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...

Feb 27, 2012

Homesteading Goals For This Spring/Summer


My Ideas So Far- I saw someone else's list which inspired me to think about my own, and post it!

*Finish my spring food preservation/storage class and do more in that area.

*Buy a freezer

*Get 2 more chicks this spring to replace our lost girls, harvest more eggs, and sell some.

*Install 2 more rain barrels, and double our water harvest to 220 gallons.

*Add more edible landscaping to front and backyard.

*Continue to increase veggie garden size, and trim large maple tree for more sun! More sun = more food.

*Improve coop design, possible "green roof".

*Continue to eat/use more whole foods, and local foods.

*Tune up both our bikes and ride more.

*Continue to lose weight, as this helps me to be healthier and it's easier to do everything else!

*Hopefully remodel our bathroom, ew, it needs it!

It's interesting to note how many, basically all, of these tie into the Independence Days challenge! Well, except the bathroom :)  The tub is over 25 years old, enough said.

Fun Giveaway!


Feb 24, 2012

It's Blowing Now Baby & Chicken Romp


I'm listening to the wind howling right now, and can hear the storm blowing in. This is a repeat of Tuesday, when it was really warm, 54, then blew in a cold front with rain. Three days coming of snow/rain/wind. Nothing like the strong wind to put things into perspective- nothing you can do but wait it out. I always loved John Denver's song:
The wind is the whisper of our mother the earth
The wind is the hand of our father the sky
The wind watches over our struggles and pleasures
The wind is the goddess who first learned to fly

The wind is the bearer of bad and good tidings
The weaver of darkness, the bringer of dawn
The wind gives the rain, then builds us a rainbow
The wind is the singer who sang the first song

The wind is a twister of anger and warning
The wind brings the fragrance of freshly mown hay
The wind is a racer, a wild stallion running
The sweet taste of love on a slow summer's day

The wind knows the songs of the cities and canyons
The thunder of mountains, the roar of the sea
The wind is the taker and giver of mornings
The wind is the symbol of all that is free

So welcome the wind and the wisdom she offers
Follow her summons when she calls again
In your heart and your spirit let the breezes surround you
Lift up your voice then and sing with the wind

I knew today would be sunny and mild, the calm before the storm, so I decided to let the girls, Rosie and Ellie, out of the coop and into the backyard! What excitement! They got some big worms, ate the grass which is greening up. Got to flap/fly across the yard. Oh boy! We filled up the feeder, and cleaned and filled the waterer before dark. All set for the storms. Didn't have time for photos, but here's last year's summer romp-

My first three, when they were little puffballs, so cute! I'll probably get 2 new babies this spring since I lost one, and only Ellie is laying now. I've never heard of a healthy hen who quit laying when she was 2, last fall, but Rosie stopped laying. After 2 years of regular laying, even thru the winter. She's a sweet little thing, the only survivor of my first original flock, so no stew pot for her! When you only have a tiny flock, you just can't do it...

Feb 23, 2012

"Grocery Store Wars" Video, Food Preservation/Storage Class, and More

I saw this and it's so funny, and true! Grocery Stores Wars

Food Preservation and Storage Class- I'm really excited that I'll be taking Susan Astyk's online class! I became familiar with her when I read about her Independence Days idea. She also has a book here about that- Independence-Days  She also has a few other interesting looking books for sale too that she wrote. I was happy to receive a scholarship too, as cash has been tight. Nothing like having a really sick dog when your cash is already low.

I hope to learn lots of tips and tricks and get new ideas on what I can grow, buy and preserve. Here's my current pantry in our spare bedroom. Needs some tidying, and reorganizing, but great for storing all kinds of things- food, emergency supplies, canning equipment, etc.

Here's my "fast pie" I made using the last of my frozen home-grown organic nectarines- took 5 minutes to put the store bought crust in the bottom of my new (used) blue Pyrex pie plate, add fruit, a tiny bit of sugar, flour, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Toss, put on top crust, trim and in. Easy pie and delish!

My new pillows I made- I used the forms from my ratty old winter pillows, and the fabric from my daughter's old comforter cover, and my sewing machine I got last summer. I had tried to convert her double cover to queen, but it wasn't cooperating!
I still have enough fabric to make some tables runners, and/or napkins.

My new/used, ironed doilie, now it really shows the complicated pattern. Someone spent a lot of time on these-

New/old doilies up on the shelf, I didn't realize the pattern difference until I ironed them-

More winter weather headed here this weekend, with some snow, I hope!

Sorry if I accidentally deleted your recent "comments". I thought I was cleaning out my "spam" box, oops!!! I also deleted the "word verification" box! Ugh, the new version is horrendous, and I have good vision! If I get spammed I'll turn it back on... Thanks...

Feb 21, 2012

Updated Independence Day List

Updated Independence Day List- After reading this list  I re-worked mine a bit. It makes a bit more sense to me, although some overlap a bit:

1. Plant Something
2. Harvest Something

3. Preserve Something
4. Store Something
5. Manage Reserves- Get A Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep
6. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipes
7. Build Community Food Systems
8. Recycle/Re-Use
9. Skill Up
10. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something

It's a bit confusing, but that's okay. For instance- you can recycle food, just throw the scraps to the chickens! You've covered #5 and #8 at the same time. Whoop whoop.

Dave and I are thinking about modifying the coop in the spring with a "green" roof something like this-         

I'd love to grow some strawberries on top! Would keep the coop cooler in the heat and warmer in the winter. That would cover several things on the list too!

Here was my original list: Independence Days

Feb 20, 2012

More Independence Day Challenge Progress & Great Website!

Photo from  What a gorgeous website! I want some Pineberries now!!!

I realized today that I was doing more than I probably realized! That's good, and since I had the day off work today, I did some projects:


Waste not- Should be waist not! I used my sewing machine and altered about 10 blouses, easy to do when you just take them in thru the sides/waist. Now they fit! It's great shrinking! I scored some great jeans yesterday from a thrift store...

Preserve something- I realized that I buy bulk periodically and stash it in my bedroom pantry closet (photo coming soon). I bought used doilies and washed and ironed someone else beautiful handiwork. I'll post new pics now that they're ironed.

Want not- Re-organized my hall closet, got rid of out-date meds, and kept what's useful.

Snow's melting, dang!

Organizing & Another Favorite Thing

You know when you have that dreaded task that you know you hate, and you put it off? Then it gets worse? Then you get so sick of it you can't stand it? That's my linen closet, which also doubles as a catch all for misc. OTC meds, first aid, towels, etc. I had baskets, but things get mixed up, shoved to the back, forgotten. So I finally tackled my hall closet today, and it's done! Wow, the things I found- sticky baskets covered in spilled cough syrup (ew), lost items, too many free toothbrushs from the dentist (we use a Sonicare)... and on. I knew we had too many towels, but I like to keep some on hand for dog baths, and our rare guests. I have a new pile now for rags in the garage. I also know WHAT I HAVE, a good aspect of homesteading!
It's done! I had the baskets already, washed them, but then had nowhere for our emergency pet stuff. Then I remembered I had a cereal container- the size was perfect for ointments, pills and Sam's new inflatable surgery collar which hopefully she won't need anytime soon.

I forgot to add another one of my "favorite things"- my new double-sided table runner from Costplus! I got it for free on a special coupon deal. Very springy, vintagey, and nice heavy fabric. The back has the same colors, in a wide stripe...

And it's SNOWING!!! Woop, woop!

Feb 19, 2012

A Few Of My Favorite Things...

My kitchen shelf- I rotate things thru during the year

Fresh flowers to remind me of spring coming

My daughter made me a silk screen of bamboo and framed it as a gift!

My new food scale, really helps clarify things! At Costco, $18.99, works great!

And my handy dandy, reliable Olympus SP-500UZ camera! I love it!

Feb 18, 2012

Independence Day Challenge- So Far, Re-Do

Photo from-

Independence Day Challenge- So far here's my progress...

1. Plant something- I am planning my next garden, does that count? Too cold to plant yet, BUT I will be deep cleaning the coop soon and spreading all the good stuff in the beds! I guess prep counts!

2. Harvest something- Eggs daily! They are so delish, I just can't figure out why Rosie stopped laying after 1 1/2 years??? Lazy girl...

3. Preserve something- My own food in the fridge right now. I would have to use store bought food to preserve right now, not big on my list. I'm still eating my canned items from last summer, though!

4. Waste not- I'm doing much better cooking with what I have, and since I'm losing weight/eating healthier. We're saving money there too! Recycling out my old clothing. I'm also buying more (smaller!) used clothing for work, since I am working towards a few more sizes down. I don't want to but a lot of new clothes for a couple of months. School's out in June then it's shorts and tee shirts! They're cheap!

5. Want not- I'm saving Sam's leftover surgery meds for any future emergency, re-using my daughter's bulb pot she gave me for some plants indoor house plants, getting ready to deep clean our linen closest. I know there's a bonanza of misc. meds, and stuff etc. in there! Dave and I got a great deal at the Reebok Outlet store- cheap sneakers already and we got the "2nd pair 1/2 off". We each got a new pair of walking shoes (I wear them to work) and saved a bundle. It pays to shop around. I will always check there first! My $60 shoes were $15.00!

6. Eat the food- I have been doing a lot more home cooking, fresher, and much easier to track what I'm eating. I will say working with a dietician (free thru my work) makes you much more aware of what you eat.

7. Build Community Food systems- Working on that one, but I buy local whenever I can. It's just off-season right now, only herbs locally.

8. Skill up- Improving my photo and thrifting skills!  It has a whole new look! I haven't had to time to check out all the new features, but I will be submitting an article to win some $!

Feb 15, 2012

Vintage Finds and Snow!

I loved this little display of vintage items in the Idaho City restuarant we ate in Sunday. This was in, of all places, the ladies bathroom! Trudy's is full of the most amazing vintage items, hung from every inch inside the place. Sometime I'll take my camera (these were taken with my cell phone) and post some more photos from the rest of the place. I had fun using the "polaroid" frame in Picasa!

Vintage Finds- On Monday, coming home from work, I went into a thrift store calling me! I found doilies of all things, reminded me of Idaho City and the little shelves! $1.00 each, I have washed them, but not ironed/blocked them yet-

None vintage find: a like-new glass Pyrex blue pie pan- $3.00! I always wanted one...

Snow- We got a little snow over night, about an inch, enough to make it a little icy going to work-

Pretty in the early morning light....

Feb 12, 2012

Manhattan Style Clam Chowder, Spring Weather

Manhattan Style Clam Chowder-
I saw this recipe at  and decided to try it! I doubled the recipe, and modified it by adding 3/4 cup leftover white wine, 2 TBL. flour in 2 TBL. olive oil (to thicken a  bit), doubled the garlic, and added a few shots of Tabasco. It was really great and Dave loved it too!

I read the history of it, short version- The addition of tomatoes in place of milk was initially the work of Portuguese immigrants in Rhode Island, as tomato-based stews were already a traditional part of Portuguese cuisine. From:

It was really perfect served with a crusty baguette, filling and healthy. Using canned clams and juice, it would have been better with fresh, but, we live in Boise, sigh.

Spring Weather- We've been having high 40's weather lately, bizarre. It's way too early to garden, but I'm getting antsy. Dave and I were talking, over lunch in Idaho City, about what we could start on the window sills? We went to Idaho City, since it was mild, to get out of the house, go for a drive, and have lunch. Clear roads, and only some snow on the sides of the road near the upper elevations. Trudy's is a little cafe with great food, and AMAZING huckleberry cheesecake. We bought one slice only since we're both losing weight, and are trying to moderate :)  It's worth it. A little Idaho City history, just an hour outside Boise:

Idaho City was founded in December 1862 as "Bannock" (sometimes given as "West Bannock"), amidst the Boise Basin gold rush during the Civil War, the largest since the California gold rush a dozen years earlier. Near the confluence of Elk and Mores Creeks, its plentiful water supply allowed it to outgrow the other nearby camps in the basin, such as Placerville, Pioneerville, and Centerville. As its population swelled, the new Idaho Territorial legislature changed the town's name to "Idaho City," to avoid confusion with Bannack, Montana, in present-day Beaverhead County, the southwestern corner of Montana.

At its peak during the mid-1860s, there were more than 200 businesses in town, including three dozen saloons and two dozen law offices. Its 1864 population of 7,000 made it the largest city in the Northwest, bigger than Portland. Wood was the prime source of both shelter and heat, which caused Idaho City to burn four times: 1865, 1867, 1868, and 1871.[2] In 1863, St. Joseph's Catholic Church was established; it was the first Catholic parish in the new Idaho Territory.

                     File:Idaho City, Idaho.JPG

Feb 11, 2012

Re-Posting Larger Poster Photo

I decided to super-size this for easier reading! Great ideas....

Ladder Idea, "Tiny Homes" Book Trailer & Decluttering

I love this ladder/rack photo from

Great book trailer too from the same website-

I loved the way he manually did his photo layouts, much more free form than with a computer.

I was getting ready to take down my generic winter decorations today, and these home photos really helped put me in the mood! Off to clean!!!

Feb 10, 2012

"Independence Days Challenge" Ideas

"Independence Days Challenge" Ideas-
I read about this tonite, and thought what a great idea it is!  It started me thinking about what I can do, and what I'd like to learn, or practice. Here's the list to work on:

1. Plant something
2. Harvest something
3. Preserve something
4. Waste not
5. Want not
6. Eat the food
7. Build Community Food systems
8. Skill up

I read the idea came from here-  Great thinking! I will try and post something about how I do each week or so... Join in!

Fun Vintage Photos & Posters! Inspiring!

I found some fun, vintage photos online and thought I'd share! Good things to think about!

Feb 5, 2012

Samantha's Cancer Surgery, Bird, Weight Loss

Samantha- Our 12 year old part Aussie, got really lethargic last Monday, even worse on Tuesday. I checked her gums that day and they were almost white. I called the vet and we took her in right then. Short version- she was bleeding internally, we saw the belly tap. Went into a "now what" mode? Thursday had a ultrasound- showed a 2" tumor on her spleen, very common in older dogs. We had to make a value judgement, and think finances, about whether or not to have the surgery. We opted for it, had it done Friday, as it was very local and everything else looked clean. No spreading of the cancer. So far, she's doing really well! She's wearing her BooBooLoon, a new version of the awful "radar dishes" they used to have to wear. She can sleep/eat with it on, and doesn't bother her. It's inflatable and easy on/off. She should make a full recovery, and I'm grateful to our wonderful vet for being so caring with her. We had 3 followup calls over the weekend to check her.

Bird-  I heard a tap, tap, tap outside overhead today, and saw a little, young woodpecker I think, cute little guy-

Losing Weight- I'm down almost 20 lbs! It's getting easier over time. We - bought a new scale since ours was wierd, up and down 2 lbs. in one weigh in. Nice digital one is much more accurate. Clothes are going bye bye, for smaller ones, woop woop!

Feb 2, 2012

And Now For Some Humor!


I subscribe to the free website emails. It helps remind me to read their free homesteading articles each month. Here's some gems they had today (including the photo above)-

Life- On the first day, God created the dog and said, "Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years."
The dog said, "That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?"
So God agreed.
On the second day, God created the monkey and said, "Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span."
The monkey said, "Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the dog did?"
And God agreed.
On the third day, God created the cow and said, "You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years."
The cow said, "That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?"
And God agreed again.
On the fourth day, God created humans and said, "Eat, sleep, play, marry, and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years."
But the human said, "Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?"
"Okay," said God. "You asked for it."
So that is why for our first twenty years, we eat, sleep, play, and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years, we slave in the sun to support our family. For the next ten years, we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the last ten years, we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.
Life has now been explained to you.

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