Hatton House Diaries

One day, we decided to buy a 125 year old Victorian House in Des Moines, Iowa…….

Historic Des Moines Alert! Tell St Augustin’s Church 100 Year Old Homes Are Important August 21, 2013

I saw a post in Des Moines Rehabber’s Facebook Group and wanted to share with you here. Reposted from Steve Wilke-Shapiro with permission. Steve is working on setting up standards in Des Moines so that there will be an approval process before historic buildings are destroyed, but that process is not yet in place. Please consider contacting your city council member about these homes:

From Steve: I have it on good authority that St. Augustin’s intends to pursue demolition of the two 100-year-old homes it owns adjacent to its parking lot on Grand. These buildings are listed as contributing structures in a National Register Historic District. A serious potential buyer is working to evaluate moving the structures, and the church is required by agreement with the City to facilitate this resolution… they have been actively avoiding complying with that agreement, going so far as to file a lawsuit against the City.

If you have an interest in historic preservation, I encourage you to communicate to your council representatives and encourage them to delay issuing a demolition permit until one of three things has occurred: the potential buyer has completed evaluation of relocation, a redevelopment plan has been approved, or two months has passed.

The key is to ask for a “cooling off” period. We only get one shot to save these historic buildings – when they are gone, they are gone. St. Augustin’s has not communicated a plan other than to tear them down, so it is clear that there is not an immediate need. A period of two more months would not adversely affect the Church, except that they want what they want.

This is an emergency… the Council meeting is Monday, August 26th. The more people who communicate by then, the better chance of averting a complete loss of these historic homes.

Excerpted from the Greenwood Plat District Nomination Form:
4005 Grand Avenue: (Contributing, 1908)
This is a two-story hip roof Classical Revival style house plan. The house fronts south on Grand Avenue but it has a double façade, with semi-circular roofed dormers fronting to the south and east. A frame wrap-around porch covers the south half of the east façade and the west part of the south façade. The main chimney with corbelled cap is located on the east end of the main roof ridge. A secondary chimney, equal in scale but unadorned, is on a rear wing. There is no garage but there is a porte cochere to the west of the house.

4011 Grand Avenue: (Contributing, 1909)
This is a two-story Classical Revival style hip roof house plan. The building massing is complicated. The core rectangle is elaborated with a three-sided full-height bay at the east (right) side of the façade, while a shallow wing on the rear of the east wall also features a full-height three-sided bay projection. Hip roof dormers are placed above each of these bay projections. The architects were Liebbe, Nourse and Rasmussen – a well respected historical Des Moines firm.


Punk Domestics New Level Unlocked – Peach Canning August 8, 2013

Filed under: In the Garden,In the Kitchen,Urban Farming — hattonhousedsm @ 3:03 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

imageI have never canned before, and it is a process I previously found terrifying. It’s like childbirth, everyone has a horror story they must share. You mention you’re thinking about canning and everyone feels the need to share the story about the time their Grandmother blew up the kitchen, or that woman that leveled her house with a chutney explosion. Last year, I avoided canning entirely and made peach brandy, and then froze the rest of my peach crop.

This year, my mom bought me a gorgeous set of Weck Jars for Hanukkah, and my freezer is already full, so the pressure was on to figure out canning. I read blogs and asked friends, hinted to my mother-in-law that I might need help, but the peaches were moving past ripe and I still hadn’t worked up the nerve when one of the women on the Midwest Homesteading and Permaculture Facebook group hosted a farm swap. I brought some peaches, and while trading, talking to her about my canning fears. She said the best thing: “It’s like cooking, but with one extra step.” So simple. I can cook. So I just need to cook, and then worry about the canning step.

I made three recipes: two from my favorite food blogger, Local Kitchen, with her Honey Spiced Peaches and Maple Bourbon Peach Butter, and the rest of the peaches in simple light syrup from Frugal Living NW. I started the Maple Bourbon and simple syrup, and spent 2 days cooking and canning. Of 25 attempts, only three didn’t seal, which I’m going to call a success for my first time out. Fortunately, one jar each from the recipe batches, so I got to taste both, and they are delicious! I almost can’t wait for winter! I’ll do another canning run this weekend, but to use the weekday peaches, we made a Smitten Kitchen Peach Pie, which was heavenly, and had such an intoxicating smell, I stole a bite before thinking of photographing it. Maybe next time!

Hope you’re enjoying your peach harvest too!