Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Bathroom Before

Not sure this captures just how horrific the toilet was. The floor made ominous creaking sounds and shifted under your weight as it prepared to fall through into the pantry.
The Sink had a smell and that's what it looked like after being scrubbed within an inch of its life.
The tub leaked so bad it was pouring water down into the mudroom.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our new Kitchen Island

A vintage dressmaker's work table with brass capped feet.  I found it in the garbage.  The drawers were still full of post war goodies like silk stocking darning kits and old wooden spools of thread and pins and needles and dressmaker's chalk, and stays for silk stocking garters.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The inspiration for the bathroom

Pumpkin orange, is such a lovely unexpected colour in the house. I'd like to be able to say I was inspired by the plentiful pumpkin patches around us here in the Annapolis Valley. But my inspiration to use pumpkin orange in the bathroom came from Howard Dill's giant pumpkins...and an annual tradition here in his hometown of Windsor Nova Scotia, The Pumpkin Boat Regatta.

I mean really, what else can you do with a thousand pound pumpkin?

Are you scared or intriqued?  I'll unveil it tomorrow....
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Sprout is developing his own style...

He wears this hat, those glasses, a pair of tiny workboots Auntie Zoom gave us years ago for Wild Thing, and carries around a battered (but tuned) ukelele everywhere. He is into Marilyn Manson, Beck, Woody Guthrie and Edie Brickell. He doesn't care for the Shuffle Demons. Dogs worship him.
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Eventually we'll be getting farm livestock...

But Duckie and Darkmirror decided that what this house really needed was a snake. Meet Lily Nofeet! She's a corn snake. She's about half grown - 2 feet long right now. We all think she's pretty nice.
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Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Pantry: Before and After - Stage One

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The inspiration for the red paint I chose for the kitchen/pantry

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The sweet spot on my kneading counter

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My favorite room in the house

Amidst all the clutter and chaos and DIRT that is a house undergoing renovations inside and out there is one room I can go into and feel that all is right with our house and home.  My pantry.
I still have things to do in here, a new ceiling, a new floor, a new light fixture, butcherblock countertops - touch ups and tweaking.  But as far as function goes, it all works and works well.  I absolutely love this room.

My favorite things about it remain the same things that caught my attention and my heart when we first met the house.  That lower counter under the window that catches the morning light and the spot that is worn down on it from 4 generations of Gertridge's kneading their bread dough.  But now, that's my morning ritual. 
Things I saw as cosmetic "problems" have proven to be very smart inexpensive tricks to make this a comfortable house.  The pipes that carry hot water up to the bathroom's radiator heat this room.  I only keep my day to day pantry needs in here, I have a cold cellar pantry in the basement for storage.  But this room is so warm it is perfect for bread rising and yogurt and sauerkraut fermenting.

I admit I jealously guard this space.  I've set it up so the kids have no reason to enter far inside.  This is their morning station.  I placed it right by the door!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Healing Up...

I was infected with a strep cellulitis infection a week or so ago. It's healing fine and I should only have a dime sized scar as a reminder, but it made even holding a pen difficult. Doing the dishes would totally fatique me and leave my arm alternately feeling like a dead weight, or with pins and needles running up and down my arm.

Its been frustrating and fascinating in equal measures. I've found the healing process a really interesting lesson on soft tissue anatomy.

It forced me to really take a break but now I'm ready to get back to work on the house. And canning for winter, which has been sadly neglected this year. While I was out of commission Papa Pan got our slab pickets up on the fence around the house, and they're waiting for my artistic vision. Darkmirror hates the fence. He doesn't have my vision, he thinks we look like we're in a fortress now. I need to take more before during and after pictures.

I'm also going to try and update here more frequently, though I might move into the Wild Culture Farm blog space.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I invented a great healthy kid pleasing good hot or cold dish!

We're having a hard time adjusting to the new school year here and I've been finding myself racing about at the last minute for healthy non packaged lunch box fillers and then again for quick dinner ideas everyone will like.

When in doubt don't cook! I've been throwing things in the food processor and serving them cold as dips or on top of pasta or potatoes.

Here is the most successful one yet:

Equal parts tomatoes and green beans - basically enough to loosely fill the bowl of the food processor

2 cloves garlic

a little drizzle of olive oil - just enough to lubricate the beans

Pulse til it's all blended and a spreadable consistency

Then add a chunk of feta - about a 2 inch cube.

Pulse again til creamy.

I sent it as a dip for veggies and toast triangles at lunch.

Then we had it over penne for dinner.

So easy!

I'm going to put up roasted tomatoes in the freezer and in the winter they'd work as well. It would be great with some black olives added too, but for picky kids this very simple version works even though it is blended.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Obligatory First Day of School Pictures

Don't they just look thrilled?

The Sprout Sleeps....

Sprout will turn three in just a few short weeks. He is funny, saucy, in command of dogs and cats, sweet, cute, a rough and tumble tagalong littlest sibling, and innocently naughty as all get out.

Teamed up with Little Bear, our food obsessed lab puppy, is like having twins. I have so much admiration for my friend the Tinwyfe who has twin boys! The two of them can wreak havoc in the blink of an eye. He knows how to let the puppy out of his crate too.

Today was running from one Sprout mess to another. The dog biscuit tin is empty, we're out of milk, and there are potato chips in the sugar bowl. I've done an extra load of laundry and mopped up more water than hurricane Earl dumped on us.

So I'm appreciating this nap. And this wild child. Just the way he is.

Freshly Laundered and Line Dried Hippies!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Why I'm the crazy hippie mom who doesn't give her kids "real" toys

This week I was called "a dirty hippie" disparagingly and "happy hippie" with much admiration.

My kids get dirty playing outside. Its true. Most of their clothes are stained with the good red earth that we have here. They spill out of the house often before breakfast and have to be herded like sheep back into the house. Particularly in bad weather. They love rain and wind and anything that makes a good muddy slop in the farmyard to play in. So I take the dirty hippie comment as a compliment.

The other shocker is that they have relatively few toys, atleast toys most families recognize.

But I do provide plenty of materials for making their own toys....see what kids do when they don't have action figures...

They spent all day yesterday making these and playing with them. The peg rail Wild Thing is holding? That's a clone ship. The other is an elaborate play scape modeled after the scene in Star Wars where Jabba the Hutt goes out to the desert to feed people to the monster in the pit.

Ummm....they apparently spent a lot of time watching Star Wars while in Ottawa!