Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, food preservation, thrifting,
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Oct 28, 2012

French Apple Tarte Tatin




French Apple Tarte Tatin-
After seeing this on Ohiofarmgirl's site Pie aka Tarte Tatin I had to make one. I found this recipe-French Apple Tarte Tatin and modified it slightly. I didn't peel the apples or make my own crust (too short on time). I actually like the skins on, but it probably didn'tt have the same delicate texture. I added a tiny bit of cinnamon to the sugar and a dusting of nutmeg on top of the apples. I just love those flavors! I think my skillet was a little too big, next time I'll use more apples. Here's the pan bubbling away-


It's always tricky flipping something boiling hot, but I flipped it onto a foil-covered baking sheet just fine. I didn't have a big enough plate.

Served warm with a little cream on top, yummy!

Oct 27, 2012

Storm Prep- Your Power's Out, Now What? Chicken Sun Room, First Snow/Fresh Cabbage/Last Tomatoes & Herbs




Frankenstorm Coming-
I always feel bad for folks in harm's way during oncoming storms. The good news is that if you know it's coming you can be better prepared. I always keep lots of winter/storm supplies on hand, just in case. I've learned the hard way that when things GO it may be too late. Here's a good little video with some ideas:
My Power's Out- Now What?


Chicken Sun Room-
Now that the cold weather has set in we reassembled our chicken "sun room" from last year. It's made with almost all recycled parts, like glass shower doors from the local Habitat store, salvaged wood, etc. It gives the hens more room, about double the space of the coop, to spread out in really bad wet/ultra cold temps (think 10 degrees or less). We have a screen door for when it's more moderate or a glass door. We can still let them out in the garden too as needed. Dave put out a fresh layer of pine shavings (deep litter method) after we let the soil dry out for a week or so. Works great! Dave built a new perch too, as the old one hanging from the chain wasn't much liked by the girls...  They're working on some scratch mix I threw in, yummy!


First Snow/Fresh Cabbage/Last Tomatoes/Last Herbs-
After the cold weather set in and the first snow hit the foothills, I decided to harvest my fresh cabbage. Great smell and flavor! Three small heads, but hey, I planted them in the summer. About large apple to grapefruit sized. I used the last of my counter top-ripened tomatoes on top of a Big Pep pizza from Papa Murphy's. There were some wonderful varieties mixed together, especially the orange/red heirloom variety-

I added some oregano, garlic powder and Parmesan on top, WOW!!! Amazing...

I also harvested the last of my oregano and lemon thyme, now drying on the counter-

It's great to have several bags of dried organic herbs for the winter





Oct 21, 2012

Flannel Sheets Cozy Time, Banana Bread & Winter Prep


Lucky me, a bee lighted on my calendula!

Flannel Sheets Time-
Ah, flannel sheets time! Time to cozy up the house, with all the nice touches for winter weather coming. Dave washed the heavy comforter (thanks honey!) at the local laundrymat. It's too big to do in our washer, so it's one of those once-a-year chores. Since he was working on a book I asked him to do it this year, so I could do other chores. What a guy:)

Here's some fall/winter colors, and Halloween touches around the house-

front porch, with light up pumpkin light up top

Sumac tree, I love the fall colors!

I bought this a few years back :)

     One of my favorite thrift finds- velveteen and quilted pillow covers, I use them on the couch

I finally found another reasonably priced carpet for the living room, $45 at Ross! No pad needed...

A little fall color for my dining table too, Ross $4.00

Living room table




I had an extra quilt so I "autumn-ized" the spare bedroom couch, free!

Banana Bread-
I got some free bananas last week and let them go brown for some banana bread. I used this recipe-
 Banana Bread and it came out great! I was a little short on the banana, so I subbed a little apple sauce. I also added 1 cup of chopped pecans. Very moist and not too sweet! One of my favorite breakfasts as a kid on a cold, rainy morning was a slice of banana bread and a cup of hot cocoa! I used my own eggs from today too, and funny- they all use the same nesting box, with the other two empty, go figure...


Winter Prep-
The garden is finally put to bed, coop deep cleaned, compost spread, it's rained twice and so it looks kind of sad, but hey, it's winter soon! We'll put up the chicken "sun room" in another week or so for their extra winter space in really nasty weather. They LOVED it last year.


The first snow is forecast for tomorrow night in the foothills, it's hitting the 30's at night now. The news says it'll hit the upper 20's next week. I keep a close eye on the girls this time of year- we'll turn on the waterer heat so the water won't freeze, then eventually turn on the condo Ceramic Infrared Disc . I found it's much cheaper to use than a red light, they'll last for years. They're also a gentle heat and very safe. I found ours at the local PetSmart in the reptile section.

Rosie digging for worms in the raised bed, they're only allowed in there now. Cabbages about ready to harvest

I see something!!!!



Oct 20, 2012

Being Prepared For Food Emergencies, Good Deal For Food Storage?





Being Prepared For Food Emergencies-
Last month was National Emergency Preparedness Month. I've been thru earthquakes in S. California, and ice storms that left me without power for 3 days with no heat. As with any emergency, whatever it might be, it's PLANNING AHEAD that counts. We've been hit with various financial emergencies due to medical situations. I don't have the storage room for huge amounts of home canned food, or the room to grow everything we eat in this climate. I randomly look around for possible dried foods to buy to store. Some you can eat as needed, some might be for real emergency use only. With fuel prices up produce is going up some here too. Fresh is always best, but then there's the spoilage issue. I see many "mainstream" folks who blog still only relying on going to the grocery store, period. Those people really worry me as to their long-term situation. While I'm not a gloom and doomer hoarding food and shotguns, it's good to be realistic. One blizzard here could cut off the highways to grocery trucks that deliver. The stores would be empty fast. Ditto any other closure to the highways. Ditto quakes, while we're not at high risk stuff happens. And usually when you least expect it. That's why it becomes an "emergency". Well, duh. Anyway, this got me looking at me email from Costco today....

Good Deal For Food Storage?-
Anyone have any ideas about these items? Cost ration compared to what you've seen? I know some people rely just on local foods, but in my climate that's pretty limiting (unless I want just taters all winter). I will add- I know some people prefer dried to freeze-dried due to the texture, etc. There's lots of philosophies on which is better, but it does get down to what you can buy, will eat and will store for you, in your circumstances. That's really the bottom line, for me at least.

                                       Freeze-Dried Fruit Variety Emergency Food Bucket By Chef's Banquet
                                             Freeze Dried Fruit Bucket

                                       320 Total Servings of Dried Vegetable Variety Emergency Food Pail By Chef's Banquet
                                              Freeze Dried Veggie Bucket

Having our own fresh eggs, dried eggs, dried milk & butter  for long term storage, I'm mostly looking for fruits and veggies. My freezer is full right now, but if we lost power for a while, that would be gone...There is our regular pantry food, but that varies as far as shelf life.

                                 

Other Things To Think About-
And then there's other things to store, WATER being a BIG one for me, as we live in the city in a "high desert". I do know where to go locally for open water, IF I could get there and it wasn't frozen. When I see some people in highly dense urban areas who have NO water stored, not even a couple of cheap gallons I shake my head. You can go without food for  a while, but not WATER. Our two 55 gallon rain barrels are full now, and we have a good water filter to use with those. If they were frozen and we needed those that would be exciting :(  I do have several gallon water jugs stored and am going to buy more going into winter.... It's cheap when you don't need them :)


Some good additional info here, Ready.gov , the Red Cross and others have some too.

Oct 18, 2012

Independence Days Update, It RAINED! Winter Approaching


I add my own touch to the sticky note

Independence Days Update-
1. Plant Something- Nothing til spring.

2. Harvest Something- Eggs, collard greens, herbs (no hard freeze yet).

3. Preserve/Store Something- Been adding things to the freezer- bread, butter, veggies. I'm done canning and dehydrating for now.

4. Manage Reserves- Get A Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep- Watching for good deals at the store, keeping the pantry and freezer stocked. I found some great frozen Marie Callender's lasagna at the grocery outlet. I can't even make it from scratch for $9.00! It has a LOT less salt than the other brand I used to buy. Got some free apples from a friend. Rain barrels are full from the first storm that blew thru. Dave got a good deal for the new coop light at a building supplies thrift store. Got some free fruit from a work pal. Can't say who he/she is :)

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipes- Eating more collard greens, healthy stuff! Made baked eggs, and some jambalaya! Making bigger batches of stuff to save time and use leftovers better. I always roast 2 chickens at a time when I do that, and that makes for simple dinners over several nights. Using applesauce from the freezer, veggies, misc. stuff from pantry.

6. Build Community Food Systems- Selling extra eggs each week! Farmer's markets are winding down.

7. Recycle/Re-Use- Compost as always, leaves are starting to fall, will add those to the flower beds for winter protection. Rain barrels are full. Cleaned the coop and all the pine shavings went into the veggie garden, yummy! Table scraps to the hens.

8. Skill Up- Getting a new book to read about surviving the depression. Learned how to make sprouts for chickens! Recently treated "bumblefoot" on my one hen. What fun :)

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something- Hmmm, still thinking about that. Dave cleaned the gutters before the storm, good timing.

   before the storm hit.
From the local news- Storm outside Boise before it hit. I always forget to take pictures of the RAIN!

It RAINED! Winter Approaching-
Now that it finally rained the dust has settled, and leaves are coming down. I went from a polar fleece jacket in the morning and fuzzy gloves to a light coat and thicker gloves (I do morning bus duty). Switched to long sleeves, but still cotton blouses. I'll be in flannel and corduroy shirts soon for work. I love those in the winter since it's 70+ in the winter inside my work area. I wish I could turn down our boiler. Old building, oh well. It's hitting the upper/mid 30's at night and today it was 65. Nice. My oregano and thyme hasn't frozen yet. We haven't had a full fledged freeze yet but soon, maybe next week. 50's for the highs next week, that means winter soon! I am so ready. This was THE longest, hottest summer I can remember, with NO summer rain storms. I just hope we get some SNOW this winter! Snow day!!!!

                        

                       I know it's early, but I can dream can't I?

Oct 15, 2012

Winter Sprouting For Chickens, New Winter Coop Light, Let There Be Rain!




Winter Sprouting For Chickens-
If you live in a freezing climate like I do your poor hens can't get any green grubs unless you give them some in the winter. While our girls get plenty of kitchen scraps, sometimes they just need something different. I read this-   Growing Sprouts For Your Chickens and though BINGO, that's it! Fast, easy and cheap. I already have a sprouting jar too, although you can easily make your own...



New Winter Coop Light-
I was wanting the girls to pay for their feed, since I'm I'm selling eggs every week now ($3.00 a dozen). We decided to install a "winter light" to encourage their winter egg production. I researched it and most people add a incandescent bulb, but since there's outdoor fluorescent bulbs and they're cheaper to run.... well Dave found one! It was at the Habitat for Humanity store, new and in the box, and only $11.00 (bulb/tube included)! What a deal! Dave wired it in and he put it on a timer, easy peasy. Here's the fixture-


Nice and enclosed

Safe and cool to the touch

Let there be light!!!

Let There Be Rain!-
It sprinkled a little last night, but the first BIG storm is forecast tonite and tomorrow. Finally! We've had little rain since the end of MAY :(  It's coming to an end hopefully. I'm ready and the coop is ready :)
Enh Infrared Satellite - North West Current

Anya discovered the heating vent last week when we finally turned on the furnace :)  -


             
Anya laying in the low fall afternoon sun on her blankie

Oct 10, 2012

Inspiring Depression Era Book- "We Had Everything But Money"




Inspiring Depression Era Book-

I stumbled on to this book,  We Had Everything But Money so I might order it! Here's a little snippet from the book:

 One Sunday we wanted to take our new baby to see her grandma, but we didn't have the 25¢ needed to buy a gallon of gas.

We did have hens, though, and 11 eggs. At that time, eggs sold for 25¢ a dozen. So we all got dressed up, and then we sat and waited for one of the hens to lay an egg! Finally one of then cackled, my husband put that egg with the 11 others, we took them to the store and exchanged them for a gallon of gas. Off we went to see Grandma!

How great is that!


Oct 7, 2012

Easy Herbed-Baked Egg Recipe & More

Ina Garten's baked eggs with collard greens, and broiled herb cheese bread


Easy Herbed Baked Egg Recipe & More-
I saw this on Ina Garten's show Friday, on the Food Network- French Style Herbed Baked Eggs.  Oh boy, another egg recipe! I needed to buy some small gratin dishes, since I didn't have any. I found some at Cost Plus yesterday for $3.99 each.  Great deal! I could have looked for thrift store ones, but not sure if I could have found any. And they were really GOOD, the fresh herbs really enhanced the eggs.



Baked eggs going into the oven


My wonderful collard greens, excellent harvest this year and very healthy cooked right

 I can do the recipes below in small ramekins I have. I like the look of Ina's better, since the dishes are bigger, and look nicer to present (IMO).

Happy Fall!




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