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.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

The new house is really beginning to feel like home. It's been three months and the changes are looking good. The work list is getting shorter and the urgent structural problems are getting fixed and not turning out as bad as it could be. I had this big idea that I was going to have this great big beautiful garden and would be canning and preserving at this time, but that was quickly put on the back burner and I am still using the farm markets. I did, however, get a few vegetables planted in pots and they are growing well. Except for the pepper plant that was eaten. 

Here are my three pots/buckets of container tomatoes that are just over the moon happy and doing quite well. As you can see they are loaded with tomatoes.

I have been growing string beans in containers and starting them a couple of weeks apart so they will continue to produce for us. I also have two surviving carnival pepper plants. These I bring into the breezeway every night to keep them from being consumed by whatever country critter feels hungry. I also have spinach growing in the breezeway and many herbs. It's a glimmer of hope for the large garden that may start next year. 

We had a few appointments last week and in between we did a little thrift shopping. Here we found a mid century modern candle stand, a Wilhold sewing box and a vegetable strainer.

There are always books we enjoy. We needed a napkin holder and of course more Christmas decorations. We also found Halloween ice cube molds and the Tupperware freezer pop mold. Most items were in the 49 to 99 cent range. A couple were a bit more.

This is a set of Tupperware canisters that did not have covers. I wanted the large one for my cooking utensils, but I only needed the next to smallest one. We will find covers. It always happens.

Last, but not least we found a Pyrex round opal baking dish. Always great to find Pyrex for less than two dollars. We got the floppy disc file to hold seed packets that are getting a little out of control. I'm sure we will need more, but for now one will do and they are abundant at thrift stores and who couldn't use another plant hanger. A nice sturdy metal one for all the plants that are rooting and will need homes shortly. Well, that's what's new at the new town house homestead this week.We hope you all have a great week and thank you for stopping by. 

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

I sure hope that everyone had a great 4th of July holiday. We sure did. It was work and relaxation with friends and family and a small cookout under the gazebo. Should I say that I am smiling? Life as been overwhelming here at the new town house homestead. As everyone knows, to bring a piece of land back up to par requires long hours of hard work. This past weekend we received help from still another neighbor. 

If you remember the first two weekends we were here required a lot of tree removal. The result was this pile of logs and brush. As May passed by and then June the grass took over. I realized that putting a larger garden in this year was really out of the question and cutting up the wood to store was being put further and further on the back burner. Until...

This neighbor, and may I say a fine gentleman, and his help came to clear the wood. He lives two houses away and they like to sit around a fire and enjoy family and friends and time in their pool. We met him for the first time Saturday evening and at nine Sunday morning they were there with all they needed to cut the wood and haul it away. All we provided was electricity for his chain saw and weed trimmer. 

They removed the grass and kept cutting away and we were glad someone could use the wood and was willing to work hard getting it out. 

They worked for four hours and left to go share time with their family and company. Before leaving however Scott explained that he'd be back the next morning (July 4th) to finish up. By this he meant he would remove all the old garden fence and posts and cut the grass down to a manageable level. Here is the last barrel of wood he hauled away. 

This is the beautiful cleared future garden spot as of this morning. There's lots to be done. There's some weed guard down under some of the grass and it needs to be raked well, but for now we will be able to keep working and prepping it for next summer's vegetables. We feel so blessed to have such wonderful neighbors and this experience is new to us. I gave them each a pint of home made triple berry syrup and they went on to enjoy their holiday.

My daughter is once again tending bee's this summer. We went and checked out the hive and it is thriving beyond belief. This is an awesome thing to see a strong hive at work. In a couple of months they have filled two supers and built the third to fill with honey/brood. You can see how busy they have been. 

She inspected the hive and saw that it was growing at a fast pace. She was going to add one super to the hive, but because of the activity she added two new ones. When she goes back in a few weeks to check on them again she expects to see more honey and good activity. They were flying strong and I was impressed with the speed and accuracy of the bees. 

From my herb garden this week I was able to harvest a good variety for drying. I have winter savory, sweet marjoram, basil and thyme. I wasn't expecting anything to grow or to be able to plant a garden this year after the tree episode, but the containers with tomatoes are doing well and the containers with peppers are also thriving. I've planted bush beans in pots and spinach. I will be able to harvest some spinach in a couple of days and I started another pot for when the other is depleted. Not a lot, but enough for a couple of meals and that's something. That's what's new at the new town house homestead this week. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Well, I just don't know where to begin. This past week here has been a giant step forward. I'm almost sure I'll forget to mention something that got done. It's been very dry here with little rain and the temperatures have been in the nineties. We haven't had to mow the lawn since Memorial day weekend. This left plenty of time  to do other things. This past Saturday was an extraordinary day. It was a ten hour long work day. It started at 9:30 a.m., but we had been up much earlier than that. Family came with a full Jeep of work equipment and plants along with things for the house and before we knew it construction began. Or should I say deconstruction.

My daughter's God parents came in full force to put a new roof on the Gazebo. It had Cedar shingles and was covered in moss and infested with ants so it really needed to go. He installed an architectural, twenty year asphalt shingle in a pewter gray. My daughter's choice, but met with his approval. 

He had buckets of mixed nails and the sorting began. Of course we did it wrong and had to start all over, but it all worked out in the end.

This is me using the hammer while they went to purchase the shingles, removing an old gate that was on the gazebo. 

At the same time that the gazebo was getting an update this lovely husband and wife team were tilling the front gardens. She is a former co-worker of my daughters and they now have a landscaping business. Can you feel the heat?

Before any one arrived and the night before, my daughter and I removed the cardboard, lumber and stones we had put down to kill the overgrowth.

This is what they had to begin with and they did an awesome job.

These are just some of the plants that people have given to us along with my container tomatoes and peppers that seem to be quite happy. I even have flowers on the tomatoes. 

This is how it looks right now after two and a half hours of raking and fine cleaning it and putting in plants. We are not done yet, but it's on it's way. 

We have lots of friendly critters here as well. The ground hogs not so much, but these guys can stay.

Here is the gazebo with the new roof and yes, it is a peaceful setting. Eventually she will power wash it and stain it a dark gray, but for now at least we will be dry if we want to sit out.

On a final note, we all had to eat so I got my camping table out with my little grill and we officially had our first cookout. That made it feel like home and with all the help and love we are receiving it can be nothing but home. Thank you so much everyone for everything. If I forgot anything I apologize and will recognize it in a later blog. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week.