Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, food preservation, thrifting,
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Jan 27, 2013

Finally Some Sun! Pickled Eggs


Finally Some Sun!-
We had our first mostly sunny days in several weeks. The inversion is FINALLY gone! Woo hoo! Clean air, and about 34 today, so the girls were out most of the day in the garden. They don't see to mind the crunchy snow as much as the powder. Probably keeps their legs warmer. I couldn't get stupid blogger to left indent :(









Some grass peeking thru


Pickled Eggs-
I made some pickled eggs today and added some sliced jalapenos! Spicy! Someone was selling some like this at a flea market last year, great idea. No I just need to wait a day or two...





Jan 26, 2013

All About Eggs- Frittata, Quick Breads & Pickling, Dark Days Meal

       Finally, some blue sky and sun!!!      

Frittata & Quick Breads-
With an abundance of eggs I planned ahead for this weekend: Garden Frittata for dinner & hard boiled for Pickled Eggs Recipe. I love those eggs! I made Banana bread (with free bananas from work). While it has no eggs, I also made another batch of beer bread with dinner. This time I used extra sharp cheddar cheese, bought from the outlet last summer and froze (thawed great!). I LOVE quick breads- 1 hour or so and all done. We gave the girls some TLC today, since the weather broke for a while, and added new pine shavings to the coop. They loved it! Nice and fresh. Deep cleaning will come in March or so. I love the deep litter method- no smell and healthy chickens!


Beer bread with dill, thyme and extra sharp white cheddar

Banana bread with walnuts and applesauce

Sometimes I worry about eating too many eggs. I don't eat them daily, but usually on the weekends. On rare occasions I take hard boiled eggs to work for lunch. Interestingly enough- my cholesterol is the best it's been in several years. Eating a lot of your own organic eggs metabolizes very differently than store bought. That's my view. I also take fish oil daily, great for the joints!


Dark Days Meal-
Ironically today the inversion finally started dissipating, and the sun came out! I felt like cave man emerging after a long, dark winter! Blue sky, what the heck is that???

Frittata going into the oven

All done!

My Days Days Meal tonite was-
*homemade beer bread, some of my own fresh herbs in it
*frittata made with- my own eggs & local squash I dehydrated from a friend. I rehydrated them in some chicken broth. I also used home-frozen orange bells peppers from the store last summer, instead of tomatoes. Not local, but I froze em! I was going to add some cubed Idaho taters but decided to skip the carbs.
*The banana bread had some of my own homemade applesauce in it to supplement the not-quite-enough bananas.

My $4.00 amaryllis from the grocery outlet really paid off with 3 huge blooms,
and more to come, on another stalk!

Jan 24, 2013

Frigid Inversion & Freezing Rain, Independence Days Challenge

What an inversion looks like

Frigid Inversion & Freezing Rain-
We have been having the most god-awful weather here the last couple of weeks. With a smoggy inversion laying over the city (up to 700') the air quality sucks! Terrible for folks with breathing problems, colds, etc. It also keeps the temps way down: -1 yesterday morning, again. We had freezing rain last night, horrible roads and the local school district (mine) had the wisdom to make us go to work. Accidents everywhere, people getting hurt, the highway and airport closed. They sort of apologized on the noon news- "Gee, we didn't think it was that BAD at 5 a.m." Gee, it was bad two weeks ago at 6:45 a.m. when I got the "snow day" call. It's just not worth folks getting injured before they even make it into the building, or in a wreck. Many smart parents kept their kids home. There were a lot of ANGRY employees today. Ah well, we'll see what tomorrow brings... hopefully I'll be home. It's 31, with a low forecast in the teens again tonite. Luckily the inversion is supposed to get blown out by the next storm this weekend. Maybe more snow next week...


 Independence Days Challenge-
I haven't done one of these for a while, so here goes!

1. Plant Something- Nothing til spring.

2. Harvest Something- The girls are doing well with their egg production, I think the extra light this winter really helped. 2-3 per day.

3. Preserve/Store Something- Will be pickling hard boiled eggs this weekend, way too many eggs! I have 2+ dozen in the fridge, will make a fritatta this weekend.

4. Manage Reserves- Get A Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep- Found some good deals at the grocery outlet, found a couple of 1/2 off winter sweaters locally. A lot of the big names like LL Bean have their winter stuff marked down and free shipping. Their stuff lasts forever! I've worn their women's flannel shirts all winter and they're lasted for 6-7 years. Well made! We got a good rebate on our new Norton software, as our old was expiring. A little free fruit from work, and veggies for the girls. Got more Romano cheese at Costco, what a deal! Keeping the pantry stocked. I look back at how much I have used my old winter snow clogs, winter snow boots, heavy coats, mittens, etc. Many of these things  I have had for 12+ years, it really pays to spend a little extra, or buy off-season. It's good to have all those things on hand. The thin wool socks I got at Costco too are incredibly warm! What a deal- 3 for $9.99! Now we just need a wood stove. I love the idea of having some extra heating source here.

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipes- We'll be eating eggs this week! Made some beer bread, and wonderful soup out of misc. veggies, & beans on hand. Working on the pantry foods. I bought some whole grain English muffins. I hadn't had those in years, yummy, with homemade jam!!!

6. Build Community Food Systems- Not selling eggs right now, but probably next month. Helps with the feed bill. 

7. Recycle/Re-Use- I took in the waist of some slacks that were falling down, a little darting was all they needed! Fitting perfect now. Still giving scraps to the girls. We'll be adding more pine shavings this weekend, then the used go out in the garden. We don't compost in the pile this time of year, too cold.

8. Skill Up- Did some sewing, had to remember how to do darts.  

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something- Dave is bringing home some scrap PVC pipe to cover the cold frame soon. That should speed up the growing season. 


Now I'm just ready for some BLUE SKY!

Jan 21, 2013

Classic Shepherd's Pie, Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies




Classic Shepherd's Pie-
Since I had today off work, I did a little baking and sewing. I never ate lamb until a few years ago. Once I tried a lamb sandwich made with local grass fed meat, I was hooked! I ate it at Bar Gernika, featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.  Lamb is (to me) still very expensive. I finally decided to try some ground lamb. I was going to do a Greek lamb burger, but didn't have a few ingredients on hand. So I did this Classic Shepherd's Pie instead. I subbed chicken stock for beef, and used frozen peas and carrots. Since I added extra veggies I used an oval casserole, since I didn't want dinner all over the bottom on the oven. Here's the picture coming out-


Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies-
I love these in the winter, they're great with a cup of something hot. A real adult cookie with the steel cut oats! The recipe is here: Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies  Do yourself a favor- do NOT sub rolled oats for this. The steel cut oats really make the cookie!!! I always make a double batch since it a small one.




Jan 20, 2013

And Now For Something French!

                    

And Now For Something French!-
Recently I realized my wardrobe was getting pretty boring, even for me! While I'm very practical, I like to keep a bit updated with my work clothes, so I don't look like I'm dressing 15 years older than I actually am (56). People tell me I look younger than I am, so I started thinking about my clothes. Not to be superficial, but if I'm that bored with my clothes, well what the heck! I understand this isn't my usual type of blogging, but hey, read on if you're interested! Needless to say, I'll be changing some things on a budget, and being thrifty!

We all fall into habits, sometimes bad ones. I've always been a casual dresser, but when I realized a lot of my jeans don't really fit me right, I said "well, fix it". Mind you that doesn't mean going out and buying a bunch of clothes but- what would fit better? I recently realized a lot of my thrift (and new) slacks/jeans really aren't the right cut for me. The butt hangs down in many of my jeans! Geez, I lost a bunch of weight, I don't need sagging jeans!!! A couple of days ago I tried on a petite pair of jeans that fit me perfectly, and looked much thinner. I saw that the waist was more curved and was where it should be. AH HA!  Then I ran across a fun little book at my library- Parisian Chic

                                            

 A lot of the basics in the book were already things I do- try to buy (but not always) good quality clothes/shoes, that fit your body right, don't get into fads. Of course the French model in the book is very thin and 20, maybe. I think it's much better to do what smarter women than I do- have a smaller wardrobe, but with good quality (LL Bean, Carhartt's or whatever) and classics. Rather than having a bunch of junk clothing/shoes you never wear, cut it down. A bunch of clothing you never wear- guilty here! Anyway, I also read some articles online about what older French women wear! Here's some photos that I loved-

Actress Rachel Ward in Paris

I love her glasses, short hair and casual thrown together look, probably very well-planned :)

Very cute gray hair, scarf, beads and shades!


I think some flats (usually wear Danskos) might be a good choice for my feet at work. Not what I would usually consider. Not BORING!

So, I also found some fun French burlapey pillows, all the rage, when Dave and I went out pre-shopping for a new couch (ours is falling apart). I was using burlap 10+ years ago for table runners, etc., so I find it pretty funny it's so "hip" now. I saw these cute pillows in the store. Sorry for the color, my cell phone adjustments were off. They were cream/tan with rust red-



Today at Ross I picked this up for next Christmas, too cute for $3.00!



I am not young but I feel young. The day I feel old, I will go to bed and stay there. J'aime la vie! I feel that to live is a wonderful thing.

Coco Chanel


Jan 19, 2013

1 Below This Morning, My New Best Friend, Einstein Was Right


1 Below This Morning-
It's supposed to be in the upper 30's by mid next week. I am so ready! Much as I love the snow, the single digit mornings, and lots of inside recesses, stink! Our students are climbing the walls. It's so dry the inside of my nose bleeds a bit every time I blow it, ew. Poor sinus skin. The chickens have on their reptile heater disc in their upper condo, lots of extra treats, and water. They're not coming out much, but I can't blame them. I know they'll love it when everything warms up and melts. They're laying pretty well with the extra light on. I've been living in polar fleece, wool sweaters, ski mittens, fleece scarves, heavy coat, thick socks and snow clogs. Thick, icky, crusty ice all over parking lots, etc. make it slippery going in and out. Glad I have invested in good winter footwear! Good old prepping. Mine have lasted forever, had these for 10+ years or so-

                            

Warm, pretty  water proof and great traction! I got these women's Solomon's so long ago I don't remember, but man they sure last!



My New Best Friend-
I have been low on really warm, fuzzy tops since I lost weight this last year. I broke down and ordered one of these Fleece Lined Flannel Shirt  Expensive, but their stuff lasts for years! Ow, wow, it is so warm and soft! I could sleep it in. Washed and dried great! I'll call it Kelly....



Einstein Was Right-
Let's go out together and not talk. Einstein was right.

                              

Jan 13, 2013

Crustless Cranberry Pie, Ski Country Soup, Cutie Pies Book, Chickens in Snow


Crustless Cranberry Pie-
I had some cranberries leftover from the holidays, that were still in good shape. So I made this, it's nice and tart! Crustless Cranberry Pie I added a little cinnamon, nutmeg and orange extract, 1/4 cup currants, and no nuts.


Ski Country Soup-
With the cold weather (5 degrees this morning) and Dave getting a bit of a bug, I decided to try this for dinner- Kit's Ski Country Vegetable Soup. I served it with some Beer Bread. Good combo! I used "shredded beef", very much like a coarse grind beef, nice and chunky. I used beef broth (organic and low sodium) and added thyme, garlic powder, some Worcestershire and a bay leaf.


Cutie Pies Book-
After reading the reviews on the hand held pies book, I decided to get this one instead: Cutie Pies- 40 Sweet, Savory & Adorable Recipes Lots of great ideas, and some are made in small canning jars! Nice for 2 people too.



Chickens in The Snow-
What do you do when your chickens won't come out to stretch their legs in the snow? Get some scrap cardboard! I put out some snacks and the girls figured it out!

Stop reading and play with me!!!

Tired of your light fixture? Flip it upside down! We did, I like it much better-

The bulbs used to face down...

Squirrel getting a warm-up break in the sun






Jan 10, 2013

Snow Day!


Snow Day!-
With freezing rain late last night, then snow on top, it wasn't a big surprise that all the schools here are closed today. We have about 3"+ in our backyard and it is still falling & blowing at 3:00 p.m. Not sure what tomorrow will bring. I put on my snow boots, gave the girls a treat, cleaned off the roof of their sun room, and cleared a few paths. I'm off to bake! Here's a peek at our little slice of the world-














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