Sunday, May 17, 2009

MD 2009

Yeah, I know I'm a very blessed. This is what I got for Mother's Day.
The only other thang better than receiving a NIB wringer would have been a solar hot water heater. Bet you though I was gonna say a plow huh? Silly rabbit no place to park a plow or hitch one or really no need to use one on this urban homestead.
So here's the low down on my ever expanding nonelectric washing system.
DH was perusing Craig's list when he located this wringer out in Hamlin, New York for a steal.
The seller is raising funds to sponsor a soup kitchen. So a win win all the way around especially since the wringer only cost $10.
Originally this was bought from the Vermont Country Store price unknown as when I checked the website it wasn't listed. Lehman's carries a what appears to be the same make of wringer for $189.95.
One other item that I really want to try is a pants stretcher which both VCS & Lehman's carry (Lehman's is about $4 cheaper). According to the write in Lehman's catalog you insert the pants stretcher after washing into each leg then adjust it so it's snug & hang to dry. Suppose to give that just pressed creased down the legs look.
My Abulea always said that being poor & looking poor have nothing to do with each other - clean pressed clothes that have been well maintained will never give away the truth about your finances.

The wash tub is a holdover from my canning equipment. Before I bought my huge canning pot that holds 15 quarts I used this over an open fire resting on a couple of oven racks that I bought curb shopping. The fire pit was constructed with cinder blocks. A thin piece of plywood covered with aluminum foil cut to fit as a cover (tends to fall off). Add a found cabinet handle & you have a covered huge canning pot for really the cost of the wash tub. Better yet take your homemade lid to the hardware store & ask to have a piece of aluminum flashing cut to fit the underside of your lid with an extra 3 ". Fold over the edges crimping the fold with pliers. Wear work gloves flashing cuts! Screw on with tiny stainless steel screws (won't rust) on the top of the lid 3 screws on each side. The screws & flashing shouldn't run more than $10. You can go as fancy as you want with the lid but do consider painting the top part that won't have flashing on it with something durable. This will make the lid easier to clean.
For the canning rack that fits inside your wash tub pot it can be anything from old bath towels on the bottom & in between quart jars to forming a rack from canning rings using picture hanging wire/stripped wire bread ties. Picture those plastic loops that hold a six pack of soda together. That is what your aiming for.
Definitely prefer the wood stove but in a pinch when you need to get the job done an old wash tub over an open flame in the cool of an August evening is a nice alternative. Add in free firewood & you have lowered the cost of putting food on the table considerable.
A round wash tub fits 15 qt. & 1 pint jar which is needed for spacing. Square tub should be in the same neighborhood give or take a qt. jar. I used a round tub that was already in the cellar as my square tub has a load of wash soaking in the morning Sun.
Addendum 5/18/09 - To prevent soot from the fire adhering to the surface of a pot wipe down with dish soap. Then afterwards just wash off the soot.
~~ pelenaka ~~

P.S. Thank you my husband, I can't wait until Father's Day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sabbatical busy

It has been the family joke lately that I need to go back to work since I'm too busy being on sabbatical. Between just doing simple homesteading chores like nonelectric housekeeping to my duties being a Deacon & belonging to two committees @ church I don't see any opportunities to stray. Add in the girls softball & end of the year school activities. Also on my plate is one daughter's upcoming confirmation. Ideally, I'd like to have F & F over for a big breakfast before service but that would entail them actually entering my house.
My house that was suppose to be rehabbed ah like over 8 years ago. If you have ever lived with buckets of drywall mud stacked up in your bathroom only to become a nifty spot to place reading material on then you know what I mean.
Not even my BBGF has ever been in my house.
So that being said If I don't blog for days & days it's because I'm demolishing our only bathroom & as usual stripping woodwork, (now would be a good time to insert a sound clip of the Burma Shave song - & yes if you got that joke then your as old as I am)!

This is as far as we'll be going with the greenhouse until October. For the most part the main body is together but the corrugated panels haven't been caulked @ the seems nor the holes from the last time it was assembled. Try as we did we couldn't match up the previous holes in both the panels & the frame so we made allot of new ones. The girls & I finished spray painting the metal frame black to promote solar heat gain. Now all that is needed is for my ever tolerate handyman to put up a back end wall with a few vertical windows that can open & reinstall the front wall & door.
Between all of us we got some cheapo dog eared fence panels, painted them white & jury rigged them in place. Not only keeps prying eyes from looking but also reflects light back into the space. This pic was taken around 5 p.m. so as you can see between the shadows & the setting sun this greenhouse needs all the help it can get.
I already have the Giant Chinchillas set up in the back portion & my plant shelf along with some potted seedlings. By the front is one of those small tabletop greenhouses set up with more seedlings waiting to be potted.
Wood chips are courtesy of a neighbor who had a tree removed.
Working on an idea of laying some plastic trellis that I scored @ a tag sale along the one side & half of the top portion of the greenhouse to grow peas on. TBWOS (two birds with one stone theory) providing shade for buns & food for us.
My cold frame is producing salad greens abundantly well. Really haven't had to close the lid much these past few weeks but I know the minute DH removes the lid it will snow.
Nice not having to buy fancy greens like Butter crunch.
Peach trees are flowering which is great since that bare 'ss tree you see looming just behind the fence is a Black Walnut tree. When they grow little else will except Lilac. The dark green foliage just past the fence line is Lilac shrubs about 15' high. There are 7 of them in colors ranging from White to dark Purple. Our own Lilac Festival gifted by a now vacant lot.

This is DH's cold frame. As you can see he experiments on different design styles for cold frames but I'll let him tell you about that on his own blog since he is fond of saying that I don't give him space (as in his own spot in the garden).

Tomatoes are Bloody Butcher's (his) a salad 'mater & Cherokee Purple, the best ever eating tom. In the center are San Marzano an Italian paste tom that I'm gonna use for canning both whole & sauce. There are also about 10 potted Turban squash plants, a scavenged Rhubarb plant replotted, & clips from various house plants that I'm trying to grow.

This is my 3rd year @ being serious about growing food from seeds instead of relying on purchased (expensive) seedlings. So far I'm batting 500. A good majority of the seeds sprouted & are growing except the Swiss Chard. It's a learning experience.

I have high hopes for this raised bed. Last Summer Cabbage grew here, then in the fall I add anything compostable along with found worms, covered it with black plastic sheeting for the Winter. Last week when I lifted the plastic there were worms galore but this week what with the warmer temps most have burrowed down. Either Green Bell Peppers or Eggplant for this year's crop.

I was reading a post on HT asking if anyone knows if Kudzu can be ground into flour. Since that invasive weed doesn't grow in New York I don't personally have any first hand knowledge but it got me to thinking about other possibilities.

Update on the UPC - well it still ain't happening. I didn't post the total tally for April as I misplaced store receipts but it's in the hood of being $40 over the mark. Will post that a.s.a.p. May should be worse since I neglected to can/store extra food items for daughter's conformation party not to mention Mother's day (dish to pass something special but what?). This is getting to be embarrassing ...