Saturday, November 15, 2014

Some new vintage finds!

We visited an estate (household) sale today.  We picked up a few cool finds.  I originally found it online and saw a Chiffarobe I wanted to check out, but it was gone.  So it must have been a reasonable price.  Usually great antique furniture like that is so over priced.  I'd like a waterfall style.  Kind of like this one:


What we got instead was...

A Juice King JK-30.  Needs a repaint.  We already have a vintage juicer, it's a bit smaller.  WE like it a lot, but there's a crack in the side and we're afraid one day it will grow into one that makes it unusable.  So we picked up a spare!  I'd say it's a 1950's era.  Fits right in.

A Becky Porter commercial french fry cutter.  This is going to need a serious cleaning and repaint.  But how cool is it??  I think this is a bit older, possibly more 30's or 40's era but I can't really say for sure.

Lastly, a 1970's era book on wood burning.  Not really for learning how to, but still neat to look though.  AND wowzers, it says an average homesteader might use 8-10 cords of wood per season.  CORDS.  Not FACE cords.  CORDS.  For those that don't know, a cord is 4' high x 4' deep x 8' long.  A face cord isn't a legally recognized measurement, but it's about 4' high 8' long and 16" deep.  10 cords is a LOT of wood.  I'd say in the range of 3x what we use. 

Here's todays goodies:


I have to round up some of our vintage goods we procured while on our Anniversary vacation and get some photos.  We've got a great stove top "EZ Corn Popper", a Corelle stove top as well as electric perculator, a Kliban cat, a neat thermometer and some cook books including Ma's Cookin Mountain Recipes which had a great biscuit recipe.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A touch of snow and cooler weather!

We had a dusting of snow today.  I think it's about time to harvest the last of the lettuce that self seeded from the spring crop!  We've been sharing with the neighbors, since there's a LOT of it, but I'll probably bring some in to work (if I remember) since it doesn't really keep that well.

Along with the snow, came the cooler weather.  I wouldn't call it cold, yet.  Right now it's 30 degrees and it's been in the lower 30s all day.  What's exciting about that is we haven't had to burn 24/7 yet.  We had a door blower test done about a month ago, and it illustrated the leakiness of the Cottage.  We spent some time finding the leaks, and Mr Eclectic (who's far better at it than I am) sealed them up with silicone.  We also laid attic blanket in the attics (this we both participated in).  Technically our wood stove is oversized for our square footage.  The Republic 1750 (tube stove) is rated for about 500 to 1300 square feet MORE than the size of our house.  Shoulder season might be more challenging now!  While we did stop in to a Blaze King (cat stove) dealer and scope out the Sirroco and Ashford, I think we're going to keep the tube stove around for a while and try to learn how to keep ourselves warm but not too warm.  Now you're wondering what "cat" and "tube" stoves are, right?  Both are ways to burn the gases that the wood emits while burning.  We've only ever had one stove so I can't really say from experience but from reading (a lot), cat stoves (especially BK) are more controllable and can be "turned down" more for longer burns and a lower stove (and house) temp.  BUT, the tube stove has a nicer flame show from my understanding.  In my opinion, whats the point of a wood stove with no fire.  One of my favorite things as a kid was when everyone stayed at my grandparents house and I got to sleep in the living room on the air mattress-in front of the fireplace.  Best ever.  I'll have to post more about that some time. 

Right now we're burning box elder.  I just brought a few bags of it in tonight.  I think the yellow jackets like it more than some of the other kinds.  Here's a tip-if you store your wood outside, knock the splits together as you bring them in to knock the "sleeping" (cold/hibernating) yellow jackets off. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Still Looking (The Next Old House Part II)

So at the moment we haven’t procured another rental, or even a house that would make a good rehab/resell.  We’re looked at some places that need pretty significant repairs, far above the end value of the place.  We’ve looked at a few that aren’t too bad and even made offers only to be outbid…it’s all a numbers game at the moment.  What I have found is that there are a lot of great photos on Pinterest that, should we ever find a place, I will have something to show Mr. Eclectic to help illustrate my thoughts (he’s a visual kind of guy).
 
What I also found is there are some photos of things I wish I could have here at the Cottage!  There are three things I wanted in a house for years and years and years that just aren’t going to happen here. 
 
They are:
 
#1.  A Hoosier, or multiple Hoosiers (in a completely unfitted kitchen with an awesome porcelain sink with a gingham or checkered sink skirt).  Ok, they didn’t have to be the Hoosier brand, but that’s what most people call them.  I tried to figure out for years how to fit one in at the Old House, and while I eventually figured we could probably put one between the kitchen and dining room I never did get one.  It would have made it dark(er) in there and it was already dark enough due to numerous trees and the orientation on the lot.  And now, there is absolutely NO place in my kitchen for one.  At best, I might be able to get a small enamel topped bakers table, if we ever wanted to get rid of the microwave cart (the ugly thing I painted green which I previously posted about).  Not really a Hoosier, there’s no awesome flour bin or general old school unfitted kitchen goodness, but it would have that great top.  And be real wood not press board.  And be old.  Because if you haven’t figured it out yet, I like old stuff.

Hoosier:
 
 
#2.  Wood cook stove.  You know, those huge heavy monsters.  Yup, one of those.  I have absolutely NO idea how to cook on/in one, but I would be happy to learn.  Now, mind you, I didn’t want to replace my “modern” (relatively speaking) stove with one.  I like being able turn a dial and light a burner, or light a match and have the oven working.  We had seriously considered a reproduction electric range that had that old wood cook stove look while at the Old House, but the cost was too high to justify the cool looks.  Again, with our smaller kitchen here, this is not going to happen.  Unless we build an outdoor canning kitchen at some point.  However I don’t really know where we would do that.  But if we did, I’d want one of those cool old stoves-preferably delivered!
 
#3.  Claw Foot Tub.  I really don’t know exactly what it is about them, but I want one.  I found the most awesome (to me) bathroom with one on Pinterest.  I can’t be the only one that thought so though, because it’s been repined 100’s of times.  It combines not only a claw foot tub, but also brick (floors) and a whole cottage chic look that is so absolutely awesomely amazing it’ll knock your socks off if you’re into that style.    In fact, I’m going to post it below just so you can see it.  Get ready to drool.  It’s that sweet.  I would settle for the tub and brick floor.
 
 Ready?
 
Here are two views
 

 
 
Not to say that I don’t love my kitchen…and dining room…and living room…and laundry room…and bedroom…and bathroom (although that claw foot tub would make it even nicer, lol).  Good thing someone invented Pinterest so I could scope out cool stuff and keep it on my boards like an old school scrap book.  I might not have them in my house but I can have them digitally!  AND I can store up all sorts of great ideas and looks for that time when someday, some way, one of our bids is accepted and I have a whole new old house to redecorate and design.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Regrowing onions and Goji berries are ripe!

I mentioned that you can regrow onions from the cut off end.  Here's one that we've started. 



Just cut the end off where the roots were and put it in water.  Soon you'll see little green stalks sprouting out.  Eventually you'll need to plant it.

Our Goji berries are starting to ripen!  I'm not so sure I'm going to like these...Mr Eclecic tried one and said it tasted kind of like a tomato.  I am not big on eating tomatoes just by themselves.  They make great sauce, but picking one and eating one...ick.

Here are ripe Gojis.


I've been meaning to post this too, but I forgot, so here it is:

The simplest easiest yummy oatmeal cookie crumble thingy.


I can't give you exact measurements because I don't measure anything when I do this, sorry.  But it's easy anyway!

Rolled oats.  About 2-3 cups
Dark and white chocolate chips.  About 1/4 package each.  You can use whatever kind of chocolate you want, or even leave it out.  I like it to add some sweetness to the cranberries.
Cranberries.  About 1/2 package.  I also threw in some raspberries and blueberries from our garden.  I'd say you could use whatever berries you'd like.
About a teaspoon of Vanilla.
Brown Sugar.  About 1/8 cup.  Really, really little.
Coconut oil, melted.  About a table spoon.  Just a bit.

Mix everything then add just enough milk to moisten it and get it stuck together.  Spread onto a cookie sheet.  If you don't want it super crunchy you won't need to grease it.  If you want it crunchy, grease it!!  I spread it just about the thickness of the cranberries.  For less crispy, it bakes in our gas oven from cold (not preheated) for about 25 minutes on 350.  We just made it pretty crispy in a preheated oven at 400 for 20 minutes.  Makes for a great breakfast to take to work or as a snack.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Winters A Comin'

The past two days have been breezy and warm.  I'd like to think it was nature's way of apologizing for nights that almost dipped into the 30s, but I'm thinking it's more of a nice exit for summer in front of another cold winter.  Yesterday we spent some time making ready for winter's approach.

We (and I do mean Mr Eclectic) fixed some roof shingles that had blown away.  I worked the "ground crew" position, fetching tools to bring up the ladder and weeding between the raised beds when not needed.  He removed the torn leftovers and nailed in 5 new shingles.

We also got our little Ford 120 tractor moving again.  I participated in the removal of sludge and shavings from inside the tranny casing, he drilled out a broken (by the PO) bolt, tapped in a helicoil and made a gasket.  Then it all went back together, we fetched some transmission fluid and found out the "extra" gas tank we were given had the gas filler cap in a different part and it didn't line up with the hole on the hood (to be dealt with at a later time-the tank from the tractor has 3-4 pin holes in the bottom.  Not good for holding gas).  Ah well, it's over 40 years old, it's bound to have some misaligned parts!  It did crank right up.  Now we'll work on getting the snowblower attachment hooked up and see if it's ready to throw some snow for us and the neighbors this coming winter.

AND there was also the flue and stove to be cleaned.  Yes, this should have been done in May or June, but it's been a busy year!  When we clean our stove, we try to be thorough.  We remove all of the bricks, and wire brush the ash and creosote behind them off as best as possible.  Then the flue gets swept and all the ash shoveled out of the shove.  The bricks get brushed off and reinstalled.  We clean the glass, do any paint touch ups, re-adjust the door and we're ready to go.

Here are some pics of that process.

Fire bricks out (we use a drop cloth to spread them out on, in the same pattern they came out)


If you have a woodstove and clean your own flue, here's a tip (let's not talk about how we came to decide this was a good idea).  Tie a rope to the little loop on the top (bottom, really) of the brush.  If it happens to get stuck or somehow unscrew from the pole, you can pull it out rather than disassembling the flue.

Here's the rope sticking out of the flue into the stove


The brownish pile of ash is what came out of our flue after a while season's burning (remember this is our exclusive heat source).  Not too bad.

This is the flue after a sweeping


The cap is back on and ready to go!


All cleaned up and the bricks are back in



I know it doesn't look "clean", but once you've had a fire in a stove it'll never be "clean" again, in the way a new stove is.

Now if only it takes a few months before we need to get it "dirty" again...yeah, right!  We've already had a few night time fires to take the chill off.  Hopefully it'll at least be a while before it's burning 24/7!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Onions, drying basil and harvest time

We cleaned up our raised beds in preparation for next season for the most part already.  With nights dipping into the 40's production was about over for many thing.  One of the beds will now be for onions and garlic.  We have some really neat onions.  I got our first couple from a wonderful lady on Craigslist, then got some more from a plant swap a few years ago.  Unfortunately they didn't do well in pots over the past winter.  I was happy to find a few more from a random plant sale at a lakeside home in Charlotte (pronounced shar-lot, not like the one down in North Carolina).  Now what are these onions that I speak of?  Walking Onions.  Walking onions?!  What's that you say?  Well...they are onions that reproduce by...walking.  Well, not with legs.  They send up a "stalk" with little bulblets on it, and as the bulblets grow and get heavier the stalk tips over to the ground and "plants" new onions!  They have a very strong flavor.  We do still end up buying cooking onions sometimes-and yes, we know that neat trick to start new ones.  Just need a better place to plant them over the winter.  What's this neat trick you say?  Well, if you cut the end of the onion where the roots were off and put it in shallow water, it will start to regrow new "leaves" (stalks?).  Plant that, and you'll get new onions from it.  Neat, huh?

Here are the walking onions all freshly planted




I've begun to dry our basil.  We have some yummy Italian broadleaf basil that's been growing happily all summer in big pots on our back stairs.  Well, those night time temps will be starting to take their toll I'm sure, so I've taken some cuttings to restart new smaller plants and begun to dry the leaves that are left.  We don't have a dehydrator so I used our toaster oven.  I set it at between 150/200 and pulled out the crumb tray just a little for air circulation.  Once it got warmed up it took about 20 minuted to half an hour for each batch to dry.  Here's a few pics of the process




Our young pear trees are getting ready to give us a few pears soon too!


And our close to the cliff apple tree is loaded again this season.  Now I'm even more sure it's a Northern Spy.



It's almost harvest season for the farm across the road too.  The corn is getting tall!


This is a Goji Berry.  We planted this bush (?) earlier this summer.  We were told it wouldn't fruit this year.  Well...it did, but I don't think this will ripen before frost.  I'll keep an eye on it though.



I did say I'd post a pic of the living room wall with the drywall. We still haven't decided what to put against it or hang on it yet and we still have a bit of white washing to finish, but here it is.  Oh, the plants, those are pineapple sage.  Too cold for them now outside.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Naked Ladies at the cottage!

Bet that got your attention.  Before anyone gets too excited...I'm talking about flowers.  They are also known as Surprise Lilies or Resurrection Lilies and they are flowering now.  Their various names refer to the fact that the foliage dies back to the ground, then the bulb sends up a single stem that flowers.  They are pretty neat.  I got a few two years ago from the lovely lady that sent us home with a truckload full of hostas, day lilies and other plants.  Here's what they look like:


See, no leaves (please ignore the creeping charlie):