensity that is far more pleasant than how any of the blue potatoes after cooking. It was not as cloyingly sweet as some sweet potatoes -- i don't know if that's because it hadn't been cured and stored -- but it was still sweet. Christine loved it: i think it's the first time i've grown something not commonly available in the grocery store that she's enjoyed.
Later on i washed and cut up all the tiny pencil-thin (and thinner) tubers. After a little bit, i could tell which ones were too tough and which were all right. These were mostly from the NC-122 plants: a beautiful rose red outside, bright orange inside. I roasted those with olive oil, salt, pepper, onion, and all the young potatoes i dug up. It was beautiful and colorful. I'll make sure to collect the tiny roots in the future.
I think i can really see the difference in feature selection in the two different plants. The NC122 had all the tubers close to the top of the soil. In looser loam, i could imagine just pulling the plants up and getting all the roots, clustered tight at the stem. The purple one had tubers strung out along the roots, some somewhat deep. I suspect NC-122 is engineered for just-so soil. The purple ones might be more adaptable.