Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

I know it's been two weeks, but it's been another whirlwind of events. I can't believe that the Christmas holiday is here and I am not ready. Mentally that is. We put up some lights in the window and have dinner purchased and planned. I unpacked some kitchen decorations and small items, but I think it was the idea of just unpacking and repacking the boxes that got to me. What I've done will be enough for the two of us and some relax time may be more fitting. 
So here's some of the events that have taken up our time. First off let me tell you that waste is our pet peeve. Last weekend we got a call from our little sweetheart Emily. We were entertaining a dear friend and her husband who had just returned from California. Just relaxing and gabbing, when the call came. A store near where Emily works has gone out of business. The owners were filling a 40 ft. dumpster with their store inventory. It was already five feet deep with caterer and restaurant quality tablecloths, table skirts, and napkins. Can you see it now?

Well my daughter and our friend from California were off to dumpster dive. They are two of a kind these girls and I and the husband stayed behind so they had more room in the car. Their mission was to prevent as much as possible ending up in a landfill. Emily continued to post for people to come and get what they could, and so they did. She was in the dumpster tossing all she could out to whoever was there to catch it. We have no idea what was left in the dumpster, but this is the pile that came to our home. Oh, and yes, there was a husband who learned something new about his wife. The two girls were enjoying the rush. Most of the items were laundered and packed or on hangers. Some new, some so bad we added them to a rag bag, because all new home owners need a supply of rags. A lot of very heavy polyester and some good cotton.

The pile didn't look like much just sitting there, but we spent the rest of the evening and a few days after sorting and folding and letting any one who wanted pick it over. We salvaged good quality hangers and recycled broken ones. All the plastic laundry bags were also recycled. As of right now there are 11 large green garbage bags of goods headed for donation after the holiday. It wasn't all that could have been done, but these owners could have rented a vehicle and donated it instead of tossing it in a dumpster. Pure environmental irresponsibility to us. 
Now, to get to the giant box/boxes that I left you hanging with on my last post.

Here's what those boxes contained. Yes, a beehive. My daughter has been tending bees for a couple of summers now and the woman who had them isn't interested any more and told her she could have her hives and equipment if she wanted it to use. This was more than a year off for her to invest in, but after the offer came in she couldn't turn it down and ordered her colony for this coming April. This would give her time to sterilize the used hive and get it prepped and also because we thought the colony she was tending had died off. Well, a few hours after she ordered her colony, which can't be cancelled or money returned, she was told that there were still bees in the hive. So now what? The decision was made and the new hive was ordered and it is now in our living room. We need to make room to paint it and prepare it, but our gardening friends have been hired to help with the spot we need to place them and we are ready for the pollinating garden around it. 

Along with the plans for the bees, has been a plan for a garden. Although the bees will be taking top priority this Spring, I have been purchasing good quality heirloom seeds and building my plan. Our gardening friends will help here too. It will be something that will grow over the years. I have to start small for now, but I'm sure I may get a few things in. All of this going on and we've only been at our new home for eight months. 

Winter arrived like a lion. We've had so many white outs, ending up with good amounts of snow and frigid temperatures and I've been trying to keep an eye on our elderly neighbors. This is only to find out that they are looking out for us. It's the golden rule everyone. "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." It is more important now than ever. 

I received a very special Christmas gift from my daughter. This vintage metal desk came early, but I just love it. It is going in my basement pantry so I'll have a place to work. We will be mounting some shelves over it. Just some of the work still on the list. We have come so far in the past eight months and when the bees arrive it will be our one year anniversary here. Can't wait to go back over my blog and see what we have accomplished. It's been fun, exciting, exhausting and a growing experience for us, and every corner we turn we see something else we can or want to do. That's what's been happening at the Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by to visit and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Well, I am excited to say that this past weekend we got most of what needed to be taken to the basement from the garage moved. Thank you Emily for all of your help. I now know where a lot of things are that we haven't been able to find and have spent some time organizing so I can figure what I need to buy for shelves and keep going. 

This pile still needs sorting, but it's not as bad as it looks. We have done well to make it as easy as we can to get this final load unpacked.

This stack is mostly holiday decorations and purchased supplies to be put on shelves. By the end of the year it will not be this overwhelming.

With all the guys in our lives that have late November and December birthdays we made beef jerky. All has been packaged and shipped and we have confirmed deliveries. I hope they enjoy it. Now we will make some for ourselves because it was so good. We've been making home made gifts too, but can't post pictures or say anything for now, but we've been on the move there and having some fun.

A large heavy box was delivered today. I know the contents, but I'll keep it a secret until next week. Some very wonderful things happening here on our little piece of the earth. Can't wait to share and show everyone the progress we are making and what's new for the next year. That's what's been happening at the new Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a great week. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Wow! Thanksgiving came and went so fast I hardly had time to think about it. It just fell into place and we had a total of eight for dinner. We had just the basics for our meal and the visit was fun. All three of my grandchildren at the same time. The only new cooking for me this year was home made cranberry sauce. I admit it, I always opened a small can because it doesn't get eaten in large quantities here. I canned the leftovers in eight ounce jars for use throughout the next year.

The week before Thanksgiving I went shopping for a chest freezer. After all the early black Friday  specials and discounts I settled on this 15cf  Whirlpool. It was delivered within three days and looks so wonderful in the newly renovated basement.

We took an afternoon and went to do some thrift shopping. We've been working so hard and hadn't been out to hunt for several long months. 

I never find footwear in my size, never mind new, but on this trip I found three new pair of size eight that came home with me. 

I found a couple of nice sheets, one is 100% cotton and the other is cotton/poly blend that I've added to my sewing fabric for future articles of clothing. I keep promising myself that I'll get to my sewing room. Mine is the third bedroom and the one in the renovated basement is my daughter's.

I enjoy finding vintage jars. I found these two for $1.50 and what makes them unusual is the fact that they are half gallon jars. I've seen plenty of gallon size, but these are short and stubby. I also found a set of eight vintage aluminum bell pans.

The best find was not by me, but I now own them. Emily (our special girl) found them while she was looking for some vintage items for a party she was having. For all you Pyrex lovers out there this is a set of twelve, four piece place settings of vintage Flamingo Pink dishes. The purchase price was $34.99. Our Christmas dinnerware came to us without asking. I have packed six place settings away and put six place settings in the cupboard. Most are in pristine condition. Two plates and two saucers seem to have been well used or the person who owned them may have replaced them at one time. All I know is that they are now ours and we can't wait for Christmas morning to enjoy them. It will be a "handle with care" kind of day with them. 

This is the holiday view out our kitchen window. Santa must be fifteen feet tall for me to see him so well, so far away. It feels so good to be in a home where there's something new every day and it's peaceful. Well, that's some of what's been happening at the new Town House Homestead. Stop by again for an update on our next adventure. Thank you for stopping by and have a great week. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Oh what a wonderful feeling today. We have been in our new home for seven months exactly today. We'd like to say that we slowed down, but we are just beginning to unpack more boxes and the work will continue forever. 

We continued this past weekend with painting another section of the basement floor. Walls have divided it into rooms/areas that we are naming. This will be the pantry. The freezer will be placed along the back wall and shelves organized with our canning, cooking and baking supplies. It may even have a couple of chairs and a table along with a coffee pot and be a break room too.

By this weekend it should be cured enough to work in there more, but it sure looks clean and usable. 

This is the cart she painted with the microwave just set on it for now. It will be moved to the pantry when the floor is ready so she can do projects and have that cup of coffee. Still lots to do, but things are out of the garage before cold weather set in.

We have been finding the boxes with the vintage sheets and to my surprise my daughter has had a sheet in her stash that I had been stalking for months on eBay. It's the yellow one and she gave it to me to combine with my other vintage sheets and spreads. I purchased a used sheet and made two pillow cases from the better parts to go with them. I also matched some spray paint to change the colors of some wall decorations and we got those hung. We are moving along and it's beginning to feel like it's ours. I did can some butternut squash and some butternut squash soup, but pictures have not been taken. Everything is just being set in the laundry room until we can use the pantry. We did some cement repairs in the garage to seal holes and raise the floor in one corner so the door fell flat against the floor preventing critters any entry. With the holidays quickly approaching we need room to have company so getting the jobs done so we can unpack has been steady. That's what's happened this week at the new Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. 

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Today is a very exciting day for me. The blog post I have been waiting so long to write is ready. Now to get it out of my head and on to this page. For the past few months I have been posting so many adventures, but the one we've worked hardest for is close to done and more than functional as of Sunday. This is how it began. 

It was a dark and dingy basement. This photo is after we pulled down a drop ceiling and dragged out bags of refuse like old wood, broken cement, and left behind trash from previous owners. The windows hadn't been opened until we opened them, and the breathing status of the basement was very poor. After pulling out a lot of the old fiberglass insulation, after the wasp situation, it was doing much better. As of last week the new furnace was installed, and a dear friend of my daughters spent an afternoon placing the washer and dryer in their proper locations and got it vented correctly.

So this is what all this progress has been for. Five months of hard work with the help of several friends and this is what it is now. This portion of the basement any way.

One up and coming work/sewing studio. Room for growth and more than one person to work, play, create, and imagine. It was a race against mother nature to get most of the boxes out of the garage and unpacked before cold weather, but they did it and as of Sunday my daughter has had a couple of hours to relax and sew. But, all our time was not just spent on the basement renovations. 

This was a side project. We found this vintage cart on Craigslist for $25 and took it apart, and spray painted it. Now that it's cleaned up it has been set in the basement to use for the extra microwave and coffee pot. She will need coffee to keep going while she works and the microwave will be used for projects she loves to do. 

I have been busy during the day time hours taking advantage of sales and enjoying cooking in my cast iron dutch oven. This is a BBQ pork shoulder that I made into pulled pork and there it is all canned for the pantry along with another slow cooker batch of apple butter. 

I also cooked a reasonably priced turkey and canned some meat, made some soup, and put more broth on the shelf in the pantry. We are ready for cold weather when it finally arrives. Can you taste the pot pies and casseroles yet? 

For me canning is never over. There is always something to put up. I went to the farm market for my butternut squash, so next week it will be canned squash, canned squash soup, and for the holiday a squash pie. I was able to stock up on a few jars for the next month or so to insure that I could keep going. With all the expenses fixing up the house it has been a blessing knowing the pantry shelves are filling up. Along with what we did before we moved I think we'll be able to survive the winter. That's what's happened the last couple of weeks here at our new Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

WOW! Another week behind us and we are so exhausted. When we moved here we chose not to have a television. We can do most of what we like with computers, but without the television we have found that we do more work. We feel like time is running out to get the things done around here that need to be done before winter. The house and property have come a long way in six months, but so much was not taken care of and here we are trying to do, what for almost two decades, wasn't done. Hopefully next week the furnace and hot water heater will be replaced. It's holding up some of the basement renovations, but my daughter has been building her studio. Still work and touch up painting to do. 

We've come this far while we wait for other work to be done. With help a few of the tables and chairs and boxes have been brought down, but they are waiting in another portion of the basement for a week or two. I think it's going to look awesome.

Vegetables keep coming our way. My younger daughter brought the eggplant, half a zucchini and all those hot peppers my way. The other pepper donation was left on our front step Sunday night with an empty canning jar. Thank you Emily for thinking of us and not letting them rot on the vine. I will be making chocolate zucchini muffins and dehydrating most of the peppers for hot pepper powder. I can store it vacuum sealed until I want to cook with it. 

I made eggplant Parmesan in the form of a pie for dinner with the eggplants which was more than enough for us to eat for a few meals. It is so yummy. 

I spent several days this past week taking out plants that needed to be housed over the winter and got them all tucked in. All the time I was doing it I was dreaming of the compost bin that will be built for sure next spring. I pulled all the container plants and turned the garden soil to loosen it and this morning, bright and early, I planted 36 cloves of garlic. Not a lot, but more than enough to start us off, and with hope some to plant next fall. I am still dreaming of the garden in the back yard, but for now, these are in a couple of corners of the front flower beds. Better there than no where. That's what's been happening at the new Town House Homestead this week. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

One foot in front of the other and keep on going has always been our philososphy. I would love to be showing you more progress on the basement renovations, but they once again have stalled. Although we have unpacked a few boxes for my daughter's studio we have been trying to regroup from the newest dilema. The furnace needs to be replaced and when the company that flipped the house did renovations they installed a defective water heater and guage. In a couple of weeks they will both be replaced and we'll have a new slate to work with. It's really a great thing that we hadn't finished painting the floors. We also got some of the items relisted on her store so that we could continue in a forward motion. Still lots to get done there, but every day is a new day. Follow the progress of her store at poetcharms.etsy.com

She found this chair in the hallway at work and brought it home. This is the second such chair they have cleared out. The legs were bent inward on one side, but after she removed the seat she was able to stand on it and bend it back to where it should be. It got cleaned and painted and is now at her computer desk.

Our 85 year old neighbor came to the door the other day with this bag of apples. She was checking on us because she hadn't seen us out working on the gardens and thought we would like to make a pie and relax. I haven't gotten to the pie yet, but I have eaten a couple of the apples. They are fresh and crips.

My daughter was given a bag of jalapeno peppers by a co-worker. There was 1.5 pounds which was enough to make half a batch of candied jalapenos. I love hot peppers on sandwiches and there you have it more to put on the basement shelves.

I was given a few organic items to save the seeds from. Here is a chili pepper that was hot and awesome. I did say I liked it hot. The seeds are drying and to keep from wasting that lovely pepper I added it to honey to add to marinades. 

This is an organic tomato that tasted full on summer. Some of the last I suspect on his vines. The seeds are soaking in some water to separate and will be dried as soon as they do. I also saved some jalapeno seeds. Now that this process is under way I'm sure hoping to be able to get the garden in next year. In the meantime I will continue to use the local farm markets and building the food storage. So glad we did now that a new furnace and water heater have to be installed. That's what's been happening at the new Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a great week. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Not a lot to post about today. It was a mad rush yesterday to get the Cana lilies out of the ground because the first frost came overnight. We were gifted six bulbs, but look what happened in the three months they were in the ground. There's a bushel of them. 

This morning we got up to a colder than usual home to find out the furnace won't come on. Help will be here some time today to fix that, but in the meantime we are grateful for the electric heaters as backup.

We had a movie night last night. We watched "The Great Gatsby" in surround sound using the wall for a screen. It was great and the company included the young people who have been helping us work on the house. Pizza was served.

The floor paint has set and we have juggled things in still another temporary situation so we can continue working. This is the situation in the food pantry as of today. Glad we put some color on the walls. 

Now we need to scrub the rest of the floor and continue painting. A lot of this past weeks work was outside. Mowing the lawns, cleaning brush, and repairing damaged foundation so insects (Wasps) and other wildlife won't be getting in. 

We had help this past weekend continuing the work of removing cloth wrapping from the copper pipes and properly insulating them. More out with the old and in with the new. Time well spent to do it and do it right. We also discovered a water line to the laundry room which some day may get hooked up to a basement sink. The potential is growing and the progress continues. That's what's going on at the new Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a great week. 

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday.

We are taking our time and doing it as right as possible, but the waiting is killing us. We had a couple of days at the end of last week that we really did not feel well. Tired mostly, but Sunday with the help of a dear friend we pushed through. The floor was washed three times and vacuumed even more to get it as clean as possible. It was worth all the scrub. We got all of the walls touched up and started the trim and down went the first coat of floor paint. We let it dry and got the second coat on. This basement tear out and renovation is coming along great and barring no further delays in a couple of weeks we can move the studio in and re shelf the pantry.  Wish us luck. We are racing mother nature because as soon as the studio is moved out of the garage we need to fill holes to keep critters out of it.

While the second coat was drying we moved on to the third portion of the basement. We'll call it the furnace room and got the cement walls coated in white with the primer. The further wall will be blue and the wall on the left may need another coat.

A portion of the space that will be the food storage room got a start with the floor. We did just enough to be able to move shelves in and organize the pantry when the time comes that we can walk on the floor.  

As I said we are doing it to the best of our knowledge and ability. Thanks to friends, YouTube and research it is going to be nice. We have even found some one who can help with the 59 year old screen windows that need replacing.

Once the shelves are in place we will be adding the canning that we have been doing, yes, while we've waited for paint to dry and in between the regular work. Here we have pasta sauce and apple butter. 

My daughter wanted to make something from scratch doing all the work herself and the canning herself. So she spent time making the apple butter and I gave her the first basic lessons in water bath canning. It was a job well done. We put the apple peels and scraps in water with sugar to make vinegar. It's doing well and fermenting in the cupboard.

Today's adventure in the kitchen was a batch of root beer jelly. The root beer was from a recent trip through a drive through for a quick bite and it never gets consumed so today I made jelly. It tastes like root beer candy. It will be shared with friends and the excess added to the pantry.

That's what's new at the Town House Homestead this week. All the work is beginning to feel great and the results have been amazing. On October 15th we will have been in our new home for six months and it feels like it's been home forever. We still love her. Thank you for stopping by and have a great week.