Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Organization .....

My goal for this week is to turn my Sun-room into an organized room for a painting studio/sitting/guestroom. (well..... maybe two weeks) It is located off my dining room and leads to the deck off of which used to be a swimming pool, which we felt no need for (they are expensive to run) The room is 10'x 21'.

When I dug out my long-neglected oil painting supplies this spring, the only place to set it up was a cardtable in the dining room, using my old wobbly easel....

Then a month ago I found THIS....
on Craig's list for half what a new one would cost!

It was very barely used... and has a drawer for paints and brushes, adjustable canvas holder, and adjustable , foldup, legs.... all with a strong handle to carry, making it compact to take for painting anywhere.

I was so blessed to be able to get it! (and it came in handy, making it possible to take my painting supplies on vacation with me to PA) But, it does take up more space than I am wanting to part with in the dining room.
So one thing leads to another, and it is a good excuse (interpreted, reason) to get this job done! The sunroom has been the "catch-all" room since we have moved here. It holds all the memorabilia (as in ribbons, trophies) from past goat shows, and honey and beeswax candle displays and awards; the remains of my candle making supplies; old milk bottles and gallon jugs to be painted and made into cute lamps; old crosscut saws, handsaws, round saws, and slate, from my sawblade painting days; an old roll-top desk, file cabinets, table and a bench; and boxes of what-not.

After it is cleared out, I am hoping (please, please??) hubby will go ahead and put another double window in the east wall, as has been the "talked-about" plan. There is room to have a daybed in there as well, (I love daybeds), for over-night guests that visit and who have a hard time going upstairs to the guest-room. What do you think?? Can I make a welcoming room out of this chaos?? Any suggestions? Do any of you have a daybed and do you like it?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Yogurt by the Gallon ... and other good food

Now that I am back home from a wonderful, refreshing vacation and seeing PA family once again; its time to get back on track with what I need to be doing as far as frugal living is concerned. I had been so homesick I had "fallen off the frugal wagon" so to speak. But that is behind me now and I am looking forward to each new day!
I stopped in the other day to pick up good wholesome, raw cow's milk from my Amish neighbor, Sarah. I had been wanting to get back to making yogurt and cheese so I purchased 2 gallons.

First on the agenda was to make some home-made yogurt.

I poured 1 gal into my 5 qt. stainless steel pot and raised the temp to 165* for 15 sec to pasturize it. (I don't try using raw milk for yogurt, as there is too much chance of failure and I need to be frugal especially after going on a spur-of-the-moment vacation ;) Then I cooled the milk in a sink of cold water to 115* and added my 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt as culture. After stirring that in, I lit my electric oven and heated it to 120*. I had a thermometer in the yogurt and one on the oven shelf. As I timed the temp drop in the oven I decided I needed to relight the oven for a few minutes every hour to keep the temp right. This worked very well, as the large amount of yogurt took a longer time to change in temperature, than it would have if I'd have put it in smaller containers. The temp range for this recipe called for 11o-118*.

It took only 4 hrs to set but I left it another hour to solidify more. I am really pleased with the result! No bitterness or sour taste at all. I will make half of it into yo-cheese and add herbs to it for a cracker spread, and use the other half for yogurt, adding a few strawberries or other fruit.

Our strawberry patch is producing quite well. Although the berries themselves aren't gigantic they have a very good, sweet flavor.

I made this Fresh Strawberry Pie for hubby soon after I got home, in appreciation for the vacation! (he stayed home and went to WORK, including many overtime hours, took care of our little dog, Izzy, fed the chickens, AND did all the RABBIT chores - He's an amazing man.... sigh)

(He likes his pie topped with a huge helping of vanilla ice cream.....)

.... and the chickens didn't even miss me, as proven by the beautiful eggs they are still laying.

Nothing says country like wonderful fresh-made yogurt, home-picked strawberries, and fresh home-grown eggs!

I had a wonderful time with my kids and Grands, but I am glad to be home again!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pennsylvania Daughter's Place

Since I am currently on vacation in Pennsylvania where my grown children live, staying at my oldest daughter's home, I thought I would show you the highlights of her yard, flowers and herb garden.
Quaint front porch, where hostas, old tinware planters, roses and herbs line the porch.

On the east side of the house, lilacs and hostas are plentiful. Her bird feeding station near here has a huge pine tree for feeders and shelter.
In the back is this wonderful rock garden......

with Ivory White Columbine.....
Bleeding Hearts........

and full of Lily of the Valley and Forget-Me -Nots,

with a little toad house.

A sun garden above the vegetable garden, hosts many more herbs and lilies, and an old garden bench.

on the back and west more hostas and lilacs,

which were in full bloom when I arrived,

and a beautiful Japanese Maple for accent.
Those of you who have followed my blog will know that we have very much in common in the way of gardening! It always feels peaceful and homey here, which she also says when she visits our place.
Do you other 'mothers and daughters' have similar gardening interests?