Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Do Backyard Chickens Eat Polenta??

I've suddenly found myself as an urban homesteader! Yes, that's right folks, meet Shake and Bake, my two backyard chickens. They are the Buff Orpington breed, and have a nice comfy coop to live in.

They really enjoy grazing in the yard, picking at grasses and weeds, and of course any grubs that are unfortunate enough to come up above the surface. I offered the girls some leftover cooked polenta, or savory grits, made of cornmeal, and they loved it! They are usually a really picky duo. They also occasionally get bread and oyster shells for the calcium and grit. Chickens love corn! They couldn't get enough of this stuff.

I am quite excited to open up the coop every day and be greeted by these beautiful, fresh chicken eggs. I'm not sure if you can tell, but one of these is a fake ceramic painted egg. This encourages the chickens to lay in their proper nesting box area.

One noticeable thing about the eggs from my little "farm" is that the yolks are very large and rich. They make a great sunny side up egg! Especially when fried up in duck fat in my vintage cast iron skillet.

You may have noticed that there is a beehive in the rear as well!

I have really missed writing on the blog! I thrift less, but still pick up a lot of beautiful finds. I love using the pieces I have too, so hope to photograph those and write more about how I use them.

I am starting to get active on instagram, and will work on a button so you can follow me there @sixballoons!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Vintage Mercedes Hubcap at an Estate Sale!

I found this great vintage Mercedes hubcap at an estate sale a couple of weekends ago. Estate sales are a bit of a rarity in Vancouver, so when I saw the sign, I pulled over pretty quick and made my way over.

I love those sales that aren't advertised on craigslist, when you pull up and just have no idea what to expect. This sale had a real interesting mix of old, high quality vintage. I was really tempted by this package of artists' pencils, with its vintage box. The pencils were made in the US - imagine a time when things were actually manufactured in the United States!

Here is a blurry pic of the hubcap when I found it sitting propped up against a tree, in the rain. It was covered in grime and not looking too shiny when I picked it up. I figured for five bucks, I could clean it up and make it look good.

It certainly took on some more shine after a little bath!

Here's what the inside looks like. I googled some pictures of old Mercedes convertibles that may have had this hubcap. My dad joked that I can't afford a Mercedes, but I can afford one of its hubcaps!

The estate sale was a really interesting one, with an eclectic mix of vintage and artsy items. They had old tools, first aid kits, vintage spools, and wood crates. Unfortunately, a picker arrived there just before me and he was already amassing a big pile of great stuff. Always tough to watch a guy walk away with those goodies, but I'm still happy with my shiny little toy. =)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Garage Sale Le Creuset Skillet!

Can't believe I held out on you guys on this piece... a $2 garage sale score. I love coming up to a garage sale in the neighbourhood when you least expect it. You know, the ones that aren't advertised on craigslist, or the ones where the seller just wants to get rid of stuff.

That must have been the case here, cause I scored this beauty for two bucks! It was definitely a low-effort kinda garage sale. I'm not sure if you can tell from these pics, but there was literally dog hair and bread crumbs on the interior of the pan... And some unknown sticky substance on the underside!

I found this in the bottom of a box of pans, and was pretty thrilled when the seller quoted me the price. Sometimes, you just have to dig around to get a deal!

I ended up cleaning this pan by giving it a good scrub and seasoning it with some bacon fat. Luckily, I had a friend who was in the market for a good cast iron skillet, and it doesn't get any better than these puppies.

I purchased this last summer, and since then, it's been put to good use. Le Creuset cast iron skillets are great for searing things off since they retain so much heat, and do so evenly.

I love good quality things, but it's hard to pay the $200 that this pan retails for. It's always such a high to get a smoking deal at the garage sale, even when it takes a little bit of work to shine the pieces up again. =)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Vintage Spice and Epsom Salts Tins!

I was roaming around a flea market recently and came upon some shelves of old rusty tins of food items and pharmaceutical items.

I love the old packaging and fonts on spice tins and goodies from the medicine cabinet. I even remember being a kid in the 80s and going through my mom's cupboard and checking out all the labels and little miniature bottles of ointments and such.

I really enjoyed seeing this old spice tin, especially since it was marked with a Vancouver based company. I bet the stuff inside isn't food safe or anything, but it was funny to pick up these containers and note that they were nearly full.

Pretty sharp edges up top on the canister though! Maybe some food packaging items these days are better in the modern world, eh?

I always feel a little pang of disappointment these days when purchasing Vaseline and Mentholatum and the like, since they're always in plastic tubs with plastic lids. Too bad they don't have the metal lids and glass containers like they used to!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Vintage Le Creuset Roasting Pan with Steel Handles

I love finding old Le Creuset pieces out in the wild. I was at a flea market recently, and spotted a beautiful red pan sitting on the edge of a table full of junk.

I immediately recognized the pan as a small enameled cast iron roasting pan that I had lurked on eBay for in the past - it is the perfect size for fitting inside my small countertop oven that I use all the time.

The steel handles on the sides of the pan are characteristic of the older style Le Creuset roasting pan. The generation after this one ditched the handles, and rightfully so, I think! The steel handles seem easy to rust and hard to clean. I would also have a tough time finding them very useful with oven mitts on.

I walked up to the seller, acting very casual, and not even bringing the pan up with me. I asked him how much he wanted for the pan, and said, "Well, that one's made in France. It's a Le Creuset. My wife is French." I was expecting him to want a price higher than what I was willing to pay, when he closed with "I'd like five bucks for it." Music to my ears! Sometimes it pays to just act casual and not say a word.  =)

I hastily handed over my five bucks and collected my bounty. I ended up scrubbing this piece for a good twenty minutes with my trusty tools - lots of dish soap, a scrubber, and a wooden toothpick for the nooks and crannies.

The first thing I made in my pan was a nice, satisfying banana bread!
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