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

Aug 19, 2017

Independence Days Challenge

Independence Days Challenge-
It's almost starting to feel like early Autumn right now. Cooler at night, days getting shorter, but the forest fire smoke has returned. Oh well, at least we had deep blue skies earlier this week! This is what I call high summer here at our little homestead- tall perennials, huge Russian sages, apple tree loaded! The basil is big and ready for pesto making to freeze. Some of this I'm trying to hold off unit Labor Day weekend, 5 days off for me! I'm taking the following Tues./Wed. off. Nice to have a longer break to work on more food preserving! Dave will be at a family re-union next weekend. It will be nice to have the weekend to myself, to work on projects and have some sushi out! Dave's not a Japanese food fan, so a friend and I are going out! I see some crafts I may do as well. I have really been enjoying reading Wendy's posts here 21 Days Until Teotwawki, Day Zero chronicling major financial changes in their family and how to cope, think outside the box. You never know when the rug will be pulled out from under you. Good to have some things already in place. Anyway, here it is for now, my ID Days. This is really one of the best things I can look at to let me know how things are going, and staying focused. Given world events I am working on storing more foods right now, etc. Nice to know I have a useful skill set.

1. Plant Something-
No fall planting here, but  have 2 lavenders (1/2 price) sitting on the deck. Will plant tomorrow now that it's cooled off a bit.  

2. Harvest Something-
I picked our 1st Lemon cuke last week, amazing! Now our Italian peppers, Gypsy peppers and tomatoes are ripening- 

I read a few ways to cook the Italian peppers, including grilling with a little Olive oil, or " Luscious on an egg, pepper, and provolone sandwich made with good Italian bread!" Oh boy!!! I'll experiment, but they're not hot, but sweet, yum.

Hens are starting to lay again yay! I increased some protein snacks and it's cooling. 60 this morning and only in the 80's. Thankful for that! 

3. Preserve/Store Something-
 Fermenting some Curtido. Still freezing blackberries, we have abut 2 Qts. Will freeze tomatoes as the ripen. They froze great last year, just wash, dry, quarter, and into a plastic container! Easy. Apples will be ready soon, hopefully for my five day weekend over Labor Day. I hope. Pears sometime after that. May make some pear butter.

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep-
Negotiating $75.00 off a Dr. bill. Unreasonable charges, and THEY suggested. Dave got a $650.00 refund on his FSA card, unexpected! Got a nice, new-ish work blouse on Ebay, LL Bean, scored! I adore their wrinkle/stain resistant blouses. Perfect out of the dryer.

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe-
I just saw some recipes for Chilaquiles, a Mexican dish I hadn't heard of. Two recipes here - and  These are basically eggs with a enchilada style sauce with tomato, on top of chips with cheese. The Tillamook recipe has a fun history of it. Basically day old stale chips topped with eggs, etc. This could be modified easily!  

6. Build Community Food Systems-
Bought some local fingerling potatoes from a small local market. 

 7. Recycle/Re-Use-
I saw a "free box" after a yard sale near our house and got both of  these-

Ceramic counter canister, perfect! Not sure where it will go yet, I may paint? Hmmm.

Heavy plate rack

Perfect for some cook books I want to see to use!

 8. Skill Up-
Learning some new things setting up my new Etsy shop. Looking at a craft demo to see how it sells. I think it will do really well. We'll see...

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something-
Am planning on getting something to clean up my headlight covers on my car. Getting pretty hazy. Tried a DIY version, no worky. I want them BRIGHT for the shorter days coming...

Aug 15, 2017

Vacation Day (Sort Of) Peach Blueberry Bread and More, My New Etsy Shop!

Curtido Making

Vacation Day (Sort Of) Peach Blueberry Bread and More-
I had planned on taking the day off work today to can peaches, etc. We've been giving peaches to our kids, freezing some, making jams, eating raw and making desserts. We didn't really have enough to bother canning, since we'd frozen and used up some last week. I wanted to do something different today with some of our peaches. I saw we had some frozen blueberries, did some research and made this- peach blueberry bread. Excellent! Moist and delish! I did add some cinnamon sugar on top before baking. It's not overly sweet, and next time I might add some chopped nuts/ brown sugar/butter crumbles on top-

I also made a big blueberry peach cobbler using a modified version of this Apple Blueberry Cobbler subbing peaches for apples-

I wanted to make Fermented Curtido Salvadorian Sauerkraut for a while. It's fermented, so there's lots of probiotics, and it's spicy! I made it a few years and it's worth the prep time. Lots of slicing on my little mandolin (very sharp!). Didn't cut myself :) I got 90% of the pounded mixture into my fermenting jar, amazing! It's setup is really fool proof and safe, so it was a good investment. A cheap mandolin was great for this too, just slice carefully. For the price of two heads of cabbage, etc., you have a great side dish!

I used a giant mixed bowl, and finished pounding with a french pastry roller, works great. Bought up the brine pretty quickly. Do this before you mop, it's messy!

Now on the pantry rack, but covered with a towel, 10 days to go!

My New Etsy Shop!
I'm happy to announce I have a new Etsy shop! It's called LittlehomesteadFinds, and there's a link on the right border of this blog. I have one item for sale right now. It's an amazing African tribal basket, leather with Cowrie seashells that I've had for years-

I've been downsizing lots of things over the years, and still had this. If you're interested, please let me know, might be able to give you a reader discount :) I will be adding more over time, and have a farm style organizing craft in the works. No details yet. I'm excited!

Aug 12, 2017

Organic Peach Harvest Time! Fave Kitchen Re-Do From Design On A Dime

Peach Harvest Time!
Happy dance, we finally have peaches! Two years ago we added a peach tree to our front yard, detailed here How To Add A Fruit Tree To Your Landscaping . Last year we had one peach, this year it's a BUMPER CROP!  I think the wet spring helped. I chose the Red Haven variety as it is a freestone (pit comes out easily), ripens early (since we have 2 other fruit trees) and is a thin-skinned peach. less fuzz. The last time I made anything it from local peaches was 2012 More Peach Jam . We lost our nectarine tree, and had an amazing peach tree at our last house 10+ years ago. It was a long wait but worth it! We've been eating them fresh, and I made a peach milkshake last night! OMG!!! Yummy. I used this low sugar recipe last time and it was a keeper, just buy the low sugar pectin -Easy Low Sugar Peach Jam. I do make a small part pf the batch "spiced", add some cinnamon and cloves. Tastes like a peach pie :) Anya said all the peach processing sounded exhausting-

Then she took a nap in my enamel washbasin for picking-

We realized today the squirrels were after the peaches so we picked all of them. We already froze 10 one gallon bags last week. I am taking Tuesday off work to process more, if the kids haven't picked up the rest. The rest are inside where it's safe and cooler. I want to make a peach bread too this weekend. Lots of recipe online. First I got out my jars and supplies, set up the processing areas, disinfected the sink, etc.- 

Cooling area

Cleaned jars

Where I will fill jars, easier to cover, then wash


I love the color of the jam! I made 14 1/2 pints, 2 pints, not bad for a few hours work!

I made 2/3 regular and 1/3 spiced, all labeled. It's fun to hear the pinging of the lids. While some don't do this I follow the old method- put boiling jam into hot, sterilized jars, seal, turn upside down for about 15 minutes. Turn back over, put on a cooling rack. As they cool the seals ping. Easy for jams and jellies. I've never had a seal fail this way.

We realized today the squirrels were after the peaches so we picked all of them. We already froze 10 - one gallon bags last week. I am taking Tuesday off work to process more, if the kids haven't picked up the rest. The rest are inside where it's safe and cooler. I want to make a peach bread too this weekend. Lots of recipe online. I also need to blanch and freeze collard greens, kale and make pesto to freeze. Tuesday will be busy preserving foods! It's amazing to cut up fruit, still warm from the tree, throw it in a pot and preserve! Talk about local! It will be nice to have the apples too, when they get ripe. Pears as well. It's been a great harvest year. Tomatoes are getting there slowly, lot there but green. Peppers doing well, eating batches of green beans weekly.

Love the color! Red haven indeed!

My peach crisp last weekend was great!

Fave Kitchen Re-Do From Design On A Dime-
I recently checked out the Design On A Dime book from the library for some bedroom ideas. I spotted this and remembered it from years ago. How cute, bright and colorful! Just paint, new pendant lights, art, mini curtains, small accessories and lots of vibrant colors. They were shooting for a colorful old world bistro look, sorry for the lighting on the photos. Link here Kitchen On A Dime

Painted canvas floor mat, love it!

Nice dressed up seating area
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