Weekly Roundup #3

It’s finally warm enough to line dry! Yay!

Hi, everyone! I hope your week is off to a great start.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have already seen one of my highs from this past week — I scored 25 canning jars at the ReStore for only $6! Most of them are pints, which I’m really excited about because I have mostly quarts and jelly jars at home. They appear to be a mix of new and old, and most of them are Ball jars.

Be still, my heart!

The woman ringing me up at the register was so excited I was getting a box — apparently a woman had come in and donated four huge boxes of canning jars that morning. The cashier thought it was really cool that I will also can with them, and she told me how it made her nostalgic for her grandma, who had an acre full of fruit trees in Yakima and a dedicated canning room. That right there is my dream.

There’s just something so special, in my opinion, about reusing jars that someone else loved and cared for, and I often wonder what was put up in them before my time, what they looked like all lined up in a row in someone else’s larder.

Look at me — waxing poetic about canning jars. Anyway.

My makeshift potting bench (aka the picnic table, which actually works quite nicely)

We had a beautiful sunny weekend, and it’s supposed to get warmer yet! I started some more seeds (cabbage, two varieties of tomato, two varieties of cucumber, chives, lavender, more onion), and wandered around the yard a lot, scoping out what’s coming up. I’m very pleased my dahlias are sending up shoots! I didn’t dig them up last fall since we have such mild winters, but we did get a little snow and it had me worried the tubers didn’t make it. Hostas, ferns, gladiolus, and strawberries are also coming up!

I’m hoping to sow eggplant, bush beans, and a few varieties of squash in the coming weeks. And hopefully get the rest of my dahlia tubers in the ground. And I’ve been eyeing a bare-root raspberry cane at the store for a while now, too… my wishlist seems to go on and on, and the to-do list is even longer!

We also had a new water heater delivered last week! My parents are visiting this weekend, and my dad has kindly offered to help install it while they’re here. Installing a new water heater is one of our goals for this year, so it feels good that we’re finally crossing things off that list.

This week we are supposed to reach temps in the low 80s, so I’m gettin excited to spend some more time outdoors. What are you looking forward to this week?

Recipe: Grandpa’s Spicy Mustard Sauce

In my last post I mentioned making spicy mustard, and I thought I’d share the recipe with you!

My grandfather made this mustard sauce all the time, but it wasn’t until after his passing that I received the recipe from my mother. My grandfather, whether he knew it or not, had a huge influence on the lifestyle I aspire to live. A hard worker, lover of all animals, and a good cook, it was always a treat to visit him at his farm. And it was an extremely special treat to receive a small jar of his spicy mustard on the way out the door!

I’m not kidding when I say this mustard sauce is great with everything. It’s sweet with a little bit of a kick when you least expect it (much like my grandfather). It’s a great dipping sauce for soft pretzels, fries, chicken nuggets — you name it. And it’s my not-so-secret ingredient in my homemade hamburger patties.

This is a two-day process, but, like most things that take a few days (sourdough, for example), it’s worth every minute of waiting.

You will need:

  • 4 oz. can of dry Coleman’s mustard
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • a dash of salt
  • 1 cup Best Foods mayonnaise
  1. Combine the dry mustard and the white vinegar in a bowl. Mix well, cover, and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. The next day, beat the eggs and sugar. Add salt.
  3. Add in mustard/vinegar mixture, stirring well.
  4. Cook in a double boiler, stirring occasionally and scraping sides, until sauce thickens — about 40 minutes.
  5. Cool and mix in mayonnaise. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 1.5 pints.
Spicy mustard and sourdough soft pretzels — a match made in heaven.

I’m not sure where my grandfather got this recipe, so I make no claims about it being an original Grandpa Buck Creation™. It’s simply a recipe I enjoy and provides me with fond memories. If you know where it came from, please leave me a comment!

~ Enjoy! ~

Weekly Roundup #2

It was another fairly unproductive weekend around our neck of the woods. Yep, you’ve probably guessed it: rain all weekend. Again. I spent a lot of time knitting and drinking tea while the wind gusted outside.

On Friday night we went into Portland to see two bands I like that were touring together, the Koffin Kats and the Goddamn Gallows. Doors opened at 8 p.m. and we didn’t get back home until about 1:30 a.m. Am I too young to start saying that I’m getting too old for this? The show was great, but the prolonged standing and the people moshing and elbowing you in the back really takes its toll on you.

Koffin Kats put on a lively, entertaining show

On Saturday we met some friends in Woodburn for the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, and it was a blast. We saw thousands of beautiful flowers, ate some delicious barbecue, and the rain even let up for the short time we were there.

Me & my husband in a sea of tulips

And while it wasn’t a productive weekend for yard work, I did do a significant amount of work in the kitchen on Sunday. In one afternoon I made:

  • Garlicky hummus
  • My grandpa’s spicy mustard
  • Dandelion jelly
  • Sourdough banana bread

    These are not jars of pee, I promise.

If you haven’t had sourdough banana bread before, well, you’re missing out on a treat. It is the most incredible banana bread I have ever had. The sourdough starter added to the batter gives the bread a nice rise and crust, which most banana breads don’t have, while still being super moist inside. Yum.

I’d like to do more of these weekly highlights posts, I think. I’m such a pessimist, so it’s a good way to focus on the weekly highs I have rather than all the things that went wrong or I stressed about. But I do think it needs a catchier name than “Weekly Roundup.” Any suggestions?

Hope you’re having a marvelous Monday!

Weekend Roundup

This past weekend was a 3-day weekend for me — I took Friday off because I had some dental work done. You’d think since I had 3 days off I would have been uber productive, but I spent most of Friday feeling bleh and watching Breaking Bad with my husband, since it was his school’s spring break. The most I got done on Friday was cleaning the kitchen and listing a few things in my Poshmark closet.

The weather this last weekend was extremely windy and rainy, which also made for terrible yard work/gardening weather, and most of the weekend we stayed hunkered down inside with the pets. Saturday afternoon we did visit Bird’s English Garden and Nursery, since it was having its annual birthday sale, and I had my heart set on getting at least one David Austin rose.

All plants were 20% off, and the David Austin roses were all buy three, get one free. It was so tempting because I want to create a rose hedge in our front yard, but I think it’s best I start with one and make sure I can take care of it first. If I can, then there’s always the sale next year. (I went with the James Galway, if you were curious.)

In the evening we went to Northwood Public House for dinner, and I made some sourdough crackers when we got home. They are so easy to make and quickly becoming a staple in our household. Since it uses unfed starter, I try to make them every time I feed Herman — I always feel so guilty about throwing perfectly good starter away!

Sunday was rainy and gross again (typical PNW weather). We went grocery shopping and picked up supplies to start building raised garden beds in our shop. We got everything cut and were about to start assembling… when the drill died. So I went inside and tried out a new banana bread recipe instead.

Our kitten, Lenore, spent most of the weekend sleeping in this basket on the counter. Oh, to be a cat.

To see more of my weekly snaps, you can follow me on Instagram.

Have a good week, everyone! 🙂

Kitchen Revamp: Update #3

It’s getting cheerier in here!

Greetings, folks! It’s time for another kitchen revamp update!

I’m pleased to say that the kitchen cabinets are halfway done! Woo! In other words, all 12 of the upper cabinets have been painted, sealed, and hung with new hardware. Whew. I think I need a break before starting on the lower cabinets, pantry, drawers, that thing covering the fan vent… you get the idea.

I sealed the cabinets with the Flat Out Flat top coat from General Finishes. I started with a coat of Minwax Matte Polycrylic top coat but it dried to a satin finish, which I was really unhappy with. Milk paint just looks wrong with a sheen to it. (And I’m incredibly relieved I was able to fix it.)

And I know the General Finishes website said no priming is necessary for this paint, but I do feel like it has chipped and cracked in some places. We don’t have kids so it probably won’t be an issue on the upper cabinets, but I think I will prime with a water-based primer on the lower cabinets before applying the milk paint. They’re more likely to get bumped and scuffed than the upper cabinets, so I’m hoping a little extra work will pay off in the long run.

My only regret so far is that I went with an off-white color instead of a true white, something I didn’t think about until a few coats had been applied and it was too late to turn back. I think a true white would look better against the appliances, but you live and learn. I’m still very happy with how it’s turning out. (And crossing my fingers it won’t yellow with age…) And who knows, I might like it more once the rest of the kitchen is painted — cabinets and walls.

After the cabinets, I’m itching for plank countertops (aiming for a butcher-block feel but more affordable) and a tiled backsplash. I also have a new-to-me hood to go over the range that we need to install at some point — the people I bought my vintage oven from gave it to me as an afterthought when they delivered the oven, and it will match better than the current one.

I’ve also been doing a bit of work on the oven. Last weekend I filled in all the chips in the porcelain with an enamel patch kit, and I’ve been working at scrubbing the rust out of the drawer. You wouldn’t know it from the picture, but a good portion inside the drawer is rusted. I’ve been periodically scrubbing it with baking soda and homemade orange vinegar, and it’s helped at lot. When most of the rust is gone I will probably paint the inside with Rust-o-leum to keep it from spreading.

And finally… I keep dreaming of having a SolaTube installed to get some more light in the room. That first picture was taken at about 3pm on a sunny day, folks. It’s definitely brighter than it was now that half the cabinets are painted, but it’s still pretty dark. (I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of cooking in the dark.)

But as I mentioned earlier in this post, I think I need a break before tackling the lower cabinets. Jordan and I are thinking we’ll paint our living room before circling back to the kitchen. My parents are visiting at the end of the month, and our goal is to have it done before then.

This place is slowly feeling more like ours with each passing day, and it’s a really exciting feeling!

April Greetings

Hi, everyone! Happy April!

It’s been a little bit since I gave an update on our kitchen revamp. We are halfway done with painting the cabinets! Woo! I started typing out some stuff about it, but it ended up being a bunch of paragraphs. I think I’ll probably write a separate kitchen update later this week — spare you the details so I can talk to you about what’s mainly been on my mind lately: plants.

I took myself on a little plant date a few weeks ago to Champan’s Greenhouse, where I treated myself to some fuchsias, columbine, daffodils, and pansies. I never really liked pansies until recently. They’re my grandmother’s favorite, so they always remind me of her when I see them. These purple frilly ones are absolutely gorgeous, and I’d never seen anything like them before.

I have some seeds and a few bulbs a coworker gave me yesterday that I’d like to get in the ground this weekend, weather permitting. Plant people are so generous.

The coworker who gifted me these two bulbs told me, “One is an allium, and I don’t know what the other is because I forgot to label it when I dug it up a while ago. But you’ll definitely get something that flowers!” When I opened the container they were in, it was immediately clear by the smell wafting out that the “mystery” bulb is actually garlic and will have to wait until fall! I love garlic, so I’m really excited about it, even though it wasn’t quite what I was expecting!

We are still getting light frost here some mornings, which continues to frustrate me to no end. My dahlia tubers are already sprouting, and I’m antsy to get them in the ground soon.  (But first I need to tear out some shrub hedging for a proper dahlia patch…)

Indoors I’ve started pumpkins, giant sunflowers, marigolds, and onions in our spare bedroom, which gets a lot of light during the day and the cats can’t get into (much to their dismay). I’m aiming to start tomatoes, cucumbers, rhubarb, and build at least one raised bed this weekend. We’ll see how much I actually accomplish — it’s predicted to be pretty rainy, and a local nursery is having an annual birthday sale I’d like to check out.

So much to do, and not enough nice weather to do it! What’s on your gardening agenda this spring?