Sunday, August 29, 2010

Vintage feed sacks blowing in the wind

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Today was nice and sunny so I hung all my feed sacks out to air. I didn't feel like washing them all as it looked like we might get a thunderstorm later in the day. I don't have a dryer and the rack in the bathroom was already full, so I just hung them all out in the sun to get that old house smell out of them.
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Struck Gold Today!

What a day! One of our elderly neighbors passed away a few months ago (age 95!) and this weekend the family had a sale of some of her things. Amazingly, we actually got out of the house before 2pm to go over and take a look. We were the only ones there.

Ooh, there was this box of wonderful  vintage sewing patterns, Free! I just love those dresses. I drool over them. Goodeness know where I would wear them, but I still love them and I'm actually going to try my hand at making one.
Then, there was this box labled "remnants 10 cents ea. or $4.00 for the whole box"  When we got home I started pulling some of it out to look at and realized that it was sewn up on three sides. I thought she'd maybe started making pillowcases or cushion covers out of it all, but something didn't look right. Then all of a sudden it dawned on me! This isn't a box of remnants, it's a box of vintage feedsacks from the 1930s! All washed and pressed and inside-out. I've read about them, and how farm wives used to make dresses.quilts and aprons or tea towels out of them, but I've never seen them in real life. I was so excited. I looked online and can't believe how much they sell for. Most of these are in very good condition too.
And then, there was this lovely sewing machine! It's a Singer 6105. Not an antique, but vintage and much better quality than the modern machines. It works great and is so quiet. You can hardly hear it. I love it!
I got two more boxes of fabric too. Some really nice stuff in two or three yard lengths. Altogether it came to $38! and  that included an old typewriter Joshua wanted. He also bought himself an old 35mm camera and light meter and a wind-up watch.

Yesterday, someone gave Ken one of those pop-up camping trailors! It's damaged and they didn't want to be bothered with fixing it. It's a bit raggedy but will be quite nice if Ken can fix it. If not, he's just going to tear off the camper and build a box trailor on the axel.

What a weekend! Nothing like "free" :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Planting, sewing and laying rock

Sorry no pictures today. Just wanted to let you all know that I haven't forgotten the blog. It's been raining the last few days so not much has been accomplished.

Today was nice though. I built three new boxes for raised beds. They are going to contain Russian Comfrey plants that I bought from a lady on the homesteading forum. Apparently, these plants will grow to be 5 feet in diameter! Hope it does ok. I couldn't plant it right away due to the weather, so I left it in the packaged in the hope that it doesn't dry out too much. She also included some Elephant Garlic corms to be planted next month. I'm looking forward to harvesting Elephant garlic next year.

Haven't done any more sewing, but I plan to. I ordered a couple of patterns online. One, a blouse, should come in tomorrow. The other, is this really cute Stella Apron pattern. 

The rock work is coming along. I finished the part that goes ove the pipe where it goes under the road way. I made it into a little raised bed for flowers. Pictures tomorrow.

We're in for a nice dry, sunny week in the low 80s!!! Perfect for getting some of the outside chores finished. Maybe I'll even put the shingles on the roof of the dove cote. One side's done, so it won't take long. I have two pigeons in a cage waiting to move into it. Poor Ken, he wants to continue preparing the chimney for re-pointing but the weather is only nice when he's at work.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Stone work's coming along

Every day I lay a few more rocks. Ken's been seeding and spreading straw. Think I might plant some daffodils in that raised bed there.
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Multi-colored apron

Woo hoo! I'm getting into sewing a bit. It's been a long time since I did any so I decided to begin with something simple- because if it doesn't go right from the get go I quickly lose patience!

 There are lot's of free patterns on the web. Over the weekend I  made this bright and cheery apron. It was a free download available Here. Very easy. Wish I hadn't ironed the frill at the bottom though; it kind of took away the pizzaz. I'm going to make another one but a little bit larger, and in a large floral, similar to the one on the website.

Thank you Bari J, for the free pattern!
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dehydrated Produce

I keep telling my Mum how much I love dehydrating veggies from the garden. This is just a tiny sampling of some of the things I've dried. Left to right is: pears ( from someone elses tree), onions, tomatoes from last years garden, apple slices ( on sale at the supermarket) and cucumber slices from this year's garden. Oh, and the two little bottles are the basil shown earlier and stevia, both from the garden. Soon, we are going to be inundated with tomatoes. I can't wait to see them all crispy dry and put up for winter!

I wish I'd thought to dry cucumber sooner. We've had so much of it we couldn't eat it all. I even had to throw some on the compost pile because it turned to mush in the fridge drawer. I just didn't think it would be good dehydrated. Now I'm kicking myself because it came out beautifully as you can see. It's paper thin and crispy. I'm going to put it in the food processor and powder it. It's delicious added to homemade soups. In fact any of the dehydrated vegitables make wonderful soup, just toss in a bit of this and a bit of that and simmer. The flavors seem to be much more concentrated. You can mix a few things together and make your own vegitable stock powder.

The fruits are good to just munch on as snacks or they can be reconstituted in water and baked in pies. Tomorrow I'll be dehydrating banana chips. A jar of banana chips don't last long though. Josh and I can't leave them alone.

Many people preserve their harvests by hot canning everything. It involves long hot hours standing in front of the stove. Just NOT my cup of tea at all. Then the jars take up a lot of room. I still have a lot of jars but more produce can fit into each one. That one jar on the right contains 4 fairly large cucumbers! Everythng goes a long way. I also add one or two oxygen absorber packets to each jar. They say an unopened jar will last about 30 years this way.

The dehydrator I have is the Excalibur 9 tray model. It was expensive but everyone says it's the best. I was apprehensive about getting it because I really don't like cooking and messing around in the kitchen. I thought it was going to be just one more chore. Well, it's turned out to be a real joy. It's easy to just slice the produce, lay it on the trays, turn the dial to the correct temperature setting and let it go all day, - while I do other more fun things, like building rock walls and dove cotes :)
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This is Basil out of the garden. I dehydrated it and when it was done, all this fit into one of those little glass spice bottles!
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Seeding Grass

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While building the pond this hillside had to be pulled back a ways because it was dangerously steep, a sheer drop into the pond. Of course now it has to be dressed and re-seeded. Actually it was dressed, but because we didn't get seed sown before winter, it became badly eroded by the melting snow. We can't afford to have them bring the heavy machinery back so Ken's done it all by hand with the rake and the tiller on the flat areas.
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Our Finished Pond

Here it is, The George and Edna S***** Memorial Pond.

Every time I  look at it, I think of them. They both worked in the same weaving mill in Lancashire, England for 45 years. They lived in a little terraced house right on the side of the road with a tiny back yard. They had no children so they always made a fuss of me and bought me special presents at Christmas, like my first set of oil paints. I wish they could have seen our place here, they would have liked it.

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Monday, August 09, 2010

Water Race Feeding the Pond

Ahh, looks like this is the solution to fixing our leaky pond!

Tim and Jimmy ( with a little help from hubby) put a small culvert upstream from the creek to a channel that they lined with road fabric. Road fabric is a really tough waterproof material. The channel was then filled with erosion stone. It's working great. the pond filled up in three days. At the moment we are controlling the flow rate by positioning a very large rock in front of the entrance to the culvert. We plan to make something a bit more sophisticated than that, like a little sluice gate that can be closed whenever a long period of rain is in the forcast. The creek is very low right now but it becomes a raging torrent at certain times in the year.

couldn't resist making a rock "bridge" over the pipe. It's a work in progress. I'll post more pictures along the way. It's still very hot here so I'm only woking on this in the evenings.

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The water runs through another small culvert under the road.
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Building The Farm Pond

This is how it looked over the winter. We had planned to get grass seed down but we didn't get it done in time. The weather turned really nasty and we had record snowfalls. Over 4 feet of snow in all! There was at least a foot on the ground from December 18 until the end of march. It was a mess.To make things worse the pipe that was bringing water in from the creek was washed out when the creek flooded in the spring rains and to make things even more worse, the pond was leaking under the dam. Nothing could be done about that. It was just that they hit bedrock at the bottom of the pond and the water was following the bedrock out so the water level dropped down until it was level with the creek about 5 feet below. ( remember learning in science class that water always finds it's own level?) The little spring that comes out of the mountain wasn't enough to make up for it. Another solution had to be found in order to bring in water from the creek enough to counteract the leak, and last week the guys came back to work on that.
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Here they have installed a pipe that is bringing water in from the creek. You can see the water pouring in.
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Friday, August 06, 2010

Jimmy working on the dam.
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