Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Best Wal-Mart Ever??

     On Monday evening last week Jordan and I made a quick road trip to get baby's ultrasound. Afterwards it was quite late and dark, but we still had a few errands before we could head home. One of these was to procure some fabric I needed for a little historical dress order. Just a simple pink cotton print. I hoped that we could happen upon a Wal-Mart that had a fabric department,  since that might be all that was open at this late hour.
     So, we looked it up on our phone and found the nearest one and headed there. When we arrived it was less than promising. A very narrow, dark, and rather creepy parking lot first of all. Second, it was the the smallest and most run-down Wal-Mart I have ever seen. Third, when we against our better judgment walked inside, everything was....strange. All the items were odd old-looking brands we didn't recognize,  things were rather disorganized and dingy. So...feeling very doubtful I asked the first available person if they carried fabric. Pointed into the back corner of the store, we were in for a big surprise. 
     Would you believe it? Greeting our eyes was the biggest and brightest fabric department I think I have yet seen in a Wal-Mart. I very soon found exactly what I needed, then began to notice there were actually quite a few lovely and quite historical cotton prints. The prices were even lovlier. (Many were two dollars a yard) I ended up walking out with four extra lengths of fabric including a brown checked cotton gauze/voile. Imagine! Finding a suitable historical sheer fabric at Wallyworld? I think I might faint.

The moral of the story? I guess you really can't judge from outward appearances, hmm?
And now I have some new additons to the stash. Planning a couple of 1860s and 1820s pieces. Excited!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Oktoberfest Yard Sales

Yesterday we had a fun day spent with friends - yardsale-ing!
Apparently it is a local tradition with two towns that the road in between them is filled with yard sales and vendors come the weekend of Oktoberfest every fall.
(I think I'm going to like this tradition very much...)
It was so big that there was no way in the world we could see it all in one day. Jordan said we probably saw about a third of it - and we put in a pretty long day! We would park and walk up a ways and back down then drive up a little ways more...
It wasn't long before we began accumulating a little stash of purchases. I had a list of small things, craft items, baby things, and such that I was looking for. Found quite a few of them! Jordan had a list of tools and items for the house.
Too much stuff to see!
Yes, a baby bump picture. Really starting to show - all of the sudden seems like!
Also been feeling baby kick and move this past week for the first time!
When we got home we spread the 'loot' out on the bed.
I came away with
-a few pieces of maternity clothes
-2 baskets
-2 lengths of fabric
-3 pieces of clothing to refashion into baby items and pillows
- a copy of 'Wild at Heart'
-5 little newborn outfits (we aren't going to find out if baby is a boy or girl, so don't draw any conclusions!)
-an antique style stone 'tooth powder' jar
I was tickled to pay scarcely more than a dollar for any of the items!
Jordan found:
- a vintage Stanley thermos
-some ammo
- an auger
-a potato masher and a strainer
- a wooden adze handle
and we both decided to get some apples and pumpkins from some of the produce vendors. :) I've got some soup and some pies planned from those good-lookin' pumpkins!
I am already rather looking forward to doing it again next year!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My Kitchen by Lamp Light

      Just thought this was a pretty scene. Jordan is working late this evening in the shop.  I've been cleaning, organizing and doing laundry all day. Its nice to look around in the soft light as I putter around with getting a fire going and supper started. A few coyotes are howling in not too distant vicinity.  It's been a work day and a good day. Thank you, God. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Canning Tomato Sauce

This summer I did some canning. Nothing too impressive, but at the time it was a bit daunting as I hadn't canned anything in a couple of years, and I had never done any serious canning entirely on my own. Mom had always been there if I had questions, or more often we were doing it together. (note to single girls: now is a really good time to master somewhat tricky tasks like canning, don't wait!!)
Also, I was a bit nervous about canning in a kitchen without real running water, and keeping my little woodstove hot enough. But, read on and you will see that everything turned out, there was no need to worry!
I was able to buy two bushels of organic tomatoes from the local Mennonite community (much thanks to my mother-in-law for arranging it) So spent a good deal of one week this summer putting up tomato sauce. I just did plain sauce, as I always season the sauce as I am cooking the dish (chili powder for Mexican dishes, basil, garlic, olive oil, etc for Italian)
Jordan had obtained boxes and boxes of glass canning jars from a job last year that he and I cleaned and saved for our upcoming household. The first step was to get these out of storage. Of course they were dirty and spider-webby again. But, plenty of boiling water and scrubbing soon fixed that. All clean and sparkling!
Next I brought in the tomatoes from where they were laid out on newspaper on the porch, one pot-full at a time, to wash, remove the stem end, and chop into large pieces for the blender.
The tomatoes go into my wonderful Blendtec. By doing the 'whole juice' setting, I was able to skip peeling and de-seeding the tomatoes, as they were all pureed quite fine enough. I was a little afraid there would still be tiny bits of tough cooked peel at the end, but it was not a problem at all, quite smooth.
Juice goes on the stove, and cooks down until thick.
When thick enough, the sauce was ladled into my jars with a teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of vitamin C powder. (I read the C would up the acidity of the mix, and ensure no spoilage, so I thought it wouldn't hurt...)
I didn't get pictures of my canner, but they had to be processed 11 minutes at a certain pressure. Getting them up to pressure sometimes too a little longer than I would have liked, but once it was hot enough it was very hard to keep it from getting much too hot. Each time I had to set it to the back of the stove. But, over all canning on a woodstove was quite do-able, and only takes a bit more watching than normal.
At the end of the week, I ended up with 40 pints of sauce. Not a huge amount I admit, but quite a nice stock for a two-person household! :) I was very pleased with the texture and taste at the end, and hope to do more just the same way next summer!


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