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...

Mar 26, 2015

Road Trip! Big Thrifting, Ikea Trip, Mini-Greenhouse

Heading into Eastern Oregon near Baker, not much snow!

Road Trip!
It was Spring break this week for me, so Dave took the week off too. We went to Portland, Oregon this Sunday and got back last night. Dave has a relative who's very ill, the main reason we went. We also both needed a break! The weather wasn't too bad, rain off and on. We saw some sights, discovered a few new eat out spots, and drove down memory lane. Our one daughter traveled ahead of us, and then we met up mid-trip and had some fun time together. We visited the amazingly beautiful Veteran's cemetery, where both our parents, and my Grandparents, are buried. Both my parents were in the Navy in WWII, and my beloved Grandfather served in the Army Air Corp in WWI, and the Army in WWII. It was really peaceful there.

Sadly Portland has MUCH more traffic than when we moved here 15+ years ago. There are sea lions in the Columbia river now which separates Washington from Oregon. We had lunch out at a place that overlooks the river with Dave's brother. He mentioned that the sea lions that eat a lot of the salmon, not so great. When I saw big black heads I knew what they were. Odd, but that happened after we left. They used to be in the ocean. They've migrated inland. One of our daughters babysat our cat and the chickens, worked great. While I enjoyed the trip, I was glad to get home to my own bed. I was so tired by 3 pm today from running errands I laid down to take a nap. Dave was banging around a lot so I got back up, never a dull moment! It's 65 today, 75 forecast for tomorrow, so we'll try and get a lot done out outside the next 3 days before the work week starts again. Dave's currently blasting out the gutters. Yummy :) Here's some shots from the trip...

Going over the Columbia into Washington

View from brother-in-laws home

Columbia river in the distance

Getting into Portland

Union Station train depot, gorgeous!

Love the ceilings!

Sea lions out there...

The former Governor's mansion?

Multnomah Falls- 


Visitor's center



Big suncatcher

Big Thrifting-
I asked Dave (more told him) that we HAD to go to the Goodwill Superstore in Portland. I think it's the largest on the West coast (or used to be). It's HUGE! I found some fun things, and scored a beautiful coat. I found an Italian-made ceramic Olive oil bottle (new sticker marked $25.00) for $2.99, a sun catcher, same price. My BIG score was a JJill plum corduroy coat (lined) marked $20.00 but was 1/2 off. Like new, knee length, fitted waist, with big buttons. Really cute!

Is that a chicken I spy???

 From Ikea.com
Ikea Trip-
We had to make our road trip Ikea pilgrimage! My daughter had never been there before and loved it! Since we had broken 2 small plates and 1 bowl of our set I bought there, time to re-stock. Luckily they had "open stock" and we bought our replacements, and 1 more set (for 6). Our extended family is growing for holidays, etc. so we also bought another set of flatware too. They have so much cool stuff! I bought a new comforter cover, a blue ticking fabric. I learned the hard way their duvet covers run a bit small, but a King sized worked perfect for our thick Queen set. Great deal, better than anywhere else-


Also got some foods, organic pear cider (OMG it's good!), glass containers for food storage, bath mat, some small vases, and bird curtains (above) for our bedroom. I'll be painting it soon and we'll ditch the venetian blinds, cheap and a pain to clean. I LOVE the fabric! At $14.99 I can't buy fabric that cheap to make my own. While I enjoy sewing curtains are a pain. We'll buy a small rod and hang them inside the insulated curtains for privacy and to let light in. It's the start of a bedroom makeover:) Waiting til summer for that!


Mini-Greenhouse-
We had thought about buying a small greenhouse, but decided on something smaller with my idea of using it to start seeds. I did some online research and we found the above at Home Depot, $35.00. I'll tie wrap the shelves for better stability, and I'll find some scrap wood to put underneath to keep it warmer at night. It's a good size for us, and will be easy to store inside in the winter. I bought a bunch of seeds and some starter trays. I have some other random ones I can use and potting soil. I may set it out in the garden and tie it down for the wind, or put on our deck. Might be more stable there. I'm trying to buy less plants at the store AND get a head start on the growing season, so I think this will fit the bill! I'll be more self sufficient and will start saving more seeds...

Mar 20, 2015

Happy Spring!!!



Happy Spring!!!-
The birds are singing, the grass is green, the trees and shrubs are budding! And my neighbor has his windows open and is blasting music way too loud. Happy Spring!!!





Mar 16, 2015

Independence Days Challenge, Happy St. Pat's Day!!!



Independence Days Challenge-
Here's an update of the last 2 weeks:

1. Plant Something- Too early but will start some seeds soon!

2. Harvest Something- Eggs, and more eggs!

3. Preserve/Store Something- Started some more fermented veggies, radishes and carrots with dill-



4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep- Got good deals on more LED lights for the house. I think we'll buy this to start seeds in, finally, and a good deal! Gardman Mini-Greenhouse

I think it's a good deal for $38.00 and free shipping

 5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe- Been eating a lot more fruits and veggies and much less wheat. I'm shrinking :)

6. Build Community Food Systems- Selling excess eggs at work.

7. Recycle/Re-Use- Made donations to thrift store. When I buy more, I donate more.

8. Skill Up- Learned some things about electrical after Dave installed 2 new dimmers this weekend.

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something- Moved 3 rhubarb plants to a sunnier/part shade spot. More room and should grow better.


Happy St. Pat's Day!!!-
In honor of St. Patrick's Day I made an early Irish dinner last night. Corned beef and veggies. I got out my BIG vintage biscuit cutter and made big buttermilk biscuits too!!! Yummy...

Just add a grainy mustard and horseradish

I used 1/2 unbleached and 1/2 WW flour


Mar 11, 2015

Record Low Snow In The West Means???

Mt. Lassen, all photos from Nationalgeographic.com

Record Low Snow In The West Means???
Ironically, but not surprising, while the Mid-West and East coast have been slammed with record snow, the west has been suffering, again. We have had record low snowfall (and warm temps) here in the Boise area surrounding mountains and farther north. California has not fared well either. Listening to the news the snowfall for parts of the Sierra Nevada mountains that feeds to lots of California had 4 INCHES, NOT FEET, of snow. And it's March. This means a lot of things, from what I know, having lived there-

*If there aren't already serious water restrictions, there should be, and might be. Better buy a bunch of rain barrels.
*The agricultural economy will continue to suffer, with less crops being planted. That could spell higher food prices. Record prices?
*More fires, and a longer fire season. California is already prepping for fire season by hiring fire fighters. They are re-thinking what "fire season" means, as it may be 12 months a year.
*If California continues to have record droughts (and there's no reason to think that will change) what will happen to Nevada who relies on some of their water from there???

Watch the video on the National Geo link on water drillers. Now THAT'S SCARY. No regulations on how much water you can suck out, and wells running dry???




Mar 7, 2015

Tea Tree Essential Oil For Colds, Spring Garden Prep, Strawberries With Mascarpone, The Pineapple King


Tea Tree Essential Oil For Colds-
I started sneezing last night and noticed my glands were getting a little swollen. Not on a Friday night, with great spring weather forecast! So... I called my essential oil guru pal Christine and she fixed me up. Per her suggestion I went down the road and bought a bottle of organic tea tree essential oil (Melaleuca). I already had a "carrier" oil, sweet almond oil. I did as she directed- after I showered to go to bed I mixed together 1 TBL almond oil in a small bowl with 6 drops of tea tree oil. I rubbed it into the pads of both feet, between the toes, and a dab on each sore throat gland. Went to bed. I've used a lot of OTC, and homeopathic cold stuff. What was really interesting was that I DIDN'T get all stuffed up in the middle of the night. You know how it is- you lay down and the longer you sleep the more plugged up you get. I slept like a baby! I started sniffling around 9 a.m., so I blew my nose a few times and rolled over for another hour. I got up, felt rested, used it again. It's almost 4 p.m. and I really feel pretty good! A little minor stuffy, but glands are almost normal, and no sore throat. It was $7.00 for the oil I bought (above) a good, cheap healthy fix! 


 Spring Garden Prep-
Spring really is busting out all over! It's 62 right now with 68 forecast for Tuesday! What month is this? I think it's here to stay. I saw LOTS of Robins today, always a sign of spring here. Today Dave deep- cleaned the coop, with a little help from me. I scrubbed the coop windows, and helped rake out the used pine shavings into the garden. Dave turned all the main garden soil. We didn't do that last year and had less production on our veggies. Won't skip that again! The hens LOVED all the bugs they found after he tilled. I tried not to over-do it today, with my minor bug. I scrubbed my back windows too (living room) with my windex scrubber kit. When the sun came out it really showed all the winter storm dirt. Now all shiny and clean!!! I've got lots of fun things coming up and here's a peek at some-

More flowers up



Italian parsley is up too

Girls loving the tilled garden

Pine shavings added, rest to the compost pile and raised bed

Clean windows!!!

Raspberries new growth

Hard to tell the color here, but it's a rich DARK brown, and it's DRY! :)

Backyard's really greening up



Strawberries With Mascarpone-
I bought some Mascarpone cheese a while back and never used it. I bought some strawberries last week (had to!) and so I looked for a dessert recipe online and found this- Summer Berries w/Mascarpone I used just strawberries and it was great! Mascarpone, if you've never had it, it a really thick creamy cheese, best for desserts. Almost a cross between whipping cream and cream cheese. I made the mascarpone (no yogurt added) by adding a little sugar and vanilla, mixed well. Sliced the berries and added a little sugar. I bought a small bag of butter shortbread cookies at the grocery outlet. They are stars as they were holiday leftovers :) I made a a bed of the creamy stuff, topped with berries and crumbled the cookies on top. Added a few extra on the side! This is a really fast, simple, "something special" dessert.  More tonight! When we have our own berries in this summer it will be a extra big hit!


The Pineapple King-
I bought a fresh pineapple recently and had the core leftover. The hens loved the inner fleshy part on the skins. I knew the core would be too tough for them, so I threw it under the tree for the squirrels. This guy grabbed it, took it to the top of the compost pile and had a feast! He was so entranced he didn't noticed me creeping up taking shots. Later he dashed off leaving it behind for the next guy. Nice treat... 


Mar 1, 2015

Round Eggs Sells For $700 on eBay! Too Many Eggs= Spicy Dinner Omelette


                                                        From BBC News

Round Eggs Sells For $700 on eBay!-
You never know what will sell on eBay and this was great! Kim Broughton (left) will donate the money raised from the egg's sale to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Story here Round Eggs Sells For $700!

Kim's round egg


Too Many Eggs= Spicy Dinner Omelette-
Our extra-good girls have been laying 3 eggs per day every day! All winter too, with no extra lights! Even with selling a dozen a week we still have plenty. I love the part of urban homesteading of eating the foods you raise :)

Lots of eggs!

I was getting a bit tired of frittatas and French baked eggs for dinners. Last week I realized I hadn't made omelettes for years! Eureka! I got out some cilantro, local salsa, limes, cheddar and jack cheese. I looked up a basic recipe to refresh my brain, and easy-peasy. The omelette came out perfect, moist, nice and fluffy, and light! The main thing I read with omelette's is DON'T whisk your eggs (too many air bubbles), and oil the pan (even if non-stick). Here' what I did-

Spicy Salsa Omelette recipe-
I used 8 eggs (for 2) , beat with fork, poured into buttered pan, cook until almost done, rotating pan to make sure most of the raw egg gets cooked. When almost done I added to 1/2 the omelette- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1/4 jack and 1/4 cheddar cheese. Wait til mostly melted, then flip 1/2 over on top. I kept an eye on it until the cheese started to melt out. I didn't try to flip it since it was pretty large, so I put the lid on for about 2 minutes. Cut in 1/2, remove carefully from pan, put on plate, top with spicy salsa, cilantro and serve with lime wedge. Enjoy! Years ago I also made some with shrimp, sauteed mushrooms, and sharp cheddar cheese. More eggs on the way!

Another feathered friend who likes our backyard- a Ground Dove


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