Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Town House Homestead Tuesday.

The weather for the last week has been challenging for getting work done outside. Heavy rains for hours and mud up to your ankles. I need so much to clear a bed for my garlic, but it may be a few more days. While it rains I've been working on my seed inventory and saving what I can from my harvests. So far things look okay for spring. 

A nice hard frost moved in last night. Our neighbors had their lawn mowed, just as evening set in, and the shorter grass made it look like snow.

I spent a while yesterday getting my delicate plants inside and harvesting the beans and peppers that were as close to ready as they would be. I will now start pulling the plants and prepping for spring. Baby steps. I cut the zinnias and put the heads aside for more seeds, and saved this bouquet for some added indoor joy.

Work is slow on the shelves because of the extra help we get from Hunter. He's such a devil dog. He needs time with us outside to just play and run, but I'm hoping that he'll learn to be out much longer by himself. I work with him every day repeatedly to get him where he needs to be. The rails will be up for sure this weekend and then we'll decide the length and design for the shelves. From there it will be getting them cut and stained. I can't wait to finish unpacking. It's been a year and a half already and I'd like to see some of our holiday decorations out. 

Finally the stairway to the basement is getting a face lift. My daughter kept using the leftover paint in the tray, she used to paint the living room, to clean up the dark panelling. We have gray paint left too, so the steps will get done. I like it so much because now when the lights are on it's bright and safer for me. What else is there to do when the rain outside is so heavy. Keep building home equity of course.That's what's been going on this past week at the Town House Homestead. It doesn't seem like much, but oh it is. Thank you for stopping by and have a great week. Share your bounty and love.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Town House Homestead Tuesday

What a wonderfully productive, yet slower week and weekend we had. Ginger Bean, my dear Emily, came Saturday and dog sat while my daughter took me to a gallery showing, and we did a few errands. It was quite wonderful. Emily brought her freezer full of compostables and we got them in the bin too. While we were out she filled my crisper bin with fruit and veggies. I knew she brought a few items, but when I looked Sunday morning, this is what was there.

Lots to cook with this week and meals that can be shared. Also included was a head of garlic.

Bright and early Sunday morning I harvested oregano, parsley, bunch onions, chives, one more pepper, and some beans. What a bounty.

I also put some sage and oregano up to dry last week. I will need dry herbs for holiday cooking. 

The seeds from the squash will be saved and dried for my future garden, that is getting closer. If not I have some good compost going, and my buckets to keep container gardening.

I was most excited to harvest my sunflowers. I couldn't believe how large they got and most of them did a wonderful job at seed development. Only one performed less that the rest, but I was only supposed to have four sunflowers any way. I put four seed in pots to start. Only three came up in a week. I put a new seed in the fourth pot and to my surprise both seeds sprouted. The seed company said these don't transfer well, but I did it anyway. I think the result is awesome. I have seeds for my feathered friends this winter and maybe some for us, and a good selection to plant more next year.

We got a living room accent wall painted this past weekend. Yes, notice it's blocked off so that Hunter doesn't end up a black puppy with white paint. He's good at getting into mischief. We are so excited to be able to install wall shelves before the holidays. 

We had the most beautiful sunset Sunday night. My daughter captured it well. The ducks are a constant here because we have a neighbor who feeds them. Some evenings it's like watching a star wars battle, but this picture summed up the most wonderfully relaxing, but accomplishing weekend we've had in a while.

And to end on a mischievous Hunter note, yes he's a puppy, eight months old now and weighing in at at least forty five to fifty pounds. I turned my back to do a chore for a few minutes and one of the sofa pillows no longer exists. That was this mornings adventure with Hunter. I have nothing more to say. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. Remember to share your bounty along with love. 

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Town House Homestead Tuesday

My first thoughts today are for the victims and families suffering in "our country" from the results of natural disasters and to the "human beings" who have lost their lives because of it. I can not alone send everything they need and I can not seem to rally many to even think of helping. My heart aches for the families that suffered fatalities in Las Vegas. My heart aches over the number of our citizens who are suffering from hunger and homelessness. This is America. This is a disgrace. We are brothers and sisters in this world. "All one." Do what you can even if it's on a small local level. Enough said.

I am learning to save seeds. I started this past year with some vegetables, but this week I saved some zinnia seeds. 

I also treated myself to other flower seeds. A percentage of the sales go to fund hurricane victims. I am cleaning my hanging baskets and planning a little more beautification of Ms. Beldon next spring. 

I was gifted a bag of "end of season" peppers yesterday and I know I can make some meals from them. This morning I harvested two more of my own peppers and a meals worth of green beans. 

I harvested almost all of my basil. I got four cups from my five plants and made three and a half more cups of walnut pesto. I gave one cup away to a co-worker of my daughter, that sent me some of his home grown garlic. I made a pesto and tomato pizza for us and froze the rest.

I had a large zucchini given to me and it yielded six cups of grated goodness. I made a zucchini quiche and zucchini ricotta muffins. So savory, and tasted incredible with our home made soup. 

Over night lows went down into the thirties so I brought my herbs inside. I am making homes for them so I have fresh herbs to cook with all winter.

My parsley found a home on my early Christmas gift. It's a vintage pole, plant hanger. My daughter gave it to me. She's taught herself to make macrame hangers, and has made me two now to hang my over abundance of plants. Below the parsley is a vintage planter with fresh oregano growing. 

We had a good rain storm one day last week. When the sun came out we saw this beautiful rainbow that left a wonderful feeling in our hearts. We can see the grass disappearing to grow gardens in the future, but in the time we've been here, our little patch of earth has done a lot developing. 

Today is national black dog day. Who knew? I'll close today with a picture of our little black dog who was neutered and micro chipped last week. He was so sick and we felt so bad. He lived nine days in his cone and hated every minute of it, but he hung in there. He has recovered well. This is not a cone of shame as many people called it, but a cone of responsibility. As pet owners we must be responsible even if it hurts us as much as it hurts them. We promised day after day that he'd get his revenge on that cone, and it took him three days to destroy it, and he had fun doing it. That's what's been happening at the Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by, and if my comments make you upset, and you think that I don't see all sides to problems, than feel free not to read, but please be loving to all.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Town House Homestead Tuesday

So, I can finally feel the growth of the suburban homestead we are trying to create. As our bodies mend from the injuries we have suffered from working so hard, it suddenly feels like it's coming together. It's been a long sixteen months, but WOW! The immediate roller coaster ride seems to be slowing down. 

The shed is getting a face lift. One side left to paint, and I can see that I need to clean around the spruce tree and mulch before winter. In the clean up I found boarders around the shed, and two sides have slate laid. The side still left to paint has a border with just soil and I am going to set Hosta's in there before winter. Then it will have the floor repaired and new doors. 

A motion sensor, solar light was installed and it is wonderful to know it works. Now it won't be complete darkness in the back yard and we'll be able to find that black puppy when he wanders off.

We had what we call a great harvest this week. We are grateful for any harvest we get no matter how big or small. We got a second harvest of lavender, plus one of my daughter's co-workers harvested hers, and gifted it to her. I got a few bunch onions, a large bunch of basil, more patty pan squash, and of course beans. 

I made myself a fabulous bunch onion and home grown pepper omelet for breakfast with my little harvest. Of course I cook with cast iron skillets, and eat off of vintage plates. Who doesn't? Well, not everyone, but we do here. 

The basil came inside because overnight temperatures fell a little low, so after I cut it back there was still plenty, and I put a good amount into a crock pot of home canned tomatoes, peppers, and a few other goodies and made sauce. We had cheese tortellini for dinner, and there's a quart ready for a small holiday lasagna, and eggplant Parmesan, put up in the freezer. The refrigerator vegetable bin is holding the rest and the lavender is vacuum sealed for holiday baking and crafts.

I'm falling in love with the bright colors the zinnia's are providing. I can't believe the different mixture that is growing, and the bees just love it. 

And, speaking of the bees, they have been an experience this summer. This past weekend they swarmed again. An inspection was done, and there was no indication that this was going to happen. A queen cell was removed to prevent the growth of a new queen, but oh well. This is the third time this summer they have swarmed. So many beekeepers around here say they have never seen their hives swarm, and I have seen five swarms this first year. Three we are sure were ours, one that was ours that left the tree, and one from who knows where that ended up in a neighbors tree. I may see this one fly away, but they have stayed put for a day and a half now. Now it's hope and pray that we can keep the hive stable through winter. 

This is an early Christmas gift from my daughter. It is three and a half pounds of white German hard neck garlic. I will plant a great bit of this and hope for a good harvest next spring, along with some scape's, and I will also ferment some for cooking and medicinal purposes. I will cook with some too.

As of this morning my fifth sunflower is ready to open. I am so excited to watch these grow. They are over eight feet tall and the heads are getting larger by the day. They add a splash of brightness to my day every time I look out my kitchen window. Who knows maybe next year there will be five times as many growing out there. 

I don't know how I can end my blog without another Hunter adventure, so here it is. Sunday morning I bought him a new "dog" ball. Yes, I am trying to get along with this busy, strong, and growing beast. He got the new ball because this week he decided that the soccer ball he was given just a few days earlier, and loved so much, tasted good too. I chased him around trying to make sure he didn't swallow it, and up to this moment in time, I'm not sure he didn't get some eaten. I was in tears because I can't run after him and no matter what I did he just ran faster thinking it was a game. I finally got him to run, without the ball, into the breezeway and shut the door behind him. I later went out to clean up the ball and locate several pieces, for his protection only, and tossed the soccer ball away. So far he hasn't missed the old ball and is having the time of his life chasing the "dog" ball around the yard. That's what's been going on here at the Town House Homestead this week, and thank you so much for stopping by. Stay safe out there and enjoy the end of warmer weather, and "pumpkin spice" if you indulge.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Town House Homestead Tuesday

It was another weekend that the hive needed to be inspected. This venture has been a serious roller coaster ride. The colony at this point is not prepared enough for the up coming winter and will need to be fed. They are working hard, but they need all the help they can get at this point.

These are some awesome pictures she took so I could see what was going on inside the hive. You can see the new bees eating their way out, some capped honey, and the comings and goings after the mouse guard was put in place.

This lady followed her back into the house and became disoriented and tired. She gently picked her up and got her back where she belonged. 

I harvested a few more items from my garden. I have quite a few beans coming, but only a handful were ready. I cut back the chives to make my zucchini quiche, potato salad, and to have on baked potatoes with sour cream. 

I was given some very old, but heavy duty garden tools this past weekend. I will wire brush them clean and treat them so they will last even longer. I will be sharing some too.

My sunflowers are doing so well. One is opened and growing and two more will be coming soon. This happy Bumble bee is certainly enjoying them. Next year I hope to have a larger area filled with them. They are so photogenic.

They are so mystical and mysterious at the same time. My daughter never liked them, but for some reason this year she has changed her mind. This is the first time I have ever grown sunflowers.

I've been getting almost too much help from Hunter these days. I was cleaning sod and putting it in buckets for next years container garden and he wanted to dig too. My daughter calls this engaging the dog. I'll decide some day what it actually means. Maybe just a puppy who needs to dig in the dirt. I'm saying this because of all the holes he's dug in the lawn that I need to fill. That's what's been keeping me busy here at the Town House Homestead. We just keep growing and I want to thank you for stopping by for a visit. Take care everyone and be safe. If Irma is coming your way please start preparing. She seems to be very dangerous.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Town House Homestead Tuesday

This week was good for harvesting a few herbs and veggies from the gardens. I'm beginning to consider these practice runs for a larger garden next spring. 

We got a very large colander of mint that I have drying for tea. My lemon balm is recovering from insects that tried to eat it away, and I have chives and oregano ready to harvest this week.

I harvested patty pan squash and a pepper along with some calendula blossoms. My daughter is going to start making soap soon. We try to leave some blossoms for the bees too.

I boiled the squash whole and then stuffed and baked them. They are so good and make a complete meal or a great side dish. Not a large farm harvest for sure, but for the two of us it's fine. Our garden will grow larger in time. 

I have five buckets of beans growing along the walk and am hoping the deer leave them alone. They know we have Hunter now so we haven't seen them around, but you just never know..

If they leave them alone we may have a couple of meals that will have fresh beans as sides.

I've been cleaning and polishing a couple of vintage mid century chairs that my daughter got for her living room. I'm just taking advantage of the cooler temperatures and the sun. 

The big project has been the restoration of the shed. Something we've been waiting 16 months to get to. Our great friends at CCH Lawn and Landscape spent time this past weekend power washing it for us, measuring for new doors and investigating the way to secure the floor. This out building is needed to store our tools and garden supplies and we are very excited about it.

As soon as it was dry my daughter headed out to apply some paint. It will be gray with white trim. For now the doors will remain in place until they are replaced. 

I spent a couple of hours yesterday cleaning all the weeds and making sure she could paint all the way down to ground level. I discovered there is a border around the shed that has been covered in grass. On the shaded side of the shed I will transplant some Hosta's. There are plenty of them around the yard and it will be a nice touch. 

She came home from work last evening, ate some dinner and went out to paint another side. This is what it is becoming. Everything can be fixed up with a little TLC.

Of course Hunter has been such a big help lately. He's seven months old now. While we have been working on projects outside, and trying to build a garden, he has very nicely removed and torn to shreds the cardboard we laid to be a weed barrier. It upsets me to see my work undone, but I have learned to let it go, but not really. For every step forward we make in our relationship we always take a few backwards. I keep getting told to wait and he'll grow out of it. He probably will, but waiting is hard for me. So, until then, that's what's been happening at the Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. To all those recovering from hurricane Harvey, we wish you the best and have donated to help you out. Love to you all and stay safe. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Yikes! Where did this past month go? Many differences since my last post, sooooo long ago. 

The weeds are higher and my sunflowers are as tall as I am and getting taller. All five have blossoms and I'm so hoping to get some seeds. The squash is also growing up the tomato cages and up to my neck.

Two five gallon buckets growing fast and steady. Lots of blossoms, and the start of some fruit. I am thrilled with this venture. Patty pan squash growing in five gallon buckets.

My ginger plant is now 35 inches tall. Lots of activity in the pot, so maybe in a year I'll be harvesting ginger. Watching ginger grow is a new experience. It's a different plant to say the least.

The zinnias I started from seeds are starting to bring wonderful color to the garden. In the next week there should be many more. I love the fact that a package of seeds gives me so many different colors.

This is butterfly milkweed that I started from seed and it's doing it's job attracting those beautiful pollinators. I will add more next spring. It is tall, dainty, colorful, and environmentally friendly.

I was literally gifted a 13 gallon kitchen bag full of freshly harvested basil. I do not say no to these or any food gifts. I got busy washing and preparing it for pesto. I froze 16 four ounce servings so that through the winter I can make pesto anything. I used walnuts this time because I had them on hand and I love the flavor just as much as pine nuts.

All individually wrapped and ready for the freezer. This was a wonderful blessing.

I was also given six wonderful fresh cucumbers that are all prepped to become bread and butter pickles tomorrow morning. I know they are not pickling cucumbers, but I had all the ingredients and they will be awesome.

I harvested the pot of shallots and ended up with eleven healthy ones. They are hanging in the breezeway drying and make a wonderful piece of wall art. Next year I will do a lot more, but not bad for the first time from seeds. I planted beans in the empty pots as a second batch. The bucket beans are almost ready to blossom and there are now three peppers that I can see growing.

The adventure I am on as far as gardening and becoming a little more self sufficient goes back a few years when I lost everything and hit bottom. My daughter and I started searching for ways to stop the waste and make everything work. All usable vegetable scraps go in the freezer for vegetable stock and gets canned for use. Then the scraps are added to the compost. I keep a small empty coffee container by the sink so I can add the scraps as needed.

Not everything goes to the making of stock or compost. This is the bottom of a red onion that I soaked in water to stimulate the roots. It will grow into a new onion and I won't have to purchase any. I do this when I buy different varieties because I'm the only one who eats the onions here and even though it takes time, I still benefit from waiting. Call me crazy, but it's working for me and I'm not starting everything from seeds. 

With my daughters back injury and the swarming we were sure we had lost the bees, but this weekend she did another inspection. To our surprise there is a queen and she is laying brood and they are producing honey. They seem to be very healthy and as I watched them daily thinking they were dying off they always appeared to be getting stronger. I guess mother nature was telling me that is was meant to be. We will be watching them closely to make sure they keep moving forward and will think about protecting them for winter.

And to put a nice end to this weeks blog, there is Hunter. I've admitted in the past that I am not a dog, or for that matter, a pet person. However, this little guy and I have taken those obedience lessons over the top and he is becoming a good puppy. He has quite a ways to go, but we are bonding. He is now six and a half months old and weighed in at 31 pounds. I would like him to stay this size, but who knows. For now the path to a good relationship with him is going okay. That's some of what's been going on at the new Town House Homestead. We grow more and more each day and learn constantly. Things are moving along well and we are happy here. Spread Love and thank you for stopping by.