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...

Jul 30, 2013

Gorgeous Tiny Reclaimed House

Gorgeous Tiny Reclaimed House-
I've followed the Tiny House Blog for years, and now they have a TinyHouseBlogFB page. I LOVE this house and all the very old, recycled things they used. Full article here- Reclaimed Space

Love the tin on the walls

I LOVE all the tin and wood. Concrete counter?

Lots of very old materials there

Jul 28, 2013

And The Winner of My Giveaway Is......

And the winner of my giveaway is...

Susan from e-i-e-i-omg!  Susan please email me your home address so I can send some goodies your way!

Jul 25, 2013

Last Chance to Enter My Giveaway! Drawing This Sunday!

My 300th Blog Post Giveaway!-
Last chance!!! Drawing will be this Sunday! Winner to be randomly selected by my hubby. It's a gift pack that includes-
a blank journal, 2 new French vintage-style cloth shopping bags, some other fun goodies, including edible ones! Continental U.S. only, sorry. Here's all you have to do-
*Put a link back to this blog on your blog (if you have one) and post here that you did.
*Leave a comment about what you like best about my blog! 

Jul 23, 2013

New Danger From Fukushima- Steam & Contaminated Water, Facebook Reader Question, 300th Blog Post Giveaway!!!

I was reading this article Fukushima Contaminated Steam (text below) and it reminded me of my worries when this first happened. Nuclear accidents never happen in a vacuum. The article states-

On July 17 and 18 steam was observed rising from Fukushima Daiichi Reactor 3, raising concerns that the damaged reactor's nuclear reaction had started again. If this has happened, another large release of radioactive material from the planet is probable. Then, yesterday, Tokyo Electric Power admitted that radioactive groundwater had leaked from the plant into the sea. Levels of cancer-causing cesium 134 have increased by 110 percent in the past few days. So far, Tepco has not been able to explain this increase, but it would be consistent with new nuclear reactions taking place in the reactor's core.

Since 2011, low levels of cesium 134 have been found in blue fin tuna being caught off the California coast. In addition, seaweeds along the coast have been discovered to contain concentrations of radiation From Fukushima. Tokyo Electric Power has maintained a policy of informing the public as little as possible about the extent of the disaster. The Fukushima meltdowns took place after a massive tsunami swept the power plant complex in 2011. Tokyo Electric Power had received permission from planners to place its diesel backup generators at ground level instead of building them onto raised platforms, despite the fact that the area was a known risk for tsunamis. As a result of this, the plants lost backup power and went critical after the disaster. Since then, it has never been clear how much radiation has actually been leaked from them.

Are Californians at risk if they eat blue fin tuna? Unlike heavier radioactive elements, Cesium-134 does not quickly sink to the bottom of the sea, but remains in the water column almost indefinitely. Blue fin tuna spawn in Japanese waters, then swim across the Pacific. By the time they reach California waters, any radioactive elements they may contain will have been concentrated by the amount of time the fish have been in the water.

Facebook Reader Question-
Here's a question for my readers- would you like to see a Facebook page that is for Little Homestead? I have mixed views on the lack of privacy on FB, and their heavily automated system. Would you like to see that, or are you okay following the way you do? I'm always looking for better ways to bring more readers in!

300th Blog Post Giveaway!-
After a wait here's the new giveaway, to be randomly selected by my hubby. It's a gift pack that includes-
a blank journal, 2 new French vintage-style cloth shopping bags, some other fun goodies, including edible ones! Continental U.S. only, sorry. Here's all you have to do-
*Put a link back to this blog on your blog (if you have one) and post here that you did.
*Leave a comment about what you like best about my blog! I'll announce the winner in the next week. So check back!

                      My homesteady wreath I made with burlap and my Carhartt kerchief

Jul 22, 2013

Independence Days, Sumac Tree Lemonade, I'm WALKING!

1. Plant Something- Done for now

2. Harvest Something- Sumac heads, eggs, kale, about a qt. of choke cherries (happy dance, I smell jelly!), collard greens, blackberries, small hot peppers, first lemon tomatoes, and green apples from emergency tree trimming. Compost is doing nicely.

choke cherries

3. Preserve/Store Something- Made another batch of pickled eggs, and sweet tart onion relish.

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep- Stocked up on cheese, fresh pineapple, Italian bread, cereal at Costco. Bought 2 batches of bird seed marked clearance at a big box store.

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe- Tried a new Mayo cake, really salty and dried out way too fast. I got 2 new cookbooks from the library on French bistro cooking (review soon) and salads as meals, both by Patricia Wells

6. Build Community Food Systems- Got more free rhubarb.

7. Recycle/Re-Use- Compost, food scraps to the chickens. Will use green apples from tree trimming for some cobbler. They were much sweeter than I expected! Hoping for an early harvest before I'm back to work. Got some nice work tops at Goodwill today, oh boy! I'll be thrifting a lot more as I'm walking more.

apples from trimming

8. Skill Up- Learned how to make sumac lemonade. Also learned that if you're slicing a LOT of onions, let the water run in the sink. My eldest foodie daughter taught me that trick, and it WORKS!!! Doing problem solving on different fencing for next year to expand our veggie garden area. Want to add cedar posts instead of yard/garden stakes. Learned some new ways to keep the hens cool- bobbing for berries

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something- Apple and Sumac tree both needed major pruning. The apple tree is so loaded with fruit, and even with support, was at a bad angle over our easement. People drive thru there randomly, and didn't want to lose the tree. I had Dave selectively trim it and it looks much better! Ditto the sumac with the heavy seed pods, and a few low branches. Made some Sumac lemonade.

Sumac Tree Lemonade-
Last year I read about this, but never got around to it. Instead of waiting til fall for the sumac tree berry clusters, I used the heads as is now. There actually were berries under the fuzz. We had to trim them off anyway, for the sake of the tree, as they are heavy! I used this recipe- Sumac lemonade. There are plenty of others online. Just make sure it's the right kind of sumac. It came out a nice, pretty pink. The flavor as-is was lemon/berry-ish, which I didn't expect. Sweeten as needed.

sumac heads soaking overnight

As most of you know I've been in recovery mode with my foot surgery. I had a big 1 1/2" bone spur removed and Achilles tendon worked on. I've been doing pretty well this last week, with one crutch and partial weight-bearing. I'm seeing the doc about when I can do full weight bearing, with just my boot. THEN I can really get out, do yard work, shop, etc. Hopefully my lower back will stabilize too, pretty tough last 6 months with that.

Jul 20, 2013

My First "I've Been Featured At..."!

My First "I've Been Featured At..."!
Oh boy, I'm so excited! It the first time I've been featured at another blog, at least I think, scratching head...
I was shown off at Five Little Homesteaders on one of their IDC posts. And on Facebook-

Thanks Colleen!

One Hot Dog

What's not to love!

Jul 17, 2013

The Hazards of Backyard Chickens

The Hazards of Backyard Chickens-
Well, I certainly identified with this! I just need a couple acres, goats, ducks pigs and maybe... you get the idea. Show this to your pals who are thinking about getting chickens. Buyers beware!

Misty from One Girls Rant

Jul 13, 2013

Sounds Of Summer, Sweet Julia Child Tribute, Almost Time For a Giveaway!

Our giant maple tree
Sounds Of Summer-
We're heading towards record-breaking 100+ degree weather in another day or so. Since it was cooler yesterday, I went out in the back yard for an hour and read sitting in the sun. I decided my pasty white skin needed some color! I did wear a hat and shades, as I HATE a sunburned scalp. Being stuck inside with the recovery of my foot surgery has really been pretty much inside. Luckily I'm off my cart in 2 more days! Woohoo! Skin is finally healing up better in the small spot that was a problem. Then- just 1 crutch and I can finally drive myself, and do more here. Anyway, Thursday night I had Dave set out a couple of deck chairs- one by the deck to transfer off my cart to, and one out on the grass for me to roll over to. That went well, and I took out my hot weather supplies in my little cart basket- water bottle, book, phone, etc. It was so nice to be outside! I'm finishing up Making Home by Sharon Astyk. Excellent book! Sitting there for an hour I could hear bird sounds, a little hammering by a neighbor, cars off in the distance, kids laughing down the street. It was actually pretty quiet. It was a weekday with most of the neighbors off at work. Weekend summer sounds tend to be- lawnmowers, more hammering (neighbors got a project going), more birds, music, screaming babies, barking dogs, and the neighbor that has his pool vacuum going. Meanwhile the cat's running up and down the hall chasing a tiny wadded up ball of paper. Anya is so easily entertained!

                                                          I love the BISCUITERIE sign
Sweet Julia Child Tribute-
I recently watched a cooking show and discovered who Patricia Wells is. Patricia is a well-known American writer who lives in France. She has written lots of French restaurant reviews, guides and cook books. She was good friends with Julia Child, the famous American cook who brought French cooking to America. I was really charmed by this little corner remembrance Patricia made to her friend. When Julia was getting ready to close up her French home for good Patricia asked if she could have her cook stove. The full story is here Julia Child's 100th Birthday. When I first watched Julie And Julia I really became aware of what a wonderful, tough, and funny woman Julia was. Watch the movie if you haven't! Amy Adams and Meryl Streep were brilliant! And, of course, blogger Julie Powell turned her cook the entire Child's cookbook in one year into fame and fortune. Good for her!

Amy Adams as Julie, Child-type pearls and all. Wallpaper from ScenicReflections

Meryl Streep as Julia Child in her French kitchen

I already knew who Julia was from randomly watching her on PBS. She donated her entire American kitchen to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. It really shows a "working" kitchen set up for organization, use and simplicity. You can take an online tour Julia Child Exhibit. I wish my kitchen was that big, and I love the cabinets and colors. Talk about a lot of utensils, cooking collectibles, etc.! Here's a fun little article from Country Living magazine on How to Recreate Julia Child's Kitchen.

I remember watching SNL one year and almost dying from laughter at Dan Akroyd's imitation of her cutting up a chicken. He is sheer PERFECTION! BEWARE- if you're faint around blood, skip this! And try not to laugh yourself out of your chair!!!

Almost Time For a Giveaway!-
Two more posts to reach 300, then it's time! Keep checking back!

Jul 9, 2013

Independence Days Challenge, Thrifting, Shabby Chic Wedding Ideas, Bird House Re-Do, Mountain Photos

Independence Days Challenge-

1. Plant Something- Added chives (lost to the new A/C install) and mint (I know, it spreads!) We created some space in a front yard strip and added some bush beans too. Next year we'll increase our back veggie beds and add more in front as well. 

2. Harvest Something- All 3 girls are going great, 3 eggs a day! Finally. Compost, great collard greens, kale, a few berries. Waiting for every thing else to ripen, mature. Tons of fruit on the trees!

3. Preserve/Store Something- Red onion relish. When I'm up on both feet I'll start some jams/jellies.

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep- Doing normal rotations of pantry stuff, added a few things to the chest freezer. Went wedding rental shopping with my daughter for her wedding.

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe- Tried a new chicken tostaditas dish from Sunset magazine. It was really outstanding! Recipe here Chicken Tinga Tostaditas

6. Build Community Food Systems- Traded eggs for rhubarb next door. Will get to a farmer's market soon.

7. Recycle/Re-Use- Re-did my one birdhouse. Photo below. 

8. Skill Up- Refreshed my memory about making colloidal silver, that stuff is great!

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something- We cleaned 4 birdhouses, they were pretty dirty. We ditched all the bedding, and sadly, 3 tiny eggs, sigh. We used 7th Generation all botanical cleaner, disinfects but not toxic. Let air dry, then we put back up. 

I haven't been thrifting much this summer, with my foot still on the mend. Here's a couple of things I found last week-

Cute little chicken at Big Lots, love it!

Flag jar

6" basket
Shabby Chic Wedding Ideas-
My oldest girl is getting married in October, so we went to a couple of wedding rental places. They're on a tight budget, so they're renting a ballet dance studio that's set up for weddings. We were looking for some additional decorations. While she isn't doing shabby chic/farmish, I LOVED these displays! More here at Tates Events.

chicken wire, chipped paint, I liked the door too!

Burlap runner, nice little touches.

Bird House Re-Do-
This is the "after" shot. It was faded and peeling a bit. I re-painted it green and since we had some extra license plates, I cut out the tree from an old Oregon plate with tin snips. Dave screwed it on and it matches the roof now. I like it! The birds must too, as they started re-building a nest within the hour.

 Mountain Photos-
We went up to Idaho City last week, to have lunch and take some photos. We went farther past it up into the open mountain areas. We took a few shots were there was room to pull over-

some kind of wild flower

nice little creek I wish I could have gotten into, it was HOT!

I saw these gorgeous Western Tanagers, but they were too far away (even with telephoto) to get a decent shot of-

photo from Wiki Western Tanager

Jul 7, 2013

Vintage Chicken Photos and Posters

Vintage Chicken Photos-
I thought I'd share some fun vintage chicken posters I found online. Many of these look to be pre-WW2:

Courtesy of Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information

I love this shot, and the kid height sink

I had to add this, even though there's no chicken, because it's so cute!

Jul 5, 2013

Happy 2nd Blogversary! Another Giveaway! 1950's Housewife Bridal Shower Idea, Summer Video, Chicken Sculpture

Happy 2nd Blogversary!-
Apparently I missed my blogversary! Dang. Well, sometimes medical things take precedence. I was noticing I'm closing in on my 300th post too! So... it's time to reflect. OK, I'm finished. Actually I just want to thank my followers, older and newer, for being here. It was so nice to have some of you email me personally and ask how my foot surgery went. That meant  a lot. Virtual pals are one of the nicer parts of being online.  Blogging has been a real learning curve, like accidentally deleting a bunch of photos on my new smart phone and not being able to retrieve them! So, I'm restoring as many as I can before last summer. Oh well. You do what you can.

Another Giveaway!-
In honor of my 2nd blogversary AND reaching almost 300 posts, I'm going to have another giveaway! Keep reading the next week and I'll let you know what the goodies are and how to win them! Thanks!

1950's Housewife Bridal Shower Idea-
I read this over at Canning Granny  1950's Housewife Shower Idea  and loved it! Very creative job she did. I had never heard of "pounding" before. It's a Quaker tradition of giving newlyweds a pound of various things like butter, grains, flours, sugar, etc. to stock their new pantry. Great idea! I have 2 girls getting married in the next year, so I may borrow some aspects of that. This is another good idea that ties into homesteading, for those of us who want to encourage others to do some form of preparedness. If I could get all 3 of my girls on board with the idea of a working pantry, preserving foods, etc.

Summer Video-
Man this gets me in the mode to get out on the water!!!

 Pontoon by Little Big Town

Chicken Sculpture-
I saw this cute chicken sculpture in local parking lot yesterday, and shot it with my cell phone camera. It looks like someone made it out of sheet metal, then painted it. I want it!!!

Jul 3, 2013

Compare 1 Week Of U.S. Groceries To Mexico and Other Countries

Colorful packaging of 1 week of American food, hardly any raw fruits/veggies

Compare 1 Week Of U.S. Groceries To Mexico and Other Countries-
I found this article really interesting, but not surprising. Compare a Week of U.S. Groceries To Other Countries We're so far ahead, sadly, in the junk food/packaged food industry. I feel better knowing MY grocery cart looks MUCH different than that- more raw foods, and a bigger variety. Zero soda, hardly anything in boxes, except pasta. My pizza is usually local too, with good ingredients. No beer, wine, bottled water (really?). My veggie garden also is very colorful with lots of peppers, tomatoes, cukes, squashes, collard greens, purple kale, etc. It is certainly healthier and cheaper to eat right, and ditch the junk food. Except chocolate of course! More countries are on this page- More Countries  Which one's your favorite? Personally I'd go with Mexico (except the soda), France and China.

Colorful raw foods, but too much soda IMO

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