February 9, 2009

Thrift Store Finds and Preparing for Spring

We have been getting bids for the garage/apartment we hope to have built on our property this spring. While the possibilities are endless, they are also quite exciting. We are hoping to keep things simple and only hire out for the big stuff like foundation, framing, plumbing, electricity, and we plan to do interior finishing ourselves like putting up walls and sheet rock, installing appliances, flooring, etc. If we can get the basic shell built by this summer, that will allow us to take our time on the weekends and do the finishing work, while having a place to stay that's better shelter than our pop-up camper. That's the plan...for now, anyway.

A couple of weeks ago, Neal took a trip to one of our favorite places, the Habitat for Humanity Restore, and he picked up our very first item for the garage/apartment - a kitchen sink. Besides having a small dent on one side, this sink is in great condition. And the best part of all is that he paid $10 for it! Sinks like this one, not including the faucet, sell new for at least $100. This will make a perfect addition to our little apartment kitchen!

Since the weather has been so warm and gorgeous here lately, we've caught the spring fever bug. Neal recently pulled out the tiller and began breaking up the rock-hard ground in the spot where he hopes to have a successful crop of beans this year. The lattice work lying in the shadows in the foreground is what he built last year for a bean crop that didn't quite produce like expected. Since gardening is all about trial and error, we will not be discouraged and shall try until we get it right!

I spent the last couple of weeks looking at seed catalogs and researching high altitude, heirloom varieties. I plan to do the square foot gardening method this year, which will allow us to plant a lot more in smaller spaces, and should be easier to tend than standard row gardening. I ordered my seeds this weekend and probably went a little overboard, but seeds can be saved and used from year to year. I ordered four varieties of tomatoes, two peppers, summer squash, lettuce, carrots, pickling cucumbers, celery, a miniature cantaloupe, peas, radishes and spinach. I also ordered some herbs, wildflowers and catnip for the kitties. It will be interesting to see how our gardening efforts turn out this year.

Neal and I did a little thrift store browsing this weekend, with no particular items int mind; however, when we came upon this carved wood deviled egg tray, we knew we had to have it! There was no price on it, so we took it to the register and the cashier commented on how much she liked it and had wanted it but it wasn't large enough for her family. After a minute of chatting about the popularity of deviled eggs, the clerk said, "$1.99". I said, "sold!"

I don't know if the tray is hand carved or mass produced, but it's a little warped on the bottom and the egg slots are not all uniform, which leads me to believe it's hand carved. Either way, it's a cool conversation piece and came in quite handy last night for the deviled eggs we made for our friend Jeanette's birthday party.

Of course, everyone has their favorite recipe for deviled eggs, but I wanted to try out something new, so I went with Rachel Ray's Go Green (Olive) Deviled Eggs and they were a big hit. Neal helped me stuff the eggs and instead of topping each egg with cilantro, we used olive halves and the traditional paprika sprinkling. They turned out really pretty, don't you think?

The next few weeks are going to be pretty busy for me because I will be taking over my friend's pet-sitting business while she is out of town, and working at our store in my spare time. If anything blog-worthy occurs, I may be a bit delayed in posting, but I will get around to it sooner or later. Oh yeah, another thing on my plate this week is getting all our income tax stuff together for our CPA. Here's hoping Uncle Sam goes easy on us this year!


basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

Neil really scored with that kitchen sink! And I really love that deviled egg tray. It has personality. I would have gone with olive slices on top instead of cilantro as well. Cilantro is not a favorite of mine - but I LOVE olives! I bet those eggs were to die for.

Lilla said...

I thought you might like the egg tray, Penny. Anything dealing with eggs is a hit with you!

I like cilantro, but not on my deviled eggs. The eggs were good with the green olive and mustard combination. Yum!