Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Temperatures this past week reached a high of sixty, and garden fever started to set in. I got out to do little clean up things and took the time to enjoy the fresh air. No lawn chair time yet.

With the mild temperatures I worked on teaching Hunter to go out and play by himself. He did a lot of exploring and in a week has gained the confidence to be alone for a while. I think he even forgot that he was alone. 

In one twelve hour overnight, the temperatures went down to five degrees and we go a nice cover of snow. At least twelve inches with higher drifts. Very normal for January. With Hunter's new confidence though, we had to struggle to get him to come in. He is a snow dog for sure. I can now just open the door and let him go. Training a puppy has been a chore, but he is learning a new word this week. The word is "love". When he doesn't bite or jump we are repeating the word love and rewarding him. This may take a bit longer, but it's working. 

I did, however, have to have my daughter keep him inside while I shoveled a path to the compost bin. This would have been a festival for him, but unsafe for me. He will learn to walk with me I'm sure, but for now it's a tag team chore. 

Now that he will go outside for more than twenty minutes alone, it gives me time to make him cookies. These are sweet potato carrot cookies. Money saving and healthier for him. Takes no time at all to make, and I could have just sliced them, but it's fun using the cutter. 

To get my garden fever under control I started some chamomile. It seems to take a bit longer to get strong enough to transplant so I started it early. With the demise of the bee colony we can now take the time to build a good pollination garden.

I have finally chosen my next knitting project. This popcorn stitch shawl is in one of my 1978 pamphlets. I have already taken the time to write out the instructions, so I can read them and have them ready row by row. I have time to think about color and types of yarn while I finish some socks and small projects. Even though this would be awesome for sitting and quilting to keep me warm, it is a while down the road before I will get to start, if not next winter.
That is what has been going on here at the Town House Homestead. We are still waiting on the windows and insulation. It takes four to six weeks to get the windows, so not much longer before major work begins. It's been a time to slow down and mend hurting bodies, and as you can tell dedicate time to raising a great pet. Thank you for stopping by and have a great week. Remember to share your abundance and love. 

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Well here we are in 2018 starting new again. The severe temperatures took the last of the surviving bees, but we will begin again in early spring 2019. We will take the time to plant a stronger pollination garden and prepare better. Although we are saddened, we did out best. It warmed up enough to bring the hive box inside so that we could clean it, and retrieve whatever honey and wax for our use. Needless to say everything is frozen.

My daughter managed to clean one side of a frame and simmer down the frozen wax and honey. The bee shaped jar we found thrifting, and she promised it would hold the very first honey she got from her own bees. We will be able to fill this jar and maybe another. We are not sure of the amount of wax we will have, but all will not be lost.

There is canning on the horizon. Soups, broths, and stocks from the stock up in the freezer. This has been a blessing for us because we actually eat what we can. I like my deep pantry. I also use canning jars to vacuum seal everything from cooking and baking supplies to dog food. Extra work, but safer storage.

You know it's winter and a time to slow down when a shoe box of knitting is on the end table. A pair of socks here and there and small things made from leftover scraps. We try to use everything if we can. I also have a stack of patterns that I'm searching through for my next winter knitting project.

My quilt is closer to being done. Much more to do, but I'm making progress. My goal is to have it on my bed by the end of this month. I'm just hoping I have made enough binding for it because my scrap pile of this fabric is quite small.

Yes, this little guy and I had a good Christmas. I'm still working hard at the bonding with him, but he's learned to leave my bare feet alone, not chase my feet, not touch my sewing or knitting and he tries hard to listen. Our major goal with him is to stop the play biting and jumping, but everyone tells me he's still young. Hunter will be one year old February first. 

I hope that everyone is surviving the cold winter. I have a bad case of Spring fever today, but I have seeds to organize and lots to keep me busy. Thank you for stopping by and have a great new year.  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Town House Homestead Tuesday

So as we speak, we are getting pounded with snow. I was told, because we don't have television and I haven't checked on line, that we could have up to sixteen inches by tomorrow evening. So glad I got the outside work done when I did, and as much put away as possible. 
We are moving on with the next phase of house renovations. My daughter has obtained affordable financing to insulate the attic, basement, put in proper vents, build a new attic hatch, and replace windows. A big job we know, but it needs to be done to prevent any more damage from weather and animals. Nothing has been done for upgrades for decades, but it's all coming.

I used up the last pumpkin. It was a small one, but it made these delicious pumpkin raisin muffins. Baking them made the house smell like the holidays.

This is another baby quilt made from left over scraps of fabric. It is going to a young woman who is expecting at the first of the year. She was selected by my daughter's office along with another woman, to receive holiday gifts through the YWCA Angel program. My daughter made this one. At this point in time I think we've lost count of the scrap quilts we've donated. It always makes you feel good giving. 

I spent a couple of hours this past weekend, not canning, but vacuum sealing dog food for Hunter. Buying in bulk has been the best way to get the kibbles for him. It totaled thirty two quarts and we do it to keep the mice out of it, and it's easier to store in the deep pantry. 

Hunter has been a lot of entertainment with the snow. He's tried to catch the flakes and has chased them for hours. We tied an old nylon rope to this ball and when he drags it, it fills with snow, and he swings it to cover himself when it flies out. Who knew? Now to teach him to be out by himself. It's too cold for my aching bones and I'm totally at a loss, but at least it's not muddy any more, and he only comes in damp, not soaked and dirty. A great improvement as far as cleaning up after him. That's what's been happening at the Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a great week. Remember to share your bounty and love.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Well, it appears that the out door work is coming to an end. I did manage to get about sixty to sixty-five cloves of hard neck garlic planted. Better late than never I suppose. With a couple of warmer muddy days we managed to get the fencing up and protect it. With my budget spent, we raked leaves for mulch. I'm sure it will be fine and all I can do now is wait. Plus the leaves can be turned under next fall as compost.

It looks so small here, but this is a good size area. Next spring we'll continue with the fencing around the whole pollination garden and keep growing. It's mostly to keep Hunter out and away from the bees while he learns not to go near it. He's really done well learning, but we know challenges are coming. 

I also managed to get some bunch onions planted to see if they'd winter well. I can't tell you how upset Hunter was that my marker sticks were on the other side of the chicken wire. Pulling them out was his favorite pastime this summer. What a puppy.

The bees are all tucked in the best we could, and they seem to be quite healthy at this point. They were out for the warmer days doing their last minute cleaning and getting ready to settle in. We are hoping they make it. It's up to them now.

I got some decorating done in the kitchen. Just simple, cheerful decorations to brighten the day. 

My red Christmas cactus bloomed one flower, but it is so pretty. It's growing strong. Pardon the dust. It's all over here along with dog hair Hunter is shedding. 

Ending this blog, I'm sharing a picture of my grandchildren. From left to right is Kalob, Amanda, and Joshua. Yesterday Kalob was sworn in to the Marine Corp. and I'm sure this morning was a big shock to him. I can only wish him well and be proud of him. That's the short of what's been happening here at the Town House Homestead. Tonight temperatures drop and they are predicting snow and cold for at least the next week, so it will be indoor work and fun. Thank you for stopping by for a visit and don't forget to share your love and bounty.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Town House Homestead Tuesday

So here we are, Thanksgiving over and Christmas moving in. My daughter had the week off to relax for the Thanksgiving holiday. It gave me a little time to myself. It was just her and I for the week, and of course Hunter. We spent the time doing those little things that have needed to get done. 

Dessert was brought to us by Burwell catering. German chocolate cake for weeks, and oh how good it is. She out did herself again and we got all the blessings.

Chris from CCH Lawn and Landscape delivered the shelves. We have wanted something on this wall for nineteen months and finally they are here. 

Through the week we have continued to unpack items we've wanted on the shelves and added some Christmas decorations. We have unpacked Santa's, dishware, and books. The baskets are new and the one over Hunter's crate hides his toys. We have a ways to go with the unpacking, but it's beginning to feel like a real home.

My daughter found a three foot tree that is on top of a vintage dresser. Very Hunter proof, but I probably shouldn't speak too soon. Some of her Santa collection is on the shelf. I need to point out the new door bell. She found it on eBay and of course it's a vintage 1950's door bell. She installed it this week.

I relaxed a lot this past week because I had help with Hunter. I picked up my knitting needles again to try these ornament cozies. They turned out well and they were a small simple project.

I've also gone back to knitting more socks. This yarn was a gift and it got packed when we moved and I just found it again. I find knitting very relaxing. Once I've figured out the pattern that is. 

I got a bit done on my quilt. Not as much as I would have liked, but my hands and eyes are older now and it's tougher for me to sit. I really wish I'd started quilting when I was younger, but as they say, we were busy raising families and getting by. 

My garden has caused me stress, only because it's not happening fast enough, which I'm learning to let go of. For several reasons my garlic bed is still not in. I'm hoping today will be warm, as predicted, to get a start. One reason it's not in, is my physical ability to do a lot. Another is my budget. I needed, to fence it in which meant fence stakes, fencing, and of course weed cloth so that I don't have to dig the whole bed. My daughter bought the fencing, I bought the stakes and weed cloth. This had to be done because of this guy.

Don't let that face fool you. Of all the wildlife around us, it's Hunter who has managed to dig out a lot of what I planted. Markers are his favorite, but he thinks he can bury his things in my garden, and why not? If I'm digging why can't he? Hunter is growing up, but when I go outside I need to take my vinegar water bottle with me to keep him from jumping on me and I try to give him something to occupy him while I'm out there. It works for a while. Maybe the protection of the fence will allow me to get some garlic planted. 

If you look real hard you'll see Hunter peeking out from behind the gate. He's afraid of the gate, but this is how we get any housework done. It's hard staying ahead of a ten month old puppy, but we keep trying. The funniest words out of my daughter's mouth this past week she had off, was that she had to get some housework done. I laughed and said what? Maybe some day he'll let us just sweep. So, that's what's been happening around the Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week, share your blessings, and love one another. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Town House Homestead Tuesday

So we all have them. The "I didn'ts". You all know them, along with the "should we even bothers". It seems some days like the work is endless and the time is not. I could list in fine print on one wall all the I didn'ts. I'm still holding out hope for some to get done. As for the should we even bothers, it's a matter of trying to do something to see things sabotaged by people who don't care. I'm learning to let the things that didn't get done go, but the things that I fight, are too hard to fight, but we must keep going. Living in suburbia means that your neighbors are more interested in a half acre of pretty green grass, that is chemically treated, then they are at saving the bees. This is my biggest "should we even bother" because we have struggled to have a colony and keep them alive. I guess we should be grateful when the neighbors inform us that they are spraying, but please don't let the next question out of your mouth be "When do we get some honey?" So I have let it all go, and will keep moving on with what I can do, and count the blessings for what the universe gives.

I did manage to harvest more sage for holiday cooking along with a good amount of oregano. Shortly after harvesting the cold moved in and it seemed like I did what I needed just in time.

I also harvested a large amount of lemon balm and mint. These grow in five gallon buckets and have now died back to wait out winter.

With snow on the ground and it just being to darn cold for me to be outside working, I have taken out my long over do quilt to continue with. Here I have rough basted the top to the batting. I have had to gate myself off from the puppy to work, but he has to learn to let me work. 

I built the back over the weekend and I have it laid out. I will start rough basting the top and batting to the back in the up coming week. This has been two years in the making and I'm so hoping to get it ready for this winter. I need to decide just how to quilt it once it's basted. Maybe it will get done.

Hunter was too small back in April, when he joined our family, to remember what snow was, but this week he discovered the fun. Thank you Mother Nature for the best puppy entertainment ever. He had to sniff almost every inch of the back yard and it kept him busy for a couple of hours. His blue busy ball conveniently filled with snow when he rolled it and he would shake the snow out and cover himself. So much fun to watch. 

This was my favorite part. Who knew that snow could make a puppy tired. It did not last long. Maybe a twenty minute nap before he was out and at it again. The excitement coming when we have a full blown snow storm is almost too much to wait for. 

Hunter got a new job this week. He became supervisor to the elderly couple next door raking leaves. Besides barking at them, imitating them raking leaves by digging at what he could reach, and running back and forth along the fence, they were feeding him treats. He loves them so much, and they love him too, but I am grateful there is a fence between them. He is very strong and could hurt them without knowing it. The gentleman is 91 years of age and still going and his wife is 86. Some of this work was quite intentional so they could play with him. It makes me happy that he brings them some joy. Well that's what's been keeping us busy this past week. That and getting quotes for attic insulation, more upgrades, and new windows for the house. Getting her up to par will take time and money, but these things have to be done. We will get there. One job at a time. Thank you for stopping by for a visit and have a great week. Share your bounty and love.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Winter is moving in this weekend, with the first predictions of snow, and I am not ready. Most of the yard is taken care of, and with the shed at least secured, we have been able to store materials, fire wood, gardening supplies, and yard ornaments in it. What a blessing to have it available. 

My herbs that I move indoors a month ago are enjoying the windows. Yesterday I harvested parsley. It was taking over the window and I now have it drying for future cooking. Later today I would like to see what I can get for oregano, lemon balm, mint, and sage before winter really gets here and I put them to bed.

I have collected all the dried zinnia seeds. This is a mixture of red, yellow, pink, and white that I will be packaging up soon. Things that can wait until I need to be inside, but I am excited to have a bounty for adding to the pollination garden next spring. 

I swapped out Halloween for Thanksgiving. I've always loved yellow ware bowls and I had two small ones that fit nicely into the cubbies. I've already cooked a turkey and have a nice breast to serve. Just the two of us and some simple sides. It is going to be relaxing and simple. I've been baking and preparing so our staycation week goes easy on me.

Once again I was gifted more vegetables. Even a couple of vegetables I've never tried before. I can only say that the beets were out of this world and I can't wait to grow some myself.

This post will end with Hunter. At nine months he is still full of puppy power and confusion, but he made it through Halloween. It helped not to have any trick or treaters. His treat was popcorn. He discovered thunder and lightening, but is not afraid of it. He only wanted to chase through the yard to figure out where it was coming from. I have considered changing my homestead title to "Mud Puppy Homestead", but it would make it all about Hunter and I'm not giving that up yet. We can only imagine what will happen this weekend when he discovers snow. That's some of what's been happening here at the Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by for a visit and have an awesome week. Share your bounty and love.