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...

Jun 29, 2013

Record Heat, Muffuletta Sandwich, A Little Peek At Our 4th Of July

Record Heat-
Summer's here- over 100 today, with more record heat this next week. Thanks goodness for A/C! Giving the hens lots of cold water and wet snacks. Staying cool inside and trying to minimize errands. Dave's been watering and watering and watering. Our turf is finally looking much better after doing some much needed re-seeding and fertilizing (natural). While I'm not a turf fan it's what works for us right now.


Muffuletta Sandwich-
I've made this several times, and it's one of my all-time favorite recipes- Muffuletta Sandwich  I decided to make a cold dinner since we're hitting a record high heat this week. It's a really nice combination of the "olive salad" and meat, cheese and bread. You can do a veggie version with just cheese, or even skip that. The salad only takes about 10 minutes to put together.

 A Little Peek At Our 4th Of July-
I have found I decorate less, but with more favorite pieces, during the seasons or holidays. Some people decorate every square inch of their homes and I find that visually overkill. Here's a few of my 4th of July indoor goodies, the rest are outside. I wasn't up to going outside to shoot in 103 heat :)

My chunky prim flag that I made last year, directions here Chunky Prim Flag, really fast and easy!

my little "sea table", as I miss the Oregon coast

Jun 28, 2013

How Do You Like The New Design?

How Do You Like The New Design?
Let your voice be heard!!! How do y'all like the changes here? I've added more widgets (like me on Facebook!), minor color changes, larger font. Any suggestions? I may put some tabs along the top for some specific links. Would that be too much? I'm not a big fans of too much stuff on blogs, that make it hard to read. I stopped following one blog that had way too many ads, surveys, etc. Too much distractions from the actual blog. What do you think???

Jun 26, 2013

Hot/Sweet/Tart Red Onion Relish, 10 Chicken Supplies At Dollar Store, Dave's Cobbler, Fruit's Coming!

Rainy Day

Sorry some of my pics are blurry, I'm still on 1 foot, not the best for photos! Stitches are out and 1 more week til I can start trying to put some weight down, Woo Hoo!!!!

Hot/Sweet/Tart Red Onion Relish-
After hearing about this on a radio food show I tried it out. It a keeper! Spicy, crunchy, sweet/sour. Recipe here   WARNING- wear gloves doing peppers (I would leave some seeds in next time) and refrigerate the onions beforehand. I forgot to, bad fumes, teary eyes!!! I hand sliced these as my cheap food processor sliced, then chopped them. I let it sit 2 days, had some last night, very tasty! I added a little seasoned rice wine vinegar too, to beef up the liquid.

10 Chicken Supplies From The Dollar Store-
Great info here- Muranochickenfarm  There's also some other good chicken info on that site.

Dave's Cobbler-
Dave got some free rhubarb next door while I was laid up. He did a great strawberry rhubarb cobbler with a crumble topping. Thanks hon!

Fruit's Coming!
Man, I'm stoked! We have fruit galore this year, and since last year's sucked, I'm ready! Too hot, too early last year I think. We have planted all the fruits on the lot since we bought the house. I'm happy the baby pear tree is healthy, but no fruit yet. Maybe next year. I couldn't get a picture of the French nectarine tree, but Dave said it's loaded too. I'm hoping everything doesn't ripen at once. Usually the berries come on when I'm home. It's tough to can around work and the fruit, but I will if I have to. Freezing space will be made too. We have-

Tone of apples, McIntosh I think




Choke Cherries, and these made the BEST jelly last year, wonderful!

summer flowers

My view from the "recovery" couch

 Anya's little portrait

Anya glaring- 
turn off the freaking camera already- I'm trying to sleep! 

Hysterical Colbert Segment on Size of Chicken Cages & Chicken Pep Talk

                                        Steve King On Chicken Cages
                                    Please watch the whole thing! 

Jun 22, 2013

Independence Days, How To Make Tomato Powder, Chicken Summer Cooling Pans

Anya on bird patrol

Independence Days-
With my foot recuperation, things have been much slower for me. Dave's been great picking up the slack. Thanks for every one's good wishes!!! It's great to have a virtual cheering squad! I'm doing lots of little things around the house, and will get the stitches out next week. I'm looking forward to actually washing my foot normally, and not having it wrapped in plastic :(  I'm REALLY looking forward to being partial weight-bearing and just using one crutch and the "boot. While the wheelie cart has been amazing (hardly using crutches except in the small bathroom) I'm looking forward to losing it. I'll be re-designing my blog soon, and changing the format, so watch for some changes. I may even do a reader survey! You can tell me what you like or not. My goal is to have it easy to read, and find what you need. I also want to change some of the artistic aspects like the colors, etc.

1. Plant Something- Garden is pretty well planted. Watching for more tomato plants on sale. I always squeeze in more when they're 1/2 price or less.

2. Harvest Something- Eggs, compost, ready to harvest kale and collard greens.

3. Preserve/Store Something- Picked up a few things at Costco for the pantry and freezer.

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep- Did some thrifting, will do more when foot is better. 

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe- I heard about this on the radio today- 
Hot Sweet Tart Onion Relish I will make some, since it's supposed to be good on crackers, on top of cooked potatoes, etc. Easy and tasty sounding! Made a homemade angel food cake and buttermilk biscuits this week.

6. Build Community Food Systems- Need to get in touch with our neighbor for some rhubarb. Done selling eggs for now.

7. Recycle/Re-Use- Planting some leftover wildflower seeds I was gifted with. Dave planted last years leftover grass seed to fill in some dead spots. Our DVD/VHS machine dies, so I got rid of all the homemade tapes and donated the store bought ones. Sigh, it's an end of an era. Luckily I found several good, used DVDs on amazon!

8. Skill Up- Taking a digital SLR photography class to use my camera better, it's great! Hubby and I are taking it together. Dave took it a few years back, but he has a better camera now. I'm learning a lot about proper settings, things like ISOs, F-stops, etc. Love the instructor! He believes you should be able to take GOOD photos and not have to photo shop everything. 

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something- Moving some plants/rocks around the backyard.

                                                       Some of last year's bounty

How To Make Tomato Powder-
Great idea here Baconandeggs/Scifichick While I  have no tomatoes yet, it's a great idea! I'd rather do that to some of my whole tomatoes, since I have to can outside. Too hot! I can set the dehydrator outside and do it that way. I love having paste on hand and that would fit the bill.

Photo From 5 Little Homesteaders

Chicken Summer Cooling Pans-
I ran across this yesterday at  and I thought- great idea! You fill large plastic planter trays with water, then the chickens cool their feet in it. I'd never heard of this before. In Boise we get really hot and dry. While I've used a mister to create a damp area the girls won't actually stand under it. It does evaporate and gives them a cooler space though. I will try this, since it supposed to be pushing 100 in the next week, and report back.

Jun 19, 2013

Raining, I'm Bored- Let's Bake! Good Homesteading/Chicken Books, Unusual Coops

We actually got some significant rain late last night and most of today, a surprise. It's been only about 60, and still cloudy. I opened up some windows to let the fresh air in, then closed them a bit later as it was pretty chilly. The clouds were breaking, a little blue sky, now a downpour and some thunder. Many time these summer storms blow through and we get wind, no rain, maybe just some thunder. Rain is nice....

I'm Bored, Let's Bake!
Being bored out of my mind, and finally off pain meds, I decided to bake. I need to use up some eggs for my favorite Citrus Angel Food Cake  I panicked when I realized I was out of cream of tartar, but there are easy substitutes for it. In this case, an equal part of lemon juice. No worries, it worked great! I also add about 1 tsp. of pure orange extract. This cake is so easy, you'll wonder why you never tried it sooner, if you haven't. It's addicting!


Good Homesteading/Chicken Books-
I've worked on a few library books the last couple of weeks. I REALLY like this one, short and sweet-
Finding Good Farmland , a Storey Basic book (love those). Hoping to someday move to a rural area, this one would be great for a novice like me, or someone more experienced. My favorite list was on page 73- Red Flags For a Problem Farm, really enlightening. Excellent read!


I also got from the Library, Free Range Chicken Gardens. This is a good read, with lots of ideas. There is more to the book than just gardens for chickens despite the title. Some of these ideas are great if you have lots of time, energy and $$$. It would be more beneficial if you were completely redoing your landscaping layout. On a budget you have to work with what you're given many times. I'm not a big fan of chicken poop everywhere either. Eh. I have already done many of these ideas, and this may vary climate-wise. There's no way I would do a lot of hardscaping with the hot summers here. I'm also not a big fan of gravel paths in general. My garden is frozen in the winter and so free-ranging in limited to the dirt veggie area. I wouldn't buy this personally, just check it out for the great eye candy. Most of the chicken information can be found free online.


My last chicken related book had lots of great ideas, City Chicks  It had much more interesting tidbits, including a chapter on teaching your chickens tricks! THAT I will be trying! I would really recommend this book. It's cool! I just wish the photos were in color.

                                    African chicken coop Unusual Chicken Coops

Unusual Coops-
I was going to post a few photos here, but then I struck gold! has a wonderful pages with designs from all over the world. There's more here too Facebook Chicken Coops  Here's a couple of my favorites-

               Photo: Have found a posh CHICKEN HOTEL to share with you! :)
It's found here:
                             From, a bit over the top, but cute

                                                           From FB page

                       earthshipchickencoop Unusual Chicken Coops
                                                   S.W. Earthship style

WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD? (Individual perspectives on the matter)

Woody Allen: I mean, it was, it was ... a legal chicken ... It wasn't like it was a blood relative or anything. (And don't believe anything that Mia says about me.) 

Aristotle: To actualize its potential. 

Pat Buchanan: To steal a job from a decent, hard-working American. 

Roseanne: Urrrrrp. What chicken?

Jun 17, 2013

Life In The Non-Fast Lane

Anya Exploring

Life In The Non-Fast Lane -
Being on one good leg right now, and using a wheelie scooter/walker is quite an experience. I have to plan ahead, and let Dave do the things I can't like yard work and cleaning. I wish I had this! I think they are so new they're not available locally.

                                                    photo of a woman on a RollerFoot at a bank.
                                                It's called a Rollerfoot! Cool! Look Ma, no hands!!!!

It's really frustrating not being able to do my normal thing, and keep things going smoothly and clean! Poor Dave was run ragged the last several days trying to keep me iced, medicated and fed. I'm really grateful I have the luxury of time off work and good insurance! I'm pretty much off my pain meds, and up and about more. I'm still getting tired easily, need to keep icing my foot, and I have to remind myself I had surgery less than a week ago. Stitches come out in 1 week, then another 2 weeks of no weight bearing. Hopefully after that I can go to partial with a crutch, then I could get outside in the back yard! I'm going to my Chiropractor tomorrow, who has really kept me band-aided together thru this. When you limp a lot on one side for a long time it really messes up your spine. Luckily things should normalize after I'm done with the crutches. Anya loves exploring my cart-

Gee Mom, that rubber handle grip is tasty!

What's the basket for?

Run some scent on the knob!

Jun 13, 2013

Nurse Anya

Nurse Anya-
After a year of limping around I had my big bone spur removed from my heel yesterday. Surgery went well, and I'm getting the dressing removed tomorrow. Our cat Anya has been standing guard over me since I've been home. Dave took the photos. Anya will get up and explore a little, but always returns to the couch to check up on me. Dave observed this, since I've been sleeping a lot :)

Jun 11, 2013

Foot Surgery Tomorrow, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Foot Surgery Tomorrow-
Well I'm off for foot surgery tomorrow morning, so won't be blogging much for a little bit. After my big bone spur is removed from my left heel, I'll be living in one of these for a while.-

My foot will be elevated, iced and I'll be on the couch for a day or 2. Dressing comes off Friday, then I can shower. We got a shower chair at a thrift store! The good news, I have one of these, rented, for a while-

You put your bum leg on the pad and can wheel around pretty fast! She's purty! I wish I'd had this 15 years ago, when I had the same thing, on the other foot. The really nice thing about the wheelie cart is you can lock the brakes and stand for a while. That will make cooking and various chores much easier and safer. I'm VERY grateful I have the summer off and have excellent insurance.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup-
Pretty cute in my thirfting bowls, huh? Eating while on pain pains the next day or two, I decided to make some chicken noodle soup. Nourishing and easy on the stomach. Here's my version-


1 whole roasting chicken
3 cups chopped carrots
    "         "    celery, including tops
1 whole yellow onion, chopped
1 TBL. thyme
1 tsp. powdered garlic
1 TBL salt, to taste
1 tsp. pepper
2 bay leaves
1 qt. low sodium organic chicken broth
1 TBL. chicken bouillon paste
1 lg. package extra wide egg noodles

I put the whole chicken in a large stock pot, put in the chicken broth and then cover with water, barely. Add everything except the noodles and paste. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 hours. Take the chicken out of the pot, carefully, then de-bone, and chop chicken. It will be hot, so cool a bit first. I used all the meat, but no skin. Put all the meat in the pot, bring to a simmer, add paste and salt to taste. Add noodles the last 1/2 hour before serving.  You could add sage and/or parsley too. Serve with some crackers or bread. Stores well, you may need to add more water when re-heating.

Jun 7, 2013

Keeping Chickens Cool, Thrifting Finds

Keeping Chickens Cool-
This is my 3rd or 4th summer keeping chickens cool in a very hot, dry climate. In Boise it can stay in the 90's or 100's for weeks, sometimes months. Add to that we're in high desert, that's hot and DRY. Keeping chickens hydrated is essential. While I have big waterer in the coop, I also have 2 other large bowls I fill daily with fresh water. Sometimes I add a few ice cubes late in the day to cool it off.

I also use some cool treats, like cukes, grapes/cherries (squash the grapes first so they won't choke), and an old pie pan I fill with ice chips. Luckily we have a fridge with in the door water and ice!

I also added a shade area last year, since it had tough shrubs and was shade most of the day. I realized it would be a perfect to add a short fence. Sometimes you have to create a space. We re-used some fencing stakes and bought a small roll of garden fencing. The girls it every day! They can go from the main garden behind the coop and around. At some point I'd like to replace it with livestock panels and chicken wire, like the rest of the veggie area, and make the fencing more invisible. It works for now.

In addition, I bought a mister for about $8.00 at a big box store. I attach it using the curly part of the top of the berry vine wires, and it keeps the whole area cooler. Uses very little water, a bonus. I'm a big fan of NOT wasting water. Just attach it to your hose, and turn on very low. That's it. Talk about an easy installation! Just unscrew when you need your hose.


Thrifting Finds-
Summer is when I do a lot of thrifting, while I'm off work. When I was going by a thrift store today I popped in! I found a new summer blouse, a Sun Valley mug, 2 chicken soups bowls (good for post-foot surgery) and a summery pitcher. All for $12.00!  With foot surgery next week, and no weight bearing on my 1 foot and crutches for 4 weeks, I'll probably be home a lot. I have lots of little projects to do to keep me busy, but I'll miss some thrifting time. I'll make up for it when I'm off both crutches :)

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