Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, food preservation, chicken keeping, cookery, organic gardening, crafts, DIYing, thrifting, vintage stuff,
and more...

Mar 17, 2018

Cold Spring, Happy St. Patrick's Day! Corned Beef & Pesto Flat Iron Steak, Blog Hop Mystery???

Cold Spring-
It's been raining/snowing off and on all day. Snow and rain and cold. Then some brief sun with amazing blue skies. A good day to be inside! Luckily we're seeing signs of spring, bulbs coming up, crocus up, and other flowers/ground covers greening up-


The sun is peeking out, but more cold is on the way. The rest of the weekend and next week- lows in the 30's, high in the 40's. Several weeks ago I took off our flannel sheets, but left on the heavy comforter. Still too cold at night. The hens have really been using the "sun room" on the coop, too wet and muddy for them. Dave wanted to take it down, but I disagreed BIG TIME. It's too early, we still have to get thru this month, then April. For the backyard we got a great deal today- six  METAL (not cheap plastic) solar yard lamps for $20.00 at Costco-

Will clean up soon, sad looking garden

The cheap plastic ones don't hold up well with the 100 degrees in the summer, then down to possible zero degrees in the winter. They crack, split and wind up as trash after a year or two. These new ones are HEAVY, aluminum, copper and glass. We spread them around the back yard for some extra light. Nice! I think they'll last a very long time.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
I'm part Irish so I love the showing/wearing of the green! Here's at look at some of the things in our home-

Mini Irish flags with the spring sheep

Front entry garland

Celtic wall hanging, a personal fave

Living room table, love my little pillow

Corned Beef & Pesto Flat Iron Steak-
Perfect day for corned beef that's currently cooking in the crock pot. I always make in on this holiday. I LOVE Irish potatoe soup, but it's too much carbs and Dave can't do much dairy anymore. I bought  a square cut, added lots of fresh garlic, black pepper corns, and the spice mix included. To serve I add taters, cabbage and carrots. Add some hot horseradish, mustard, and it's yummy. I bought an apple pie at Costco for dessert, since there's lots of little projects today. Tomorrow we're babysitting both River and Oliver. Two toddlers in the house = lots of eyes on. Not a day to get chores done. Great article here-Ultimate Corned Beef & Cabbage with a little history thrown in.

I scored a couple of flat iron steaks a while back and froze. I made this basic recipe before (used my own pesto) Basil Pesto Flat Iron Steak It has tons of flavor, cooks fast, and great for a work night. A little salad on the side with buttered pasta. It's super juicy and has tons of flavor. This website has lots of great ideas for cooking beef, just scroll down thru the whole page-

 Blog Hop Mystery???
Does anyone know what happened to The Simple Saturday Blog Hop? It seems to have disappeared off the planet. I emailed a couple of the hosts, with no response. Sad to see it go, but is it still out there? Thanks for any info if you have it! I always loved participating and seeing what others posted. 

Mar 11, 2018

Spring Is Here & New Garden Fun/Land Grab, Laziness = Thrifting Deals!

Spring Is Here & Garden Fun/Land Grab- 
Wow, it was in the low 60' today! While it still cool at night, the days are longer, and warmer. With daylight savings time gone into affect, we'll have even lighter evenings. Not happy about driving to work in the dark, again! Bulbs are coming up, tress are starting to bud. Great timing for the garden, and Dave bought me a surprise gift at Costco! It's a large outdoor wind spinner! I wanted one for Mother's Day last year, didn't get one, so Dave bought me one this year. It's in our backyard, love it!

One side dark copper

Other side dark copper/ silver-ish

We have had an unusual gardening/landscaping situation come up with the county widening our street. Basically we will lose two feet of our front property line facing the street  so that they can put in new sidewalks. On our street there are some sections with sidewalks, and some of the older sections are without. It will be a neighborhood improvement project. We think it's a great idea although some of the other neighbors aren't happy. We think it's nice for a side street to have safe sidewalks for residents and their children to walk on instead of having to dodge cars. We knew this was coming and get the paperwork today and will be receiving a nice chunk of money  in exchange for basically selling that area to the county. They will replace any fencing that has to be removed (then replaced) and our mailbox/post. We will use part of the money to replace plants in that section of the front yard. The nice thing is we were wanting to change a few things anyway. Since everything costs money we had put that on hold for a while.  We will find out soon when the project will actually start but we were thinking it's next winter. We'll call and find out the exact timing. 

As for spring, there's St. Patrick's day too! I bought a big slab of corned beef for next weekend, and a little something from Hobby Lobby, with more of the decor going up today-

Laziness = Thrifting Deals! 
I have always found great clothing deals at thrift stores, but there's one odd thing. When it comes to clothing I can't imagine that people are just so lazy. I have found items with missing buttons, only to find an extra button inside the garment. I have found things with very light stains that came right out with a simple stain removing spray. I found  very expensive down vest with a small 3" seam that had a gap, paid $4.00, sewed it closed, like new. I recently found these great jeans, fit perfect but the hems were all ragged. Someone's pants were obviously way too long, they walked around in them and ripped them all up. I bought them, measured them, and hemmed them up. Maybe 15 to 30 minutes tops, then washed. Now I basically have great jeans that I am currently wearing. I guess there's some people that didn't learn how to do any kind of basic sewing/clothing maintenance whether they are male or female? I know sometimes that I think Americans are basically lazy- mentally, emotionally, and physically. I guess I just don't get it. Maybe since I grew up hearing stories of the depression, and I take pride in my skill set, it bothers me. It does make for great shopping however! After shot-

Mar 5, 2018

DIY Floating Cedar Shelf

DIY Floating Cedar Shelf-
We painted our master bedroom a few weeks ago. When I was at Home Depot after that I had seen something cedar colored up against something gray, and it reminded me of the bedroom. I had wanted to do something that wasn't just more pictures on the wall. I started doing a little bit of browsing online, came up with the idea of having Dave build a floating Cedar shelf in the empty bedroom space. There's a short wall on my side of the bed between the outside corner wall and the window. I thought it would be a perfect place to float a shelf and add some decorative items on it-

We bought a nicer quality finished cedar board (not fencing) with one side is very very smooth. One board was about $22, but since I found one that was split on the end they gave it to us for half price. Yeah! I wanted to make sure the wood we bought had one nice outside edge with no knots since that would be showing-

Dave bought a couple of 3/4" L brackets and small screws, found a studs and mounted the brackets-

Close up of bracket, brass, Dave used one on the top/one on the bottom-

After he put the shelf in place I could tell that it was a little bit too deep. I had Dave rip off  about 1" inch to make it narrower. Perfect size! I also asked Dave to round the corners of the board for safety purposes-

Then he did a little bit of sanding with his palm sander. Once he got it up and installed it it looked great! Then I added the decorative items and it looks even better! They all have sentimental value like the feathers I found, the lighthouse trivet I found which reminds me of all our trips to the coast. I added a little fake plant I bought at Hobby Lobby for some natural color-

Anya approved!

Total, about $13.00, including having leftover wood for other uses. I love it!

Feb 28, 2018

Apple Crisp w/Pecan Oatmeal Topping & Beef For Dinner, Chicken Recovery Success

 Apple Crisp w/Pecan Oatmeal Topping-
With a cold, snowy weekend it was a perfect time to bake! A furry friend even came up on the deck to score some cat food out for the neighbor's cat-

Saturday morning, cold and snowing-

I wanted to make an apple crisp, to use more of our home canned apples. Since I had a nice big bag of pecans in the freezer I added some to the mix. I used this doubled this basic recipe Martha Stewart Apple Crisp, added 1 cup raisins, nutmeg, then topped with about 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans. Baked up with a great crunch on top! After I took dessert out of the oven I made dinner, using one of the beef chuck roasts I bought on sale-

 I used this as a basic recipe Beef Pot Roast I added 4 large carrots, 2 small Yukon gold potatoes, 1 cup beef stock, with 2 Tsp Worcestershire sauce. Searing the meat FIRST is key! At the end I added 2 cups fresh mushrooms, then adjusted the seasoning before serving. I used my dutch oven enameled cast iron pot since I was home. Works great in a slow cooker as well!

Gwynne (Welsh for white)

Chicken Recovery Success-
After my favorite hen became really ill and I doctored her up last week, I'm happy to report she's back to normal! I transitioned her back to the coop gradually over the weekend. The coop was closed due to the snow and I turned on the heat lamp for extra warmth. She ran out today for treats, spinach and bread, looking alert and happy. I think this was a good experience as far as using observational skills. When your animals seem OFF pay attention! You get to know their patterns of behavior, eating, etc. With attention and some TLC you can save yourself a lot of grief. We even got 2 eggs today! She must be laying again.

Snow's melting

Feb 23, 2018

A Little Something About Photos Of Me

Me, in my previous life

A Little Something About Photos Of Me-
I wanted to address something since it just came up and I was pretty surprised, actually. Recent comment here-

Kate said...
I would love to follow you, but, and please don't take this as an insult, it bothers me that you won't put a photo of yourself on your blog/facebook. It's like you want to connect with us, your readers, but you don't *really* want to connect. If I follow you, you'll see *my* face, right? I guess I like to see the person that I'm following and reading. Just something to think about.

I've been blogging for 6 years, reached people all over the planet, and I've never had anyone complain that there wasn't a photo of me on my blog. Or on my new Facebook page. It's never been important to ME what people look like if I'm following their blog/Facebook. I'm there for content. I loved Mama Pea's old photo with a pot on her head and a mug of hot cocoa for instance! Having worked in technology for a very long time I tend to lean towards more privacy, but I know that's a novel concept for some people. I've addressed this before in this blog about why I don't post more photos of my adult children, grand children or other specifics. I know lots of other bloggers like that as well. I know there are a lot of people in the world who let it all hang out through social media and that's their choice. They post everything about everyone with no thought for whether it's appropriate, or permanent. Personally I abhor "tagging" and facial recognition. I mean who needs to know this stuff? Big brother?

There are people who job hunt, for instance, who don't like the data that shows that potential employers will search your Facebook or other social media accounts. Those wacky photos of drunk and disorderly people, body parts hanging out, or worse, may not get them hired and then they wonder why? I've never really posted a photo of myself on this blog for a variety of reasons, mostly because I hate having my photos taken and I am sensitive about my appearance. If someone wants to see photos of me with the expectation that I'm 20 years old and a size one, sorry, not going to happen. There are some people that only want to socialize with people who look like them. Maybe they're from a certain racial/ethnic background, and are only comfortable with people that look similar. Or are the same same size, financial status, wear the same clothes? I could go on.

Anyway if you want to know what I look like click on the Facebook tab on the right side bar ,go to my Facebook page and you will find out! And if you don't like it I guess you can just visualize and use your creative, right sided part of your brain. I do have blue eyes! And for laughs on hating having your photos taken read this hysterical article, all the way to the bottom! Say Cheese

Nursing a Sick Chicken

Nursing a Sick Chicken-
Chickens can get sick at any time, for all kinds of reasons. Over the years I have dealt with worms, and hens just literally dropping dead for no apparent reason. With a small flock of three and all hand raised from chicks you can get attached! This week my favorite hen Gwynne was laying on the ground in 10 degree weather with bitter cold winds. Normally chickens will walk around outside or go into the coop. I went out and brought her in, her feet and combs were almost frozen. I warmed her up and set up my chicken hospital on my kitchen counter-

Some leftover spaghetti (looks like worms!) and fish

Basically I use 2 large laundry baskets, one on top of the other, with a thick towel. With food ad water, it's easy to just throw the towel in the washer when it gets soiled. After she warmed up she drank some water, ate some soft bread and applesauce, homemade of course! I noticed a little later she was heaving and breathing hard, and wheezing a little, no other symptoms. I started doing research and read about Vetrx, a natural remedy for poultry, with great reviews. Sadly no one locally sells it, so I ordered it online, still waiting-


In the mean time I had to do something. It was a good sign she was eating, but she was very lethargic. I decided to use my essential oils I already had. I used my Tea Tree oil mix I use on myself. I put a tiny amount on her wattles, and turned on my vaporizer with Eucalyptus oil.

Vaporizer for essential oils

I kept her in overnight, she seemed to sleep a lot. The next day I had to go back to work, so I kept her inside. Her breathing was much better! Still lethargic, but eating some. We're on day 3 and put I put her out for the day yesterday, with the coop door closed due to steady snow. I didn't want her going outside and sitting there all day. I brought her in last night, she looked tired and didn't eat much. She slept. This morning I made her a scrambled egg and she ate some more fish. She dozes a lot, but seems to be getting some energy back. I debated putting her outside today, but with 8 degrees this morning, I'll keep her in. Tomorrow is the weekend so I may set up a bigger space inside where she can walk around. I have an old outdoor baby playpen I use for chicks. That would work great for the kitchen with some towels down. Time will tell, but she seems on the mend!

Feb 21, 2018

New Facebook Page

New Facebook Page- 
Facebook broke up with our blog, so please go to the new page on the FB button on the sidebar to follow! I'm sorry for any inconvenience! Thanks.

Feb 20, 2018

Filling The Freezer, New Master Bedroom Paint Reveal, Thrifting Scores! Speaking Of Decorating

Filling The Freezer-
Last time I mentioned our freezer was about 1/2 empty, so it was time to stock up. I thought since we had tax refund money I'd fill it up with meats. Food is always a good investment, with times being what they are, with a possible economic down turn coming. I started at Costco this weekend, bought really thick pork chops, and country style ribs, all for $30.00.  I split up the packs and bagged them for the freezer, 2 bags for each cut-The beef cuts weren't want I wanted, so I looked at other stores. Before I added the meats, I rotated some frozen fruits to the top, so I could see the better.

Today I went shopping and bought this beef- two boneless chuck roasts, perfect for the slow cooker, total 6.5 lbs for $18.00 for both. Lots of meals there. Also two packages totaling 2 lb.s of flat iron steak for $12.00. I got the flat irons since they're great for a salad recipe I have. One package = 2 dinners, about $2.50+ per person. I may a couple of extra briskets, since they're hitting the stores for St. Patrick's Day. I don't know how this compares nationally as far as prices?

New Master Bedroom Paint Reveal-
Our peach wall paint from 10+ years ago needed a freshening and something lighter colored. Between low winter light, and heavy shade in the summer, the room is darker than we thought when I first painted. We loved the Behr Silverdrop 790C-2, a little darker than the Irish Mist we used in the master bathroom re-hab. It's a light gray and we went with it. Since we have sage green carpet and drapes we wanted something fairly neutral, but not beige or white. When I bought the primer/paint I bought 2 gallons. One might be pushing it and I would need to touch up later. Of course we used just under 1 gallon sigh. Good news we could re-tint it late if we wanted to use it. We bought all our supplies for under $100.00. Pretty cheap for a major update. We started about 10:30 a.m. Sunday by emptying the room, stripping the walls, vacuuming (under where the furniture was), and cleaning top of the windows and doors-
Very peachy

 Nest we put down tarps on the floor, some canvas, then plastic. We also covered the bed with plastic-

 Gray walls starting-

 All the little cobwebs, etc. need to go to paint. I brought in a flor lamp form the other bedroom for extra light. First I spackled all the nails holes with lightweight spackle. Nice to have a clean slate. I had back problems from the last exterior house painting, so no twisting for me! I asked Dave to do the upper edges and floor areas. I did the upper trim, windows, doors, and 2 closet doors. That was a LOT of brush work! I went behind him when I finished those with the roller. Rolling on paint is is so much fun! Suddenly the wall is different. Instant gratification. Even though it was cold outside, we had the window open 1/2 way. Midway thru painting dark clouds, strong winds rolled in, and it started snowing "corn snow", time to close the window-

A little later it was sunny-

We finished the wall color faster than I thought, by about 12:30 p.m. Sunday. I asked Dave to paint the white baseboards, pretty beat up from years of use, and a messy job from me the 1st time. I offered to do the closest and door trim, but he wanted to do it all. I vetoed him. I did the upper closest, etc, while he worked below. I also painted the trim on the window. Monday I finished the small amount of touch up work. I also touched up a couple of spots, in the kitchen, hallway and bathroom, filling screw holes from things we've moved. I may get a new duvet cover at some point, but this will work for now. We rotated a few prints and we love it! Nice and fresh.

Still loving the set I bought a few years ago over the bed-

More wall art coming on Dave's side-

Thrifting Scores!
Since I was off today, some vacation for me, I went to Goodwill and the place was empty! Right off the bat I snagged a like-new pair of navy corduroy slacks for work and some jeans. The jeans just need a little hemming. I saw this pillar, new $7.99- 

I thought of this, cute with the nests on top, might paint it-

Dave and I really miss the Oregon coast and we've actually been to this lighthouse, at Heceta Head. These kinds of things are SO expensive in gift stores there, $1.99 here! I'll hang it somewhere-

New table runner, $2.89, reversible-

New soap dispenser for my bathroom, $3.00 to get rid of my ugly Costco bottle-

Speaking Of Decorating-
I just LOVED this display at the local Kneader's bakery and sandwich shop! We had dinner there last week when I was too exhausted to cook. I never would have thought of decorating with ferns. Great combo for St. Patrick's day, Spring and just for fun. They always do a great job with their decor, all for sale of course! So cute. Ironically I have the exact same green edged light wood frame at home already. 

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