Category Archives: Tips from the Houseproud homestead

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

A Deep-Cleaning Recap (and in praise of voting)

Houseproud cleaning recap IMG_4145Deep cleaning the living room last week was an epic task, my pets. Whew! So glad that’s over. In this week’s post I want to take a minute to share some Houseproud homestead pointers on deep cleaning, just in case these things interest you. It’s gonna be a short post, as I still have to cram for the mid-term elections, as one does. Continue reading

Fermenting Jalapenos, Part 1: It’s Easy and Fun

Houseproud fermented jalapenos part I IMG_3219

After spending the last two months making batch after batch of fermented jalapenos, I can confidently report the following: it’s easy, inexpensive and ridiculously fun. This post is the first in a series – other posts will follow with particulars. The purpose of this series is two-fold: it will record what I did this season with hot peppers, and it might convince you lovely peeps to start your own batches of fermented jalapenos before the season’s caput. Ready? Continue reading

Houseproud-ish? Also, Plum Sorta-Jam…

Houseproud jar of plum sorta-jam IMG_2800

I must confess something, my pets: I’m not as houseproud as I once was. The proof of this is pictured well below – brace yourselves for it – but as it’s important to accentuate the positive whenever possible, do let’s focus first on plum sorta-jam. Continue reading

Peach Sorta-Jam and Other Curatives

Houseproud peach sorta-jam IMG_2626Hello, hello and hello again, my pets. Just popping in to let you know that I have been thinking about you this week, although there’s been little here to prove that. I would have stopped by earlier, but I’ve been stricken with a severe attack of lack-of-focus-itus, which has resulted in a large number of half-started sewing and knitting projects, and a general inability to get anything of substance done. This lack of focus, coupled with the way I generally feel these days after hearing the news, has made me uncharacteristically out-of-sorts. On the off chance that you occasionally suffer from the blahs yourselves, here are a few sure-fire methods to revive your sense of hope and purpose, all of which I’ve employed recently: go for a walk; do the hokey pokey*; fuss about in the garden; and make jars and jars of peach sorta-jam.  Continue reading

Easy to Make & Mighty Tasty to Boot

houseproud-cookbooks-fermentation-img_2377.jpgGreetings from the Houseproud homestead’s kitchen, my pets! I was a busy little munakins this last week, most of it spent out in the world, but a few good stretches of time spent in our kitchen. And given how busy I’ve been and how busy I’m sure you’ve been, what better way to amuse you this week than by giving you some easy recipes to hack? What I’ll be showing you today follows my rule of “spend a little time now and you’ll be happier later”. I’m a great fan of applying this principle to cooking, as it keeps me well-fed and happy no matter what my schedule is like. Continue reading

Farmers Market Field Trip: Mid-Summer Yumminess

Houseproud fieldtrip farmers market strawberries IMG_1255

These strawberries were so ripe and yummy that it’s a miracle any of ’em made it back to the Houseproud homestead. I ate almost half of the basket before I made it back to my trike.

Hello, my pets – have the last two weeks been fulsome ones for you, too? I managed to get ever so much stuff done, including prepping for a sweet and family-filled Fourth of July and at least a few visits to our local farmers market, but alas: I couldn’t make time to sit down for a chat with you lovelies. Continue reading

It’s Almost Time, and There’s Still Hot Sauce Left

Still life with summer 2017 hot sauce

Still life with the last jars of hot sauce and canned tomatoes, along with jars of assorted other preserved goodness.

My pets, is it summer where you are yet?  It is in our neck of the woods, and about a month ago our local Farmers’ Market started its slow climb into full veggie glut.  As the stone fruit rolls in and the offerings of summer squash explodes, I’ve been watching carefully for my true summer bellwethers: hot peppers and dry-farmed tomatoes.  Even in my busiest years, I’ve always managed to put up at least a few jars apiece of those two treasures.  And in all the years that I’ve preserved food, there’s always been a gap between finishing the last jar of anything and the beginning of that thing’s growing season.  I am very zen about finishing the last jars of most Houseproud home preserves, but I kinda loose my mind when I finish the last of the hot sauce.  This is completely understandable, cuz that stuff is amazing. Continue reading

A post in which we do not discuss hand laundry, except in passing

Houseproud homestead - vase of hydrangeasHello, my pets!  You and yours are well, I hope?  All’s well here at the Houseproud homestead, I’m pleased to report.  We had Michael-Michael-Michael and Edna Louise over for happy evening of cocktails last Friday (M-M-M brought those lovely hydrangeas for us). Have I mentioned before that the Mister is a darn fine mixer of drinks?  He is that, indeed!  Said cocktail gathering signaled the end of the Mister’s birthday celebrations, so the Happy Birthday bunting is down, the heart-embroidered tea towel calendar is awaiting hand laundry day, and the assorted birthday cards on display will be attended to later this week.  Thankfully, the homestead looks much tidier than it actually is, which is a blessing as I spent almost all of my free time last week ironing vintage fabric scraps instead of doing some much needed dusting.

“Oh,” you say. “Ironing tiny scraps of fabric into the wee hours of the night is your idea of fun, is it?”, you ask.  And in response I say: oh heck yes!  Continue reading

One of the many reasons that baking soda is your friend

Houseproud kitchen - Sunday's veg 2014-05-18One of the things that you might notice in many of the pictures taken in the Houseproud homestead kitchen is the small glass jar of baking soda that lives on our kitchen counter.  That’s the jar in the picture above – see it on the far right, above the tofu slabs?  It’s the glass jar with the cork lid.  In order to prevent unfortunate misunderstandings, I cut out the original box’s logo – Arm & Hammer – and taped it to the jar.  (The little stoneware jar to the left of the baking soda jar holds course-ground salt, another staple.)  The content of our little jar of baking soda sees some serious action at the homestead, and it’s often pressed into service to clean our cast iron cookware.  How do you clean your cast iron?  Perhaps you’d be interested in learning our method?  Continue reading