Old Stuff (why buying used is the way to a sustainable homestead)

IMG_7147

Shielding our eyes, we stared up to the tops of the building facades stating 1885 or some odd old number in stone.  Buildings stretch along the street that would have once held the needs of a western town.  The train station held its ground- now a senior center- near the downtown streets.  I could just picture the comings and goings of buggies and hoop skirts, the sound of the train whistle on the wind.  The shops in Florence, Colorado are now filled with art and antiques, bygone eras of items still in good preserve.

20190608_123106

Oh, I’m no better than anyone else.  If we need something it is very easy to hop on Amazon and in two clicks have it shipped to the door for not a lot of cash.  Walmart is a back up.  Yikes, all that plastic.  All those things just doomed to break in record time forcing us to buy again!

20190608_123120

The three quart cast iron sauce pan shined and its wooden handle was sound.  I had never seen this sized pan.  Two quarts is oft too small, and a soup pot is a bit much at times, but three quarts…my goodness, that’s just right.  So was the price.  Its tiny match, a pot just big enough to heat up some barbecue sauce, came along for the ride back to our homestead as well.

20190608_122830

The bottom of a butter churner, a wooden pestle, and a large grain scoop that will never fail also joined our foray.  We sipped coffee over breakfast and enjoyed the views the town offered.

 

If you are in need of something new, be it measuring cups (I love my old battered aluminum ones), coffee pot (percolator anyone?), a dress, a whisk, a piece of furniture, Corningware,  dishes, a stock pot, an oil lamp, a new coat, a dutch oven, or a funky 1960’s glider, you can probably find it out there.  Try antique stores, garage sales, Ebay, or second hand stores.  There is usually not a thing wrong with old items, they have simply been traded in for a new, plastic ones.

20190608_123057

The benefits of buying things antique is that they have been around this long, they will last and last for you as well.  They are generally cheaper or comparable in price to their new fangled counterparts.  And they add charm to your homestead.  It’s the best recycling of all and includes an entertaining half day of “the thrill of the hunt.”  We love visiting new towns and the treasures they keep hidden behind 1800’s storefronts.  I love the feel of a good whisk in my hand that a great-grandmother likely used before me, whisking eggs from the chicken coop.

How to Make Your Own Lotion (from my shop to your farm kitchen)

Lotion is messy to make and clean up but oh so worth it!  This is the very recipe I have been using in my shop for years.  In a world of sodium laurel sulfate and other cancer causing ingredients at each turn, it is nice to have a really great lotion recipe at one’s fingertips.  This can be made in your farm kitchen without much difficulty.

lotion

You will need:

a large mouth quart sized canning jar

an immersion blender

1/2 pint or pint sized jars to transfer lotion to

saucepan

scale to measure beeswax

stir stick (a chop stick works great)

beeswax (preferably pastilles)

olive oil

water

essential oils of your choice

Directions:

In canning jar measure 1 1/2 cups of oil and 1 and an 1/8 ounces of beeswax.

Place in saucepan and pour water to reach half way up jar to create a double boiler.

Stir with chop stick every so often to fully incorporate and help melt wax.

Meanwhile measure out 1 1/2 cups of cool water.  Set aside.  Plug in immersion blender and be ready.

When wax is fully melted, remove from saucepan and add water.  Immediately blend thoroughly until emulsified.  While warm pour into desired jars and add essential oils.  12 drops per 4 ounces is a good measure.

Don’t use oils that are too hot like cinnamon.  A few favorite blends over the years have been 6 drops of lavender and 6 drops of rose.  8 drops of lime and 4 drops of mint.  8 drops of orange and 4 drops of ylang ylang.  Or whatever you desire!

This will keep for over a year without any preservatives.  It is a SPF 12 naturally and is safe for absolutely all skin types.   Tomorrow I will show you how to turn this humble lotion into powerful sunscreen!

 

Decorating a Farmstead Kitchen (and making a chalkboard wall)

The kitchen is the heart of the home, where the fires are burning, where memories are made, where the cook stove will stay warm and where  at the breakfast nook near the warm stove we will play board games on snowy winter days.  Where sustaining food is prepared and the baby plays at my feet while I make a pot of tea.  The kitchen is my favorite room.

IMG_2784

In this kitchen I have a bit of space.  Usually my friends crowd around and chat while we all put finishing touches on drinks and food and inevitably a few are pushed out due to lack of space.  In this kitchen I have seating for four and places to mill around.

This is how I turned an ordinary kitchen added on in the early seventies with peeling linoleum into a culinary oasis.  I take inspirations from Amish, Italian, Pioneer, and Country kitchens.  Combined seamlessly together into what my extended family would call a “Katie kitchen”.

Before

Before

After

After

I do not like overhead lighting so twinkly lights are employed to add charm and light to the house.

IMG_2833

The horrid florescent lamp (those always give off a light similar to horror movies in my mind) was covered with a quaint chicken valance.  Another valance was placed above the window in the kitchen.  Doug installed the curtain hardware eight inches over the window so that plenty of light could come through.

IMG_2832

A sunny place to play cards or have a cup of coffee and read.

IMG_2831

IMG_2830

An old cabinet piece that I have had a long time is the base for a bookshelf to make a larger cabinet.  My friend, Nancy’s, chicken tea pot, pitcher, and cookie jar stand among pioneer cookbooks and wine glasses.

IMG_2834

Every nook and cranny, every drawer, every cupboard if filled.  I cannot bring one more thing into this kitchen!  Everything in its place is the mantra here now.  My aprons displayed on a vintage hanger along with Maryjane’s apron invite folks to put one on and start cooking!

IMG_2835

The top of the fridge is always a void of inspiration for me.  This whimsical wind catcher and a pretty enamel bowl fill the space with a little fun.

IMG_2798

The unique part of this room is the chalkboard wall.  Simply tape off a section that you would like to use.  Paint on four coats of chalkboard paint, letting dry in between coats.  Let set for two days.  Peel off tape the first day so that it doesn’t become a permanent frame!

IMG_2836

I added my favorite picture to the board by hanging it on a nail in the middle of the chalkboard.  If this little girl was a blonde, it would be Maryjane.  Maryjane loves her chickens!  Notes or menus can be written on the board.

It is easy to add small touches to any kitchen without spending a lot of money.  Any kitchen can benefit from vintage furniture, whimsical touches that bring a smile, and flowers….and a chalkboard wall.