...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


I Feel the Urge to Purge...

...excess material things that is.  I've caught the annual bug to clean, organize, and pare down.  I got on a kick last weekend during my staycation, but it carried through last week and the urge is still there.  I held a rummage sale on Saturday and couldn't believe all the stuff that left our house--whether we sold or donated it.  I wondered why we'd hung on to it this long.  After getting all of this stuff out of our basement where it had been accumulating for the sale in a large corner for the last month, I decided to vacuum the basement.  This chore is mine on our weekly/bi-weekly/annual cleaning list (yes, it exists and we love it that way!) so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to check off this twice yearly task.  I worked high and low for at least an hour getting every cobweb and piece of gook from every nook and cranny.  This is not a finished basement, but one with a cement floor and exposed beams on the ceiling, so you can imagine how visibly buggy and dusty it can get.  Well, as I cleaned I felt the urge to totally rearrange my craft area.  Though I'd love to have a mom cave, I can't begin to compare my corner to the gorgeous getaways the Haute Apple Pie ladies recently blogged about.  But I can at least try to design a space where I feel comfortable, organized, and inspired to create on a regular basis.  There wasn't much wrong with the old setup of my "cave," but as any woman, especially a busy little mama, will tell you it's nice to freshen things up once in a while and change the scenery.  While I sat in the cold garage on Saturday at my ill-attended rummage, I had some time to surf the web and get inspired by the blogs of some fellow female crafters who are doing incredibly creative stuff!  I hope to make time this week to pick up some of my own projects and start more.
At My Sewing Table
Tray of Notions and Tools

Dried Sunchokes (they look like mushrooms) 

Grinding into Flour
A Fairly Fine Flour (say that 3X fast)
In other news, the first two steps of my sunchoke experiment have been successful.  The sunchokes were completely dry as of Sat. (took a few days with the oven on and off at low temps. to dry them.)  Tonight I ground them into flour.  I started by putting them in the food processor, but that was about to tear up the blade.  I transferred them to my spice grinder (a coffee grinder dedicated to spice grinding), which took a bit longer because of multiple batches, but was much more efficient believe it or not.  From the seven pounds of sunchokes I dried, I rendered one quart of flour.  Not peeling them didn't hurt the final product at all, in fact, it imparted a nice earthy aroma that I imagine will add an interesting flavor to savory baked goods.  Stay tuned to read what I make with this flour.  It was by far one of the most interesting urban homesteading experiments I've tackled yet.  The product was 100% grown and processed on our property--even better than the dilly beans with homegrown dill and garlic, but outsourced vinegar and salt.
A Quart of Sunchoke Flour!

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