Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

Well it has finally arrived. Warm weather in the northeast. We had one of the most wonderful weekends and I made good use of it. On Saturday my younger daughter and I went to the Rochester Public Market. I filled a large bag of fresh vegetables that of course was too much for two people, but I had my motive to start a shelf of dehydrated vegetables for my pantry. I've done a bit in the past few months, but the deals at the market were incredible. 

It started with mushrooms. I got three quarts of vegetables for $5, any variety of my choice. I chose two quarts (over flowing quarts) of mushrooms and one fresh green beans. The green beans we are eating with meals and as snacks, but the two quarts of mushrooms filled the dehydrator and condensed down to fill a one quart canning jar. They are all vacuum sealed and on the pantry shelf.

Next were sweet red peppers. They were two for $1 and very large so I got four and dehydrated them. Not quite a full pint, but there will be time to do more and they are now on the shelf. 

I got a five pound bag of carrots for $2 and four pounds of them are in the dehydrator as I am writing this post. It will yield one quart of dry carrots for the pantry shelf. I purchased a four ounce container of basil pesto for $1, zucchini squash and  yellow squash. I'm working these into my meal plan which is not going very well, but I am trying. 

I'm drying my orange peels because I have discovered that they are useful in everything from cleaners, to soups, to candy and even as a match because orange oil is flammable. It has become a matter of use everything to it's fullest before you dispose of it around here. Some people think I'm taking it to far, but if I can't compost I will make use of what I can. 

Chicken leg quarters are on sale for the next two weeks for $.59 a pound so we gathered up what we could afford and immediately put some in the oven to have available for quick meals and another few went into a pot to boil. In the refrigerator now are two large Pyrex measuring cups with my broth that I will be caning tomorrow along with barbecue pulled chicken. Eight leg quarters were put in the freezer. We aren't doing all that we can, but we are working on it. It's proving to be so economical but the work is constant and you have to be willing. That's what's happening with the kitchen and I hope soon to get ready to plant my herbs. Thank you for stopping by to read my post and I hope you all have a great week.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Thrift Finds

This past Saturday we went to a Church sale with the intention of finding one small item and coming home. It was close by and why wouldn't we find this one small always available item. Well, we didn't so we moved on to a thrift store. We found that item and it was only .99 and then the hunting bug hit her like an F4 tornado and look what she did!

She hunted and hunted and kept putting things in that cart. It was fun to be out, but I think that short trip turned into two thrift stores on top of the Church sale. 

She found a wooden box, bar ware that she sold within minutes of her purchase, shipping envelopes, a spice shelf, sewing notions, the card board book which was the reason for the adventure and a framed print of a female artist she adores, but cannot find any information about.

She continues to bring home vintage sheets and pieces of fabric to sooth her addiction and we found a primary print JC Penny Snoopy drape.

And may I say yes, she got me 15 more canning jars and let me tell you the Good Will was loaded with them, but we play the color tag sale for the 50% off items and the one's we left were not that weeks color. The cashier tried to say they may not be there when we come back, but anyone who pays $1.99 for a used canning jar can have them when you can get a new case with rims and lids for a lot less. I have not filled these. I washed them and put them on the shelf because fruit and vegetable season is coming and we are trying to get some empties on the shelf. This is what happens to her when she needs one very small, always available, most anywhere item. 

Thank you for stopping by my post and have a great week.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thursday's Threads

So much going on that it's getting harder to keep up with the blog. My daughter collects vintage fabrics and linens and cuts them into fat quarters to sell on her store poetcharms.etsy.com. This is what will be listed in the next few days. They look so pretty all together.

I've been trying to get some of the projects done in the sewing room that have just been sitting there waiting. One of the biggest projects has been cutting down my collection of tee shirts to make myself a memory quilt. I need to purchase a tee shirt from the college my son graduated from before I can complete it and that's getting closer.

After cutting them down and making the squares so they will fit together I'm cutting down the excess pieces into ten inch squares for future projects. It's really beginning to look a lot more organized and uncluttered in my small bedroom/sewing room.

A couple of weeks ago my daughter traded a piece of her Pyrex for this wonderful skein of yarn. It comes from the Knitted Wit in Oregon https://www.facebook.com/KnittedWit and I have enjoyed making this fun pair of socks. All I need to do is weave the toe and they are ready to wear. That's pair number five this year since learning.

I'm going to use up more leftover skeins of yarn with the remainder of the rainbow to work on the next pair. It's been quite relaxing to me. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my quick blog post and  have a great weekend. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

Yesterday a two page notice was slipped into our townhouse door to remind us about the clean up rules and the time frame we have to do it along with all the demands that no one enforces or follows. On the list in bold capital letters were the words "NO VEGETABLE GARDENING ALLOWED". I will put my herbs out again and I am going to sneak in carrots in a large pot on my tiny deck. I will tell them it's parsley. I really would love to find a place to grow more, but this too shall come and in the mean time I will use our farm markets. I did start tomato seeds thinking they wouldn't grow. I guess I was wrong and if I can't find somewhere to garden I will grow them in my window. These are container tomatoes. 

On the pantry supplies and canning end of the homestead I finished up my vegetable soup stock and ended up with six quarts. I can now take a jar off the shelf and make a meal in less than an hour start to finish. I have been trying new things and will continue working on my meal plan.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my post. I hope everyone has a wonderful week.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thursday's Threads

There are a lot of evenings around this townhouse homestead when I am ready to turn in at the early hour of 7:30 p.m. but when I post to my blog, which has literally become my diary, I understand why I am tired. I am learning to make myself stop and sit, but to do this I have to have something to do when I'm sitting. Knitting is that thing. I would like it to be sewing, but sitting at the machine isn't quite as restful as knitting. 

I have absolutely no idea where this lovely and very soft coral colored yarn came from, but it's never ending and I still have a bit more to use. This week I came across a vintage knitting book and found the pattern for cuddle mocks, so I knit a pair. I made so many of these in every size when my children were younger, but this pair is for me. 

My new venture this year has yielded another pair of socks. This pair is a low cuff pair to wear with my sneakers. I have a very special skein of yarn coming to me via a trade my daughter made and I am so excited. It is multicolored and hand dyed. This pair makes my fourth pair, so that means I am averaging one pair a month. Not bad for a craft that is forcing me to stop and relax. 

Thank you for stopping by and peeking into my diary. Have a wonderful weekend and take the time to relax. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Thrift finds and thrift economics.

To start this blog out I'm going first to thrift economics. I received a pressure caner for Christmas and it has earned it's keep already and it's only April. However, it did not come with a second shelf so that I can stack jars. The manufacturer says that it's okay to put the jars directly on top of each other, but that wasn't pleasing to me and I wasn't spending $12 plus shipping to get one. I searched high and low at all the thrift stores we went to and kept hoping I'd find something that would work even if it was a small pizza pan that needed holes drilled in it. Well everything was too large or too small until...

some imaginative sorter at a VOA thrift store put this wire rack together with a Pyrex pie plate. It was the correct diameter, but I only wanted the rack, but for $4 I took them both home and rushed to see if it would fit the caner. Needless to say it did. The rack has a one inch rail on one side and a half inch rail on the other. I used it in the caner with the one inch up and could put 7 wide mouth pints on top. One short but that was okay. I now had my extra rack, a holder for the pie plate and when I took the jars out of the caner I reversed it so I had a cooling rack one inch off the counter for my jars. I think I got my $2 out of the rack and imagine using it with vintage glass for a table centerpiece. Now about the pie plate. Yes it's Pyrex, yes it's vintage and I didn't really want it, but it happens to be an 11 inch pie plate. The retail value on line runs between $8 and $24 dollars. I'd say that this was a great find and I am keeping the pie plate.

After a great early Saturday breakfast out we headed off to spend the day thrifting and having fun. The findings included some doilies, plastic Easter egg rabbits, a stacking doll, vintage snowman and the most important find was the wooden shelf. It's been on the list for months. My daughter wanted something heavy duty enough to hold her essential oils and there it was. For $2.99 and with a little spray paint it will do the job. We also found a vintage red bed cover a very large yellow bath towel and a bright floral bed sheet. The color scheme here is yellow, orange, green and aqua. Can you tell?

We found a few books. The "Putting Food By" book I already owned, but it was 50% off and a big update from my version. We found wooden pant hangers, zippers, iron on patches and knitting needles and that bright flowered scarf. 

We came home with four dozen more canning jars. Here some have been washed, others in the box to be cleaned and as of yesterday and today twenty of them have been used. 

My favorite find was the heavy duty aluminum colander. It was $2 and now I have something to strain large amounts of food instead of a little at a time. There's the pie plate and rack under that wonderful Pyrex Butterfly Gold divided dish with a cover and we found another set of vintage lazy Susan pieces.

And look at the wonderful score of other Pyrex pieces. Cinderella bowls, regular bowls, another cover, and refrigerator bowls. I think it was an awesome day out and I think we found a well rounded assortment of goodies. Thank you for stopping by to visit and I hope all your thrift finds are good too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

How busy this little townhouse kitchen has been. It's been busy taking care of leftovers from Easter dinner and preparing more for the pantry. When I want to cook I would love to have all that I need ready so I am trying to go through my recipes and see what I need to do to be ready for summer. 

This week green bell peppers were on sale so we bought three pounds. It was seven large peppers in all and I cleaned them and chopped them and put them in the dehydrator. Away I go. Three pounds of peppers condensed to one pint dehydrated. Great way for me to store them in this little space.

If anyone was wondering if dehydrating vegetables works here you go. I needed carrots for my soups so I put one cup of dehydrated carrots in water and within two hours they were back to normal. I could have just added them to the soup, but I needed to take a few pictures for some skeptic friends. 

Also if I may point out that I put my daughter's Pyrex to good use here. I'm waiting for her to break one first. That way I won't be so stressed while I'm using them. I do have to say though that it's fun to use them and they add nice color to my preparations.

I have three kinds of soup underway for today and tomorrow. The first is white bean and ham and this one came out so good that I didn't want to can it all, so we are eating some too. I filled the crock pot with split pea soup and I finally cleaned out my tiny freezer and put all the vegetable scraps I saved for broth on the stove top to boil to make vegetable soup. 

Split pea along with white bean and ham are in the pressure caner as I am writing this post and tomorrow I will finish the vegetable soup. Adding these soups to my shelf is helping with my meal planning menu. It's easier to take something off the shelf than it is to stand and cook after a long day. That's what's been cooking this past week at the townhouse homestead, Going to start my tomato seeds shortly and have them ready, but I may be lucky and found someone who wants help with their garden and will share what is grown. That's a future post. Thank you for stopping by and have a great week.


Fresh from the caner 10 pints of split pea soup and 4 pints of white bean with ham. Yummy!