Feeling Antsy: tips for keeping ants at bay

Houseproud Feeling Antsy IMG_5995My pets, it’s been ages since I nattered on about anything, let alone about being houseproud, hasn’t it? Do let’s make up for that by having a little heart-to-heart about ants. Oh, I really think we should!

First, let me confess that our annual rainy-season scourge of wild ants attempting to become domestic ants tries my soul. If you think that ant incursions are rather low on a rational person’s list of terrible events, understand that for houseproud folks, indoor ants are cause for dismay. There is hope for my troubled soul, though: this year I have learned that ant infestations can be teachable moments, in which one may discern the difference between that which one can control and that which one cannot. Or something like that. Hmm.

Anyway, perhaps you, too, are faced with unwanted incursions from the natural world in your domicile? Perhaps you, like me, are willing to move heaven and earth (and the sofa, when necessary) in order to eradicate said ant incursions? If so, have I a few tips for youContinue reading

Making Thyme for Good Things: making thyme salt, that is

Houseproud make thyme for good things IMG_6156

Here’s a helpful tip from the Houseproud kitchen: thyme salt makes just about everything taste better. Really, it’s true! I’ve made all sorts of herb salts, but I use thyme salt the most. It goes with almost everything. It tastes yummy whisked into a salad dressing, tucked under the skin of a roasted chicken, or sprinkled on toasted olive bread. It’s become a critical part of the brine I make for my “feta” tofu, so I keep it in constant stock. It’s a very useful thing to have on hand, but it does take a little time to make (SNORT, giggle, giggle). Really, the only downside of making thyme salt is that separating the tiny leaves from their stems is such a tedious task. But that’s one of the reasons why thyme salt makes a thoughtful gift for your fav’rite cook: you’ll being doing the grunt work for your lucky recipient!
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Preserving the Season: salt-cured lemons

Houseproud salt cured lemons IMG_6048

Lemon season: we’re in the thick of it, and thanks to a gloriously wet winter, it’s been a bumper crop this year. For those of us who live in California’s temperate zones, there are plenty of backyard lemons to be had. Oh happy, happy day! Perhaps you’ve been blessed with an abundance of lemons or have noticed them at your local farmers market? If so, why not preserve some of that bounty for the lemon slow season?
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Orange you glad I said hearts?

Houseproud orange you glad IMG_5829

I made marmalade last week, my pets! I am VERY pleased with the way it turned out – sweet and bitter, just like marmalade ought to taste. I used fruit from our backyard trees, as well as a few oranges that a neighbor left at our door (which I suspect came from a tree in their backyard), plus two farmers market lemons. Making was easy enough, but took a little time (one day to soak the fruit, the time it took to carefully slice the soaked fruit, and then total cooking time). I used a recipe from one of the Mister’s French confectioner cookbooks*, but had to cook my batch for hours longer than the recipe suggested, as will happen when you combine four markedly different citrus fruits together in one pan. Hmm, yes: the next time I make another mixed citrus marmalade, I shall cook the citrus slices in order of skin thickness, and thusly produce a marmalade that both tastes and looks divine. Still and all, my regular afternoon snack of a toasted tortilla and a dollop nut butter has been much improved by the addition of a small spoonful of homemade marmalade, lemme tell you… Continue reading

Yosemite in winter: it’s beautiful

houseproud field trip yosemite 2019 img_5549

It bears repeating: Yosemite in winter is beautiful. This was proved to me again a few weeks ago, when my mum and I made our second annual joint-birthday pilgrimage to Yosemite Valley, where we stayed for five glorious days. We had a lovely time – despite the steady rainfall and the horrible US government shut-down. If you’ve only visited the park in the spring and summer, I highly recommend taking a winter trip to Yosemite this year. If you’ve never been at all, a winter visit would be a great intro to the valley, as there are far fewer people, and most of the landmarks can be admired from the valley floor. But perhaps you don’t believe me? Let me show you how wonderful it is there this time of year … Continue reading

Happy 2019, and a Christmas craft recap

houseproud speak out stuffie img_5277We were very merry at the Houseproud homestead this Christmas and New Year, but all good things must come to an end, yes? The Christmas decos came down on Saturday and the new year / good luck decos were given pride-of-place instead. And with the excitement of the holidays over, there’s backlog of projects to which I must attend – some of which you might find interesting, but many of which you would not. I’ll share the more interesting projects with you anon, but here are a few Christmas me-mades to hold you over until then. I really must say, I made some cool stuff this Christmas. Continue reading

Happy happy, joy joy!

Houseproud happy new year 2019 IMG_5092Hello, my pets – I’m just slipping in to wish you and yours a very happy, safe, and healthy new year. All’s well here at the Houseproud homestead, and I hope all’s been well at yours (collectively speaking). I have all sorts of things to share with you, which I will when I have more than a few minutes to string together at one time. Expect a nice gossipy post next week, but for now I send you many happy wishes and share with you a fierce hope for a better 2019. VERY fondly, yr little munakins

Obsessions: weeding and self-drafted knitted tunic

Houseproud obsessed - tunic IMG_4615I’ve been obsessed with two things these last few weeks: an almost daily slow toddle around the back garden for an hour or so, pulling weeds and enjoying the cool, damp air; and the endless knitting and unknitting of a self-drafted tunic, of which I have written in a previous post. Frankly, the nasty little head-cold that recently snuck into the Houseproud homestead was a perfect excuse for staying home and getting some serious knitting done. Continue reading

Beet Tonic: it will cure what ails you

Houseproud beet tonic IMG_4349Gracious me, with Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror, we’re in the thick of the winter holiday season now, aren’t we? Are you feeling swamped already? Take a few minutes to make a batch of brine-fermented beets this week, and soothe your frazzled nerves and over-indulged belly with a glass of beet tonic in the coming days. Continue reading

Knitting Adventures: learning to knit jogless stripes

Houseproud knitting jogless stripes IMG_3978Hello, my pets. Are you ready for Thanksgiving, if Thanksgiving is a thing that you do? Is your homestead reasonably neat, your menu planned, and the turkey ordered? If the answer to that question is not so very much, then this post will be a perfect distraction for you. You’ll be able to breeze through it in minutes, be entertained by my unwillingness to swatch, and go back to stressing about whatever it is that is currently stressing you. Continue reading