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.