Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Town House Homestead Tuesday

It is so nice to be able to retreat to blog posting and get away from so much media frenzy, hate, and lies. These girls live without television, but we are constantly bombarded with it on other devices of our choice. We are where we are and have what we have not because of any politicians, but because of hard work and determination, obeying the law, paying taxes, and sharing with all who come and help. No one has ever left without a meal to go, a full belly, or something to help them get ahead too. So, moving forward and speaking of hard work, yes we did more this past week. It's getting harder because we are tired and hurting a bit more, nursing injuries, and sleeping less but in the end it all pays off. 

Again with help from Emily, she and I finished more painting in the basement and have set the germination shelf in place. Next step will be the lighting and then we can start our seeds. What you can't see clearly in this picture is the closet organizer being installed beyond this shelf. It's still a work in progress. My daughter got it free with her Amazon points and it will be used for more storage. Extra parts will be moved around and used elsewhere. This part of the basement is moving out of it's dungeon stage slowly, but the end result will be pollinating flowers, herbs and some vegetable plants. The reward for hard work.

I needed to get a few items at the grocers and after that we took the time to do some indoor walking through a couple of thrift stores. It was too snowy and icy to walk outside. I found close to three dozen more canning jars to add to my "jar" bank account. There are four different sizes and it was orange tag day so quite a few were 50% off. None cost more than $.99.

I continued cooking and baking from scratch. Yesterday's bread was so good and I calculated the price per loaf at $.35 and a little kneading. I also know that I can pronounce all the ingredients. So, here's to all who are working hard to be successful. I hope that this blog is more than an encouragement to you. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Town House Homestead Tuesday

I have garden fever. Okay? There I admitted it. I know I am not alone and that's even better. This has led to more renovations and a big step forward almost a year earlier than we expected. 

The hive in the living room is now two medium supers taller and the paint or stain is next. We believe we have everything we need now to get the girls in April and start a strong colony. Here's hoping any way. 

Our friends Richard and Karen provided me with a ride to pick up a large shelf unit a week ago. The larger shelves were reduced in price and I needed to act so that we could get one step closer to having a good place to germinate my seeds. I put off a canning project to be able to purchase this shelf, but that's on the agenda for February now.

Emily came by this past Sunday to help put it together with me. We inherited a shop light in the rafters of the garage and she helped me get that down so that in the up coming week or two we can test it to see if it works. Shop lights will be hung from the shelves to provide the light I need for my seeds. I'm sure this is not new to many of you out there. Just having the space to do it is exciting for me.

This is the start of the fourth space/laundry room area in the basement. It wasn't even going to be thought about for a few months if not longer, but the universe is leading the way. I started painting the wall bright white to reflect the light for the germination shelves. There are electrical outlets already wired and a couple of months ago we found a water line run to this part of the basement for a future wash tub. We shopped through all of our electrical collection we had and found hanging lights to illuminate this dark corner so we could work. I have a ways to go, but it will be done soon enough to set the shelf against this painted wall and we've once again utilized more space. This has been an amazing nine month journey. First seeds will be for the pollination garden to be planted around the bees. Our goal is to give mother nature back some of her wild, and rid our corner of the planet of some useless grass. I have a small glimmer of hope that we can start with some vegetables too and start a community garden, but for now only time and income will tell. That's what's been happening here at the new Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Sharing the past.

So, recently I was asked to locate some family pictures for my younger daughter. This is a very difficult request because I have boxes, and I mean literally boxes, of unpacked photo albums and loose pictures. I'll keep looking because I know what she requested must be here some where. I've found many recent pictures, but I came across some very old pictures that left me thinking, wondering, and dreaming. 

These are two black and white snapshots taken in May of 1950. It's of my dad and seated on the hood of the truck is my half sister. I wondered if it was my mom taking the pictures, but I will never know. This man dug his own foundation and poured his own cement to build his own house. I don't think we'd ever do it this way today, but did I mention truck? Dreaming!  Now, I wasn't even a twinkle in any one's eye at this point, but oh that truck. Oh to talk to him about it today. I was never raised around my half sister and she was quite a few years older than me. Contacts were lost and the stories I suppose with them. Only pictures remain now.

This is the house completed. I see a cement patio to the left and a stone walk leading to it. This house was never completed on the interior. A new 1950's ranch was built for my mother that was no more than 300 ft. away, and not like this house, that was torn down to make way for progress, her house is still there. As a child I remember this house storing my dad's lumber hoard and whatever he could get in there. It was on a one acre lot of land and to the left in this photo he kept a very large garden that by today's standards made us self sufficient. Growing up I remember working in the garden and eating all the vegetables we wanted. There was a large oak tree to the north of the garden and I remember harvesting concord grapes that had intertwined through the branches. It's been fun walking down memory lane even though I wasn't there for some of it. 

This is a picture of me at four years of age in 1956, dressed in my jeans, and it looks like it may have been around the Christmas holidays. Notice the vintage metal cabinets and behind me is my mother's mangle iron that she used on a regular basis. I sure would love to have one in good condition today with all the vintage fabric we iron.

I guess that farm girl has always been a part of my life. I found this one and only picture of my chicken coop. My dad built the coop and I see here the door is open so I may have been cleaning it. Maybe I'll have chickens again, but it's not on the priority list for now. This may be where the desire comes from. Never to late to have a chicken for a pet. I know my chickens were used for meat, and I don't remember how many or how long I kept chickens. I think we all should look over old photos every so often. We should be grateful for how wonderfully we live and how we become the people we are. This was by no means my life raising my own family, but I can only look forward and do what I can now. It's been fun looking at the past and seeing what's ahead. That's what's been happening at the Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a great week. Please make some memories. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Saturdays, yes Saturdays. Usually they are the beginning of the most active part of our week, but this past Saturday it was officially "cuddle up day". I was up early as usual and cuddled in my big comfy chair enjoying some coffee and reading until about nine. For me this is hours past my work starting time, but it felt wonderful. A bit later we headed out because we needed milk. Just milk is all we needed, but I decided I needed potatoes, onions and potato chips. Once again just milk, short quick trip and home to the warmth and more cuddling. Well, we got side tracked. Of course we did, who doesn't? We needed hot chocolate to cuddle with and how about a chocolate chip muffin to go with that hot chocolate. So far we hadn't wandered more than half a mile from home. On the way to the hot chocolate, since we had our hats and coats on any way we thought...why not go to the local farm store? This is still only a quarter of a mile away from home. So we took a left turn out of the drive through and headed to the farm store. Remember now all we needed was milk. We sipped some of the hot chocolate before going in and we took a left as we entered. Sure enough the bee keeping merchandise was to the left. Still needing a few small items to prepare for the coming of the bees in April, we went and looked. Yes, look we did, and this is what we found.

A floor model close out that was marked down so far that it could not be left behind. We don't have bees yet, and we only needed milk, but this gem came home with us. The universe was speaking and providing us with a honey extractor of excellent quality before we have bees. I know there may be some honey if all goes well this summer, but in the mean-time if some one we know needs help we can provide. It's been one of those questions that floats around the bee community. "Do you know any one with honey extracting equipment?" Well now there's an answer. 

I stepped outside this morning to check on my garlic. It is popping up through the snow and I immediately got garden fever. It's staying lighter a few minutes longer every day now and that desire to garden is setting in. Of course the excitement of seeing all the plants we put in last year come up fuller and more beautiful, now that they've had time in the ground, is even more exciting. Also knowing that more gardens will be going in within a few months is a great feeling. 

With all the work and growth with the basement renovations getting close to a state of completion, I want to share one of the reasons we needed a single level living space. Although we looked at all kinds of homes for sale we could not find many that had a bedroom and second full bath on the first floor, that would have room for us to work. I have a very bad hip, but not so bad that I'm an invalid yet, but some times it's in so much pain that it's hard for me to move. So we have the ranch home and the third bedroom has been made into my sewing room. I can stay on the main living level and have access to all that I need without the stress of climbing stairs. I am settling in as you can see. My daughter has made it a comfort zone for me and I am so grateful. So that's what's been going on this week at the Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. 

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Happy New Year!

We had a wonderful holiday season and we sure hope you did too. We saw many friends and relatives, ate good food and goodies, listened to holiday music, got out and enjoyed some free time and yes did more work. Not as much as we could have thankfully, but with the campus shut down for the week between the holidays and the time off we moved forward more.

My daughter's Costco cart needed a little "femming up" and she loves daisies, aqua, and green. This vintage sheet made the perfect quilted toppers for her cart, so it will be protected from scratches and spills. It took me most of an afternoon to make them, but it was the perfect gift. I gave her the rest of the sheet so she could make some privacy curtains for the basement windows until we can put in glass blocks. Emily came by to help shuffle the boxes even more yesterday. She unpacked the Vera/Mikasa cups and saucers for the cart and there are also some Ben Seibel plates there. Oh did I mention this will be a mini break station for those work days in the sewing room. I've yet to add the coffee pot, but I may hunt it down today.

She finished painting the floor to the base of the stairs too. Behind the door is the laundry room, which will be done as this new year moves on. My desk has been positioned in the pantry and the shelves will soon be installed above them, but first some more paint for the moulding and a good scrub for the desk. 

The last aqua wall was painted and the floor to the third quarter/furnace room was started. She got enough done and dried so Emily could shuffle the boxes that are store inventory, and now we can at least proceed at unpacking it and getting the store back up and running full speed. This will hopefully be by the end of the month.

This is the view from the pantry and we couldn't be more pleased. She says that it feels like a major burden has been lifted off of her shoulders now that we have reclaimed 1000 sq. ft. of usable basement. Notice the curtains in the window. Just having it clean and being able to breath down there is the best thing ever. Not much more to finish the furnace room/store area and we will start to work on the stairs. They will be brightened up with a good cleaning and paint. 

One final look at the pantry and I'll call it quits for today. This has been a tiring experience, but in eight months we have accomplished more than we expected. We look forward to the progress for 2017 and are more than excited to be on the road to possibly more gardens, and the bees coming in April. For now I will suffer with my seed fever and keep growing, learning, and building on a budget, and smiling all the time I'm seeing what we have done. That's what's been going on between holidays at the Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by to visit and have a wonderful new year too.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

I know it's been two weeks, but it's been another whirlwind of events. I can't believe that the Christmas holiday is here and I am not ready. Mentally that is. We put up some lights in the window and have dinner purchased and planned. I unpacked some kitchen decorations and small items, but I think it was the idea of just unpacking and repacking the boxes that got to me. What I've done will be enough for the two of us and some relax time may be more fitting. 
So here's some of the events that have taken up our time. First off let me tell you that waste is our pet peeve. Last weekend we got a call from our little sweetheart Emily. We were entertaining a dear friend and her husband who had just returned from California. Just relaxing and gabbing, when the call came. A store near where Emily works has gone out of business. The owners were filling a 40 ft. dumpster with their store inventory. It was already five feet deep with caterer and restaurant quality tablecloths, table skirts, and napkins. Can you see it now?

Well my daughter and our friend from California were off to dumpster dive. They are two of a kind these girls and I and the husband stayed behind so they had more room in the car. Their mission was to prevent as much as possible ending up in a landfill. Emily continued to post for people to come and get what they could, and so they did. She was in the dumpster tossing all she could out to whoever was there to catch it. We have no idea what was left in the dumpster, but this is the pile that came to our home. Oh, and yes, there was a husband who learned something new about his wife. The two girls were enjoying the rush. Most of the items were laundered and packed or on hangers. Some new, some so bad we added them to a rag bag, because all new home owners need a supply of rags. A lot of very heavy polyester and some good cotton.

The pile didn't look like much just sitting there, but we spent the rest of the evening and a few days after sorting and folding and letting any one who wanted pick it over. We salvaged good quality hangers and recycled broken ones. All the plastic laundry bags were also recycled. As of right now there are 11 large green garbage bags of goods headed for donation after the holiday. It wasn't all that could have been done, but these owners could have rented a vehicle and donated it instead of tossing it in a dumpster. Pure environmental irresponsibility to us. 
Now, to get to the giant box/boxes that I left you hanging with on my last post.

Here's what those boxes contained. Yes, a beehive. My daughter has been tending bees for a couple of summers now and the woman who had them isn't interested any more and told her she could have her hives and equipment if she wanted it to use. This was more than a year off for her to invest in, but after the offer came in she couldn't turn it down and ordered her colony for this coming April. This would give her time to sterilize the used hive and get it prepped and also because we thought the colony she was tending had died off. Well, a few hours after she ordered her colony, which can't be cancelled or money returned, she was told that there were still bees in the hive. So now what? The decision was made and the new hive was ordered and it is now in our living room. We need to make room to paint it and prepare it, but our gardening friends have been hired to help with the spot we need to place them and we are ready for the pollinating garden around it. 

Along with the plans for the bees, has been a plan for a garden. Although the bees will be taking top priority this Spring, I have been purchasing good quality heirloom seeds and building my plan. Our gardening friends will help here too. It will be something that will grow over the years. I have to start small for now, but I'm sure I may get a few things in. All of this going on and we've only been at our new home for eight months. 

Winter arrived like a lion. We've had so many white outs, ending up with good amounts of snow and frigid temperatures and I've been trying to keep an eye on our elderly neighbors. This is only to find out that they are looking out for us. It's the golden rule everyone. "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." It is more important now than ever. 

I received a very special Christmas gift from my daughter. This vintage metal desk came early, but I just love it. It is going in my basement pantry so I'll have a place to work. We will be mounting some shelves over it. Just some of the work still on the list. We have come so far in the past eight months and when the bees arrive it will be our one year anniversary here. Can't wait to go back over my blog and see what we have accomplished. It's been fun, exciting, exhausting and a growing experience for us, and every corner we turn we see something else we can or want to do. That's what's been happening at the Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by to visit and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Well, I am excited to say that this past weekend we got most of what needed to be taken to the basement from the garage moved. Thank you Emily for all of your help. I now know where a lot of things are that we haven't been able to find and have spent some time organizing so I can figure what I need to buy for shelves and keep going. 

This pile still needs sorting, but it's not as bad as it looks. We have done well to make it as easy as we can to get this final load unpacked.

This stack is mostly holiday decorations and purchased supplies to be put on shelves. By the end of the year it will not be this overwhelming.

With all the guys in our lives that have late November and December birthdays we made beef jerky. All has been packaged and shipped and we have confirmed deliveries. I hope they enjoy it. Now we will make some for ourselves because it was so good. We've been making home made gifts too, but can't post pictures or say anything for now, but we've been on the move there and having some fun.

A large heavy box was delivered today. I know the contents, but I'll keep it a secret until next week. Some very wonderful things happening here on our little piece of the earth. Can't wait to share and show everyone the progress we are making and what's new for the next year. That's what's been happening at the new Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a great week.