Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

It's that time of year when the days are not as hot and the nights are cool and comfortable, but the heat is still out there. Lurking behind the rain storms and lingering, just waiting for the right moment to frustrate those of us who ask, should I water the plants or just wait a few minutes? It's harvest time and the bounty is beautiful this year. I have been busy trying to preserve all the gifts Mother earth has given.

This is my harvest of Coriander seeds. I am setting some aside for starting a new plant and some will go in a grinder for cooking. 

These are my covert carrots I harvested this weekend. Not a huge amount, but fresh and grown without pesticides. I've added the greens to salads and made carrot top pesto. My daughter and I both agree that it's better than basil pesto. I used three cups of tops and got enough to use in six meals. Blessings come in many forms.

My cheese making adventure continues and for the life of me I don't know why I've never made cheese before. It's so easy and proving quite economical. This weekend was ricotta. Half an hour tops start to finish and it tastes so fresh. Only used one half gallon of whole milk, salt and vinegar. 

I used my home made tomato sauce and cheese to make this wonderful pan of vegetable lasagna. I used sliced zucchini for noodles.

Here it is all baked and with a serving eaten and it is holding up as well as any lasagna made with noodles, but the taste is gourmet.

These are my vegetables for the next couple of weeks. The carrots from my container, two yellow squash that were gifted, a sweet potato that was gifted, large tomatoes, grape, tomatoes, Boston lettuce, new white potatoes, red potatoes, onions, four peppers all different colors and a large amount of jalapeno peppers to stuff and freeze for cooking. Everything that wasn't gifted came to $11 at the farmer's market. It was a great day for the market Saturday and the bounty was beautiful. So many choices and wonderful prices for good eating. That's what's been happening here at the homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. Enjoy the bounty and blessings of Mother Earth. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Thrift finds.

Well what can I say? We found a few different items this week. Some at a church sale, some at garage sales, and some at thrift stores. Some for us, some for friends and some for the store. My daughter was approved through our city for a program for first time home buyers along with her employer so after the first of the year we will be beginning our search for a new home. It's been several years of building and growing to get to this point, but well worth it. We are hunting items we know we will use in the new home and although we are being selective we are purchasing and packing for the future.

Some of these items might seem strange for purchases, but when the prices are .10, .15, .25, .50 cents and $1 you take advantage. The two new Sterno were .50 cents, retail price $5.99. I will use these to cook outside and not heat the kitchen. Flower pots always picked up for container gardening and herbs. The popcorn bowls were .50 cents each and will be added to three already listed on her store. There were several vintage Santa's at .10 cents each and the measuring cup is 4 cups and cost .75 cents. There is a vintage toothpick holder behind Santa and the flower on the top twist to take one out. It was .50 cents. Like I said different items.

The vintage Pyrex we found for a friend, the church sale yielded three Doctor Who paperbacks, some vintage holiday stickers and a vintage Japanese turkey. The turkey was in the bottom of a box at the church rummage sale and was .25 cents. It's all packed with holiday decorations.

We found several more books and some electronic charging devices for $1 and new ear buds along with a suction cup handle that is being used in the sewing room on my plastic cutting ruler. 

Another book, cross stitch Care Bear Christmas patterns, a flower pot already washed and bleached to kill any disease from use and replanted with my basil cuttings. There are eight vintage napkins in the bundle and these will go on my daughter's store. 

These pictures are not blurry. They are five sheets of iron ons and there is a cat, dog, flowers, fruit and a barn scene. They were just too cute to leave behind and are vintage calico print style iron ons. That's what the hunt got this week and it's been fun. Like one woman at a yard sale said, "we stopped hunting and gathering food so now we gather stuff." I believe this is a great statement about life today. Thanks for stopping by and happy hunting. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

Still having fun here at the townhouse homestead. The work is overwhelming some days, but I am succeeding at putting together a meal plan. We started yesterday and I already see some tweaking that needs doing. For example a Thanksgiving size meal on Monday without prepping over the weekend does not make Monday easy. No, it wasn't turkey it was baked chicken and dressing with salad. Dressing made from scratch and home made bread croutons and the time was a bit more than expected. Also turning the oven on when it's ninety degrees outside doesn't work either, but we had a good meal and there were leftovers for lunches. 

My covert carrots are almost ready to harvest. They are in there and it's been fun watching them grow. I think they did well in the container, but it's the carrot top pesto I am looking forward to trying. Once these are harvested I will plant parsnips. The seeds are germinating as we speak. They take a while longer but are cold weather safe. 

I acquired a good amount of garlic and set out to dehydrate some. I've always used garlic powder in my cooking and I got one and a half pounds of garlic for $4.29. I filled the dehydrator and there was this wonderful (sarcasm) aroma that hung around the townhouse for a couple of days.

The result was awesome. I yielded about two cups of garlic chips. My favorite use for them is to put them in grinders so they are fresh for my winter cooking. Winter vegetables with a little olive oil and butter with ground pepper and garlic are so good. I up cycle my empty grinders. As long as I can get the covers off I reuse them. The one's that have pepper in them I use for pepper blends, but the one's with sea salt, etc. clean up well as far as having no remaining fragrance so I use them and gift my blends. 

I started learning how to make cheese. This week will be ricotta so I can make vegetable lasagna. My intent is to make pepper jack cheese and it requires pickled jalapeno peppers so this week I proceeded to pickle peppers. My younger daughter picked them up for me at the farmers market and I pickled seven four ounce jars. The recipe only requires two tablespoons, so I think I'm set for a while.

I harvested the cilantro and the seeds are drying. I have planted spinach in the container and it's starting to come up. I thought they were washed out because the rain came down so hard, but they survived so far. I have plenty of garlic left and plan on making garlic bread with the fresh parsley I harvested. I love using my daughter's vintage Pyrex for my cooking. My basil is growing extremely well. This picture is the third harvest. I have dried some and made pesto and this bundle will be added to the dry. I also clipped two stems and rooted it so I have a plant inside growing. I have enough to clip more so I can share this plant with others. The plants are strong. We paid $3.99 and there were two in the pot and I have harvested enough from it so that economically it paid it's way. It's still growing and I may get more pesto to use for gifts. 

This is how my daughter messes with me. We purchased a chive plant for $1 that I divided into three plants. This pot is an eight inch pot so you can imagine how large the original plant was. I've already gifted one of the smaller plants. I have this growing inside also. The townhouse complex sprays anything that's in the ground, but they leave my herbs in the pots on my little deck alone. My daughter said I need to give the chive a haircut, but I'm waiting a couple days because I need some for a recipe. My next challenge is going to be helping my rosemary plant. It has powdery mildew and may not make it, but I will give it the farm girl try at saving it. That's what's new here at the townhouse homestead. Thanks for stopping by and have a great week. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Thrift finds.

So my daughter's time off from work for her stay cation became a thrift-cation. We had to get out because our townhouse neighbors thought we should live in a boom box. It wasn't very relaxing until we called the complex office. Hours upon hours of loud music and slamming doors and yelling and screaming were more than enough reason to get out and thrift. We were frustrated, but still selective with what we purchased.

My favorite phrase lately while out riding around is "came upon". We came upon a large yard sale and found these pieces of fabric and holly plate. Great score. All items $4.

At a shop we hadn't visited since before the holidays last year we found a new with the tags flour sifter, a vintage coffee mug that's already been traded on line, a large crochet hook and the most darling glass jar shaped like a honey bee. She will use this for her first batch of harvested honey when she has her own hive.

We planned a trip to a larger flea market and she found the metal shelf, a book, a yellow Pyrex fridge bowl with cover, a partial set of green Pyrex mixing bowls and a blue enamel cooking pot. Our favorite item was the set of Josef Original Santa salt and pepper shakers.

At another "came upon" yard sale we found a Vera scarf, three pint size canning jars and a vintage Avon camper bottle. Total $1.75. Another score. 

This was the most talked about fun find and it is behind locked glass. It is an industrial donut cutter rolling pin. The price...$200, but we figured at that price we could make enough donuts in an hour to recoup the price. Way too much work for me and way too many donuts, but quite an item. No, we did not buy it. Those were all the purchases we made. Some for her future home, some for her collections, some for the store. We did find time for a meal out and another trip for ice cream. We tried a few new things like making cheese and trying new herbs. The week went fast, but we made the best of the time and after the call to the office we didn't get much more than retaliating door slamming and the intimidation team has now become their threat. Believe me we are not threatened, we are motivated to keep going and for some strange reason every time they act the way they do we get many sales on the store. The universe in action. These are the select items from last week. Thank you for stopping by and have a great weekend. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

Staying busy and still learning. I am very grateful for all that has become available to me. My daughter has become a very confident bee keeper. She doesn't have her own hive, but a co-worker has let her help with her new hive and learn. She says it feels good to be around them. She suffered her very first sting this time. However, it was a stupid move on her part. After working the hive she bare handed picked up some of the scraped off honeycomb that had bees stuck in it and she assumed they were dead, but before dying one got her on her hand. She thought it would be worse but now she has her baptism sting behind her.

Here are some pictures of the latest check on the hive. I was feeling a bit more comfortable around them, but at the same time I was learning how to use a new lens for the camera. 

It was interesting to see how the hive works and I know she's ready to have a hive of her own when she has her own home.

The garden is coming along. The buckets have butternut squash growing. I'm not sure what will happen, but the plants were started from seeds I saved. The rest of the garden is my friends and together we are learning. She's harvested beans and has peppers and cucumbers coming. The broccoli is also getting larger. 

My container tomatoes are doing well. I was hoping for a better and different turn out, but I'll take my blessings as they come. We do have tomatoes after all. Since I can't garden here at the townhouse I am grateful to my friend for sharing her garden space. We are learning together and she's been inspired to want to grow more. Thank you for stopping by to visit and have a great week. 

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Thrift Finds

We have been out doing some thrift shopping. Being selective and planning for the future while staying on our time line for a new living situation. Keeping that in mind as we look over what we need and want, this is what we found.

This week we found a new and unused 18 jar vintage spice rack. This is for all the spice mixes I've been making for my cooking experiments. Great find at $3.99. I chose what I needed for canning jars. Only took these five wide mouth quarts at fifty cents each. The large vintage refrigerator dish has a few chips in the cover, but for another $3.99 we decided to get it. What I love about it is that it will make a wonderful all around go with anything serving set. I can use the bottom and turn the cover over and use it as a tray. My imagination was in action.

For vintage and colorful linens we found two floral tablecloths, a bundle of red and brown floral curtain panels and a green print pillow case. The bag of knitting needles was $.99 and yielded 16 pairs of needles including several sets of double point needles. The computer mouse is not vintage, but I have told people that it's for a vintage computer user. Original price was $1.99 but because this weeks color tag was blue we got it for 50% off. It works great and is an HP brand. 

The flower silicone baking mold was purchased for my daughter's soap making and lotion crafting. Wilton brand for $3.99 and new in the package. The angel will go with her collection of angels, the "e" key chain she got for me because we really don't find a lot of different items with my name or initial and the lamp was originally priced $2.99. It also had a blue tag which again we purchased at 50% off. We were also able to use the senior discount at Savers thrift store which gave us an additional 30% off. That's the scoop for this past weekends thrift finds and we are excited to be going to a large flea market this coming weekend. I'll let you know what we find. Thank you for stopping by and have a great weekend.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

It finally got here. My daughter is taking a staycation to relax and putter and do some of the things she's wanted to do and just take it easy for a few days. We have done just that. I still find lots of chores to do but that's okay too. Yesterday I seriously had to harvest basil. My plants were getting very tall and abundant so it was time to make pesto. I had enough for a very healthy batch and the plants are still strong and I may be able to do more. Here's hoping.

It tastes so good and it's on the menu for tonight. I will be making Bruschetta. I have home made French bread, home made pesto, farm fresh tomatoes and yes believe it or not I did it.

At the first of the year I had given myself two challenges. Well at my age a lot of things are challenging, but the first was learning how to knit socks. Now twelve pair later I think I've met that challenge. the second challenge was learning how to make cheese. Not to become a serious cheese maker, but just enough to cut the budget a bit, to know a little more about what was in our food and to enjoy different things. Being on a budget I took the time to build my supplies with the gracious help of my daughter. Total cost to get these supplies was $53.97. I know to some of you it sounds like very little, but that's a fortune for me to take out of a very minimal budget. It took me a few months with list in hand to built the supplies, however I now have the supplies to make many batches of cheese. After breaking down the cost of this first try it came to a whopping $3.71 for just shy of a pound of Mozzarella and took about thirty minutes to produce. I reduced the cost to our budget in half for a pound of cheese and I know what's in it. I got over my nerves and just did it and now I can take on the next type of cheese. I am so excited to know that this is simple and budget friendly.

This past Sunday morning we headed out to a farm stand that was recommended to us and got some basic lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and so on for our meals and the sign said all plants 50% off so we looked around. They were overflowing with the regular flowers and herbs and I was looking and reading and enjoying the aroma of the plants. My daughter said that if I was going to get a new herb I should try something new and there were only two or three that were different from what I was already growing on my mini deck. This plant kept calling me back because it has the aroma of pizza spices and it intrigued me. It was a winner to me so for $2 I brought it home. It is Winter Savory and I am so thrilled with this herb. I google searched it, went on Pinterest and learned about it and yes, on the way around doing errands nibbled on it's peppery leaves. When we got home for lunch we made simple tuna fish on Ciabatta rolls and I added thin slices of onion and chopped some of the winter savory for my sandwich. It was wonderful and fresh tasting. It is a perennial plant and when we have a permanent garden it will be added. We are getting closer to that happening and some days we just can't wait. So that's what's been new for the garden and learning this past week in the townhouse homestead. Thank you for stopping by and visiting and I hope you all have a wonderful week.