Thrift Store Finds and Homestead Skills

August 20:

Today was fantastic.  We hit a high of 94.5° in the backyard around 4:30 this afternoon.  It finally felt like summer.  I went out early and picked the first of the blackberries for the freezer, but we spent most of the day doing little odd errands as it was really too warm to do much work in the yard.

  • Our first stop was the thrift store in Oregon City.  We picked up a pottery crock, a small wine rack for the closet, a gallon pickle jar and the inside part of a chicken waterer.  I also went their on Friday and found a wonderful pottery “drunken chicken cooker”.  I think all together it was just under $13.00.

    Wine Rack, Crock and Gallon Jug
Chicken Waterer
the “Drunken Chicken Cooker”
  • A couple of stops later, we stopped by a local barn sale.  It was mostly industrial salvage (mop buckets, lights, office supplies) but I did find a wonderfulenamelware bowl, which is now full of marbles, and a wire basket for the freezer.  The were closing down so I was able to get both for only $2.00.

    Barn Sale Finds
  • The best was our last stop, although I have no idea where I will put these.  On the way home from the barn sale we noticed a couple of pieces of furniture along the side of the road.  We had to wait until our on got back from band practice, but when we went back, they were still there.  We got an oak pedestal table and a short dresser.  I’m hoping we’ll be able to use the table in the living room for card games and puzzles.  The dresser is a complete puzzle, but I’ll figure out something.   Total cost for this furniture – FREE.  I’m not sure if I’ll refinish them, paint them or just leave them alone……any suggestions?

August 17:

I thought I would try something different today – a running diary of what I get done.  I’ve been feeling a little like I’m not accomplishing much.  So here goes………

  • bagged up the frozen boysenberries for jam (once the blackberries ripen)
  • put the sprinkler on the tomatoes and zucchini
  • put the dogs in the front pasture
  • checked the hens and gave them scratch – no eggs – both broodies left nest boxes
  • strained the cider to put in with the water kefir grains
  • strained the milk kefir – I almost have enough to give to Doug for his birthday

  • fed the sourdough 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water after removing 1 cup of the starter – still nothing.  This is day…..4?
  • the vinegars are going into the refrigerator for a couple of days – the fruit flies are terrible in the pantry with them and this usually gets rid of them.
  • had to restart the red wine, again.  It had some type of scum on the surface so I decided to pour it out, put the mothers into separate glass jars (easier to keep an eye on, and clean out the crock really well.
  • took the dried plums and apricots out of the dehydrator


  • put the sprinkler on the potatoes
  • started a batch of bread in the bread machine.  I’m trying a new technique.  I used:
    • 1 cup of the sourdough starter
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 3 cups flour
    • 2 T sugar
    • 1 1/2 t salt
    • 1 t yeast (I think I’ll add another 1/2 t because my starter’s not active yet.
  • picked 2 cups of blueberries – for scones and eating
  • started a batch of blueberry scones (used kefir milk rather than buttermilk)


  • put the sprinkler on the peppers
  • swept out the dog kennel
  • started a batch of jam bar cookies (from a mix – see photo above)
  • picked up the dog kennel 😦
  • put the sprinkler on the squash and raspberries


  • folded laundry
  • swept out the dog kennel
  • cleaned the laundry room
  • put the sprinkler on the main garden
  • started grilling some chicken breasts for chicken pizza dinner


  • folded laundry again
  • put the sprinkler on the blueberries
  • Noah and I are trying an experiment with some very brown bananas.
    • We smashed 3 bananas and added 2 beaten eggs.
    • We added a box of brownie mix and a few Tablespoons of Kefir milk
    • We combined everything and poured it into the “Perfect” Brownie Pan, baking it at 350°.  We’ll see….. Noah likes them, Caleb won’t try them (but he only likes bananas as fruit)
  • watered the plants in the fernarium


  • put the sprinkler on the backyard raised beds
  • hit my first snag of the day – something has filled the ignition of our lawn tractor with mud and chewed up the hole and the key won’t fit properly and it wont’s turn far enough to make anything happen.


  • put the sprinkler on the rhubarb bed
  • started a batch of pizza dough in the bread machine
    • 2 cups Water
    • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
    • 2 Tbsp. Sugar
    • 2 tsp. Salt
    • 5 cups Bread Flour
    • 2 tsp. Active Dry Yeast


  • put the sprinkler on the cucumber bed
  • processed the hard neck garlic


  • making pizza on the Big Green Egg
  • Joe fixed the mower, he had to replace the ignition. I was able to mow the upper backyard and part of the side pasture. YEAH.  The Lunar Gardening Calendar tells me it’s a good time to mow to retard the growth rate – that mean less mowing for me.

August 14:

Today was a day that I seemed to work quite a bit, but have nothing huge to show from it.

  • I started the day down in the hen-house.  I decided to cut down the huge Honeysuckle next to the door.  We’ve been having some trouble with ants in the hen-house and this plant is just huge and in the way. I trimmed the grass on either side of the path and swept it then trimmed some of the Queen Anne’s Lace down so that Joe can mow easier.  I pruned back some of the Pacific Larch on one side and the big tree (I don’t know what it is – other than deciduous) on the other side.  Now we can walk all the way around the house.  I finished by painting the trim on the front and one side. I still have big plans…..
    • new hatch door in the front door so we don’t have to leave the big door open in the cold weather
    • new location for nest boxes that can be accessed from outside the house
    • new concrete pad under the nest box access area to prevent muddy shoes
    • new concrete pad from the gate of the chicken yard to prevent muddy shoes here too
  • I tended to the kefir and sourdough.  
  • I cleaned all of the soft-neck garlic and made two good size braids.


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