Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Okay so let's get right to the past weeks episode. The nasty that kept us awake at night and unable to work, putting us now almost ten days behind on work that really needs to be done before cold weather sets in. 

Here you have it. A hive of yellow jackets in the insulation and foundation of the basement. We knew that they were some where. It started out with the kitchen plumbing. With a flipped house you don't know what's coming and while prepping meals for the week and washing dishes both connections to the double sink became so loose they fell off. All the water was pouring into the basement. A quick call to a dear friend got it fixed and my daughter took him to the basement to show him the progress. The gang was busy painting and watching for wasps as we had been for a couple of weeks. They were nasty and stung hard. Well, didn't he see something that we hadn't and before he could be stopped, he moved a step stool to the foundation wall and pulled at the insulation and yes people, he disturbed the hive. Work came to a halt and that was the beginning of a very long week of waiting.

Six days after they were professionally (expensively) treated she got all her gear on and began to pull out the insulation. We had some still alive, but barely. The picture is of just one of the piles of dead wasps and we have more in other parts of the basement still to clean. We are letting the pile of insulation sit for a couple more days to make sure they are gone. And so it goes we've conquered one more challenge and now have more work closing gaps in the foundation and re-insulating before winter. We will get back to the painting and we still have help coming.

On the nicer side of those stinging insects, this is the honey she received for tending her co-workers hives through the summer. It's three quarts and I am so thrilled. It taste so good. 

I canned a late summer basket of pears this week. Farmers said that the yields were low this year, but I have enough for what we need through winter. I also picked a bright orange sweet pepper and two more jalapeno peppers. 

And finally this past week we planted a tree. We were gifted many different plants, bulbs, rhizomes and seeds along with this healthy baby spruce tree. After months of wondering where to put it so it didn't interfere with water lines, gas lines and places we wanted to put other things, it finally found a home. It is in a far corner of the yard with plenty of room and conditions for good growth. It will shelter the empty corner and bring life to what is now just a grassy field. It's going to grow as the homestead does and be our memory of our beginning here. So, that's what has happened this past week at the new Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

I think this week I'll show you some of my flowers that came up in the garden. We were gifted Cana Lilies and they are awkward, but okay for this year. We also received several Dahlia's and they are just starting to blossom making the garden look pretty before it all settles back for winter. 

To the left of the Cana Lilies are white Mums, in the pot is peppermint, and in the front of the photo is Spider Wort. All plants and bulbs were gifted and or saved from the trash. The white mums were table decorations for a college graduation brunch, used for a couple hours and heading for garbage bags. They, along with everything else, filled out nicely and we will move and adjust things next Spring.

I baked as usual. This is a loaf of lemon blueberry muffin bread. It was so delicious. I'm going to try other blueberry recipes too. I'm in the mood to try everything at least once.

I was given some Salsa this week. I didn't make this and I already had an open jar in the refrigerator, so I canned it. These are eight ounce jars ready for the pantry.

I started some new quilt blocks. I needed to use up some scraps of the quilt I'm making for either toss pillows or pillow cases. I have a new respect for the number 13. This is the Cathedral window block. Each block is 4.5 inches square with 1/4 inch seam allowances. It took 13, 2.5 inch squares to make each block. I tried it two different ways to see what I like and I still can't make up my mind so I may use both and alternate them. 

Progress on the basement walls continued. My daughter chose an aqua shade for the opposite end walls and it gave it a quick and wonderful fresh look. The opposing walls will remain white, but will receive a coat of good white paint over the primer.

It will still be the basement, but it is getting so much better. She has chosen a light dove gray for the floors. This past Sunday two of her former students came to help and they were able to start another quarter of the basement with a white base coat. All was going fine until...we ran into a major problem. Work abruptly came to a disappointing halt, but for the safety of all it was quite necessary. I will continue this story next week, because it is still continuing and is already two days strong and could take a couple more days. That's what's happened this past week at the New Town House Homestead and there's more for next. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. 

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday


Progress is becoming my favorite word and experience. We have been in our new home for just shy of five months. We have worked and grown, grown gardens and made a lot of progress bringing her back up to the fine place she should be. This past holiday weekend was by no means one of relaxation. It began with my daughter joining forces with the owner of the bees she's been attending. Early Saturday morning they inspected the hive and harvested honey and talked over plans for winterizing the hive. They were joined by a family that wanted the children to experience working with bees. I don't have pictures because I stayed behind to get caught up on some household chores. 

This past week I took advantage of the farm market. We bought half a bushel of tomatoes and I put up fourteen quarts of tomatoes. It equaled the same price as canned at the super market except that we know what is in the tomatoes and feel better about what we are eating. 

I also put up eight pints of peaches for winter use. They are so delicious and I have the skins and pits steeping to see if it will be strong enough for peach pit jelly. 

My daughter brought me home these beauties. She purchased them from a co-worker whose daughter raises chickens. I am thrilled and will be cooking and baking with them this week.

I've made some progress with the cast iron dutch oven. I have scrubbed it several times and heated it well and so far the progress has been good. I hope I can devote some more time to it this week and maybe cook a meal in it. 

After finishing with the bees Saturday and getting some what caught up with house chores we headed for the basement to resume working. It required patching holes in the cement, stapling wires up so they didn't hang, brushing down the walls and the removal of all the wood along the crown of the room that was left from the lowered ceiling. We worked late Saturday, but were right back at it to be ready for painting Sunday morning. 

Before we started painting we realized we needed to get more windows opened. In the 58 years this house has existed the windows were rarely opened and the original screens were rotted out so we took the time to tape new screen in the windows for a temporary fix so we could ventilate the basement. We worked until after dark Sunday to get this quarter of the basement covered and primed so we can keep going. What a difference and how thrilled and exhausted we were. Progress comes with hard work and burning muscles. The paint for the floor is being delivered today. What is next with the walls is still up in the air, but they are ready for whatever my daughter decides. It will be her sewing and work studio so it's up to her. We will be working on another quarter of the basement this week to make a food storage pantry that is clean and organized that will house a work table and possible freezer. For Monday the work went outside. There was another large amount of trash to prepare for pickup today and the back yard needed mowing. We went as far as we could before we both were ready to collapse. It was time to quit and relax and just see the progress we had made. That's what's been happening this past week at the New Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. Be Happy!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

We are still going strong here at our new home. We still unpack a box here and there, but until we finish deconstructing the basement, and making it a little more finished, a lot of unpacking will be done a couple months down the road. Being an old 1950's home it needs a lot of work yet to bring it up to where it should be. The basement is keeping us busy. It had a drop ceiling with Styrofoam glued to the walls and Styrofoam used as the ceiling panels. We have torn it all out and this week we are having some one come and pick up the mound of scrap metal and we have almost hauled all of the old floor out for collection. As you can see we are close to a clean room to start washing it down and painting. 

This is only one quarter of the basement that will house my daughter's sewing and craft studio. This week we have been fighting yellow jackets that are coming in and dying, but one stung her on the back of her neck while she was working. We'll pull all the old smelly insulation out and seal holes to prevent this in the future.

We are starting to get back to thrift store shopping and checking out flea markets to find some tools and items we need for the house. I found this vintage tablecloth. I love this pattern. A few years ago my daughter gave me one that was so badly stained that I could only use it as a cutter. I was excited to find this one and although it has a few stains that stubbornly won't come out it is in very usable condition. From the cutter I made place mats, pan handle pot holders, napkins, and hot pads, and still have pieces left that I was saving to make a table cloth that I can use for pot holders and oven mitts. It's been a fun sewing project.

Some other thrift finds were books. I can't wait to have time to read Solar Power Your Home for Dummies. 

We found a few more holiday items. Easter egg plates, made in Japan Christmas choir singers, a glass Valentines day jar, an aqua planter and a set of vintage Ball salt and pepper shakers.

We found some vintage linens. Some are sold already, some will be sold, and some will be used for sewing. All are in great shape and I can't wait to sew more.

The best find ever was this 5 quart Wagner cast iron dutch oven. They have become very expensive at thrift stores and flea markets and are usually in much worse condition. We got this one for $19.99 and I am already starting to clean it and season it. It is looking much better, but has a way to go before I'm comfortable cooking in it. I have wanted one for so long, so I can be patient. The container garden is slowing down. A few more tomatoes to go and maybe a few peppers and beans, but now it will be all farm market vegetables. Thank goodness that option is available and it's always nice to shop local. That's what's be happening this past week at the Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

The distance we have traveled.

To say that it's been the longest four months ever is an understatement. To say also that our new home has consumed us is also an understatement, but when I look at the picture diary it's hard to believe it's been so little time. The work is far from done, but well underway to becoming a working suburban homestead. We have cut down trees, mowed overgrown grass, raked years old leaves, repaired structures, tilled and planted, grown vegetables and herbs, and enjoyed friends and family for barbecues and relaxation. 

Front gardens covered with moving boxes, timbers and rocks to kill tall grass and weeds after years of neglect.

Finally uncovered and the result was enough killed off to make it easier to till. The day of tilling was also the day the gazebo got it's new roof. The cedar shingles proved to be a great place for ants.

At the end of the day the roof was done and the gardens were raked. We were so tired, but it will all be beautiful next Spring.

The plants have been in for a while and they are establishing themselves as they should. We will move a few around next year as they grow and spread, but it's a pleasure to see the hard work paying off.

My container gardening continues to produce vegetables and herbs. This week I have green bell peppers, tomatoes, and that wonderful mint. I have most of the vegetables in the breezeway growing, and set them out in the morning and bring them in at night because...

as you can see we have a very hungry Doe wandering the neighborhood. I finally caught her in a few pictures. This was to prove to my neighbors that I wasn't crazy and was actually seeing her. She was sharing bird seed with the ducks until I opened the door and she went on her way. 

I got back to some canning making it really feel like home. Here are 18 quarts of vegetable broth for winter soup. 

I got around to playing with my sewing machine again. I reclaimed a very well loved  vintage quilt, too far gone to repair, and cut out a dozen primitive cats. I couldn't see it not getting a new life and I am making quilt blocks from an up cycled bed skirt that is 100% cotton. 

We got out to do a little thrift shopping. We found this vintage glass cookie jar filled with vintage made in Japan Santa's along with some other Christmas ornaments and had fun taking them out one at a time. We have cleaned and sorted what we wanted and have packed it away for the holidays. There's more thrift finds to be shared, but I have next week. Our goal now is to get ready for winter and make sure as much of the yard is taken care of as possible and the deconstruction of the basement continues so we can move stuff from the garage. I am starting my seed research and garden plan for next year and just looking at how far we have traveled in this new journey/new home/homestead dream. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have a safe and wonderful week.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Today I am a lot tired and going to take it easy. Temperatures are headed up into the nineties and it will be a slow putter day. First an update on the furniture rescues and their status. 

The rescued chair is all repainted white and is now home with my desk. The decision to paint it white was the correct one. It makes my desk look sharp and refreshing.

The rescued rolling file holder is complete. I think it came out quite well. I now have a large pot of endive growing in it along with a large pot of flat leaf parsley. So wonderful to have the time to restore items and put them to use.

We did some thrift store shopping and found some vintage Pyrex, a Vera scarf, a vintage towel, a new mouse for a computer, candles and of course books.. We shopped at a library book store for some too

From my container garden I harvested a few ripening tomatoes and can't wait until they're ready to use for a meal.

I have two good size sweet pepper plants growing and as you can see they're producing well. Not ready to harvest yet. These are carnival peppers and they should turn color before they are ready. 

This jalapeno pepper plant was a gift from the universe. We intended to purchase it and several days later, after looking at the receipt, we discovered we hadn't been charged for it. It is producing what it can in it's tiny container.

We purchased a habenaro pepper plant and after I thinned them to other pots had seven individual plants, for the price of one, that as you can see are starting to produce peppers. I am looking forward to making some habenero pineapple jelly. 

I have two large and long pots of beans growing. The beans are coming, but so far not enough to make a meal, but it won't be long. I also have a pot of spinach growing. These plants are moved outside during the day and brought in to the breezeway in the evening. We haven't been here long enough to build an outside "protected" garden  yet, but it will come. In the mean time the breezeway serves as a lovely green house for my container garden. No critters have touched the tomatoes, so they spend the night outside. It's been fun and later this week I am going to plant some cucumber seeds in a pot with a tomatoe cage. It never hurts to try and learn. That's what's happening here at the new Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a great week. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

It was bee tending time again this past Sunday. The weather finally allowed good conditions to inspect the hive. These bees are strong and working hard. They are building and have filled most of the supers with lots of honey. There are five stacked here and another is soon to be added until the owner arrives back in the country to harvest the honey. 

On the way home from tending the bees we stopped at a co-workers garage sale. She had posted pictures on line and I was in need of planters and any pots because of all the newly donated plants and cuttings people have given us to brighten up our new home, and of course indoor herbs. 

This is the collection I came home with. Not too bad for $23. These are very good heavy pots and one pot was marked $28. I think I did well.

This is my kitchen herb garden so far. I have added a jar of Rosemary to root and will plant is as soon as it does. I have also started a new pot of Basil because the Japanese beetles liked it as much as I did if not more, killing it completely. 

After the garage sale we hit up a thrift store and found some vintage items, The cupcake mold we got at the garage sale. There were a couple of linens, Vera scarves, holiday cookie cutters, yes more plant saucers, Tupperware items and a stacking Santa. 

My daughter rescued this wonderful chair from the trash. Why anyone would throw something this great away is beyond us. I washed it all up and got years of dirt off it and she continued the challenge.

She simply unbolted the four bolts and is giving it a coat of spray paint to change it from an off white to a bright white for my office in the closet. Total cost will be about $6 for the paint and a few minutes of work. The chrome legs just need a little more washing, but are in excellent vintage condition.

This gray rolling file cart she also rescued from the trash. I spent two afternoons scrubbing and peeling all the years of dust, dirt, coffee and tape from it and today I started to spray paint it a hammered bronze color. I will use this as a planter. Once again, why can't people see beyond the box and make something new out of things? So glad we have space to have up cycled things now. So, that's what's new at the Town House Homestead this week. Thank you for stopping by and have a great week.