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...

Jan 19, 2020

My Favorite Things From 2019, Belated Holiday Desserts

Expanded front flower bed

My Favorite Things From 2019-
I didn't know quite where to start with this so I decided to go backwards through some photos to give me some ideas...


Early in the year I decided to transfer out of my job to another position within the same company. It was good in the short-term, as a good learning experience. For a variety of reasons I won't get into it has not been a good fit for me, so I am keeping my options open. That is one of the advantages of working for a large corporation!

I had a really great year as far as my health, not needing any surgery, or major dental work, for a change! Between having had multiple foot surgeries for bone spurs, gold crowns falling out, two thumb surgeries, a few other odds and ends,  I was ready for a break.

We've continued working on growing more of our own foods and preserving them. Got a great harvest from our peach tree, apple tree and a small pear tree. Rhubarb galore from our neighbor, bless her.



Sadly we did lose two of our hens to a local dog from what we can tell. We will be adding some more chicks to the flock early this summer, and shored up our perimeter. More eggs by fall hopefully!


We bought a new dishwasher which was awesome! Ours wasn't doing very well and was beyond repair and old. So we got our new made-in-America Bosch. Bosch brand used to be very expensive since they were made in Germany and shipped over, now they're made here. It's super quiet, got a great deal and does a great job!


We had some really pretty snow in February right around Valentine's Day which was a nice treat!


I continued on working and making different kinds of craft items, repainting things, and updating things sustainably, with thrifting, eBaying and generally frugally when possible.

Got rid of more stuff via selling things on eBay, and lots of donations, bought some more thrifted items instead of new-




In March Dave trimmed the Apple tree back by about a third, which was really helpful-


We started our herb box in April and I bought a really nice lavender topiary. The topiary has wintered over successfully under for wraps four layers of row covers-




In June we started moving toward a little bit more of a plant-based diet which has been somewhat hit and miss with the holidays. Started back up last with with Cuban black beans and brown rice! When I follow that kind of eating I feel better, already lost a size and 1/2, much less inflammation in my body, better labs-

Jack fruit tacos

In May Dave built some new tomato cages he designed, which resulted in a bumper crop of tomatoes last summer!!!


I rehabbed a somewhat dilapidated, neglected wind vane and made it look all shiny and new! Got cheap at a yard sale-


 Now on top of the coop!


We had a really wet spring and our perennial flowers just went crazy with growth,  lots and lots of blooms, it was a beautiful sight-






Had a busy summer with gardening and lots of other activities, in July we went to a local Lavender Festival which was gorgeous!




It was sad that we lost a major branch off of our front yard Peach tree, but luckily the tree is has survived so far after Dave's repair job, will thin more this year!




During summer harvest I canned lots of peaches (2 kinds), froze green beans, tomatoes, bell peppers. We had our first ears of corn which was okay,  but not as juicy as I would have liked-






Made new recipes, like stuffed Italian Marconi peppers- 


We went to our local Idaho State Historical Museum which has been totally remodeled a few years ago. They had great displays and this antique chicken pitcher was one of my favorites!






In late September we rented a house on the Oregon coast and split it with her two girls families and Arthur daughters boyfriend. We had a great time and the weather wasn't too bad. To see a fun local Coastal museum-




I made each of the girls a memory jar from the trip, as Christmas gifts! We brought home sand from the beach, seaweed, drift wood and shells-


In October we totally redid our small master bathroom, after living here 12 years. It's really a half bath. It came out great with new flooring, Ikea cabinet/counter/sink, Ikea faucet, new toilet, new TP holder, new glass knobs for the lower cabinet, fresh paint and calm, coastal accessories. Gained floor space with a shallower cabinet footprint-

Already had the Ikea medicine cabinet from the year before




Re-used thrifted rack-











November was pretty quiet and then we had a late Thanksgiving which morphed right into December and the winter holidays. It was busy but fun. November was when I also made my first two batches of homegrown Berry syrups-


Went to McCall for our anniversary-






Flew to Portland the weekend after Christmas, to see Dave's family at the annual Oliver Christmas party. Wished we'd stayed longer to see some of the sights, but had to go back to work! 

Mt. Hood from the air


Photo from Annabel Langbein Chocolate Cake website

Belated Holiday Desserts-
Sorry I didn't post these sooner! My two faves for the holidays, or whenever. The link above has the recipe for the  gluten free chocolate almond cake. The next one is for my British tea cake type dessert- Willamsburg Queen's cake, the currants and orange REALLY make this cake unusual. Keeps for over a week.





Jan 12, 2020

Winter Wonderland! I Finally Have Flowers, Dining Table Crate



Winter Wonderland!
We woke up this morning to light snow falling and about an inch on the ground! So pretty! I thought by noon it would be all gone, but it was still snowing and at one point we had probably about 2", maybe a little more. I got some nice photos before most of it melted this afternoon, but there is more on the way this next week. Happy dance! Here are some photos around the yard show how pretty it was, not in any particular order...















My favorite shot!!!















I Finally Have Flowers-
I had quite the adventure this winter starting sometime before Thanksgiving. I was looking all over for a white or cream-colored amaryllis and could not find any. Instead of buying the red ones that were everywhere I kept looking and basically at Christmas I had no amaryllis. I had a wild idea to try Trader Joe's New Year's Eve night and found this great Amaryllis Garden for $15. It had three giant amaryllis bulbs (unknown colors), as well as a beautiful little Ivy, surrounded by moss in a really nice little wooden crate. What a steal! I gave it a regular little watering and the two smaller ones bloomed a few days ago and the large main stock bloomed today. It smells heavenly in the dining room. I read up on how to keep amaryllis bulbs after they bloom and will do that and have them again next year! Thank you Trader Joe's, for the cream and white blooms!



Staked them up



Dining Table Crate-
I found this cute little dining room crate on LTD Commodities a while back, bought it for after the holidays and I love it! On the side it has great graphics and quote. I always use table runners and have some kind of a small tray or basket holding regularly used condiments. So is perfect for the space, just a little something to organize things. Love the metal, rusty corners and rope handles!!!





Grandma's toothpick holder goes well with it too!

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