Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, Permaculture, DIYing, organic gardening, food preservation, chicken keeping, cookery, crafts, thrifting and more...
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Aug 12, 2019

The Great Sardini Sandwich, Greek Horiatiki Salad, Thrifting Scores! DIY Charging Station

The Great Sardini Sandwich-
Years ago I was trying to find unusual recipes too add more fish to my diet. Loving any Italian food I spotted this recipe here I will tell you right off the bat- THIS DOES NOT TASTE LIKE FISHY SARDINES! I tastes more like an amazing olive Italian Tapenade. I used to hand chop the olives but it was much faster to use my favorite non-electric chopper, with razor sharp blades. Ten pulls and all the olives were chopped! Easy to clean, easy to store and fast, what's not to love?


I only had some Ciabatta bread on hand, so I broiled it and used that. Amazing!!!

Greek Horiatiki Salad-
I stumbled onto this recipe, and it's a keeper! The green bell pepper really makes it. Try this and you won't be disappointed!

Thrifting Scores!
I stopped by a Goodwill store Saturday and really scored! The hand-stitched  piece above was $2.99, it's 12" x 5". Looks handmade and prim, probably barely used. I'll find a spot for that! Next the cute chicken sign-

Marked "Hobby Lobby" $7.99, got it for $2.99. 

A gorgeous, like-new Crown Stoneware tea pot with built-in filter that's removable, $5.00-

Last I found a gorgeous, made-in-Italy Merino wool lightweight cardigan, perfect for Fall, $5.00! It is so SOFT! Probably really expensive new-

DIY Charging Station-
I was really tired of the mess of devices and cords in the kitchen taking up counter space-

Not safe and messy. I had a Eureka moment looking at my Ikea step stool. I got out the 2 charging cords, plugged them into an extension cord into the wall behind the little pine entertainment center. Problem solved!!! The fan will go away soon, but it's easy to get to. 

Now we're off to pick more peaches!

Aug 7, 2019

Saving Our Peach Tree, Harvesting & Freezing Time, A Short Mountain Adventure

Saving Our Peach Tree-
We planted our Peach tree about 4 years ago. It was pretty sick last year with peach tree rust, but we treated it and it did much better this spring. It really blossomed with the mild wet spring and we were very hopeful. We have lots of peaches and the tree seemed really healthy. We came home last week with a really large branch down on the ground split from another main branch. Pretty sad! Where it's split we could have cut the other part of the branch off , but we would have lost a ton of peaches and fruit. We had had our apple tree hit by a pickup truck when part of the branch was leaning over the easement a few years ago. I remembered that some people had taken washers, big screws and screwed together broken parts of branches hoping that the tree would heal itself and grow back together. I asked Dave to do that and the apple tree is still healthy-

I asked Dave to go ahead and do that for now, to try to get the fruit ripe and then if it didn't heal up we could go ahead and take that one branch down later. So, that's what he did-

We propped up the rest of the branches-

The peaches are just about ripe probably, another week or so. We had our first two that were really great. Lesson learned that in the future we need to really thin the peaches more when they are still small. It's easy to get ahead of yourself and think wow look at all that fruit, instead of what do we need to also preserve the tree. So we will be more careful next spring and we are hopeful that branch will stay together as is? At this point we'll wait and see.... if needed we'll prune it off.

Harvesting & Freezing Time-
This is a time of year when we've started harvesting- tomatoes, two kinds of cucumbers, 4 kinds of peppers, the last of the chokecherries and blackberries. Corn will be ready soon too! We have a really good harvest of our green beans on going as well. I wanted to freeze them, but I wasn't sure if I needed to blanch them. I read this article so I'm going to try this recipe

I'm going to be making lots of different vegetable dishes with our harvested veggies. I am going to be freezing the chokecherries as well. When the peaches get ripe here soon I'm going to be freezing and canning some. We just don't eat that much jam anymore, so I don't know if I'll bother with that, but I can always make some later from the frozen peaches. The peaches freeze really great! I just quarter them, toss them in Fruit Fresh so they don't turn brown, put in a double Ziploc bags and suck all the air out with a straw. They keep great. I'm getting a good Basil harvest soon, time to make and freeze pesto!

A Short Mountain Adventure-
I was really restless to get up in the mountains Saturday, so I told Dave we were going somewhere but didn't tell him where. We drove up to Bogus Basin, which is a small ski area, about 40 minutes from our house. It's about 7,500 feet up. When we got to the top of the open parking I took a side road hoping to find a nice fairly level hiking trail. Most of them turned out to be really steep so I decided to turn around and go back. We decided to take the chairlift at the top and that was where the real adventure started! You could see the start of fire season here with some of the forest fires.

I thought the cell phone towers pretty well ruined the view up there, no escaping technology!

Here is what we found- lots of really beautiful flowers, Lupines, Queen Ann's lace, Junipers, grasses, sage, not sure of the rest...

The rest of it was really fun, walked down a path a ways until it was closed off to let the flowers come back. It's on National Forest land.

I took lots of photos, but to get there you had to take a chair lift, which means we needed to sign a legal disclaimer. I have never seen that anywhere, which was a red flag for me. We got on fine at the bottom of the lift. At the top staff got 2 mountain bikes off the chair lift rack, set aside on the top of the ramp, then two mountains bikers got off ahead of us. They didn't grab their bikes and move, and we had almost nowhere to go (small space)! We almost got knocked down by the lift. The bikers just stood there instead of going down the wood ramp.  Staff didn't stop the lift or yell at them to move. Going down, getting off the lift was jerky and didn't stop very slow to get off, again, had to jump out of the way. Staff needs more safety training, but maybe they don't care since you can't sue them. We're done with that, not going back. Brundage Mountain, by comparison, was safe and much better!

Jul 28, 2019

Independence Days Challenge

Independence Days Challenge-
We finally hit 100 degrees in the last week! All the  turf, flowers and veggie beds are very well-mulched, but now it's water, water, water. Here's an update of what we've been up to...

1. Plant Something- 
I have killed all the Bee Balms I've ever planted, for some unknown reason. I just bought two, half priced, and planted them. Hopefully at least one will survive! I put one in the front yard flower bed, and one in a pot on the back deck, pot on the right-

2. Harvest Something- 
Tons of eggs, 3-4 per day! I've been giving some to our kiddos.  Picked our first green beans, Black Berries, small tomatoes, 1st batch of Chokecherries, harvested about 2 cups, lots more coming soon!  Still getting good growth on the kale, and the collard greens in the raised bed-

The thorn-less blackberries are huge this year!

Herb box doing well, pretty soon I'll make some pesto to freeze-

3. Preserve/Store Something-
Freezing the Chokecherries to make jelly later when it's cooler-

I had a "duh" moment a while back- I read somewhere to just freeze berries and make jellies in the winter, when it's cooler. So that's the plan. Apples and peaches coming along well, not too many pears for some reason. Corn is almost as high as an elephant's eye! It is looking great!

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep-
Bought several clearance boxes of 1 gallon Ziploc plastic bags for freezing some of the fruits and veggies. Bought some extra boxes of teabags to stash for later. 

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe-
Mama Pea from shared her recipe for shortcake, which I made, delish and easy! 

Shortcake Recipe:
2 cups all-purpose flour - I used WW Pastry flour
2 TBL sugar
1 TBL baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
 ½ cup butter
1 beaten egg
2/3 cup milk
1 TBL sugar, sprinkled on top- my idea
6 cups fresh strawberries, sliced¼ cup sugar. 1 cup whipping cream w/ 2 tablespoons sugar

Stir together strawberries and ¼ cup sugar, set aside.  For shortcake, thoroughly stir together flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt.  Cut in  the ½ cup butter til mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine beaten egg, milk and add all at once to dry ingredients and stir just to moisten. Spread dough (it will be very thick) in a well-greased 8" round baking pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes.  Then cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and split into 2 layers.  Lift top off carefully. Whip cream with 2 tablespoons sugar and spoon whipped cream and berries between layers and over top. With 2 of us, I left whole and served in a triangle wedge, then split drizzled with cream. The cake is plain and should keep the rest of the week.

New shrimp recipe I tried was this Sweet Chili Garlic Shrimp .  I made for dinner tonight, it's a winner! I love the garlic and I used a little Cayenne since I didn't have the second hot sauce on hand.  I served with brown Jasmine rice and raw snow peapods. I could doing this with chicken or fish as well.

6. Build Community Food Systems-
No farmer's markets yet, too early for potatoes and other veggies we like. Dave got about 5 lbs. of free cherries from a co-worker. We shared with our kiddos.

7. Recycle/Re-Use-
Donated old clothes and highchair to charity. Bought like-new used slacks on eBay. Got a DVD for a movie from the library to watch. I LOVE libraries! At Goodwill I found a tall pretty Lighthouse for my beach table (sorry no pics) today, $4.00.

8. Skill Up- 
Interesting reading about how some outsiders want to try and join the Amish. Very complicated situation it seems, but fascinating reading Can An Outsider Ever Truly Become Amish?

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something-
I was happy to see that my previously bug infested Mugo Pine has really recovered nicely. New green needles galore!