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

Jun 17, 2018

Would My Grandparents Be Happy?

Laura and Arminius

Would My Grandparents Be Happy?
Yesterday Dave and I were talking at breakfast, eating some of our wonderful eggs and an English muffin. I mentioned that my Grandmother Marguerite always told me to either use butter or jam, but not both, on my toast. I think she thought that was wasteful. I only grew up knowing one set of Grandparents, my Dad's, because the others passed away when I was very young. My Mom's parents met me after I was born, but I was very young when they died. I don't have any direct memories of them.

My mom had told me a lot about them, including the stories of the wonderful gardens they grew out in Nebraska. How grandma Laura raised Rhode Island Red chickens and preserved foods. They had their root cellar and they survived the depression. She also told me how they escaped tornado's by going into the wet, cellar full of toads. She told me about what a hard worker her mother was and that my grandmother was always a tough, but caring woman. I have two wonderful quilts of hers and think about what it must have been like for her to sit there and make those out in the middle of nowhere Nebraska, in the dark. I'm not sure when electricity went into the rural areas of Nebraska, in the 1930s? I visualize her using kerosene lamps or candles to sew by.

My grandfather Arminius was a mechanic who worked on trucks, tractors and cars and they would barter his repair services for things they didn't have. They would get roasting chickens, bread, fresh milk, etc., in exchange for his services. My mom said during the depression that she drank coffee instead of milk as a kid because they didn't always have that. I have great photos in my head of my grandparents and their girls in Nebraska in this house-
Nebraska home, I'd love to go there someday

Pete and Marguerite

The grandparents on my Dad's side I spent lots of time with. They also raised two children during the depression and my grandmother Marguerite was a wonderful cook, baker, seamstress, knitter, crocheter and made tatting. She sewed me wonderful clothes and knitted me lovely sweaters. When I was young they were living in southern California and that was a great climate to grow things in. While living in the city of Pomona, named after the goddess of plenty, they grew quite a bit of things on their city lot. Ironically they had a Little Homestead in Pomona of sorts. I remember the three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath house very well. Lawn in the front, in back lots more! They had an avocado tree, a lemon and a lime tree, plum tree, a kumquat tree, trellises with concord grapes, and strawberries. I don't remember them ever growing any vegetables however. I remember my grandmother making homemade grape pies, canning home-grown grape juice, grape jam, and I think she made plum and Kumquat jams. I'm not quite sure whose idea it was to have all of the fruit trees because I don't know if those were there before they bought the house. I suspect on some level having fruit trees in the backyard was a nod to wanting to be more self-sufficient, having surviving the depression, but that is just a guess.

I know my grandfather Pete was an avid gardener and loved working in the yard. I think some of that may have been to avoid my grandmother, who is not the nicest person. As an adult I would jokingly call her the iron fist in the velvet glove without the glove!My grandfather Alva (he went by Pete) was the opposite, really a sweetheart. He jokingly used to call me microbe or peanut!

So... I think that they would be proud of me with what we're doing here, and if they were alive they would probably be doing something similar. I can see them having chickens, preserving foods, and fixing lots of things themselves. I hope they would be proud of me for the lifestyle I have. While I didn't do it for them I think that they would appreciate it. I hope so.

Jun 10, 2018

Garden & Chicks Update, Potato Progress, Cell Phone Deal/Insurance, Farm Fresh Decor

Garden & Chicks Update-
We have had more of the same wacky weather, temps swinging like a pendulum here! In the 80s's all week, then wind hit bringing a cold front, temp dropped 20 degrees this weekend. 45 this morning, brrr. We've been trying trying to figure out when to plant some things, and that can be a little bit challenging. I had planned on putting the chicks out this weekend for a while, but the weather was just too cold.  transferred them from the laundry basket that we had them in for one week to a larger box last weekend. It works out really well since they have plenty of room, with nice pine shavings. Today I took them out, then I took the box outside and pitched it all into the compost pile. Hopefully next weekend the weather is supposed to warm up, we can move them out into a temporary coop for a while and see how they do. I plan on putting them out this week for few hours in the warm evenings. We have an outdoor playpen that we got at a thrift store years ago. It's really fun to see chicks go outside for the first time and explore! Here's the 2 boxes I put together for their temporary digs, and added chicken wire on top-

busy exploring!

It's amazing how fast they grow in 2 weeks! Feathers coming in, getting taller-

Our hens were in trouble last week. Due to a too-low gap in fencing, they got in and completely ravaged our lemon cukes. Dave was in a huff and went shopping and came back with a few. He also bought taller chicken wire. Next night he stopped somewhere else on the way home. He bought some on sale tomatoes, more lemon cukes and some peppers. I think we're set for now! Lots of berries on the vine, and first blossoms on squash/slicing cukes. Now we just need some warm, stable weather!

waeting out the rain, again

My flower seeds are coming up,flowers blooming, and the rain has really helped with that! Warm and wet, perfect for plant growth.

Potato Progress-
Our free potatoes seeds planted in the trash cans are doing really well! After having some torrential downpours I thought maybe they would rot in the totes, but they had pretty good drainage. We planted them in a light, fluffy organic potting soil and Dave had drilled lots of holes, so that helped. We've been adding soil once or twice a week as the green start to come up. I'll be really curious to see when we can dig the first potatoes.

Cell Phone Deal/Insurance-
I had an interesting experience last week. My old Galaxy 6 phone wouldn't hold a charge over several days so I could tell it was on its way out. I had insurance on the phone for several years and knew there would be a copay to replace it. I called my service provider ATT (work discount) and asked about the co-pay.  To make a long story short I paid $112 copay for an $800 new Galaxy 8 Active phone. Yes, retail about $800.00, geez! The guy in the store was really shocked that I got such a good deal. He was really helpful transferring all the data from the one phone to the other. It's a heavier phone with really long battery life and tons of storage. I thought it was kind of funny that being a homesteader of sorts I wound up with a military grade phone! It has little rubber bumpers on each corner and actual screws on the frame on the outside. I did order a couple of inexpensive covers as the back is a little bit slippery. It's great to know that it is waterproof, dust proof, sand proof, etc. It'll be nice for blogging since I can now take photos on my phone and upload them to my photo editor on my computer. I used to be able to do that but the plug-in port died a year or so ago. I was able to wirelessly charge the phone but I couldn't transfer any photos directly to my computer. I could upload them to Facebook and transfer them from there, but that was kind of a pain. So insurance may be a good idea for some people and with AT&T the co-pay goes down over time, it's not fixed. Even with the premium for the insurance of about $10 per month for the last 2 years, and the copay, I still wound up with a heck of a deal. I could have potentially bought a phone off of eBay, Amazon or some other website but I was wary of doing that. So,just a thought- if you're thinking about getting a new phone, slap a little insurance on it!

Farm Fresh Decor-
I finally hung up my Farm Fresh wall art, and I love it! Up close it looks like an original piece of art. I love the colors and size, perfect over my little side table. It's made of wood, 13.5" long x 24" tall x 0.62" thick, less than $20.00! More info here-


Jun 3, 2018

Blogger Changes and Anonymous Comments

Blogger Changes and Anonymous Comments-
I just wanted to update readers here as Google is changing some of the Blogger features. That is something I will be unable to modify. Typically I get emails alerting me when someone has made a comment, unless it is anonymous. I can go in quickly and answer any questions, or comments. Be aware that any anonymous comments here go into a spam folder. Typically I only check that periodically since there's nothing to tell me that anything is there. I went through the folder this morning and 99% of it was spam and there were a few actual comments. In the future if you want to make sure I see your comment please use some kind of log in. Otherwise it will go to spam central. I'll add a note on the home page as well. I don't want anyone to think I'm ignoring them! I love comments!!! So far I haven't detected any changes of any features on the blog. I've been trying to find the notification again that I received about the changes, but if I remember correctly some of those won't affect this blog. Some bloggers use features that I simply don't and so that's a moot point. So please let me know if you do see something odd that I may need to adjust. Thanks!!!
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