November 29, 2012

Sweet Potatoes & Green Tomatoes

A couple years ago, I had a problem with my sweet potatoes, black rot. Well, it's a problem again this year. So many of my pretty looking sweets developed those same ugly spots as they cured. Rats.

Photo from October 2010, but this year's look the same. :(

This is a virus, correction, a fungus, which will spread during storage. It is said to impart a bitter taste, though my goats don't seem to care. But I care.

At that time, I decided to can as many as sweet potatoes as I could.

Freshly canned sweet potatoes, October 2010.
Canned with light sugar syrup, 90 mins @ 10 lbs pressure

As a way to preserve sweet potatoes, I'd say this method is so-so. Handy in a pinch, but not as flavorful as freshly baked sweet potatoes. Best use, baked goods such as quick breads or muffins.

To salvage this year's harvest, I looked at two different methods. Freezing is one. I want to try partially baking, wrapping in foil, and freezing to finish baking before serving. I'd also like to freeze some puree. Back in the day I used to puree and can something similar, pumpkin. Now the USDA has added purees to the list of things not safe for home canning. I suspect eventually everything will not be safe for home canning.

The second was to dehydrate. This is a bit more time consuming, requiring peeling, slicing, and steam blanching for 3 minutes, but, what better excuse for hanging around the wood cookstove on a chilly day. :)

I rigged that up a steamer with a large pot and my colander, using the preheated water from the cookstove water reservoir to give me a head start.

I wouldn't use that water for cooking, but for steaming, I didn't have a problem with it.

These went into the dehydrator at 125° F until hard.

Dehydrated sweet potatoes

I'll have to let you know how well these work. For some, even though I cut off all the dark spots, I discovered that some perfectly good looking pieces blackened with drying. I separated these out. They'll eventually soften somewhat in our humidity, and I'll see what the goats think of these. A good source of vitamin A when fresh forage is scarce.

For previous years' green tomatoes, I've made green tomato jam, which is yummy, and canned slices for fried green tomatoes, which is a real treat.

Photo from Nov. 2011.
How well do they fry? Click here.

Both of these recipes are keepers. I still had some jam in the pantry however, and after letting the largest of my green tomatoes ripen on the window sill, the rest were too small to slice for frying. I decided to try a couple of new recipes.

Pickled green tomatoes on left, Green tomato conserve on right

The green tomato conserve is from The Art of Preserving by Jacqueline Wejman and Charles St. Peter. The book was a gift from Benita (Basically Benita) and has quite a variety of good looking recipes. It called for tart apples, and I even had enough of our homegrowns to make it. The lemons I had to buy, because my Meyers lemons aren't ready.

The second experiment was a green tomato pickle for which I used Mrs. Wage's prepackaged Bread & Butter pickle mix. Dan likes pickles made from it and I can usually pick up a package or two on summer clearance every year.

Samples leftover from canning were pretty tasty, but I don't think Dan is convinced, simply because the tomatoes are green instead of red. I'll allow that the color isn't as attractive as products made from ripe toms, especially if any of the them are starting to turn red, of if apple cider vinegar is used like I did. Green + orange or amber = a muddy color. Hopefully, taste will win out in the end.

November 28, 2012

My Blog Web Address

This post is to let you all know that my blog web address (AKA URL or domain name) has been changed. I recently purchased a custom domain, and my blog web addy is now

The old blog address was

The new one obviously makes more sense and is easier to remember. I would have chosen it as my blogspot address when I first set up this blog but at that time, it wasn't available. 'My5acredream' was the closest thing I could come up with. Add the .blogspot and it wasn't easy to remember, considering that's not the title of my blog.

Because my blog is still hosted by Blogger, everything will be redirected by Blogger to the new web address. You should still be able to get here by your usual means, unless you visit via a search engine. These will take awhile to catch up, because my entire blog must be reindexed with the new web address by search engine robots. Until then, it may not show up in searches. According to this helpful article over at The REAL Blogger Status, the best thing to do is publish frequently. I'm going to try to follow this advice, so you'll see a few more posts from me for awhile; I hope that's not a problem; I notice we homestead bloggers blog the way we like to live, slowly. :)

As long as my blog remains at Blogger, any links you made to me should redirect with no problem. There is a transition period of several days for this, so if you run into problems, please be patient. Things like Google Friend Connect may be nonoperational, but this is temporary. If you continue to have problems or would like to update any links, just let me know.

So, to get the search engine ball rolling (and for anyone else who is interested , here are links to my recent posts in various categories:

Remodeling - Fixing The Bathroom Floor
Food Self-Sufficiency - Fall Foraging
Goats - How To Make A Buck Rag
Chickens - Around The Homestead
Recipes - Goatherd's Pie
Food Preservation - Fall Freezer Canning
Gardening - Last of the Summer Harvest
Riley - Yikes! There's a Chipmunk in the House! Or, Smart Cat?
Cheese Making - Cheese #11, The Recipe
Land Stewardship - Pasture Improvement Phase 2: Remineralizing Our Soil

My Blog Web Address © November 2012 

November 27, 2012

Fixing The Bathroom Floor

I laid out our plan of attack for the bathroom in "Starting On The Hall Bathroom." In "Hall Bathroom Remodel: Preliminaries", I told how we strengthened our bouncy floor and took quite a bit of the sag our of it. The next step, was the bathroom floor itself.

The problem was water damage to the floor where the toilet had been.

Water damage left the floor rotted and weak

One option would have been to pull up and replace the entire floor. That option wasn't even entertained. The second option was to do as we did in the kitchen, replace that section of the floor.

Damaged section of the floor removed

The joist was strengthened and a box made for toilet plumbing

So far so good. A sister joist was added and a box framed out for the toilet drainage. He allowed for a 12 inch rough in, the old rough in was 14 inches.

Then the real fun began. The original floor in the bathroom is 7/8 inch oak tongue and groove. The problem is, 7/8 inch thick flooring, subflooring, plywood, etc., isn't manufactured anymore.

These size differences in building materials have been a problem with all the repairs we've done on our house. For example, when this house was built in the 1920s, 2x4s were true 2x4s, i.e. a true two inches by four inches. The last 2x4s we bought, were actually 1.5 inches by 3 & 5/8. Now we needed 7/8ths worth of subfloor. Of the choices available, nothing added up to 7/8 no matter how we stacked them. We were always an eighth of an inch short.

In the end we used Dan made up that 1/8 inch difference with roofing shingles. I missed the photo op for that, but can report that the subfloor is now sturdy and solid underfoot.

Repair complete. Floor is nice and solid now.

Some of you might be wondering, why bother to go to all that trouble? Why not just replace the entire floor? Wouldn't it be easier? The answer to that is twofold.

First is cost. Our budget enables us to make improvements on the house, but only paycheck by paycheck. The difference between $100 worth of materials and $1000 worth of materials, is weeks of waiting in between projects, while we save up the money to make the purchase.

The second is quality. Dan has said several times that the quality of the materials in this home is far superior than anything we can buy today. If the same house had been made with today's materials, it likely would have fallen down long ago.

In addition it was well put together. Between all the heavy duty nails and the age of the wood, the deconstruction we have done, has unfortunately busted up the materials. Dan deplores the waste, so we leave what we can as is, and work around it.

Now we can get on to projects with showier results. Hopefully I'll have an oooo or an ahhhh to show you next time.

Fixing The Bathroom Floor © November 2012 

November 24, 2012

Fall Foraging

Beautiful autumn weather seems to be meant for foraging.

Good pecans this year

I've gathered quite a few pecans, and so far they're all good ones.

Shelling pecans for Thanksgiving's sweet potato casserole

We have a number of pecan and hickory trees, and interestingly, they all produce different size nuts. The squirrels love pecans too, so there is competition for these.

Only a few persimmons left on the upper branches

There is competition for persimmons too, because deer and possums love these, probably other critters too. Our persimmon tree is tall, so the fruits look like dots on the branches. I can only collect the ones that fall to the ground. I can see the top of the tree from where I sit at the milking stand. It is visible out the door and above the treetops. I managed to get some last year, but this year, there isn't much left.

We are having a bumper crop of acorns!


These are from white oaks. In some places, the ground is completely covered with them. I collect them to feed to my goats when the winter forage pickings get slim. They aren't especially rich in protein, but they do add roughage, carbohydrates, and fats to their winter diet, and they love them. We could eat them as well, though I haven't tried that yet. (For more information on processing acorns, read Jackie Clay's article, "Harvesting The Wild: Acorns").

I've also managed to collect a few wild rose hips.

Wild rose hips

I showed you my rugosa rose hips in my "Last of the Summer Harvest" post. These are teeny in comparison; all seed and no fruit. I tried making jelly of these, but it turned out pretty badly. That's one of the reasons I planted the rugosas. Plus those hips are easier to collect.

The goats love the wild ones though, both leaves and hips. We used to have tons of wild rose bushes before we got goats. Most of our bushes were cut back when we added fencing. What remains the goats eat. Only a few are out of their reach and these are from those bushes. I gather what hips I can, to dry and feed to them during winter for vitamin C.

Some things, like the acorns especially, may seem a tedious thing to gather. But a pocketful here, and a pocketful there, make for a pleasant way to take a break from other chores, or to spend a few minutes outside when I'm doing indoor projects. It reminds me to be thankful too, for all the little things. Acorns included.

Fall Foraging © November 2012 

November 21, 2012

Goatherd's Pie

Have you heard of Shepherd's Pie? This is my homestead version.

Goatherd's Pie

  • Scraps of chevon from making bone broth, about 2 cups
  • Leftover vegetables, I had about a cup of canned green beans
  • 1 pint condensed tomato soup, (yummy home canned)
  • A couple cups leftover mashed potatoes (or can make fresh)
  • Butter, melted (of course I used Ziggy butter)

Mix meat, veggies, and undiluted tomato soup, season as desired, and pour into a 2 quart casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes and drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 350° F, uncovered, until casserole is bubbling and potatoes are golden brown.

You could substitute any meat for the chevon, any veggies, or gravy for the soup. My mother always made Shepherd's pie with tomato soup, so that's what I think of. This is a very easy, tasty, one dish meal. Enjoy!

Goatherd's Pie © November 2012 

November 18, 2012

Hall Bathroom Remodel: Preliminaries

In a previous post, "Starting On The Hall Bathroom," I shared our "get started" plan for the hall bathroom remodel project. Step one was support for the sagging, bouncy floor on that side of the house. This included the front bedroom, a second bedroom, and the bathroom. The front bedroom especially, needed it badly.

Bedroom floor before. This isn't a slope from one side of the
room to the other, rather the floor sags to the middle of the room.

Rather than working on these one room at a time like he did with the dining room and kitchen, Dan wanted to address these rooms as a unit.

The first step was to add bridging between the joists to stabilize them (examples in this previous post). This alone did much to stabilize the floor. Next he made his own carrying beams from two pressure treated 2x6s with a 1/4 inch thick piece of plywood in between.

Dan's carrying beam (or girder) made from 2x6s & plywood

He made one 10 feet long, and another 14 feet. The 10 foot beam was for the front bedroom, the 14 foot one spanned the middle bedroom and bathroom.

If we had a basement, he would have used 2x8s. With limited room in the crawlspace, especially toward the front of the house, he needed those extra inches to have room to move around. To compensate for the smaller girder size, he added extra piers to help support the weight. The piers were made with prefab pier bases from Lowes, and either 5" round posts or square 4x4s.

To get the beams in place, Dan first raised the floor with post jacks.

Floorjacks at different heights
Photo Nov. 2009, of posts used for the dining room floor

Then he put the piers in place and removed the jacks. All of this made a huge difference, not only in levelness, but it made the floor much firmer underfoot.

Bedroom floor after. Trying to level it
anymore might have caused other problems

While it would be nice to get the entire floor perfectly level, that is pretty near impossible with a house as old as ours. Over time, the floor joists bow and eventually retain that shape. Sometimes the bow will not straighten out, but rather the entire joist will be lifted in that bowed position. The floor won't be leveled and possibly other things can shift, like walls.

Now we're ready to move on to step two, repairing the water damaged section of the bathroom floor.

November 15, 2012

How To Make A Buck Rag

A buck scented rag is one way to help determine if a doe is in heat. It seems as though this might be easy to tell, but I'm no expert. Common signs include vocalizing, tail wagging, increased aggressiveness, vaginal swelling and/or discharge, decreased milk supply. Some does are obvious, some are very subtle. If a doe is in heat and likes the scent of the buck rag, then she is in all likelihood ready for a visit. This could be helpful for someone who does not own a buck. Another option, some goatherds keep a wether with their does. He knows, and will try to mount them when their hormones are right.

I hadn't needed to worry about this until recently, because the boys and the girls were in adjacent pastures. When one of the does was in heat, she'd stand there at the fence flirting with the bucks. When we plowed and planted that field, I had to move the girls. They are now two fences away from the boys instead of one, nor are they in a direct line of sight. I thought a buck rag might help. So here is the how-to run down.

Start with a clean rag. I made this one from an old sock.

An old, clean rag

Find a cooperative buck.

Don't even think about it.

Don't stop

Rub it around the base of his horns. This is where there are scent glands.

Place it in a lidded jar until needed.

Odoriferous buck rag, ready when needed

To test it out, I let all three of my girls take a whiff.

What is that?

Get that thing out of my face.

I'll take care of it for you.

Well, I'm pretty sure Ziggy's not in heat but she loves to pull, mouth, and chew on fabric: my jacket, my shirt, my skirt, my shoelaces. So based on my quick test run, I can't tell you this works for sure. I do keep rough track on my calendar, so if and when the girls demonstrate signs of being in heat, I'll give it another try and report the results.

This and more can be found in my inexpensive eBook, How To Make a Buck Rag: and other good things to know about breeding your goats. Includes how to tell when your doe is in heat, when your buck is in rut, how to determine pregnancy, how to calculate due dates, and how to keep your boy in good condition for doing his job.

How To Make A Buck Rag © November 2012 

November 12, 2012

Fall Freezer Canning

One of the things I like about having a chest freezer, is being able to pop into it all the things I'm not ready to deal with, preservation-wise. It's especially good for quantities too small to make up a recipe. Jelly for example. Over the summer I've frozen small quantities of fruits with the idea that I'd make a batch of mixed fruit jelly.

Frozen elderberries, grapes, and sand cherries

Elderberries (what the birds left me), sand cherries (several handfuls from their first year of fruiting), tree cherries (pie ones, also from a first year of fruiting), grapes (from a vine planted years ago, not fruiting well because it now gets too much shade), and red raspberries, (oops, forgot I ate all those. Sorry.)

Also, these...

Bags of tomatoes in the freezer for canning

These are tomatoes I've been saving to make okra gumbo.

I lived in Louisiana for a number of years, and fell in love with Cajun cooking. I always preferred filé gumbo, and have in fact canned that. Last year I had tons of okra and tomatoes, so I canned a batch of chicken okra gumbo. We loved it! This year I have plenty of chevon (goat meat) in the freezer, so I made and canned chevon okra gumbo.

Frozen tomatoes peel easliy

I love the freezer method of peeling tomatoes, how-to details in this post. The okra I used was from the freezer too, leftovers from last year. I had plenty of tomatoes and chevon, and enough okra to can 14 quarts of gumbo.

Chevon okra gumbo. Ready to heat and serve with rice.

The rest of the frozen tomatoes will be peeled and canned in chunks for soups.

Another thing I put in the freezer is all of our leftover homegrown chicken bones. From these I make bone broth.

Chicken bone broth (aka chicken stock) How-to, Here.
I can quarts for soup, pints for cooking grains & making gravies.

Basically, bone broth is made by adding an acid (vinegar or wine, for example) to the pot and simmering for a long time over low heat. I added leftover liquid from lacto-fermented pickles this time. The acid helps dissolve and release minerals from the bones for a nutritious soup or gravy stock.

Besides the odds & ends jelly I showed you above, I pull out all the previous year's leftover frozen blueberries. These become blueberry jam.

Steaming hot blueberry jam

I had enough blueberries to make six pints.

Fall freezer canning usually clears out the freezer pretty well. Then I defrost the freezer and I'm ready for a new fill.

What I love is that this is a time saver during the busiest part of summer harvest and canning. Plus it's nice to do at least some of my canning in the fall, when the temperatures are a little cooler and I appreciate the heat from the stove. It's nice to see my pantry shelves filled up again too. :)

Fall Freezer Canning © November 2012 

November 9, 2012

Last of the Summer Harvest

Although we haven't had an official first frost yet, I did discover frost damage on the tomatoes and okra the other day. I figured it was time to bring in the rest of the summer harvest.

Amish paste tomatoes

I got about two gallons of tomatoes, mostly green mostly small. If they were larger I would can more sliced green tomatoes for frying. That was a yummy way to preserve them. Being small, I'll either make more green tomato jam or a sweet pickle.

Orange bulldog pumpkins

Two pumpkins! I got two pumpkins. Pretty ones too. Not very big, but better than years past.

Hales best cantaloupes

I found two more cantaloupes. They didn't get very big because cold weather is closing in on us and they like heat. Amazingly they were pretty tasty anyway. I've already saved some cantaloupe seed, so the chickens got these scoopings.

Vardaman sweet potatoes

This is not even half of the sweet potatoes. I didn't get many white potatoes, and so am thankful for these. We eat some, the goats get some, and I give some away.

Lastly, rugosa rose hips.

Rugosa Rose Hips

I harvested the first hips a couple months ago and laid them out to dry in the pantry. Unfortunately, pantry moths demolished them! Hopefully this batch will do better.

[UPDATE 12 Nov] I was pulling out amaranth stalks in the garden this morning and remembered I didn't include a photo of my amaranth harvest. Here it is...

Golden Giant amaranth

I didn't get a lot, but it's enough for treats for the chickens.

Now I'm waiting for the fall garden to come in. We haven't had much rain for the past month, so it's been slow. More on that soon.

Last of the Summer Harvest © November 2012 

November 6, 2012

Starting On The Hall Bathroom

Now that the kitchen is done, what's next on our remodeling radar? The hall bathroom. And with winter right around the corner, we'll likely commence with this project pretty soon, starting with the floor.

One of the problems we've had with our old house (93 years next year), has been a construction problem, the floor joists. When the house was built, the joists were placed 24 inches on center, i.e. the center of one joist is 24 inches from its neighbors. Nowadays, joists which span the length of a room are usually placed 16 inches on center, which makes for a sturdier floor. Because our floor joists are farther apart, we've had to deal with a lot of sag and bounce in our floors. We've worked on this problem room by room:

Now it's the bathroom's turn, which will actually be part of our larger master suite project. The first thing Dan will do is to run a carrying beam (or girder) the length of the house under the bathroom and both bedrooms (floor plan here.) In addition, he will add bridging between the existing joists to stabilize them even more. All these rooms need floor support eventually, especially the front bedroom which has a pretty bad sag. Might as well get it all done now.

That will be the first step.

The other problem with this floor, is water damage from the old toilet. We discovered this when we pulled everything out of the room. It was hidden by the old vinyl flooring, though the floor always felt mushy there and the toilet leaned a bit.

Hall bathroom floor. Water damage was under the old vinyl flooring

Repairing the floor will be step two, click here to see that.

Weather permitting  we'll still work on our next outdoor projects: more fencing and a new chicken coop. Winter time though, is house project time.

Starting On The Hall Bathroom © November 2012 

November 3, 2012

Kitchen Remodel Announcement: DONE!!!!!

Welcome to my new kitchen! Come on in & I'll show you around.

At long last, the kitchen remodeling project is done. As promised, here are before and after photos, lots of them. Because there are so many, they are smaller than I usually put on my blog. You can click or double click for a larger version. With each set of photos, I've included pertinent links to my remodeling posts. You'll find close-ups and project details in these.

The before photos in this post are not of the kitchen as I first saw it. You can see that here. It was the worst kitchen I'd ever seen. To make it functional we moved the stove and fridge, and added a cabinet as a peninsula. We lived with that for over two years. Dan was willing to make the kitchen the first project, but I needed to live with the layout and think about what I wanted:

Aug 2009 - Analyzing my kitchen - what I liked, what I didn't
Jan. 2011 - Proposed floor plan & notes
April 2011 - Working out some details
Oct. 2011 - Designing storage space

Since this is a 92 year old house, you may be curious as to what we left original. The floor plan remains the same; we did not add any square footage (though we thought about it). The tongue and groove boards on the ceiling and inner walls are original. Everything else we added, replaced, or changed.

So. After that long introduction, let's start our tour with the back door.

Before. Shot taken Summer 2009
All photos can be enlarged




The tin ceiling was our splurge, but affordable for such a small area. The larger window and windowed back door add much needed light to the room. The door and both windows are energy efficient ones, which really makes a definite difference in the room's temperature.

The biggest problems here were structural. One was the post in the middle of the room. It was left after a previous owner tore out a load bearing wall to enlarge the original kitchen. The second problem was water damage under the window. This was seen initially in the tongue & groove boards in that corner. Further investigation revealed that the rim joist under the window was badly rotted as well. It had to be replaced.

The idea to move the door came about while trying to figure out how to include a dining area in the plan. Once we knew where the wood cook stove would go, there wasn't enough room in the window corner. Moving the door gave us just enough room for a small table and two chairs. Plus it gives us a straight shot into the kitchen from the back porch door.

My little dining nook

The dining area is snug, but allows for good clearance between the corner of the table and the corner of the cookstove. We have enough room for a meal or a coffee break, yet remain out of the traffic pattern to and from the back door. The little cabinet above the table was in my grandmother's pantry when I was a little girl. I use it now to store salt, pepper, toothpicks, cat snacks, napkin rings, etc.

Close-ups, details, and project photos for all the above can be found in the following posts:

Feb. 2011 - tore out the built-in wall cabinet
Aug. 2011 - milled ceiling beam to replace post
Aug. 2011 - removed floor tiles & replaced post with beam
Aug. 2011 - added support posts for the beam
Sept. 2011 - installed new back door
Sept. 2011 - replaced the rotted rim joist
Sept. 2011 - replaced the window
Sept. 2011 - insulated the outer walls
Oct. 2011 - new window meant new siding & painting
Dec. 2011 - wallpapered the dining nook
Jan. 2012 - installed the tin ceiling
Jan. 2012 - alcove lighting, phone jack, painted back door
Oct. 2012 - started on the dining table and chairs

Moving to our right...


2 years later. I know it still looks
crookedy, but that's my camera!

Originally, we were going to put the wood cookstove where the back door now is. This is a much better location because heat can radiate into the dining room. The ceiling fan helps with that. The stove also keeps the bathroom behind it nicely warm. The pot rack with light is very handy. Because the kitchen floor dipped and sloped so badly, more structural repair was needed before we could install the wood cookstove.

Dec. 2011 - making a level, noncombustible base for the cookstove
Jan. 2012 - wood cookstove chimney installation
Jan. 2012 - installed pot rack (among other things)
March 2012 - problems with the original kitchen floor
March 2012 - preparing the old floor for the new floor
March 2012 - installing the plank floor
April 2012 - staining the new floor
April 2012 - applying the polyurethane
April 2012 - new floor finished
June 2012 - cast iron pot rack (& other odds & ends)

If you're wondering if I cook with wood all year long, the answer is no. The cookstove is used only during cold weather for heat, as well as cooking. My summer cooking and canning are done on my back porch, which also serves as my laundry room....

My summer-canning kitchen & laundry room. It was
originally set up as my remodeler's temporary kitchen.

If this sounds inconvenient, it really isn't. My kitchen, dining nook, and back porch together total 266 square feet, which is smaller than today's average American kitchen (said to be 300 sq. ft.) Being able to keep the heat and humidity (especially from canning) out of the house in summertime is well worth it. I have everything out here that I need for summer cooking, canning, and cheese making. The washing machine lid makes an acceptable workspace and the utility sink is handy.

Moving again to our right...

The French door opened to "the addition"

Pantry door was moved back into the hallway

The original kitchen was 11.5 by 11.5 feet. At some point in time, someone built on a 12 by 14 foot addition (photos here). It contained a small pantry, bathroom (before and after photos of that here), and office/study. The French door was installed then. We converted the tiny pantry into a utility room, and the study into a new pantry.

The French door was in the way unless closed. Because there is no ductwork to the bathroom however, the door had to be left open to heat and cool the room. We considered removing the door altogether, but I wanted to keep the pantry unheated. We decided to move the French door farther back into the hallway, as the pantry door. That left the utility room and bathroom more easily accessible. To tie the hallway into the kitchen, we gave it the same wide plank flooring.

Nov. 2011 - relocating the pantry door
May 2012 - added shelf above the door

Kitchen corner before

Kitchen corner after

This is a much more convenient place for the fridge. I allowed enough counter space to set things going in and out of it. And do you see the framed out square in the ceiling above? That was a stove pipe hole, so we know that this corner was where the original cookstove resided. One thing that couldn't be changed, was the location of Riley's food bowl. He was very particular about that.


What a difference, eh?

You can click (or is it double-click) to enlarge

I love everything about the new set-up. Dishes, silverware, glasses, etc., go to the left of the sink, coffee and tea making supplies on the right. I especially love the longer window, with it's better view. Details for these before and after photos:

Oct. 2011 - moving breaker box & installing new meter
Nov. 2011 - installing the decorative ceiling beams
Nov. 2011 - Hemming my handwoven dishtowels
Dec. 2011 - tearing out the base cabinets, T&G wall, & insulation
Dec. 2011 - New window, insulation, and drywall
Jan. 2012 - Modified the kitchen cabinets to fit the wall
Feb 2012 - leftover tin ceiling panels as cabinet door panels
April 2012 - installing the base cabinets
May 2012 - installing sink & plumbing
June 2012 - trim for the sink window (& a bit about peaches)
June 2012 - making a kitchen utensil rack
Aug. 2012 - Installing the dish rack


My utensil rack has worked out really well. The corner cabinet has taken some getting used to as storage, because of it's odd shape.

My workstation. Everything is handy.

This is my workstation. It's out of the traffic pattern and everything I might need is close at hand. All my baking supplies are in the wall cabinet, knives in a drawer on the left. Dan woodburned the doors on the wall cabinet for me; for some close-ups of that, click here. The shelves and baskets are very convenient. The stool under the peninsula is a life saver when it comes to preparing foods for canning. My cutting board hangs under there as well. The peninsula is 36 inches wide, so I have plenty of room for every project. Cookbooks are centered on the shelf above, making them convenient from either side.

From the coming-into-the-kitchen side.

On the other side of the peninsula, I store everything we need for breakfast or lunch: cereals, chips, crackers, napkins, etc. Also bread baskets, cooling racks and pans for the toaster oven. Very convenient.

Nov. 2011 - Tearing out the old wall cabinets
May 2012 - new kitchen wall cabinets
May 2012 - lining cabinet shelves without shelf paper
May 2012 - building the kitchen peninsula
May 2012 - more shelves for the kitchen
June 2012 - lightening and painting trims
June 2012 - adding the pull-out spice rack

And the last set of photos...


Jan. 2012 - new inset for key holder door

I know that was a ton of photos (I admit I was tempted to add lots of detail close-ups but refrained!) Also a lot of links (lots of close-ups of details there). I won't pretend that our remodel could pass for being professionally designed and done. I'll also confess that there are a few spots that still need trimwork. But it's done, it's comfortable, it's functional, it's welcoming, it's pretty. In a nutshell, we're very happy with it.

November 2012 by Leigh at