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...

Apr 15, 2023

82 Degrees & More Snowy Weather! Two Home Office Rehabs, Mini Grow Light System Hack


 82 Degrees & More Snowy Weather!
We have had really crazy weather here lately! One afternoon it was 82 degrees and sunny, within 3 days it was 32 and snowing! This is a more wacky Spring than we usually have here. Hens are laying great! Fresh eggs galore is so satisfying for us. The good news is the garden is greening up with the days longer-

Bonnie enjoys the sunny spots in the house-

"Before" shot original home office

Two Home Office Rehabs-
With my new job, and an earlier shift, my first day of work I drove in the pouring rain and dark. Not fun. Luckily it's daylight now, and I will be starting to do hybrid work in a few weeks. We added a new larger desk to our home office and relocated our other small existing desk. Here's the before and after on that! (Before shot above)

Originally when I applied for my new job it was listed as no remote work, 100% in the office. Between the time I was hired and the time it was posted things changed. I was very happy to find out I would be doing part-time remote/office work. It's really nice not to have a full time commute and be able to work from home some of the time. Lots of little things you can do in between working from home like moving sprinklers, running a load of laundry, etc. We were in the dilemma of what to do since we moved our personal home office stuff into the bedroom office. Now with that area being a kitchen buffet-

We opt to use a laptop with a monitor/keyboard/mouse at home. We decided to move the small existing desk into the other spare bedroom and set up our home office there. We donated my sewing machine cabinet and put my sewing machine in the craft closet- 


That made room for the small desk to go into that bedroom. Good excuse to deep clean! We deep cleaned that area, always hard to miss the dust bunnies behind the furniture-

Old desk, ready for when I start working remote

So next- what kind of desk was I going to use to work from on? We looked around and I really wanted to get something that would be more like a piece of furniture. Eventually when I retire we won't need two desks so I figured we'd buy something nice that we could keep long-term. We didn't want to spend too much money so I looked around and finally settled on a desk from Costco. It was $200.00 off, ordered it online and had it delivered within a week. The thing that really sold me on the desk was it was mahogany hardwood construction. I wanted something really stable that was not going to get wobbly or weaken over time. I did shop around quite a bit and we didn't want cheap MDF, etc. Dave and I got started-

Look at the Mahogany grain!!! WOW

Dave and I put the new desk together and it looks great! We're keeping our home set up for now. We'll move our gear to the other bedroom when I start working from home. We didn't spend any money for this except for the new desk, $300.00. I really like the distressed farm style! If we ever decide to move the personal workstation into the living room it would be a nice fit.

Bonnie approves! 

I used some leftover fabric from my kitchen buffet, so I sewed up a curtain with velcro on the top. Conceals a food storage bookcase, dresses it up!


Mini Grow Light System Hack-
I wanted to start some seeds and we were going to set up our grow light system in our extra bedroom. It's worked really well before. I decided this year, based on last couple years, that I really didn't need to start quite as much. I suddenly had the brilliant idea that instead of using the whole 6' tall grow light rack, with multiple shelves, that I could just downsize it. I decided to put it on top of our buffet in the dining room. So Dave set up just one rack for me-
Lettuce seedlings to thin
Basil from the grocery store to go outside

 It's over the waterproof counter and there's power there. Easy to keep an eye on and I can start plenty of cucumbers, squashes, herbs and flowers there. Because our growing season can be kind of unpredictable here in the summer we really prefer to buy tomato starts. They get off to a quicker growth pattern. I know not everybody does that but it works for us. I just moved a few things around and I added my wooden organizer that I and the seeds are in close proximity for the gardening season. Now I just need to keep the cat out! Will fill the rest of the pots this weekend. Lettuce will go outside in pots. I have given up growing in the garden area.


Mar 19, 2023

Independence Days Challenge


Independence Days Challenge-
Here's what's been going on! It's finally warming up, grass is getting a bit green. Hopefully no more snow!!!
1. Plant Something- Getting ready to plant some lettuce starts in a little pot inside just to get something green growing. We've relocated a few things, trying to find room to put up our grow light rack to start some early vegetables. Otherwise too cold outside! After multiple mini snow storms we finally got into the 50s. Happy dance!

2. Harvest Something- Chives are up in the garden. So happy the girls have started laying! We have almost two and a half dozen eggs so far. It appears only two out of the three but that is another story listed below. I could be wrong on that, with two laying brown eggs and one white. Once we get three eggs a day we're good!

3. Preserve/Store Something- Bought some deeply discounted artisan breads and stashed those in the freezer. Keeping an eye on canned goods, etc. and stockpiling those. Found some good deals on some Augason Farms Butter powder on Amazon. Got a #10 can for $19.00 on sale. Got three freeze-dried entrees from Mountain House, nice to have on hand.

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep-
Clearance priced wild bird food, clearance price winter clothes, and  several used Dvds and books from eBay. My food processor died, found a good deal online. My most recent read, highly recommended, this would make a GREAT movie!!!

 5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe- Working on trying some new Mediterranean diet recipes with some new and used cookbooks I was able to find. Another used book, while very heavy on the dairy (for us) great recipes!-


6. Build Community Food Systems- Not at this time. 
7. Recycle/Re-Use-
Dave has been cleaning up and reorganizing our garage. He needed to reorganize some specific areas. We were able to donate quite a few things and get them out of the garage. We're trying to create more workspace, with two cars and limited storage. It's much better, but a work in progress. I have the new kitchen "buffet area" (previous computer desk) done, with mostly thrifted items! I went for a Mediterranean feel, just waiting on buying some butcher block for the new top!

8. Skill Up- I got a new job. Much higher pay, better benefits. My old job was a sinking ship and no one seemed to care. That gets really frustrating when you're trying to do the job right! I will be working part-time in the office and part-time at home, which is a nice bonus. Originally it was supposed to be fulltime in the office. Saves gas and the commute time! Kitty Bonnie will be happy.

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something-
Saved the life of our hen Debbie. I looked at one day a couple months ago, when it was really bitter cold, and she was standing there with her tail down looking pretty sad. Didn't know what was going on so I brought her in right away, got her warmed up. When I was handling her I realized she was really, really thin. I thought maybe she was egg-bound since the other two had started laying. I gave her a warm bath and blew her dry. 

She almost fell asleep! I waited a day or so nothing happened. So I did my first vent inspection and found no egg. She did have a hard little rubbery yellow thing attached to her tail feathers. I don't remember now what it was called, but it sounded like she might have a bacterial infection. Luckily I had some poultry antibiotics on hand and gave her several doses over the course of a couple of days. I also gave her food that she would eat, loves cat food apparently! So I tried to get her hydrated and eating, inside where it was wzrm. A double laundry basket worked great! With my work schedule I finally decided to put her back out with her flock. I would go out three times a day and give her some canned chicken, tuna, with water and oats, etc. She seemed like she got her appetite back. Within a week or two she started perking up and moving around more. She seems to have recovered completely, from what I can tell. She's eating, looks normal but not sure if laying yet? I'm really happy she pulled through and we'll see how things go from here. She's only two or three years old so she should have a long life ahead of her. Long live Debbie, named after Debbie the Space Chicken from Lost in Space-

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