Friday, July 7, 2017

Built to Last~ Another Odd Antique

Found this in a little pile destined to be buried.
I nabbed it for no particular reason than as a reminder~
When we can't find what we are after,
we can invent it.
I believe it would be used as a turner like tongs.
If you know otherwise, please let me know.
I love learning, and it's one more glimpse into the past.
It still functions just as it is supposed to.
I haven't even cleaned it/them up yet.
I'll give them a good scrubbing then a coat of beeswax 
and see how they look. 

Also, to see other such items,
just type "Built to Last" it the search field.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Churning Butter

A bit of butter a couple years in the makin'.
For the past couple years, I've been on the lookout for a butter churn.
I realize they can be purchased new,
but between the price and the uncertainty of quality
I just couldn't bring myself to pay the price.
A couple weeks ago,
I attended a "Love of Junk" event with my mother-in-law.
I found one there, but the gears were wobbly.
They were asking shy of $100 for it.
My MIL asked if they could do any better on the price.
She said she could let it go for $75.
We thanked her and said we would think about it then didn't return.
I would have had to work on it in order to make it work.
Well, God has a peculiar way of making himself seen.
As I was looking for something on Craigslist for Mr.LB,
I thought, "This is silly.  I should look for something on my list too."
I pulled up "butter churn," and there it was ~ better actually.
I replied and gave the seller my phone number, then waited.
The next day I got that call.
I was over the moon excited.
Not only was there an electric butter churn, there was also the hand crank top
which is what I was really after.
It was an older gentleman who was selling them,
and it was right on my way home from work.
(I live in Timbuktu so this is not the norm.)
He said he didn't have the glass for the hand crank one anymore,
but he just threw it in incase someone wanted it.
I stopped by on my way home from work and picked it up.
We didn't really chat much, but in our exchange,
he said, "Oh you want to use it, not just for decoration?"
Oh yea!
Both are in perfect working order.
This morning on my way to work, I will drop off 
some homemade butter and buttermilk as a thank you.
I hadn't made butter since I was in high school.
So yesterday, I began with the electric one.

Here's the run down~

Pour cream into jar 1/2 - 1/3 full.
Plug it in :-)

Watch as it turns from cream to whipped cream.
My mom says it's really hard to get it past this stage.
She would eat a whole bowl of homemade whipped cream if she could.

Then after a bit, the fats separate from the liquids.
This part happens relatively quickly.

Once the butter and the buttermilk parted ways,
I set a colander in a bowl and dumped.
Then I poured the buttermilk into a mason jar and the butter into the bowl
to be rinsed.
Growing up, my mom either didn't rinse at all or not enough and there would be
little pearls of sour buttermilk in the butter so I never liked butter.
She liked it that way.
I rinsed it well, ate some with dinner last night - delicious!
I started out with two quarts of cream and ended up with 
about a quart of buttermilk and a quart of butter.
The one thing I had forgotten to do was to leave the cream sitting out 
for about an hour prior to churning it.
It will churn faster if closer to room temperature.

                                                    

Friday, June 16, 2017

Selling the Chicken Tractor and Chicken's New Home

Well folks, sometimes the best laid plans. . . 
Last year, I showed you a post about the chicken tractor.
To date, that has been my most visited page and has received the most pins.
I actually like it too; however, I'm going to sell it.
What I discovered is that it doesn't work for how I run my birds.
It was perfect for a while when "the girls" were young,
and I kept them pinned.
They got to follow a couple days behind the lambs.
As they grew and knew well where their home was,
the mobile coop wasn't necessary.
I could just lift it during the day so they could free-range all day,
then at night they would return to their tractor to roost so the need
for wheels/mobility was gone.
Then we had a Wowza! of a winter ~ the winter of winters.
We had 4-5 feet of snow at any given point for a good 4 months.
The tractor is only a couple feet high at the coop and 
about 4-4.5 ft. high at the house. 
I wasn't intending on giving them a heat lamp, but with subzero temperatures
for long stretches of times, I had to figure out a way to "rig up" a heat lamp
in a fashion that was both safe and effective.
If we hadn't had the winter we did, I would probably be keeping it.
Sooo,
the question then became what to do.
We are empty nesters - the kids have flown the coop~
(sorry, couldn't resist:)
The playhouse that once housed the toys and toddler activity
sat as a decaying storage for 'stuff.'
Here are a couple "before" photos.

So we went to work on it.
You can see there was still snow on the ground which made it a little more difficult to shuffle and sort the "stuff."
But one of the first things I did was cover those crazy colors 
with some left-over white.
Then came the real work.

(Too funny, Mr.LB kept a beard for winter since it was cold for so long.  He has since shaven so it seems funny to see him so furry.)
I also need to mention that this is reason one million, forty-two
why I love Mr.LB.
I had a ton on my plate right about the time 
"the Wees" were ready to emerge from their tote.
I get a different breed each year so I can tell how old they are 
simply by the breed.
Each group seems to get a name.
The Barredrocks were "the Girls."
(They are gone now - long sad story.)
The Rhode Islands are "the Wees." (They were wee ones but have grown.)

And, here are a couple "after" photos.
Sorry they are a little dark.
It's been rainy so my natural light is not as powerful as usual.
We have to run a cord for power which we don't do for summer.
It doesn't take them long to make a mess does it?
And here it is occupied~
Yes the shelf is crooked.
Number 4 thinks it's sooo funny to jump up there to roost.
Then she pretends to be all in a tither when I get her and put her in the coop.
We don't have the outside coop made yet.
For now I just go out and open the door each morning and
go out and close them in each evening.

So, while it's not my ideal coop, they are safe and come winter,
it should be much easier to offer them enough room and safe heat.
The few boards we purchased and the wire were not a huge investment, 
it made good use of the old playhouse,
and it forced me to go through and sort all that "stuff."





Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Flora Pioneer School Day

Oh, I can hardly wait to share with you.
This past weekend, we attended 
Flora Pioneer School Day.
Flora School
It is a fund-raising day to help maintain and restore the old Flora school.
Flora is a ghost town in the upper north-west corner of Oregon.
You can read more about the history here.
(They are having trouble with the site, but it has other resources and the history and other tabs are all still in good order.)
The first order of business in restoring it was to get a new roof on it
which they did.
Back of the school.

You already know I'm trying not to spend money.
This weekend, we did spend a little money; however,
I told Mr. LB, "It makes you feel good to spend the money."
It's a wonderful feeling of giving and supporting something good.
Keeping bits of the past alive and well preserved is important.
I'll just start showing the pictures,
because there are quite a few.
Mr. LB found the blacksmith directly.
Rip already knows it will be a lengthy conversation so decided to nap.
By the end of the day, he made this steak turner.
If you are interested in the blacksmith, he can be found on Facebook at
Rusty Hammer Forge


There were wagon tours of the town.
The person who actually did the speaking for the tour 
was the last student of the school.
The old church was just across from the school.
It's unfortunate there wasn't an effort to preserve it as well.
The cemetery was 1/4-1/2 mile up the road.

Back inside the school~
In one room there was a country store.

There were 4 or 5 looms for sale (amongst other smaller items.)
I did get the contact information for these.
If anybody is interested, just leave a comment, and I can respond via email.
This room was also the gym even though it was the size of a regular classroom.
The baskets were about 3 ft. from the ceiling.
You can see in the pictures, there is fencing over the windows for protection.
There was music.
They did a great job and played all day!
(with a bit of a break for lunch.)
This room was set up for pie and ice cream.
Oh yea, lunch!
Here, let me show you.
There was dutch oven chicken (1/4 of a chicken!)
That huge pot on the tripod is full of some of the best beans I've ever eaten.
There was also slaw, cornbread made with the corn and wheat that was ground about 20 ft. away by whoever wanted to give it a go, and fresh butter churned at the table right next to it.
It was such a beautiful day,
after lunch the musicians moved outside.
There was roping.
You can just barely see a red t-shirt behind the two gals.
The gal in the hat leaned over right as I took the picture.
Buuuut, it was so sweet.
There was a young fella 9-10 years old holding the rope by the hondo
trying to figure it out.
The fella who had been manning that station was over visiting with the farrier.
I held the dog and told Mr. LB he should go help him out.
He showed him how to hold the rope, then swing and throw.
That young fella practiced for about and hour - hour and a half.
He was "getting it" and was roping the dummy steer.
It was so good to see.
He really wanted to learn and stuck with it.
Speaking of that.
There were quite a few kids there, and I was sooo impressed. 
They were all polite, well behaved and just pleasant.
There were no "brats." 
Sorry, it's usually the parents who teach them, but some are pretty bratty.
Except here - it was such a refreshing realization later in the day.
Then of course after I loaded the pictures on the computer,
I figured out all the things I didn't get a picture of.
There was candle dipping, wheat grinding, butter churning,
wooden block stamping, beading, quilting, a cobbler, a couple of heritage piglets for the kids to see/pet, a quilt raffle, the farrier, and
I'm probably forgetting something, but you get the idea.
I also neglected to take a picture of the auditorium or entry.
In the library, they are working on a library for the community.
It was all so nostalgic.
We took Mrs. Calabash and camped at Troy.
If Flora is at the edge of the earth, Troy fell off and is dangling by a river.
Just out of Flora we saw these beauties.
Sometime back I showed you this barn quilt.
Well, we were in the same corner of the state,
 and this time found a couple more.

I reeeeally like this one.
It was a quick weekend, but completely enjoyable and beautiful.