Simply put-this is a blog about the city girl I used to be-the country girl I am now-and the things that are important to me. This is about the journey of life from the tiny to enormous and joyous bits in between. Here we are learning the hard way about gardening, homesteading, canning, solar-living, wood-cookstoving, animal husbandry and wearing out a lot of flip-flops along the way.
This was April 2007. We'd been here about a month. We had to tackle a few things INSIDE before we could get to the OUTSIDE.
Fast forward to July 2007 - the addition comes off.
My husband is so fast, he'd already taken the roofing off before I could get the camera and take pictures.... Hi Jr.! The week of The Fourth of July, last year, 2007.
I'll move quickly through this, because we're talking over a years' time here. This is the East (ENE) side of the house. See how the wood on the side of this addition doesn't match the rest of the house? Good.(if not, that's ok - it's hard to see!) Well, that's where the 'addition' was put on. The story we were told was that in the 1940's, the Health Department for this county needed a place to give vaccinations for the Polio Virus, and this community being one of their 'stops' - the owners of this home agreed to put on an additional room - with it's own entrance - just for that purpose.
It was falling down, and dragging the "mother-in-law's" quarters with it. The floor had been cut out (perhaps the previous occupants were in need of firewood? who knows) and it was a mess. I should probably have photographed the inside of the room for documentation's sake. But, I didn't.
As you can see, the house had been painted (several times?) since the addition had been added.
Yes, I put this picture in twice, not only to make you wonder if you were seeing double, but just to reiterate how very ugly this portion of the house was. For over a year. (because we were busy w/inside projects, which I will get to later. much later.)
Ugly. Ugly. Ugly. Can we say Ugly?
Here is the destructor. At his best.
Fast forward to August 2008. For some reason, beyond our comprehension, some brainiac who shall remain yet un-named (oh who cares, his name was Watson) CUT A HOLE IN THE WALL to place a very large, heavy albeit in-working-condition 1969 air conditioner in it. So, since husband had painted the house up to this point, it was time. To fix what was ugly, and make it beautiful. And yes, that's Jr. in the hole-in-the-wall.
Oh so sweet - blowing kisses to his mother! uh..what were doing? Oh YES, the house. Ok.So this is where we got to by the third weekend in August. The exterior has been scraped, caulked, and primed by Mr. Go-Getter and I...uh...kept him fed and chased the toddler. And, primed the chairs that are sitting on their backs, on the saw-horses. The couch is sitting on the unfinished portion of the deck. A story about this furniture; (There's always a story, don'tcha know) When we first moved into this house, we didn't have much in the way of furniture. So, our neighbor's dad brought us this set. It is Big. It is Heavy. It is Ugly. And I think it's from 1977. In the heart of ugly-heavy-big furniture era. The cushions, mercy-me, are...well, let's not talk about them. Anyways, we are so grateful for the givers in this neighborhood. Turns out, the guy whose furniture this IS, is now married and his wife won't let him have it back. So we decided to turn it into our deck furniture. Isn't this a way to 'go-green'? Recycle, Reuse, and...refinish.
You can see here that he replaced the door, with a door that had nice windows - to let light into the bedroom, and fixed the hole in the wall with a nice window, to let even more light into the bedroom.
All primed, and ready for paint. But wait...
Not done yet. Still have to prime the rest of the deck. Which is comprised of the ceiling of the house hubby tore down last spring. It's bead-board. And has seen many colors over the years as you can tell in the next picture.
I scraped and he caulked. Then I primed. Then, he painted.
The red is 'barn and fence' paint. Just so happens it's a near carbon-copy of our "Brick Dust" trim paint. Who knew one could come so close with OOPS Paint?
From the inside lookin' out.
And here, as you can see, the house has been painted as well as the deck. I'm still not finished. WE are still not finished, but I'll come back and update this again. Later.
show you how to make pumpkin puree. With pictures even, if we're lucky enough to have the cooperation of my faithful (ahem, cough-cough-sputter) computer and trusty (acchkk, cough, ahem) dial-up. (we ARE really out in the country folks. they phone company guys shake their head and laugh silently when I ask them when we will be able to get DSL so I don't have to shell out the $500 down and $99+tax+fcc fees+youknowwhatImeancharges=broke-country-girl- blogger. sigh) But I digress. Where were we? Oh yes. Pumpkins.
Here we go.
1. Pick pumpkins (small sugar pumpkins work the best for baking/cooking - about 2-4lbs a piece)
2. give pumpkin to toddler as he's screaming he wants a 'pupmipikin'
3. pick up said pumpkin 5 times as toddler drops it from the barn to the house
4. figure if a little dirt don't hurt, then neither can some bruises. Right?
5. set pumpkins on counter and get distracted (for like, a week.)
6. get out the food processor (I tried this in the blender - it doesn't work as well)
7. cut pumpkins in half horizontally (as they're sitting on their bottoms, slice them across - from left to right. Make sense? sometimes I don't even understand me...)
8. scoop out the stuff - I use a colander to dump the innards into (cuz I wanna save the seeds)
9. find a microwaveable bowl w/cover if possible - place pumpkin halves open-side down and zap them for like, 15-20 min. when they are 'knife-tender' (whatever that means) they are ready.
10. use an ice cream scoop (or, whatever old ugly spoon you happen to grab) to gently, uniformly scoop out the orange flesh.
11. put it into a food processor
12. let toddler push buttons
13. let out a yell when you realize you haven't put the little lid-thingie on it and pumpkin puree splatters all over your kitchen
14. clean up mess (or, get distracted, for half an hour and repeat the five most dangerous words in the english language; "maybe it will go away")
15. pour pumpkin puree into quart ziploc freezer baggies - don't bother to measure - it's more fun this way. Flatten onto cookie sheet and throw the cookie sheet into freezer (so it freezes flat, thereby making the most of your freezer space (thanks Mom-In-Law, for that tip!) and clean up your mess. Or, if you're lucky enough to have an almost-teenager, recruit (read: bribe) them to do it.
16. seperate the men from the boys, OOPS, I meant the pulp from the seeds. Wash. Dry. Drizzle with a wee bit of vegetable oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast low temp (say...275*) for about 75 minutes? Depends on how 'well done' you like your seeds.
post today because I was too busy laughing at this;
I haven't quite figured out that cutesy stuff of when you type the word "here", and then, when you mouse over the word "here" (did I just say "mouse over"....where, where's the mouse?) then it shows you the link to where I was when I was laughing so hard that I couldn't post 'here'.
HTML. Or something. Maybe it stands for Hopelessly Tame Mouse Laughter.
I'm up WAY past my bedtime and had too much fun reading on Rechelle's blog(s). Thank you Rechelle. Laughter really is the best medicine. From one FarmHouseWife to another; Blessings. (was that you or me?) hahahaha...I can't stop giggling. (just click the link already - you'll see what I mean!)
Just one more stop at Houseblogs.net.....then I promise I'll go to bed.....
UPDATE: next day; 8:00am; I figured it out. It took me nearly 8 hours of sleeping but I did it. I managed to find out how you turn "this" into the actual link to which you want to direct your readers (mice friends). YAY ME!
BELIEVE it has been 13 DAYS since I last posted. WHERE is my jiminy cricket anyways? So, in my tomato sauce post it is possible that I may have mislead my loyal fan base (Hi Wendy! Hi Bubba!... tap tap tap, is anyone else out there? hellooo?! no, ok...) into thinking it was last week that I cooked up the somewhat-lacking-but-edible-lasagna-fodder sauce. It may have been the last part of the week before. I'm just sayin'.
spaghetti sauce. It didn't turn out quite as good as the one I made last summer. Could have something to do with the fact that I lost the original recipe. (which promptly motivated me to 'organize' my recipes, which I just had to shove off the keyboard of the computer to get here)
I'm out of onions. Crisis, I know. So that means I can't correct my mistake until I get shopping. Something else I realized I'd forgotten was the green pepper, and I have absolutely no excuse. There are three exquisite looking peppers out in the garden. I also omitted carrots and celery for no other reason than sheer laziness (by the way, I made the sauce LAST week, and sheer laziness has pre-empted blogging...) and misplaced recipe card. Oh, see, the card says I also forgot the thyme and lemon juice.
It could have been the red wine I was taste testing (read: drinking) while I was cooking the sauce. (no pun intended, but suddenly humorous)
~Dreamy sigh~ Ahh, but the fresh tomatoes off the vine have been glorious. Today I had for lunch my favorite (one of 10,000) foods; sliced tomato, mozzarella and basil. A little salt. Lunch is served.
I suppose one could get fancy and break out the freshly ground black pepper and the aged balsamic vinegar and a spot of evoo, but I was (again) lazy. And hungry.
Thank you Annie, for introducing me to that delicious 'any-time' food. And thank you dirt, sun, and rain, for giving me my tomatoes.
Because they are so prolific, I have plenty of tomatoes to make sauce again, if I don't suddenly experience a rush of blog-energy.
something spectacular yesterday. (no, I still have not fixed the letter "e" on the keyboard, it slows me down, keeps my humble in regards to my typing skills) I made pesto. Basil, garlic, pine nuts, (okay, so I substituted almonds because I had no pine nuts, but still) EVOO, and a squeeze of lemon juice (so I forgot the lemon juice, so what. just keepin' it real) and it tasted awesome. So I put it in a can/freeze pint jar and stuck it in the freezer for a day when the fresh basil right outside the door is no longer readily available (read: 16 degrees in January).
Life IS good.
Today I really MUST make some tomato sauce with the 20 odd pounds of tomatoes sitting on my kitchen table.
up to my hips in weeds this morning. And while I've been weeding (read: pulling the occasional weed and then happily becoming distracted elsewhere) I've been thinking. Here are some random musings, conclusions, and questions that have been field-mousing-it in the brain;
don't leave a load of laundry that is done, in the washer for ANY length of time when it's August, and 98*F and 80% humidity. Just trust me.
toddlers can and will, get mud in every orifice of their body if you leave them to it long enough
the letter "e" button is missing from the keyboard of my laptop. Does anyone have any idea how often one types the letter "e" when blogging? (I've got to get this fixed) And as an aside, see above about toddler - in this instance, a toddler can and will remove keys from laptop keyboard when left to it long enough.....
good things come to those who dig in the trash. Well, not really dig. Hubby saw an a/c sitting next to a dumpster on his rounds for the county a couple days in a row. On the third day he stopped and asked his co-worker to help him lift it into the truck. Co-worker made snide remarks the rest of the day about how it wouldn't work, and why would it be in the trash if it did, etc... So, hubby brings it home, plugs it in and voila! we have a 24,600 BTU air conditioner sitting in our bedroom window. For free. The knob that turns it from low/med/high fan and a/c low/med/high was broken. Imagine that. He stuck a little hook in there and it works beautifully. Plus side: we are now cool in our 1890 'oven'. Down side: we are now watching our electric meter spin furiously around the box. But. Life is good.
while we're on "free" stuff - there is a sod farm about 8 miles NW of us, and periodically part of a pallet/skid of sod will fall off the truck, which is exactly what happened last week. Hubby picked up just over half a load of sod off the side of the road and we turned the least used portion of our driveway between the house and the well-house into a garden area, lined by this beautiful sod! I got out there this morning and kicked some tail. We had already spread pinestraw in between so I transplanted some sweet basil, cinnamon basil, two rosemary plants, some chives, and a few parsley and dill too. In the front corner I put a red salvia plant - beauty. I've decided it will be the herb garden as it is close and convenient to the kitchen. Again, life IS really good.
I'm back from a short but welcomed interruption by Betty and her niece Jenny from PA. Betty and her five brothers and sisters were born in this house, and she often stops by to visit, which we love. Eddie really enjoyed showing them his toys (read: trucks) and then a trip out to the barn to show them 'his' chickens, pigs and goats. We came back in (because it's just too HOT out there) and ate lunch. Now, guess what I get to do? Convince said toddler it's a great time for a nap. Anyone out there want to 'fill in' for an hour??????????????
Not a whole lot of productivity going on here at Hope Farms. When I'm doing dishes (from the night before, no less) in the morning, and by noon it is ninety degrees, it's hibernation time. I DID manage to put away the laundry (from the last week, no less) in my air-conditioned bedroom.
In light of my laziness, I was touched deeply by abc world news tonight (am I supposed to capitalize all that?). At the end of their broadcast, they had their "person of the week" and highlighted this kid "Greene" from Atlanta, GA who has spent his summer in Iowa volunteering to help out the flood-ravaged neighborhoods. From sun-up to sun-down he cleans out houses and helps homeowners salvage what belongings haven't been ruined by the water.
I want to be like him. He's16 years old, and gave up his entire summer to do hot, nasty, smelly and heartbreaking, let alone backbreaking work. I'm impressed. And inspired. I'm going to do some research in my community and find out what I can do around here. I'm sure it will have something to do with the elderly, which is fine by me. I've got a garden full of produce that might find itself in some graceful and aged hands.
I'm off to find someone who might need some of my time.