Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, food preservation, thrifting,
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Jul 23, 2016

Reorganizing A Pantry, Our First Peach Harvest! What Would You Plant & Grow?

Reorganizing A Pantry-
With the heat, 100 degrees this last week, I've been doing some inside projects. I started my spare bedroom closet to pantry conversion about four years ago. I wanted to be able to store more food, supplies and save money. My kitchen has limited storage. When you have a good assortment of healthy foods and supplies on hand it makes life easier! Along with our small chest freezer it's a way to save $$$ and be prepared. I have some REALLY serious concerns about our future with various national and international situations. It's never to late too start! Do yourself and your family a favor- don't store junk. Store whole grains, fruits, veggies, beans, condiments, oils, and baking supplies. Here was the initial pantry set up Reorganizing Food Pantry It was a good place to start. I realized I needed to tweak it, and then tweak again. I think a pantry needs to be dynamic since our lives are always changing. Working full time now I won't be using quite so many dried beans for instance. Canned beans are faster and still pretty cheap for the small amount we use. I store things like extra candles, a large flashlight, and a water filter to filter the 55 gallons of water in our barrel if needed. I knew I had to rotate some foods, discard some items, so I reorganized today, with Dave's help. We dumped old dry beans, a small amount of canned goods and moved some things around. I added my extra kitchen plates out of the kitchen to the bedroom. I also moved small appliances from my steel rack to the closet. I also reorganized the steel rack. Not many jars of canned apples left! The rack is now ready for canning season. I wound up having spare containers, so they're off for donations tomorrow-

Dry herbs to jar up

Extra dishes up and out of the way 

Small appliances on the bottom, extra water, veggies, dry goods

Long term storage foods

I found this great vintage Atlas Strong Shoulder Mason jar in the closet too, full of beans. It's clear, but in great shape. I may fill it full of seashells for the summer. I love old things!

Steel rack reorganized, all those empty jars will be full soon!

To save room on this steel rack I used a large clear tote and moved the large canning supplies to the garage. Clean and ready to use. I decided not to use that space for some things I use only a few times a year. Prioritize your pantry! Keep what you use on a regular basis in easy reach, store the rest elsewhere if you can. A spare bedroom is ideal to start storing foods! Under your bed, a coat closet, just use something!!! Get started now, a little at a time, and remember buy what you like and will eat, and limit junk.

Our First Peach Harvest! 
After planting our peach tree last year we have our first small crop! It was easy to plant and here is how I blogged about it- How To Add A Fruit Tree to Your Yard  They were dead ripe and the best way to eat them, in my opinion, is raw, just sheer perfection! Like this perfect dessert-

Sliced, warm from the tree, on top of vanilla ice cream, with a little cinnamon and sugar

Our great little peach tree, adds some shade too! Time to prune now that we harvested.

Pears are doing great, more than I thought! Maybe 30 or so!!! Big but still not ripe-

What Would You Plant & Grow?
I asked Dave to clean out our garden junk corner last weekend, too much heavy lifting for my back :(
On Craig's list I gave away some concrete blocks and steel garden posts. We moved our extra lumber and tomato posts to the area to the left, behind the side of the house. Stored but out of sight. Some old wood went to the dump, too rotted. That leaves this area open to plant. So I'm thinking, plant what? The concrete pavers will stay for drainage issues, but that leaves about 6 feet along the S. fence and another 4 feet along the chicken wire. Maybe more berries on the wire and a tall shrub on the fence? What would you plant? I'm thinking about buying something while the prices are going down. If I wait til Fall there's not so many choices. What to do??? I could also divide some berries for free, but I'd need to buy a shrub, so what do you think???

Jul 17, 2016

Kitchen/Bath Re-Do One Year Later, Instant Asian Dinner, Banana Bread

Kitchen/Bath Re-Do One Year Later-
I deep cleaned my kitchen yesterday and was reflecting our kitchen and small bath re-do last summer. I'm happy that everything has held up well, cleans easily and still looks bright and airy! These are new photos, since I have tweaked things-

Here are my posts showing what we did, on a small budget, with before and afters- paint, new back splash, sink, etc.- Backsplash Re-do  Starting Kitchen Re-do  Kitchen Re-do Part 2

I also did a frugal mini-makeover on my small master bath, with a new back splash, and moved some things around-

Link here to my before and after-  Mini-bathroom Makeover Refresh

Instant Asian Dinner-
What to do for dinner after you've been cleaning the kitchen all afternoon? Instant Asian! Take one roasted store bought chicken, remove skin and cut in chunks. Add to a salad mix from Costco, toss the salad with most of the dressing, top with chicken, cashews, wonton strips, rest of dressing and sesame seeds. Excellent!!!

$4.00 at Costco

Banana Bread-
What do you do with 6 black bananas? Make a loaf of banana bread! I used this recipe Banana Bread   and added 1 cup of pecans and 1/2 cup raisens. Super moist and delish!!!

Jul 4, 2016

Happy Independence Day! Independence Days Challenge

Happy Independence Day!-
Happy 4th of July! We had our family get together last night. When you have in-laws we share the holidays :)  We had Muffuletta sandwichs (easy to make ahead of time), watermelon, green salad (from daughter), drinks (from other daughter)  and my apple blueberry cobbler. I love making great, healthy, flavorful meals and watching others inhale them! If I had the $ to potentially lose I'd love to open a little cafe, just cook and stand back and watch others enjoy the meals. It was 95 degrees yesterday so we ate inside. About 85 today. We went and saw the new Independence Day Resurgence movie today, excellent! We cleaned cars, did yard work then went to the movie. Good choice. Here's to a relaxing day for you!!!

Independence Days Challenge-
Here's a small snippet, lucky we had a four day weekend!!!

1. Plant Something- We ripped out some invasive lamb's ear and an old yarrow. We replaced with a deep blueberry colored Echinacea and a reddish yarrow. Looks much better!  It was all overgrown and needed to be thinned. This is a strip next to our driveway dividing our lots and the neighbors. We've let it get a bit overgrown. Next weekend I'm pruning big time!!!

 2. Harvest Something- Lots of eggs, chives, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, marionberries, raspberries, still waiting on tomatoes and other veggies but we have lots! Flowers are doing great-

old Echinacea

Shasta daisies

My $5.00 geranium's huge and blooms constantly!

Peaches getting big! Apples and pears are coming along

3. Preserve/Store Something- Freezing breads, cheeses on sale. Canning will wait for the apple harvest. Will start pickling veggies soon. I may can dill pickles this year, haven't decided yet. Fermenting certainly is more sour.

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep- Dave got a new vacuum 40% off after our's died. Good timing. Had a $10.00 off $40.00 purchase at a local feed store. Bought 4 bags of bark dust, wild bird food, and the 2 new plants. 

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe- Using up more of my canned apple slices for cobblers.  Found a new strawberry cream pie recipe :) Saving that for next weekend.

6. Build Community Food Systems- Giving the kids eggs, will go to a farmer's market soon now that warm weather crops are coming in. Still buying local artisan breads at our local discount store.

7. Recycle/Re-Use- Made charity donations recently, with another bag to go. Giving chickens leftovers as usual.

8. Skill Up- Nothing off the top of my head.

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something- Got some old blackberries re-growing better with more soil (winter erosion), water and fertilizer. They look great! Dave reseeded part of the yard in our turf after paint spilled during or painting the house :( 
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