Revival of a 1936 Chambers Model A Range (Style No. 11-A-22)

“If you can move it out of the basement, it’s yours.”
Some of the my more interesting projects have started with that phrase … but WHY, OH WHY do people put these impossibly heavy objects in their basements, and how on earth do they get them down there? Are today’s lifters that much weaker than yesterday’s?

With a range, I suppose there is a logical explanation: canning.
People would do canning in their basements to cut down on heat in the house (not sure quite how that works out, as our cool basement helps to keep the upstairs floor cool, which at least helps keep bare feet cool). Read the rest of this entry »

      posted under Household, Kitchen, Projects | 3 Comments »

Computer only recognizing one of two external harddrives.

In the event that the posting at ceases to exist, here are the instructions that allowed me to plug two 3TB WD Hard drives into my HP TX2.

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3.5 months later …

So much has happened and yet so much hasn’t happened that I wanted to happen, that I hardly know where to begin.

As I write this, I’m sat in the kitchen. You know, this one:

Harrington House and Gardens kitchen

Unfortunately, however, there are piles of dishes around me, seeds drying on the side, other seeds in packets waiting to be planted, rhubarb in the sink waiting for cutting and freezing or canning, Eliza on my lap – somewhat cranky after a nap … you get the picture … and if you don’t, no, I’m not going to post one!! Read the rest of this entry »

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The first month at home

Finally, after 11pm last night, it started to sink in that I wouldn’t be driving to work in the morning. Ever. (Well at least not in the foreseeable future.) It’s taken a month for the realization to really sink in.

I worked like crazy to get as much housework done as possible over the weekend

I started in on the timetable for Eliza’s education this morning: We started by singing some nursery rhymes, then went on to addition of one (up to =20), reading, science (how plants grow from seed to flower), and piano practice.

I’ll be starting on lunch shortly, and then she’ll have a play before her nap.
The only ‘timetabled’ activity for this afternoon will be painting.

Her attention span was around 10 minutes, which was perfect.
I had allotted 20 minutes, but was going to be happy with 5 or 10.

So there you have it… my morning. Read the rest of this entry »

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Propagation of Potatoes

I’ll start this post with a disclaimer: I’m not a  potato expert by any means. I’ve grown potatoes for only three years.

I’m always interested in self-sufficiency.
Seed-saving is something of an obsession, though it’s largely been theoretical as opposed to practical (i.e. I’ve not had much time to seed-save on the scale that I’d like).

If you’ve researched the topic of potato tuber saving for planting next year, it will not have taken much time at all for you to discover that the risks of diseased tubers and lower yields increase drastically with each set of tubers that you replant.

The only way to bypass tuber-transmitted diseases is to eliminate the tuber.
Ultimately, you WILL want a ‘seed’ potato to plant, from which your crop will be harvested, but how you get that seed potato is the topic of this post.

In a booklet from the late 1800s titled ‘The Potato (How to Cultivate – Chemistry of the Potato)‘, the authors detail the use of single-eye cuttings, and how stems can be cut into sections, each of which can be planted, resulting in yet more plants (see pages 3-4).
In my first year of growing potatoes, I actually pulled sprouts from some of my purchased seed potatoes, and planted those. They grew. They produced tubers.

However, it was really only this present year that I delved into the topic further, and came across the following two links to papers produced by the International Center for Potatoes out of Lima, Peru.

The two documents only appear readable at Google’s Italian site, and it is unfortunately not able to be saved/printed, but there is invaluable information if you’re interested in cutting your seed potato supplier out of the equation.

Stem Cuttings, a Rapid Multiplication Technique for Potatoes

Single-Node cuttings, a Rapid Multiplication Technique for Potatoes


Additional information can also be found from page 111 to 114 of the book ‘Potato Seed Production for Tropical Africa‘ (this link should take you straight there.


Now, go forth and propagate!!

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All about Snoods

I’m not sure what got me onto the subject, but I’m all about snoods right now.
A snood is a pretty hairnet/hairbag of sorts.
They can be knitted, crocheted, tatted, solid, open, netted … with or without ribbons …


I love all [well, most] things vintage, so figured that I’d collect some of the free instructions for vintage snoods.
They will all be crochet instructions, and I will reference the site from which they were taken.
Why am I pasting the information here? Just in case the sites from which I’ve copied them cease to exist.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Summer Garden

It’s been a while since I really wrote anything about the garden.

We had a considerable amount of lettuce that survived the winter.
When we transplanted it in the spring, it filled an entire bed and more.
The taste wasn’t particularly good, as the lettuce was so old, but we’ve left the plants to bolt, and will collect the seeds in the hope that they’ll produce an even more winter-hardy variety.

I had made hundreds of newspaper pots for seedlings in the early spring, but I believe there was something about the ink in the paper that caused the roots to be stunted.
In fact, Frank has pulled up still-intact newspaper pots from the garden, so they are absolutely NOT degrading in the way I’d hoped.

The tomatoes and brassica that were planted were very much stunted compared to those planted into plastic pots (to the tune of 3 or 4 leaves as compared to 8!).
The tomatoes that were planted into the newspaper are probably around a month behind those that were planted into plastic.
Never again.

The brassica were a miserable failure AGAIN.
I’ll have to really look into why we can’t seem to grow cabbage/broccoli/cauliflower.

The melons and squash are doing beautifully.. This is our first year growing scalloped squash – they’re sweet like yellow squash, but have a beautiful shape!!
As for melons,  we have loads growing at the moment – and some are already the size of a child’s basketball!!
I’m hoping that there will be enough heat through the next 2 months to bring ’em up to a good size.

The corn has seemed a couple weeks behind the corn in farmers’ fields, but it nevertheless silking well.

I canned 4 1/2 quarts of beans two days ago.
It would seem that  one full colander fills two quarts.

The tomato harvest is about to begin in earnest.
We’ve been picking around one a week for the last three weeks, but there are loads that are on the cusp of turning.

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Yesteryear’s Washing Guides

I’ve extracted these from several out of print books, now in the public domain.
They’re worth a read, and you’ll soon realise just why it was laundry duties occupied an entire DAY.

Even with my electrified, albeit vintage, washer, laundry this past Saturday morning took 5 hours from the first rinse to the last item on the line. (I’ll start soaking the clothes on Friday pm from now!)


Audels Household Helps, Hints and Receipts excerpt 1

Audel’s Household Helps, Hints and Receipts excerpt 2

The Duties of the Laundry Maid – Isabella Beeton

Manual of Household Work and Management – Butterworth (this is a  large file, I’m sorry… I’ll put it through OCR sometime and shrink it down).

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Boggling Basement (part 2)

You know how it is…
We get an idea, and rush full-speed into making it a reality.

This basement project has been no different.

After trying to pick and choose bits and bobs from various of the inspiration photos in part 1, I decided to start simple.
We marked out  a chalk-line perimeter on the floor, I choose a suitable blue, Frank bought wood studs, and it all began.

I think the photos are pretty self-explanatory.
We’ll be picking up the sheets of ply tonight, and hopefully we should be 80% done in time for laundry day on Saturday  🙂

NO. Grass does NOT grow under our feet!!

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1964 Kenmore Wringer Washer (pink & white)

What do I know about this washer?


While Kenmore’s serial numbers for these washers start with  ‘110’, the two subsequent digits represent the year that it was manufactured.
In this case, the washer was made in ’64.

It’s got a two-speed straight vane agitator (though we need to install a new speed toggle), and a timer that goes up to 20 minutes on the one side, or remains on using the “hold” option on the other side.

We believe it is a 1950s model as the 50s models had the brush filter mounted on the lid, which you see below.

The agitator suffered a direct blow at some point in its history, as a chunk had been broken off.
It was nothing that 2-part epoxy couldn’t fix though.
The final step to the repair was the application of fiberglass cloth and resin to ensure that it never cracks in the same place a second time.

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