Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Oh boy has it been a twister ride for the last five weeks. More and harder work than we expected and nothing happening fast. Still waiting for things like electrical and the final move which will be June 4th. We are ready to be done. We continue to discover new things with the house, like finding missing window screens, holes the wood chucks dug and a rose bush buried under a few years of leaves. We have windows painted open and windows painted closed. Wouldn't be so bad, but they are painted closed/open on the inside and outside. Really? Any way my favorite discovery was a good patch of chives growing in the tall grass that next year will be my garden. I continue to clear the wood pile, a bag full at a time, so that the garden area will be clear to start preparing. 

This morning I harvested more Lilacs. They are starting to die off, but I am going to keep trying new things for as long as they last. The bushes are huge and have been very generous. Last week I told you about the oil, extract, and sugar. The sugar turned out well. It has a slight floral flavor and we are discovering that Lilacs have a strong aroma, but a mellow taste. The oil will take a bit longer and the extract seems to be working. We used a morter and pestal to crush some of the blossoms and added more of this to the oil and extract. They are continuing their task in a cool dark pantry. 

This is a quart jar on the left filled with two packed cups of Lilac blossoms. On the right the same blossoms are seeping in boiled water so that tomorrow I can attempt some Lilac jelly. I have decided to try things at least once so I know what will work and what won't, and see what we like and what we don't. I'll update you later on the results.

Last week I tried a Lilac muffin recipe that flopped, but was edible any way. This morning I tried again using a basic muffin recipe you can find anywhere. I used the blossoms that were sifted out of the Lilac sugar and another 2/3 cup of fresh blossoms and 1/3 cup crushed blossoms. (crushed in the morter and pestal) Above they are ready to put in the oven.

Twenty two minutes later here you see them fresh from the oven. They have a light hint of Lilac, but I tried them warm so maybe as they cool off they will share some more flavor. Who knew you could do so much with Lilacs. I am keeping a record so that next year when they blossom I will be more ready for them, but I'm glad we took advantage of what's growing at the new Town House homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a great week. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Well it's been another exciting week here at the new Town House Homestead. As Spring awakes all the plants that have been neglected for a couple of years are becoming our new discoveries. We had a good idea of what some of the bushes were. Others are still to be identified. The view to the right of our kitchen window shows you one of two Lilac bushes. This is in the back yard, there is another magnificent bush in the front. There was a small tree, possibly a pink dogwood, that had to be removed because it was 90 percent gone. 

Imagine our excitement, and I mean that literally, when we discovered what we could do food wise with Lilacs. Although they play with our allergies heavily, my daughter proceeded to harvest some. It seems a few go a long way. 

Here, she is preparing the buds and blossoms to use for Lilac oil, Lilac extract, and Lilac sugar. It was time consuming, but hopefully we will be rewarded by taking advantage of what the property has to offer. 

Here they are starting to work. It's a matter of watching the length of time that they need to steep and blend. I will update with the results. I did make some Lilac muffins that turned out to be more of a cookie in a cupcake liner than a muffin. They were edible, but didn't really taste of Lilacs. I will be trying again with a recipe of my own for basic muffins and add the Lilac blossoms to it and see how they turn out. Update later.

It has become knowledge to us that this land and the land around has not been chemically treated. We have Dandelions all over the place and we've gained a new respect for them. No fighting nature here. My daughter is steeping Dandelions in oil to prepare a muscle salve. So far things are moving in a positive direction. Lots of work to be done yet to bring the house and the land back to a good point. 

This very healthy rabbit is one of the animals that will be part of the battle for the garden. It doesn't have to worry too much this year because there's plenty of work before anything can go in the ground there any way. Just look how plump it is. 

With Spring also comes the grass. I'm sure the neighbors are pleased that after a few years of downhill for this property, it's finally being taken care off. This was the maiden mow. My daughter was trying to beat the rain and she got the front done to a point of neatness. The back is still waitning. She had never mowed a lawn before, none the less driven a riding mower. This was our four week point here and we both crashed, literally, once the storms moved in. 

Why a photo of coffee you ask? Well this one pound bag of Starbucks coffee and the twelve ounce bag of Gevalia coffee was our big savings of the week. Using coupons and rewards and finding a discounted item these two bags of coffee came to a grand total of $2.04. I can tell you that every cup so far has been perfect. So that's the goings on here at the new Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Moving is so hard. As of today we are two thirds of the way moved. Last evening we completed the packing and moving of the kitchen, but have not unpacked it. At least it's here now at the house. We've encountered some extra work which we expected. After all the house had been empty for so long, and destroyed, so it's come back will be steady work. The elderly neighbors are so wonderful and happy to have people in the house. They have seen the house from when it was originally built and watched it go through it's decline, and now to see it resurrected. Getting it's face lifted has been a joy to them. 

One immediate issue was two dead trees. After two weekends of cutting away branch by branch it is under control. Not a fun job, but the girls just kept going.

They cut and hauled, and cut more and hauled more, until a large pile is in the garden space. We will get it cut down to manageable pieces for a wood pile to use in the fire pit. 

As of today this is what's standing and I have promised to paint it a rainbow of colors and call it art. 

This coming Thursday the new riding lawn mower will be delivered. The grass is getting high, but until the trees were cleaned up no lawn mowing could be done. We are hoping we got all the branches that were beat down into the grass out. The garden beds in the front of the house are so overgrown with weeds and grass. We took the time to remove as many flower bulbs that came up to replant later, and we put the many packing boxes to work killing the grass and weeds so we can get a fresh start. The landscape timbers and large stones holding the cardboard down were with the shed. I wanted things to happen immediately with the garden, but I see that it's going to take some time and it may be next year before it's beautiful again. 

The third bedroom is going to be used for the sewing room. It's taking time, but is now at least to the point of being usable. The closet in this room will be transformed into an office and my daughter's Etsy shop will be reopened once this is complete and her inventory is moved. All in all not too bad for three weeks. Final move will be around the first week of June and for now we just keep moving along. The electrician will be in this week, along with a plumber, and by this time next week we could have the dryer functioning and be able to take hot showers not warm ones, and the lawn will be mowed. For today I will start making curtains for the windows in the sewing room. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Closing did not go without tiny incidents, but she got there finally. For the last eleven days we have slowly been moving into the house with the help of many friends and members of the family. We couldn't have done it without them. Although we are not completely moved my daughter will be paying on the lease to the townhouse for four more months and we have all that time to finish and clean it properly before a final walk through and returning the keys. Once getting into the house it was quickly discovered that she had four minor gas leaks that have been repaired and now we're moving forward. 

This is a closer look at the overgrown garden and shed. Upon entrance to the shed we discovered some garden tools, cut up and stacked fire wood, five gallon buckets, and flower pots. Along the side is a stash of new landscape timbers and on the side you can't see is a stack of flagstone and bricks. In the garden itself which is actually fenced in there were tomato cages and a sprinkler system. I am lining up some help to get it as ready as I can for memorial day weekend planting. My tomato and pepper seedlings haven't moved yet, but just may tonight or at least this week. I am so ready to be out there working, but it's raining today. One step at a time. 

One car load at a time the canning jars have been brought to the house and landed in the breezeway. My daughter bought some heavy duty shelves for them to be store on in the basement, and this past Sunday we had some welcomed help at building the shelves and getting them into the basement. We have more to go, but for now it's progress and I can at least find the ingredients I need to prepare meals. That in itself is a blessing. 

Here is how it looks so far. Once we get the washer and dryer up and running I can make my trips down to the basement work and start organizing and updating my inventory. My actual canning equipment and empty jars will be store in the garage which will only require three stairs for my bad knees and hip to climb. Going to get busy now unpacking more boxes.Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

Well it's been a while and to say we've been busy is an understatement. Wow, how the time is flying. My daughter has gone from dreaming, to looking, to making an offer, to almost having the purchase of a home completed. In about three weeks we may have the keys and so far we haven't really hit any snags so here's hoping. While she waits and collects all the paper work we continue with the packing and we are beginning to feel like we live in a storage unit, but we will be ready when the time comes.

This is the view out the kitchen window. The house sits on .51 acres and as you see next to the shed there is a plot cut that has been a garden. We don't know about the condition and we won't until we can get moved and can hopefully bring it back to life.

We will not know what kind of trees those are until we see them blossom and we're hoping maybe they are fruit trees. As you can see I have my tomatoes and peppers started so if the possibility to get them in the ground happens I'll be ready and hopefully they'll be strong enough to transplant.

This is a pot of every kind of vegetable soup. I just went through the refrigerator and freezer and put the fixings to simmer. We are using what we have on hand so it's less to move, but I have to remember that there are only the two of us and this is a one gallon pot. 

Peeps Soap

My daughter needed one package of bias tape at Joann's fabric, but like most trips she comes home with more. In this instance it was a silicon baking pan in the shape of peeps. 60% off and I knew it was coming home. This is peeps soap. She enjoys making soap as gifts and she just couldn't resist. 

I on the other hand have been taking time from the hustle to finish some sewing projects so scraps can be moved along and started a new quilt. It is a bright colored quilt and it has taken me so long to decide what pattern if any to use. The foral fabric is reclaimed sheets. I have incorporated color blocks, folded fabric pinwheels, yoyo's, log cabin, and strips. This quilt was intended to be used in my dream camper or for glamping, but that may not happen for a while and it is brightening up my days to know it's finally being built. So there you have it and that's what's been going on here at the townhouse. Thank you for stopping by for a visit and have a wonderful week.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

Well it's beginning. I'm calling it PSP and it's exciting. Purging, Selling, and Packing. Actually it's been going on for quite some time, but it's more real now. If you follow my blog you'll know that we've been working towards a permanent move away from rented apartments and stress producing neighbors. We pinched and saved and have done everything needed so that my eldest daughter can purchase a home. This has been going on for four and a half years now. The financial process really began after the first of the year when she met with the banks to see what she could do. All went well and the search began. We looked, and liked, and lost out on properties that we knew we could work with. Then...last week she found a property that said coming soon on the computer. Her determination to find what she wanted led her to contact the listing agent and he said that he would be listing it that afternoon. She was able to see it that afternoon and it was that same evening that she put an offer on it and they accepted. To let you know how quickly this is moving, within the next two days it has been inspected and all paper work is in the hands of the lawyers and yesterday was a holiday. Next step actually applying for her mortgage. 

She's posted this picture so all her friends can see it. It's a three bedroom ranch with a full basement, sun room and two car garage. It's a flip by the listing agent and still needs love, but the inside has been completely renovated and updated. 

This is the front side yard. Gazebo included. Needs new paint but is sheltered by wonderful trees. Do you notice the space? Lots of iced tea, lemonade, wine and some great beer going to be consumed out there.

This is the back yard. Again, notice the space. That's a shed on the right and a garden that has been cut already and waiting for us to clean up and put to immediate use if this all goes well. This will be the view out the kitchen window over the sink. Total lot is .51 acres. Room for bees, fruit trees and berry plants, along with vegetables. This is not a country piece of property. It is just a lot on a quiet side street, off a busy street not far from a full busy city with a mall shortly down the road and stores, restaurants and hotels withing a couple of miles, but it is quiet and peaceful. So here's hoping that all goes well and the pre approval turns into a finished process and in less than three months we'll be moving in. 

Meanwhile in the townhouse kitchen I continue putting food up. This is barbecue sauce. Already canned is the root beer sauce and ready to be canned is the cherry coke sauce. This is a continuance of my waste, not want not, try anything attitude to use what comes my way. The question I am asked most is "do you use what you put up" or are you just hoarding food. Well we use it and have cut our expenses to a minimum and are actually eating better and having fun with meals. This is the eleven jars that came out of the dish washer yesterday. I even used an 8 oz jar of canned cheese for macaroni and cheese that I put up at the end of 2013 and it was out of this world. 

That's what's been happening for us so far in 2016. Thank you for stopping by for a visit and please send out good vibes for us. As the process moves forward I will share more pictures and ramblings of the adventure. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Thrift finds

So much happening and so little thrift hunting, but we found a couple of items. We've started the house search and process and are making it as much fun as possible. A couple of weeks ago we did a little thrift hunting, but we left so much behind. 

Just couldn't leave behind this half dozen of wide mouth quart jars and three new, never used Raggedy Ann and Andy pillow cases. Not much, but useful and items that can go on the store. Thank you for stopping by and have a great week.