How are you all? It's been a while since I've posted here, and it seems autumn is speeding by just like the rest of this year. Have you been enjoying lots of cozy activities? How is the weather for you?
Our weather is alternately muggy and warm, and then chilly and wet. We still haven't had a killing frost, so the flower gardens are still in bloom-- though they have a far more "spent" appearance than they did during the summer. I truthfully expected a killing freeze long ago and quit tending to the flowers out of discouragement that I would lose them soon, and I think I made a mistake in that. If I had continued tending them I would have a lot of flowers right now still, not just one or two here and there. Lesson learned for next year.
Those of you who follow along on Instagram probably know that we've slowly been chipping away at finishing our kitchen renovations over the past month or so on nights and weekends. We are not finished, but we have made so much progress! All we have left to do is install a hood over our range, and we want to put subway tile on the coffee station wall too.
Dad did a beautiful job creating a false slatted wall (which you can see below) to add some farmhouse charm back to the kitchen. It has a look similar to shiplap, but is a little different. It turned out better than I expected and it was a virtually free update to the kitchen since Dad planed down junk wood to make the slats!
This house was built in the 1940's but much of the original charm had been "updated" and modernized, including covering the gorgeous wood flooring in the kitchen with the most hideous 70's style floor tiles (blue). We worked for days to strip the tile and tar off of the floor and now the original heart pine floor has been restored to its former beauty, though perhaps even prettier than before because it is very gouged up and I think it adds SO much antique character! We chose a warm stain color and a matte sealer, and it just feels like velvet under your feet. We love it! We had originally tried to put down a luxury vinyl flooring over the old blue floor tiles, but the floor is so utterly uneven that the vinyl flooring pieces wouldn't lock together properly and were constantly shifting. I am glad we went ahead and restored the original pine floor. It was another very inexpensive update that added so much original beauty back to our farmhouse. Here's a little video of the floor just before we sealed it.
The cabinets have been painted a soft blue/green since shortly after we moved in, but we just painted the door and the island in the kitchen a lovely dark green with gray tones and it added the perfect moody touch! These are not the best pictures to show off the color, but the one thing about this kitchen that leaves something to be desired is that we don't have the best natural lighting and it is very shadowy even during the day. It has a peaceful, lovely feel but it makes it hard to take great pictures in there.
We also finally put hardware on the kitchen cabinets and it completely finished the look, tying in the black countertops with the bright, airy cabinets. The hardware was super inexpensive (under $3 per piece) and I just can't imagine it looking better with more expensive hardware! Mom chose really pretty oiled bronze pieces and they look so stylish and sharp.
We installed subway tile as the backsplash behind the long counter where the sink is installed, and we also put subway tile on the entire wall behind the stove. We have had this tile sitting in our basement since we moved in, but we just finally got around to installing it. Caleb did most of the work and it turned out beautifully. Try to imagine what it will look like once we get a hood installed over the range. The below image was taken before we had finished the kickboards under the cabinets.
It has been such a genuine blessing being able to make this kitchen cozy and functional for autumn. We have been doing a lot of baking and decorating, burning candles non-stop, keeping the last of the fresh flowers from the garden in vases around the room, and just truly enjoying it so much!
We were so busy through the summer that we didn't really have a chance to can/preserve any of the relishes and jams that we like to keep our pantry stocked with-- but yesterday Mom canned 21 pints of hot chow-chow and we plan to do wild berry jam and homemade RO-TEL next! We picked a lot of wild berries from around the farm in the spring and put them in the freezer so we could make jam once we had time, and Mary was really good about popping excess tomatoes into the freezer all summer long, so we have the core ingredients on hand to make more yummy preserves.
For those of you who do not know what hot chow-chow is, it is a southern staple! It is made with cabbage, hot peppers, bell peppers, sweet onions and green tomatoes in a sweet, tangy brine. It is sort of a fancy alternative to sweet pickle relish and is transformative in and on anything you'd use pickle relish for! If you don't like a lot of spicy-ness, you can tone way down on the hot peppers-- everything else remains the same. We use the recipe from this cookbook, The Dillard House Cookbook, which is also chock full of other delicious southern recipes that we use regularly. We highly recommend it!
Below you will find the recipe for Hot Chow-Chow, as seen in The Dillard House Cookbook.
Let me know if you try it! It is amaaaazing!
Until next time, happy autumn from Rooster's Chapel! Leave a comment and let me know what you think about the work we've been doing around here, or if you have any questions about the recipe!