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

Nov 27, 2023

Gratitude, Winter Is Here/Food Preps

Gratitude -
I was going to do a "what I'm thankful for" post but didn't have time to get that done before Thanksgiving. So, while belated, here are some things I am EXTREMELY grateful for:

Surgery: One of the things I'm most grateful for right now is coming through some back surgery, solved a lot of chronic pain issues for the last year. I had two options, got two different opinions. The first doctor barely looked at Dave and I, rattled off a lot of statistics. Not a good fit. Second doctor, at a totally different practice, looked at us, answered Dave and my questions, outlined everything really well. Chose that procedure. Much shorter recovery time, surgery went well, I had immediate pain relief about 90% plus. I'm getting better each day! I've been off work the last two weeks, one more week off work then next week will start working half-time at home. Will gradually increase my hours till the end of the year and then back in the office in January. I am very grateful that I was already set up to work from home! My boss and my co-worker have been really supportive. Dave's such an incredible hard worker, and went above and beyond caring for me the 1st week after surgery. We had our 30th anniversary in this time frame! We were able to go out to dinner and relax.

New Tires: Dave took my Mazda in for a oil change and turned out the tires were really low, which was kind of a shock to us. We had about 20,000 miles onto 70,000 mile tires. Dave talked to them and since that was the place we bought the tires from they gave us a big credit towards new tires. They said they had problems with this make and model. We got brand new tires this weekend, huge discount. We also got a different brand so hopefully we won't go through this again. It was good timing getting the replaced going into WINTER since we're just starting to get some snow in the area. Nothing at our house yet, bur due this week!

Dave's Pal: Dave was thrilled that a longtime childhood friend Bob moved to our area. I had met him before, great guy. I am really happy they can spend some time together and hang out. We had him over for a simple Thanksgiving dinner, since he moved here three days before and didn't know anyone in the area. It was lovely! Really enjoyed my newer "buffet", after removing the computer in the kitchen last year, worked great for serving turkey day foods! Sorry no food shots-

Roasted some leftover pumpkins from the house for the girls-

Still wondering what they are?


Winter Is Here/Food Preps-
The cold weather has finally come! We had 18° weather last week, with our first snow forecast down in the valley for late this week. This is a time of year I stock up on certain things. We did take down all of the Autumn/Thanksgiving decor this weekend. I don't have any Advent/Christmas stuff up quite yet. I like to take a breather between the two. I did put my first holiday decor up, my favorite vintage jar with a little red berries on the kitchen window. We did make a run to Trader Joe's and I bought one of their nice small fresh candle wreaths that I actually hang on the kitchen wall. Bought some live red berries, some evergreen branches, an amaryllis and a few food items. Before surgery I totally forgot to buy some amaryllis bulbs last month. We went to Costco a while back and I needed some unbleached flour. I do try to do as much whole grain and I have tons of whole wheat/whole wheat pastry flour. At Costco they had a large bag of all purpose flour for eight bucks, much cheaper than at the grocery store so I bought a bag. I think it was 15 lb? 

I bought some wheat berries from the LDS Food Store online. Storage Basically you can set up a new account if you are not a member, which I am not, and when you set up your profile there's a checkbox where you CHECK "I am not a member".  I got a really great deal on six cans of hard wheat berries for about $45. I think shipping was about $7? Took about 2 weeks but I'm really happy to have the wheat berries on hand. I think next year is going to be really really ugly for the wheat market in the US for the consumer. Really great thing is berries keep a long time in a cool, dry area in those cans. They do also sell other dehydrated things like carrots, potatoes, onions, beans, oats. I thought they had a really good customer service with shipping in a fairly timely manner. Also went thru my pantry, got out some of my stash of coffee beans. Bought more teas, cereals. Washed and sorted our winter hats and gloves. Using those already!
Here's a peek at our garden-random gorgeous fall colors here at our homestead- 

Our Oak Leaf Hydrangea

Backyard mound garden

Dave got the sun room up on the coop two weeks ago-

Bonnie enjoying the winter sun-

I had some scrap faux Ikea sheepskin (cut out a circle for Bonnie's kitty perch top)-

I thought I could winterize my little bench!

Just cut a curve and draped!

Sep 23, 2023

Harvest Time! September is National Preparedness Month, Warranty Success With A Twist

Harvest Time! 
It's been busy, busy busy!!! Harvest time is always great (and) way too much at once. Our Redhaven peach tree was delayed this year because of our wacky late spring early summer weather and started ripening around the same time as the pears. Usually our Red Haven peaches are ripe in July well ahead of the other fruit trees. We froze, baked and canned some, gave some to my kiddos. Froze these on a cookie sheet, then vacuum sealed in bags for later-

Apples are done now, gave away some to both my daughters and their in-laws. I put canning on hold this year as I just don't have the time and some medical stuff going on. Also working a lot of overtime at work. Since we have quite a bit left over from the last two years we're good. We have lots of fresh apples stashed in both of our refrigerators which will last for months. They are delish! As a twist we have pretty much decided to actually cut down our apple tree. It is way too big and is producing way too much fruit for us. It was a tough decision in some ways but the right thing to do. Dave has a friend who's going to take the tree down for the firewood and in the spring we'll find a nice dwarf apple tree to put in its place. I canned peaches, pears got to ripe too fast with the heat so I didn't can any. Did baking and we are ate lots fresh! Pear crisp-

Tomatoes are coming in like crazy, finally! Our favorite variety this summer is the Black Prince tomato, a Russian variety, sweet and really delicate flavor! Smaller but amazing, will plant again-

Lots and lots on the vine too. I frozen some, have eaten fresh and used some of our bumper of crop cherry tomatoes to roast and pack in olive oil. They will keep well in the fridge through the winter. Elliott Homestead has some really good videos on Youtube for food prepping. I used her recipe for the cherry tomatoes. She has another recipe for sun-dried tomatoes (in the oven) and again packed in olive oil. I made those too-

Freezing, used vacuum bags after this part

Roma's "sun dried" in the oven

Packed in Olive oil
In the fridge for winter

Fresh with our Basil and cukes! 

Swiss chard grew really well in a in a box this summer! The chickens love it so I give them some as treats-

Kind of so-so on our new little garden bed with radishes, carrots, and green onions. I think it's just been the weather since they've been getting plenty of water-

I bought really fresh, nice pickling cucumbers at a local farmstead to ferment again this year. One jar went to each of my daughters and the rest for me-

Made my 1st Chimichurri, came out great with my stored frozen roast and local roasted potatoes!


Eggs are in good production since Luna started laying again!
We're ready for Autumn!

Bonnie enjoying the ending summer light-

September is National Preparedness Month-
Speaking of storing and preserving food! September is National Preparedness Month (again). I can't say strongly enough I think things are going to get much much worse over the next few years before they get better. If you or your loved ones, or someone you know, is the type to thank everything will be okay they will be in for a very rude awakening. I HOPE I AM WRONG. I'm not trying to be negative, just realistic, and for those who are able to listen- store up extra foods, water, cash, fuel you know the drill. You can look back on my preparedness posts here or Google September National Preparedness Month for all kinds of resources in your area. Don't forget your pets and don't forget over the counter supplements, syrups, pain relief, etc. What if you had a bad cough and couldn't find cough syrup anywhere? Not a good scenario, but if you have a couple of extra bottle stashed along with other kinds of first aid supplies your set. Winter is coming and we've already seen the bizarre international weather events. This is the new normal. Just a good reminder to not rely on anybody to help you, EVER.

Warranty Success With A Twist-
I blogged a while back about how I found a used Stanley travel mug with (it turned out) a broken lid-

I replaced the lid which wound up leaking sadly. I called the Stanley customer service number which was an overseas call center. That was pretty well a nightmare. I looked on their website and anything over 30 days was NOT covered by warranty, shocked! I had bought the lid and stored it for quite a few months before I used it. I started thinking about a work-around. I went on to Amazon's website looked up the Stanley flask/mug that was similar and posted a question, since I couldn't post a comment. Mentioned that they had terrible customer service and was there a local phone number? Within 24 hours I got an email from Stanley to go to their website and fill out a form, which I did. I got a response within about 2 days asking for a photo of the bottom of the cup and a video showing the leak, which I did. Within a few days I was told that the lid is out of stock, but that they were going to send me a replacement. Not a replacement LID, which was what I asked for, but a full replacement mug/flask. They let me choose which of two colors, I went with Rose Quartz (almost Copper), so now I have a brand new Stanley travel mug/flask and lid that works! Item here- Stanley1913 Mug I will save the old one, just won't use in a bag, etc. Pretty funny, I spent $3.00 for the thrifted item, $10 for a new lid and I wound up getting a free, more expensive new flask. Always pays to be creative and think about your options. 
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