Tag Archive | urban homesteading

Garden Flood

This year our spring has been rainy (and so has lots of other people’s). This was our garden two days ago. It has cleared out now, but in the past we have lost plants near the edge of the garden to excessive moisture. Maybe it will dry out completely soon.gardenflood


First harvest 2014

This spring we have harvested our first vegetable – spinach. It seeds itself and we pick it early. Whatever we don’t eat we blanch and freeze for the winter. This year’s spinach harvest was not bad. The amount we get depends where it seeds itself and how much Ernie tills up.

firstharvest

Boil Your Water?

Not long ago, our village was put under a boil water advisory due to some maintenance that was happening at the water plant. There wasn’t really much of a risk and Ernie kept on drinking the water from the tap but I decided that it was important to actually go through with boiling, cooling and drinking that water.

It is easy to take things for granted. I wanted to actually experience what it was like to have to go through the inconvenience of doing the work to have clean drinkable water.

The truth is boiled water tastes awful. But it might be important to try this out for a while just to be prepared for something that happens to thousands of people everyday.

Below: My boiling water

boilingwater

Great Vintage Yard Sale Find!

This great waffle maker is decades old and was found by Ernie’s mother at a yard sale ages ago. We use it regularly. Homemade waffles are definitely worth making if you can. Our recipe comes from by baba’s old cookbook from 1958.

Here is the recipe:

1-1/4 cup flour – we use all whole wheat flour as it works just as well

2 tsp baking power

1 cup milk

2 egg yolks beaten thick

4 tbsp melted fat

2 egg whites beaten stiff

First whip up the egg whites in a separate bowl. You can do this by hand (takes a bit longer), or by machine. Then whisk flour and BP together really well. Combine milk, egg yolks and fat and mix well. Pour wet mixture into dry and stir until just mixed (don’t over mix). Then FOLD in egg whites. Cook on waffle iron.

We double this recipe when we make it so we have some to freeze. These waffles are even better when toasted. Eat with butter, maple syrup, fruit, nuts or whatever you like.

Image

 

Homemade Zucchini Soup

Believe it or not the following soup is incredibly tasty. I found the recipe in an old cookbook of my aunt’s that she gave me. The flavour comes from the spices and onions.

Ingredients: Olive oil – but you can use butter as well. Slice onions and sauté them in the fat until soft. Then add a small amount of rosemary, basil, thyme, and salt. Chop up a medium potato into small pieces and add that. Finally add the zucchini to fill the pan and cook until soft. Taste when cooked to check for spice amounts. Don’t over do the rosemary most importantly. You can add pepper but be careful with it.

All of the ingredients in this recipe we grew in our garden except the olive oil and salt, obviously. If you have a small amount of animal fat you that you have saved you can use that instead, as it really doesn’t matter flavour wise.

See if you can find the dog hair in the soup picture.Image

Image

Salvaged From The Dump

My husband likes to shop at the dump – I’m sure most of us have at one time or another. Not long ago, he found two heaters like this one in the metal pile. The only thing that is wrong with them is that the plastic dials are broken off. You can see the dial sitting on top of the heater.

They work fine and are not starting fires. This one is in our dog room. It is likely that a local contractor decided they weren’t worth fixing and that he couldn’t use them so he dumped them. Thank you.

Image

Vintage Decor – Don’t Throw It Out!

70sclockSo much stuff goes in the garbage. Sure there is some stuff that is actually unusable, but the majority of items are reusable or recyclable. I’m sure most people have a story of something they have saved from another person’s garbage, from the garbage dump or from a family member.

To make a point, I am really interested in vintage decor. We have two vintage clocks. The first one was in this house when I moved in. It was my mother-in-law’s and was an electric clock with a cord and was not being used. We took the cord out and put in a battery mechanism. Sorry about the dust – it is in the dog room.

The second clock is even more spectacular. We found it at a flea market for 50 cents. The mechanism in it was original but didn’t work, so again we changed it and now have the most gorgeous clock.

Both clocks are made of plastic and both are made in the USA.

starclock

Small Homes – big savings – and more interesting.

We have a small house because it is:

1. less to clean

2. an interesting older building (almost 100 years old) that has been renovated

3. saves us money because we own the house

4. reduces waste because we aren’t tearing it down to build a new one

Our decor is rustic/vintage. I will be discussing this in the next several blog posts.

The most important point here for homesteaders is that they use what they have. We didn’t tear down what we have to build something  new to make it was more stylish or more impressive.

For example, we will start with Imagethe business. I groom, train and board dogs for a living. Most people who do this build new and make it as fancy as they can, usually a modern look. I decided to make the grooming and boarding area in a small section of the garage which is also the workshop. The whole garage is about 12 feet wide and 24 feet long. Because of the small size we have to make use of every but of space in a way that maximizes the storage capacity.

This is the boarding room or “dog room” as we call it. It  is certainly not new, but it really works and instead in of tearing the whole thing down and re-building we are simply making changes with what we have.  Everything that is in this room is made with recycled materials with the exception of the wood that goes Imageup the wall.

 

The cupboards above the kennel were taken from a house I used to own and found a use here. The owner of that house actually MADE those cupboards himself out of plywood several decades ago.

You can see the large green fan on top of the kennels. This is an old fan but works perfectly and you can’t buy fans that are this sturdy that are made in North America anymore.

The sliding glass door that you can see on the far right was also salvaged from a relatives home as it was being thrown out. Works perfectly.

Sure the cement floor has a few divots in it but that is only cosmetic. It does not need to be replaced.

The only thing in this room that is not my favourite and needs some adjustments is the door. This is the only door we could find because the roof is low and the door had to be cut down to fit so a metal door which would be preferable will not fit. We are keeping our eyes open. For now this will do.

Image

No Power? No Problem.

A few weeks ago the power went out for a couple of hours so I decided to make coffee on the propane burner in the garage – with the door open!

No need to worry about running out of coffee filters or not having a coffee maker. Yes we have propane in a can, but for emergencies like this one…used very seldom.

IMG_4596

More Wooden Stuff

Since we are talking about wooden items, I just wanted to post a picture of these neat trash cans that hubby made from scrap wood.

Cost of materials:  about 25 cents total.

IMG_5428