Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

First an update. My thrift store cast iron Dutch oven finally got to a point where I felt comfortable using it. It turned out better than I expected.

Not perfect, but with use now it will become more seasoned. This was my maiden meal with it and it was so delicious.

I roasted a six pound chicken with lemon and rosemary in my convection oven. Next time I will roast using the regular baking feature because it needed to crisp up a bit. I will keep practicing with the convection oven and cast iron to find the correct temps and times.

After being held up for two weeks because of Wasps and pulling out insulation to remove the hive and all the clean up, this past weekend my daughter and one of our dear friends spent five hours getting back on course with the basement painting. All walls have two coats and they even managed to paint a second section of the basement that I will be using for my food storage and freezer and we'll have a microwave available for craft projects. You can see the two rooms with the dividing wall. 

This is a comparison photo. The upper picture is after removing the drop ceiling cleaning up old wires and 58 years of who knowss what and patching the cement walls.

She purchase a sheet of peg board and a variety of different pegs to use for her sewing and craft tools. This will hang on the panelled wall where she plans to place tables and her sewing machines.

This is from the back end of the room looking up the stairs and you can see the work in the second room. They will be painting the floor a dove gray this weekend and beginning the cement walls in the third section of the basement which houses the furnace and water heater and most of the house mechanicals. Hopefully in a couple of weeks we will have it more settled, but it is beginning to feel like a useful part of the house and the dungeon is moving out. This has been major work for us and other things have been going on, but they will wait until next week. I have so much to do today and need to take advantage of the cool dry weather. Thank you for stopping by and have a great week. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

Okay so let's get right to the past weeks episode. The nasty that kept us awake at night and unable to work, putting us now almost ten days behind on work that really needs to be done before cold weather sets in. 

Here you have it. A hive of yellow jackets in the insulation and foundation of the basement. We knew that they were some where. It started out with the kitchen plumbing. With a flipped house you don't know what's coming and while prepping meals for the week and washing dishes both connections to the double sink became so loose they fell off. All the water was pouring into the basement. A quick call to a dear friend got it fixed and my daughter took him to the basement to show him the progress. The gang was busy painting and watching for wasps as we had been for a couple of weeks. They were nasty and stung hard. Well, didn't he see something that we hadn't and before he could be stopped, he moved a step stool to the foundation wall and pulled at the insulation and yes people, he disturbed the hive. Work came to a halt and that was the beginning of a very long week of waiting.

Six days after they were professionally (expensively) treated she got all her gear on and began to pull out the insulation. We had some still alive, but barely. The picture is of just one of the piles of dead wasps and we have more in other parts of the basement still to clean. We are letting the pile of insulation sit for a couple more days to make sure they are gone. And so it goes we've conquered one more challenge and now have more work closing gaps in the foundation and re-insulating before winter. We will get back to the painting and we still have help coming.

On the nicer side of those stinging insects, this is the honey she received for tending her co-workers hives through the summer. It's three quarts and I am so thrilled. It taste so good. 

I canned a late summer basket of pears this week. Farmers said that the yields were low this year, but I have enough for what we need through winter. I also picked a bright orange sweet pepper and two more jalapeno peppers. 

And finally this past week we planted a tree. We were gifted many different plants, bulbs, rhizomes and seeds along with this healthy baby spruce tree. After months of wondering where to put it so it didn't interfere with water lines, gas lines and places we wanted to put other things, it finally found a home. It is in a far corner of the yard with plenty of room and conditions for good growth. It will shelter the empty corner and bring life to what is now just a grassy field. It's going to grow as the homestead does and be our memory of our beginning here. So, that's what has happened this past week at the new Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday

I think this week I'll show you some of my flowers that came up in the garden. We were gifted Cana Lilies and they are awkward, but okay for this year. We also received several Dahlia's and they are just starting to blossom making the garden look pretty before it all settles back for winter. 

To the left of the Cana Lilies are white Mums, in the pot is peppermint, and in the front of the photo is Spider Wort. All plants and bulbs were gifted and or saved from the trash. The white mums were table decorations for a college graduation brunch, used for a couple hours and heading for garbage bags. They, along with everything else, filled out nicely and we will move and adjust things next Spring.

I baked as usual. This is a loaf of lemon blueberry muffin bread. It was so delicious. I'm going to try other blueberry recipes too. I'm in the mood to try everything at least once.

I was given some Salsa this week. I didn't make this and I already had an open jar in the refrigerator, so I canned it. These are eight ounce jars ready for the pantry.

I started some new quilt blocks. I needed to use up some scraps of the quilt I'm making for either toss pillows or pillow cases. I have a new respect for the number 13. This is the Cathedral window block. Each block is 4.5 inches square with 1/4 inch seam allowances. It took 13, 2.5 inch squares to make each block. I tried it two different ways to see what I like and I still can't make up my mind so I may use both and alternate them. 

Progress on the basement walls continued. My daughter chose an aqua shade for the opposite end walls and it gave it a quick and wonderful fresh look. The opposing walls will remain white, but will receive a coat of good white paint over the primer.

It will still be the basement, but it is getting so much better. She has chosen a light dove gray for the floors. This past Sunday two of her former students came to help and they were able to start another quarter of the basement with a white base coat. All was going fine until...we ran into a major problem. Work abruptly came to a disappointing halt, but for the safety of all it was quite necessary. I will continue this story next week, because it is still continuing and is already two days strong and could take a couple more days. That's what's happened this past week at the New Town House Homestead and there's more for next. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. 

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Town House Homestead Tuesday


Progress is becoming my favorite word and experience. We have been in our new home for just shy of five months. We have worked and grown, grown gardens and made a lot of progress bringing her back up to the fine place she should be. This past holiday weekend was by no means one of relaxation. It began with my daughter joining forces with the owner of the bees she's been attending. Early Saturday morning they inspected the hive and harvested honey and talked over plans for winterizing the hive. They were joined by a family that wanted the children to experience working with bees. I don't have pictures because I stayed behind to get caught up on some household chores. 

This past week I took advantage of the farm market. We bought half a bushel of tomatoes and I put up fourteen quarts of tomatoes. It equaled the same price as canned at the super market except that we know what is in the tomatoes and feel better about what we are eating. 

I also put up eight pints of peaches for winter use. They are so delicious and I have the skins and pits steeping to see if it will be strong enough for peach pit jelly. 

My daughter brought me home these beauties. She purchased them from a co-worker whose daughter raises chickens. I am thrilled and will be cooking and baking with them this week.

I've made some progress with the cast iron dutch oven. I have scrubbed it several times and heated it well and so far the progress has been good. I hope I can devote some more time to it this week and maybe cook a meal in it. 

After finishing with the bees Saturday and getting some what caught up with house chores we headed for the basement to resume working. It required patching holes in the cement, stapling wires up so they didn't hang, brushing down the walls and the removal of all the wood along the crown of the room that was left from the lowered ceiling. We worked late Saturday, but were right back at it to be ready for painting Sunday morning. 

Before we started painting we realized we needed to get more windows opened. In the 58 years this house has existed the windows were rarely opened and the original screens were rotted out so we took the time to tape new screen in the windows for a temporary fix so we could ventilate the basement. We worked until after dark Sunday to get this quarter of the basement covered and primed so we can keep going. What a difference and how thrilled and exhausted we were. Progress comes with hard work and burning muscles. The paint for the floor is being delivered today. What is next with the walls is still up in the air, but they are ready for whatever my daughter decides. It will be her sewing and work studio so it's up to her. We will be working on another quarter of the basement this week to make a food storage pantry that is clean and organized that will house a work table and possible freezer. For Monday the work went outside. There was another large amount of trash to prepare for pickup today and the back yard needed mowing. We went as far as we could before we both were ready to collapse. It was time to quit and relax and just see the progress we had made. That's what's been happening this past week at the New Town House Homestead. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. Be Happy!