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...

Dec 29, 2011

"Hour Exchange" in Maine- Bartering System

It's so nice to see this kind of thing on the national news! Maybe it will inspire people! I posted it to Youtube to help share the idea. Pass it on! Thanks!



Hour-Exchange-Program- Text from article and video.

Here's their program page- Hourexchangeportland.org/ 

Dec 28, 2011

Happy New Year- Time to Reflect



Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life it's easy to lose track of the really important things in life. The old saying "if you don't have your health, you've got nothing" seems pretty true right now. My husband was reading a family Christmas letter he got yesterday (they always send them late!) detailing who got married, who had kids, who moved, who died. As you get older, you start seeing that "gone" list more. We are getting to be elders in our expanding little tribe.

Every time I get a yearly physical, I hold my breath. While I feel fine, you never know what can be lurking. When everything comes back good, you breathe a sigh of relief. I've started seeing others infirmity more clearly around in our tribe- the one with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, and his caretaker stressing. The one's who forget to close the dishwasher door when their guests are in town, too distracted to notice. Do they do that when they don't have guests? The cancer survivor, who bounced back. The older ones fixing up a place and I wonder- what will happen if one passes or becomes unable to help? Who will pick up the pieces?

I'm very glad Dave and I downsized our home and simplified our lives five years ago. If a major complication arose, we, or each of us individually, would be fine. Sometimes those tough decisions earlier give you a sense of peace later, and it all makes sense. Sometimes the tribe leaves me scratching my head, and that's okay. I just watch from another angle and let it unfold. Sometimes distance gives you perspective.

When we went to Portland recently to see Dave's large, extended family for an early holiday gathering, we went to Willamette National Cemetery. Three of our parents are buried there, and my father has a marker, as he wanted to be cremated. It was wet and muddy, but beautiful. It was very busy being expanded, I'm sure due to the war and the aging veteran population. Both my parent served in the Navy during WW2. Dave's father served in the Army during the same time. It's a beautiful facility. As we walked along a narrow road I thought of how much nature surrounded the place, when 3 beautiful deer crossed the grass ahead of us. I smiled. Life goes on, even in a cemetery...



Dec 24, 2011

Happy Holidays! Ikea Trip


Happy holidays, and we will put out something for the tomtens and their helpers tonite!
llustrations by Jenny Nystrom

                                      

Portland Trip- I had planned on doing a longer blog about my recent trip to Portland to see my husband's family. Then two days after we got back, food poisoning (best guess). Ugh, I spend most of the last two days in bed, but am feeling much better, just low energy. More to come....


IKEA Trip- I did make my first ever trip to an IKEA store, as they built it after we left Portland, of course. I picked up a new set of white dishes, a great price, and some various kitchen goods- new dish towels, a table runner, a 2-sided grater, winter napkins that have cross-stitch snowflakes (cute!), winter cookie cutters, gooseberry and lingonberry preserves (big chunks of fruit!),  a juicer (with 2 sizes for large and small- love the Swedes!), herring, and Swedish meatballs. I'm grateful that I was able to get this much due to an unexpected bonus on our paychecks! Good timing, and my dishes especially were pretty beat up. I will say, I love their prices and variety. I could get lost in there though, it's huge!

I mentioned to someone how much I enjoyed the IKEA displays of tiny rooms, and their use of space. She replied- yeah, it's great if you're in college. Oh well, some people still live large in a shrinking and aging world. To each their own. I was glad to come home to our relatively energy-efficient, warm, cozy home, and firm bed! I see aging people who are in large homes, and wonder what will happen when they are gone and their children have to deal with things? The debt involved, not to mention the work? Life happens so fast, and you can't always plan for it...

Going into the new year I'm grateful for my family, friends, and health (except the recent bout). Someone told me in a doc's office last week for my yearly "you sure look younger" (than 55). I just smiled!

Happy New Year if I don't post before then...


  A vintage german color new year's postcard. I love the lucky pig :)

Dec 8, 2011

Winter Chickens, Pagan Christmas Origins, Rescued Beagles



                         
I let the girls out a bit today. It's been really cold, 20-ish, so I let them stretch their legs out in the backyard since it was sunny. They've been pretty much in the fenced veggie garden area outside the "sunroom"after we get home.



Sweetheart Ellie, who I bonded with during her recent wormy illness. I love the photos of her on my chair looking out the picture window! I found 2 very petite eggs, from Buffy and Ellie today, in the same nesting box! Finally! Dave kept calling them "your defective chickens". Now all 3 are laying, with shorter days, a bit off cycle. We got the 2 close to summer, so I figured they might not lay much til after winter.

                                         
 Pagan Christmas Origins-                                                                                          
Anthropology has always fascinated me, and here's a good book that will spin your head around, in a good way- Pagan Christmas: The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide                   Available at- Amazon.com  Really fascinating info on the very ancient, pre-Christian origins of most of the Christmas traditions. Who knew??? 

Get Out the Hankies, What a Miraculous Ending!
These beagles, who spent their lives in metal boxes in a medical research lab, see sunlight and feel grass under their paws for the first time-

More information of these wonderful dogs and their rescue workers here- blogs.discovery.com








Dec 3, 2011

Tiny Houses and Free Techy Fun!

                                  

Tiny House Film- While it's not for everyone, I find the tiny house movement really interesting. Amidst the materialism and McMansions, it's great to see people willing to push the boundaries of what makes a "home". Tiny, The Story of a Small House is a short documentary about Christopher Smith’s process of building a tiny house from scratch with no building experience in the mountains of Colorado. The film also follows the lives of other families around the country who have downsized their lives to less than 400 square feet. This is from Tinyhouseblog.com



What are your necessities for a home? How much do you need? I think I could do 500 feet maybe. I also love home made out of alternative, recycled materials, like these-


grain silo


Shipping container or "ISBU’s" inter-modal steel building units 


Techy Free Fun-                                                   
Want to watch the sunny tropics at home while you look at the snow flying in your yard? Or see what's going on all over the world? Try Earthcam.com

Dec 2, 2011

Animal Helpers

                 Article-1303400584673-0BB846D300000578-63447_466x310


This article was so touching I had to post it-

Lean: Seeing-Eye-Goose Befriends Blind Dog

Take a gander at this animal odd couple!
A blind Boxer named Baks has gotten a whole new lease on life thanks to a good samaritan goose named Buttons. Yes, you read that right. This is not a joke. 

Baks has been taken under the 'wing' of Buttons, a four-year-old goose who now leads her vision-impaired pal around everywhere either by hanging onto him with her neck, or by honking to tell him which way to go. How hilarious is that?!

Owner Renata Kursa of Lublin, Poland, was heartbroken when poor lil' Bak was left blind after an accident last year. But gradually Buttons got him up on his feet and starting walking him around. They're inseparable now - they even chase the postman together,' Kursa tells the Telegraph UK. Go Buttons! What's good for the goose is also apparently good for...the...boxer.

Original source-blogs.discovery.com


Make me wonder sometimes if humanity doesn't have an awful lot to learn from the earth's creatures???
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