Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, DIYing, organic gardening, food preservation, chicken keeping, cookery, crafts, thrifting, vintage stuff,
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Oct 14, 2018

My No-Budget French Country Bedroom Makeover, Basil Harvest/Pesto Time!

My No-Budget French Country Bedroom Makeover-
Recovering from hand surgery has been kind of challenging, and I was glad I was home for the week.  I'm grateful my work benefits include extended sick leave. Sometimes you see a lot of things that need to get done, but you can't do them yourself so they just have to wait. Dave has been really great with picking up the slack, but he's been working all week. I kept looking at our spare bedroom and realized I could do something, even with one good hand. I had painted the bedroom several years ago into a very white yellow, still love that color so I was not about to repaint that! It had turned into a bit of a storage area-

Baby themed art/mobile

Baby stuff

More stuff

Sometimes you think you know what you're going to need and then needs change. That was the case with our spare bedroom, that we turned into sort of a grand baby nursery. I was looking at the space the last couple of weeks and realized we really weren't babysitting that much anymore. Time for the baby decor to be reorganized or given away. We wanted to keep the crib, the books, the toys, etc. I really like French Country/farm decor and have so many fun pieces, mostly thrifted. I decided it was time to redo the bedroom. My challenge to myself was to do without spending any money. I could re-do it since many of the items in the bedroom could either be donated, given away or stored elsewhere. That would give me more of a clean slate to work from. Since we had bought a new queen comforter cover from Ikea I decided to re-use the old one on the twin bed. The ticking fabric would be a nice neutral accent, went from bright blue comforter to white/blue ticking-

I wanted to keep the existing wire bookcase as it has nice lines and is a good size. I empted it out, then sorted and refilled-

Removed the prints and exercise machine


Donated machine we never use, we may get a used treadmill we can leave out

Stored prints

My sewing machine stays in the room since that's a good place for it-

The corner of the room with all of the baby gear was downsized-

We didn't need tiny blankets anymore, just kept the larger napping blankets and moved them. I hung up some prints that I have been storing and that gave the room a definite more adult look. So I'll probably tweak it more overtime. For now I really like it and will continue to see what works for all of us!

Basil Harvest/Pesto Time!
Winter is definitely on the horizon since we had our first hard freeze yesterday! I had the basil plants on the deck covered up with plastic the last two days, but it was time to harvest. Since I am still using primarily one hand Dave and I set up a pesto making station tonight after dinner. One sinkful-

I used my favorite recipe and we made a nice big batch using this recipe Rosie's Pesto. We did the one plant that was really large and got 6 jars out of that batch. We ran out of fresh lemon juice so I will buy some more today and we can finish up the other batch. It smells amazing in the kitchen, like garlic and fresh basil! This freezes so well if you haven't ever tried it I'd really encourage you to make some. Freezing in the small batches works great so you can use it for pastas, or smear it on roasting chicken. That's one of my personal favorites! It's also great on broiled Italian bread. Bon appetit!

Oct 9, 2018

Thrifting Scores, Hand Surgery Progress

Thrifting Scores-
It's 45 degrees and pouring rain today, clearing a bit now. Good day to be inside! First snow for the mountains is due!!! UPDATE**** We had almost 1" of rain, and set a new record!***
The geraniums are inside now, Basil outside will be pesto this weekend. A branch came down today so the tree guy is coming tomorrow for a bid to trim our huge maple and apple trees. It's much cheaper for pruning in the fall, after the leaves are off. We'll shoot for next month probably.  

We've found some great deals in the last couple weeks at various thrift stores and on eBay. I also took 2 bags to donate and a box of household items. I found a little wooden sign, above, for $5 at Goodwill, also found the two hanging Day of the Dead colorful signs for a buck each-

At the thrift store in McCall I found these brand new Born sandals, $5.00 saving them for next summer-

We went out Sunday since I was bored out of my gourd being at home for 3 days. We went to a different Goodwill and I found a nice, deep, embossed turkey serving platter, $6 which now has ripening green tomatoes on it.  I asked Dave to harvest them before it rained and hit the 30's-

I also found a DVD at one of my favorite movies The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and a new Land's End fleece textured top, great for winter.

On eBay I found an LED European-style star string of lights. I haven't a plugged them in yet since I had to order a European to US current converter. The cord is basically clear so you really just see the stars. I've been looking for these for years after I'd seen them online.

I'll post a photo once I get the converter and have it plugged in. The converter was 3 bucks and the lights were 10 so it was a pretty good deal all in all. The lights also have box w/3 settings- steady, slow flash or fast flash. I'll use them in the kitchen.

 Hand Surgery Progress-
I had my hand surgery Friday morning and so far so good. Dave has taken great care of me! Having anesthesia is always a really strange thing because it makes you feel pretty loopy. They start off of Valium to relax you and then I had Versed which made the lights on the ceiling move around in an interesting fashion. After that I went into surgery with a "heavy sedation" instead of "full anesthesia". Next thing I knew I woke up and was all done. I had breakfast when I got home and took some medication and went to sleep for a few hours since I was really groggy. By that evening I felt pretty alert but pain medication always makes you feel a little off as well. I slept couple of times during the day, but made it through the yesterday without any naps, which is good. I'm off my pain meds, just using Aleve and Turmeric. I'm keeping my hand elevated and iced or it really swells up. It's pretty awkward being right-handed and having to use my left hand for everything but I'm getting used to it. I will be off this week and go back next Monday.  This Thursday I'll get my next brace which is much better, more use of my fingers, probably like my last one-

So I'm going to be doing a lot of reading at home this week and catching up on movies.

Oct 3, 2018

Winter Is Coming, Potato Growing Experiment Results, Autumn Decor, Hand Surgery AGAIN

Winter Is Coming-
I wish I had a funny way of saying Game of Throne's winter is coming. Anyway we're getting some 30 degree weather here in the next week or so and finally some decent rain! Exciting news because it has been dry for months and months and months and months. We've been slowly getting the house ready for the cooler weather, closing up the foundation vents, cleaning out the veggie garden of the last of the tomatoes and peppers. That opened up the garden more for the hens, so they're happy!

I asked Dave to take down our 3 bird houses so we could clean them before winter. One was so full of yellow jacket nests that he had to spray it, so it had to go in the garbage. Luckily we have lots of used cedar boards and we can make a new one in the spring. He put the one back up, and the other birdhouse needed a little retrofitting. This tall birdhouse we bartered for at a landscaping and rock facility. I called ahead of time and said we were removing a lot of gravel, if we brought some in could we barter for something else and they said sure! So for some pea gravel we didn't need we got a really cool birdhouse. The problem started up when they squirrels decided to enlarge the hole so that the birds wouldn't use it.

I asked Dave to remove the front piece with the hole and replace it with a fresh piece of cedar. He went ahead and reconfigured the hole to be much smaller so that the small birds will start using it. We also moved it to the backyard where it has more open space around it-

I love the vintage ceramic door knob!

Potato Growing Experiment Results-
This is just my favorite time of year since it is so much cooler when you're doing gardening! It was 48 degrees this weekend in the a.m. We've moved down into the 70s and that's pretty typical this time of year. I documented are potato growing experiment in a couple of different posts-
Growing Potatoes In Garbage Cans and Potato Progress

I had wanted to try growing potatoes in garbage cans since our ground space was a little bit limited by other growing stuff. Basically we watered really well a couple of times a week over the summer and things didn't seem to be growing well from what we could tell. We didn't really get a lot of potato flowers that other people mention just a couple of really small ones. Of course in the bottom of the garbage can its impossible to tell what is going on down there. So we decided decided to harvest some this weekend and see where things were at. The small blue tote had red potatoes and the two taller black ones had Yukon golds. Since the potatoes were free we only had to buy potting soil which was recommended and with her hard soil not a bad idea. Then we did spend less than $10 on the blue tote so it was a minimal investment money-wise. I had fresh potatoes a few years ago for the first time and they are so much different than what you buy in the grocery store! Much more creamy and tender. So I decided we should unearth any potatoes in the blue tote first and so it was easiest to move with the handles and that's where we found... one lone little red tater (see above).

Dave opened up the other two totes tonight, nothing! Since the potatoes were gifted it could be they were all dudes. Well, it looked good in the tote! We may buy some seed potatoes next year and try again...

Autumn Decor-
Last weekend I put out our Autumn decor. I like to have seasonal things out to mark the changes of the year. I bought a few pumpkins and got out the rest of my table top and shelf decor unpacked. Dave got some free corn stalks for the front from a local community garden. There was a big sign- FREE STALKS!

I had my nice old vintage Basin and I bought a couple of bags of pumpkin fillers in pastel colors to transition since it was too early but these things out last month. I'm not the kind of person who likes putting orange pumpkins out when it's 90 degrees in September! I went ahead and added a small pumpkin in the middle now that I'm switching over to the traditional fall colors. Here's a little tour of some things we have up inside the house-

I made the cotton metal planter myself!

Outside we have a little fall mat by the front door, a little flag and when is closer to Halloween will put up decorations outside the house. That's always fun for the trick-or-treaters.

Hand Surgery, Again-
Boy did I clean the house last week! Because... it's that time again. About 2 years ago I had surgery on my left thumb since the bone at the base of the thumb was really worn. Severe arthritis. I was in continual pain and losing my grip strength. It was a quite a recovery for several months, wearing different braces, but now my left thumb is pain-free and I have my grip strength back. Now it's time for my right hand. I probably won't be blogging much after this for a week or so until I get the initial big, honking brace off, I have to wear this for the first week-

Then I'll be fitted with a smaller black, adjustable one for 2 months. Basically (spoiler alert don't read ahead if you have a sensitive stomach) they make an incision at the base of the thumb and take out the square metacarpal bone that is all worn. Then they basically suture the heck out of it so the upper piece of my thumb has something to rest on that won't cause pain. I do a couple months with a big wrist/forearm brace to keep the thumb stationary. Then I go to a smaller mini split, then start doing OT to stretch my thumb/hand/fingers. My hand surgeon did a great job the first time and it actually wasn't that expensive relatively speaking. Thanks god for insurance! I'll be home all next week from work watching Netflix and DVDs with Anya the cat. Send some good energy my way, thanks!