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,
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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
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