Tag Archive | urban homesteading

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Small Homes – Are Better!

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.

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Make A Nice Bed Frame For Almost Nothing

Here is a way to get your creative juices flowing without spending a lot of money and make something necessary and useful in the process.

This bed was made by my hubby out of 1x6s. We wanted a certain look so we made it instead of travelling to the city and buying a cheap frame made out of particle board. This bed is sturdy and cost $50 in materials.

Even if you don’t do any building you can still figure this out. All you need is a measuring device – ruler, tape etc, wood, screws and screwdriver (you may want to have a drill to pre-drill holes as the wood may crack if you don’t. You can use a hand drill for this), and metal braces the length of the bed to support the mattress. Salvage braces could work well for this as well.

This mattress is old. I don’t recommend getting used mattresses from people you don’t know. Buy new or make your own (that is for another post).

We also added a headboard made out of scraps that we had left over from panelling the stairs. Very economical and sustainable if you get your wood from the right source. You may want to harvest your own from your woodlot if you have one. That would make a nice rustic decor. We will likely do that in the future.

Make Pasta at Home

It is often believed that it costs a lot to eat well. Part of the point of this blog is to prove that this is a myth. Eating well – or eating poorly is a matter of educating yourself on how to do this, not on how much you make.

This brings us to the lesson for today – Making your own PASTA.

Real pasta has has TWO ingredients – flour and water. I actually learned this method from a Lydia Bastianich, the famous Italian_American celebrity chef. I was shocked to see her do this in one of her TV shows and have been making it every since.

How To Make It

Take some water – about 1 cup – and add flour until you have a dough. You can mix it in a bowl by hand or use a food processor. Once the dough is fully mixed, cut a smallish chunk of it and remove from the bowl. Don’t take too much off at once if this is your first time trying this method. You will have a limited amount of space (likely) to roll this out and starting with a small amount is best.

Roll out the section and cut into long, thin pieces or use a hand crank pasta machine if you have one or can find one at a yard sale or auction. The key to making it easily is to use enough flour when you are rolling out the dough so that it does not stick to everything. You must shake the flour off the pasta somewhat before you cook it.

Here are some lasagna noodles that I made.

 

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It takes a little more time to make your pasta this way, but not really.  The pasta tastes better and is something you can do yourself without relying on anyone to make it for you. .

Happiness by Homesteading

After reading many blog posts about being frugal, saving money, being happy, how to find your purpose in life (thank you James Altucher), I decided to make a post.

I am happy.  I do not own a cell phone. I do not make a lot of money. I do not live in a big city. I do not have a lot of “things”. My truck is a hand-me-down and works when I need it.

Things do not make us happy. It is our attitudes about “things” that make us happy or miserable.

I have always known that I cannot keep up to the “Jones” as “they” say. I just can’t. I only feel good when I am working for myself at something that I love doing no matter how much I make. When I don’t do this, I become unhappy. Then I get sick.

My husband was born right after WWII. His family was REALLY poor. But he remembers being happy. Happiness is an inside job. And after many years of self help because of trying to find out my life’s purpose, I just let go and let it happen.

Allow what is trying to work its way into your life. Trying too hard, especially if you are not doing what you really want to be doing, will result in stress and unhappiness. Oh, and most if not all of this will get easier to do after 40.

Here are some of the things that I do to make me happy:

Make Your Own Garlic Powder

In years when a garlic harvest is poor many of the cloves can be kept anyway and used  to make garlic powder. Never throw away garlic that has dried out. If it is mouldy, that is a different story. Dried out garlic cloves make good garlic powder.

In the pic below you can see how much of the garlic is browning or blemished. Don’t let that fool you. It is still good.

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HOW TO MAKE GARLIC POWDER

Separate the cloves. Cut off the hard ends, rinse them na dry them. Then slice the cloves up into thin slices – not super thin but sliced. Put them on a flat surface such as a cookie tray or screen and let dry really well.

We use a homemade food drier to dry the garlic slices. You can find how we did that HERE.

Grind in”coffee” grinder.

Garlic powder and grinder

If you don’t let them dry all the way, they are still good. Whiz them up only part way and use them as garlic flakes. You don’t have to use a coffee grinder – use a small whizzer OR HAND GRATE. Works just as good.

Because we don’t know where the garlic that is in store bought garlic powder comes from (we do actually but we’re not saying here), spend a little time and save money making your own.