Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

Autumn has officially arrived!
The days of soup with garlic bread and warm oatmeal apple crisp.

The days when trips to the farms brighten the days of we city dwellers who dream of the farm.

On a breathtaking day when you can pick your own raspberries and pumpkins and watch the silly goats walk the planks above the barn.

When you can see the most majestic blue sky behind a windmill, walk the corn maze, see the leaves turning and enjoy the bright colors of nature.

But best of all getting to try and purchase new kinds of apples (sweetangos) and produce which is the reason we visit the farms and support local farmers. 

I love the squash this time of year. I start thinking of all the things I can make. I purchased two butternut squash at the farm. It's still early here so I know there will be plenty more. From these two I got seven servings. As you can see I prepared some for oven baked squash fries and some for future cooking and baking. I see a squash pie coming.

Harvesting at the townhouse itself this week included the sweet potatoes. I was hoping for better, but I tried and there's the results. Once they've cured a while longer I'll peel them up and enjoy the fruit of my labor. There's a good amount for a side dish of mashed with the sage butter I froze earlier this season.

I was gifted a bag of green tomatoes this week. I am blessed  to have had two ripen to red, one going on the top of a white garlic pizza and the other still waiting for me. We enjoyed for the first time ever fried green tomatoes and I managed to put the remaining tomatoes up. I have four pints of garlic dill pickled green tomatoes, two pints of sliced tomatoes for future frying and three pints of pickled green tomatoes with jalapeno peppers and onions. Thank you Nannette for your gift.

To add to my freebies this week, although not as exciting as the tomatoes, I got a corn bread mix, Milano raspberry chocolate cookies, and coupons for free organic mac and cheese, yoplait yogurt with Hershey's toppings and from my super market a free can of tuna.

I have to admit that I don't have gardening fever any more. I have barnheart which is just the desire to have a barn. I would settle for a large garage that looks like a barn right now. This has been a wonderful learning and doing summer for this townhouse farm girl. I still have peppermint to harvest along with rosemary and sage so that I am sure that I have plenty for winter. From here on it will be what I can get from the farmers markets, but I have gained so much respect for where my food comes from. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week everyone. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

Tuesday seems to roll around quickly lately. I seem to find a lot to do in a weeks time. The universe has been quite generous lately and the weather can't decide weather to finish summer or start fall. 
I managed to transplant my rosemary and sage into the ground. They grew to be very healthy in the hanging baskets. They look like foliage plants in the garden so I don't think that management will take them out. I harvested plenty for the winter months and made all kinds of goodies so I'm happy with my yield. Who knows at the rate they are still growing I may get some more from the plants before winter sets in. I did propagate the rosemary and have a beginner plant that has survived to grow inside. Fingers crossed. 

This was my first attempt at making my own rose water. The apartment I am in came with a rose bush. Not the healthiest when we moved in, but with a little bit of TLC and some green thumb it yielded some nice flowers. I harvested the flowers to make rose water. It was an easy project, but took a couple of hours and a gallon size bag of ice cubes. I got a little over one cup of rose water for my efforts.

The test of how good it came out will be when I make icing through the holidays. I'll let you know.

Like I said the universe has been more than generous this year. One of my daughters former co-workers asked if we would like some grapes. Of course we said yes. In the past I've received enough to make a grape crisp or a small pie. Well surprise, surprise. I received about a peck maybe more of concord grapes. I couldn't have been more excited (stressed) about what to do with so many. It all began early one morning and three hours later I had 14 cups of grape juice. I couldn't stand much longer so I put it in the refrigerator for the following day when I could organize the process. 

The final results of this wonderful gift was 19 cups of grape jelly, plus a little in a dish for my sandwiches/English muffins this week, and 4 cups of pie filling to use for pie or grape crisp. Thank goodness I have teenage grandsons that have healthy appetites and of course it's wonderful for gift giving. 

Oranges were on Savingstar.com this week and it is the time of year that I like to pick up Cara Cara oranges. They are pink inside and so wonderful. I got enough to make some beautiful orange marmalade. I saved a small sample to tase and wow was it awesome. I now have eight cups of devine marmalade. Needless to say it's been a busy week, but the aroma's in my little townhouse have been outstanding. I have a wonderful variety of jellies and jams to go with my peanut butter and I couldn't be happier. So grateful for mother earths bounty. 

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Thrift finds.

It's been a while since I've posted any of our thrift finds. So much fun doing other things and just plain doing less thrift picking.

Lately we have been getting a few items that we find for ourselves. Here are two Kokeshi dolls my daughter will add to her collection, a yellow bath towel, Tupperware Popsicle molds along with a vintage sheet and some tart pans. 

We're finding fewer and fewer pieces of good Pyrex, but this one came home with us along with a miniature Tupperware juicer, egg separator and grater. This is a stacking set that has a small cup and cover. Still more Tupperware measuring cups, a hand held grater along with a flower shaped cookie cutter for those lovely lemon lavender short bread cookies.

Here's a collection of some of the Vera scarfs we've found on recent adventures. It's a nice variety of colors and shapes.

The vintage ice cube trays are wonderful. They don't make them like they used too. The muffin tin will be added to my collection of mini tins, the hooks are to improve storage in a closet and the wonderful vintage plastic letter/mail organizer has found a place on the wall near the door to take care of business. I just love vintage organizers.

Last but not least are some fun Christmas napkins and fabric, yes that is a suction cup handle for the shower. As I'm maturing these little safety items are helping. We found some quilting magazines that we enjoy looking at, story books and greeting cards. There's so much stuff out there to rummage through and we do have a great time doing it. We usually find something, but it's not until I take the pictures and post to my blog that I realize the wonderful finds we acquire. 

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend. I'm off to check out my bread that is rising and maybe do a little weekend house work. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

This little townhouse of ours has been a very busy place this summer. We have learned new things, tried new foods, and although we have one of the smallest kitchens going we have canned and preserved and made the most of what we've grown ourselves, purchased at the farmer's markets and received as gifts.

Ready for this past weekends celebrations were home made Kosher dill pickle spears. These were a gift from some one who doesn't even know me, but got word that I would use them. Three quarts of heaven, well two because we ate into one, are in the pantry for the upcoming year.

The second gift of cucumbers were made into Bread and Butter pickles. I received this fine slicing machine complete with a protective glove for Christmas last year and finally used it. There are now four pints of these yummy goodies in the pantry. The most exciting thing to me about receiving these gifts was the fact that the person who gave them to me became inspired to make her own and discovered that she could do it. 

While I was searching for new recipes I discovered some that required espresso powder. I thought that most recipes just called for ground coffee. Not true. I searched for information on where to buy it, but the price was so high and I began to search for how to make it. Lo and behold it was easier than ever. Just make a pot of espresso in your regular coffee pot, dry the used grounds, a spin through the spice mill and there you have it. Espresso powder. I didn't need it right away so I put it on the list of future investments and went about other homestead activities. Not a week later while on an expedition through Targets, out of curiosity, I started pricing espresso coffee. A little high, but from a 10 oz bag I could make as much espresso powder as I "wanted" not what I "needed". The universe saw my want and there it was...espresso coffee marked clearance. $1.83 for a 10 oz vacuum sealed bag. We took all three that still had their seal and now have it in our pantry. I made two pots of espresso and dried the grounds and put them through the spice mill and I now have a nice bottle of powder to cook with. I also came across a bottle of Red Wine Vinegar marked down on the clearance shelf to $.98. This has been added to the cooking pantry also. 

At the farmer's markets we acquired blueberries, cherries and black berries. I put up a batch of blueberry jam, blueberry syrup for pancakes and cherry jam. I made black berry butter and froze the remainder for the next project which will be triple berry syrup. A favorite around here.

While I was out watering my "covert" container garden I spotted what may be a sweet potato. I felt the soil and it didn't quite feel like there were any in there, but there is still growing time for them and I will be patient until I get the sign that it's time to harvest. I am getting excited and hopeful that there will be some there. So all in all it's been busy and I know a lot of you are also. I keep going and working and it does pay off. I like to add what I get free to my posts when there are some so here they are.

A case of 24 bottles of water, a bag of TGI Fridays snacks and two boxes of Domino brown sugar. One was a gift from that cookie monster friend who doesn't want me to stop baking. 
Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope everyone has a wonderful week and is grateful for their blessings.