DIY home & farm projects
I have been aching for a new freezer to fill to the brim with all of my farm-sourced meat and bulk-buy produce: think half a pig, chickens and rabbits from my friend's farm, too many plums, hoards of blackberries and an eighth of a grass-fed cow.
But instead of buying a freezer: we replaced plumbing and bought the boys school clothes, fixed our car (twice) and added gravel to our garden paths. Instead we paid dental bills... and bought groceries. 'Freezer' never seemed to make the list so I continued to stuff my tiny little cupboard size freezer (actually: due to such a small freezer, I forced myself to preserve applesauce and chicken stock in jars---the latter via a pressure canner). I would fill my freezer, then use the contents. And repeat. Let me tell you: it takes some wizardry to use all remnants of your freezer to fit in 50 LBS of bacon.
Secretly I loved the challenge.
But that didn't change my desire for a bonafide stand-up freezer, a bastion for all my food crafts and farm purchases. Forget buying frozen fruit for spring smoothies: I wanted to freeze berries from summer to last well into the next year. Darn that expensive organic grass-fed beef in the store: I went in with friends to buy a whole cow. Excess freezer space? Ever-chilled martini glasses, vodka and the quintessential bourbon. What more could a girl want?
And then the day came: we were offered a FREE freezer. It was in good shape, save the olive green color and wooden handle. It was an oldie but a goodie and I was IN. Not without hassle, we hauled this plastic and metal carcass home and inserted it on a tarp in the backyard. I did what any sane urban farmer and wannabe homesteader would do: I spray-painted it silver, then painted on a black pig with lined 'cuts' of meat. (It was that or a rooster---and the 3 boys in my life unanimously voted 'bacon').
Other recent projects:
1. Sanding down a stray window and cleaning it up (literally we found this in the trash a few blocks from our house). Not sure what I will use it for: decorum or perhaps with some bright pens it will be my weekly planner. It is a sick satisfaction knowing at an antique or vintage shop the window would cost $200.
2. I bought a pitchfork. I already owned one, but THIS pitchfork is just gorgeous. Then while I wasn't looking: James mounted it by our front door. Awesome.
3. An abandoned sink and tossed-out table. Apparently we are gluttons for forgotten furniture. The sink is a deep utility sink with a metal base; the table has metal legs and a wood top. The sink is white ceramic and I painted the leg stand medium gray. The table's legs are now white and James is putting re-purposed, paint-chipped-then-sanded wood on top. The sink and the table will land on my back deck for outdoor canning purposes (along with two propane burners).
4. Spray-painting 3 metal boxes to use as storage in my freezer. At first I thought I would stencil 'pig' and 'cow' and 'poultry' and/or 'fish' on each. But now with all my summer preservation, I am thinking 'fruit' and 'vegetable.' TBD.
It is funny how much we like DIY projects, often opting to stay 'in' rather than party on the town... just so we can sand, cut, chop, nail, build and paint. Oh and: slice, macerate, simmer, dehydrate and preserve food. This weekend? Setting up hoops and plastic over lettuce starts in hopes of a winter garden, putting gravel under the back deck, freezing blackberries, canning peaches, tucking green tomatoes into my basement for future ripening and painting basement walls.
It almost makes us look forward to the work-week for a bit of a break!