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...

Aug 31, 2013

Back To School! Independence Days Challenge, Juven For Foot/Skin Healing

Dave's photo from a couple of years ago- I'm ready for Fall!
Back To School!
I went back to work last week, so my posts will start to thin out a bit. I hate going back to work in the high 90's, it's just too hot. In an aging school, with no A/C in the gym and halls, the kids and adults all suffer. We had an open house with some of us in the gym last night, and I thought I'd pass out. Bring on some cooler weather PLEASE! Normal weather in late August should be mid 80's not 90's. This may be the "new normal". The fires have finally subsided, at least as far as the smoke goes. The Rim Fire in California isn't sending anymore smoke this way either. We were hit hard about a week or so ago from that. Smoke and heat, never a good combination. Blue skies this morning and 60! Cooler today....

Independence Days Challenge-
1. Plant Something- 
Nope, we're done. When it's 90+ you can't really plant a cool, fall garden sadly.

2. Harvest Something-
Good steady supply of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, herbs, squash, collard greens, kale, eggs, and my first lemon cuke! Dave picked all the apples last weekend and I canned 10 Qts. of applesauce. Great flavor! I opted not to use the canning food processor, since it takes a lot longer, but creates more apple product. While it wasted some of the apple I could have used, time was of the essence. The chickens got lots of scraps! I basically just cooked the apples til soft, drained off most of the water, then reserved it. I started mashing, adding water, then switched to an immersion blender. I left the skins on.  I added some lemon juice, pinch of salt, a little sugar, fresh nutmeg and lots of cinnamon. Nectarines will be ready in another week or 2. Those will probably all be frozen. Time allowing, I may can some. Weekends are always crammed with everyday chores once work starts.

Home grown organic pippins

3. Preserve/Store Something-
 Canned 10 qts. of applesauce, bought breads to freeze. My organic Pippins (I think) had wonderful flavor! I made a big cobbler with crumb topping, with fresh orange juice and took it to a dinner potluck for staff. Everyone raved about it!  I gave away one 5 gallon bucket to a friend who lost all their fruit to an early frost.

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep-
Gourmet french breads and protein bars (helps my foot heal) from the grocery outlet, dress shirt for the wedding that Dave got at a thrift store. Froze homemade pesto.  Froze about 8 Qt. bags of rhubarb, free from a neighbor. Found some nice things at a local discount store for my daughter's bridal shower, here, on Monday. Getting car ready for fall- new wipers blades all around.

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe-
Eating lots of fresh basil and tomatoes.

I made a Patricia Wells recipe of a traditional French-style fried fish (I used pollock), with a flat leaf parsley salad and sauce Remoulade- capers, mayo, diced pickles, fresh herbs and cayenne pepper. Delish! Think French tartar sauce. From a library book I got, called Salad as a Meal The fish recipe is below, minus the directions, since I know how to dredge fish and fry it. Basically beat the eggs and then dip the fish, dredge in the flour, breadcrumbs, cheese and cayenne pepper. I cute the fish into squares, and used a frying skillet on medium high with about 2" of canola oil. Gorgeous, and golden brown!Use a simple vinaigrette on the parsley and toss. Add a wedge of lemon and it's dinner. Next time I will do lettuce with the parsley mixed it, as it a bit tough.

Sauce Remoulade recipe-
2/3 cup mayo
1 TBL. capers
I TBL. diced dill pickles  In France they use Cornichons, a tarragon-based pickle. Didn't have those but I know of a European grocery store so I might buy some next time I'm near there. I found this recipe on Pintsized Pioneering  I may try that too, with bigger cukes.

2 TBL. minced parsley, tarragon, chives.
pinch cayenne pepper
Mix and chill.

6. Build Community Food Systems-
Sold my first eggs at work yesterday. I charge $3.50 a dozen, and it off-sets the feed. I gave away one 5 gallon bucket of apples to a friend who lost all their fruit to an early frost. Will do that with some of the nectarines too.

7. Recycle/Re-Use-
I used my yard sale Kerr jars for canning that we got really cheap. Our neighbor had canned once and lost interest. I just ran them thru the dish washer and wala! Composting is going well! The chickens got lots of wormy apple scraps :) MAde donations to local thrift store. 

8. Skill Up-
Learn to make French fried fish and how many different kinds of  Sauce Remoulades there are. I know more about wound care than I will probably ever need! Read about amino acids and what they can do.

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something-
My foot! 

Juven For Foot/Skin Healing-
I posting about this because I had never heard about it. Right before I started going to a "wound center", I stumbled onto this. Part of my foot surgery incision was healing really slow. I'm not diabetic, and am healthy, but the incision is on the outer curved part of my heel. A bad spot. After I found out about this stuff, I read up on it. It's an over the counter supplement made by the folks who make Ensure. It basically supports tissue growth and protein absorption. It had rave reviews all over the Internet. I tried it, then I mentioned it at the wound center. They recommend it and the flavor's not bad. It actually works as a bit of a stimulant too! I may have to have my other foot worked on next summer (oh joy), so this is a good tool to have. I read that many hospitals recommend this pre-op as well. If you know anyone with surgery coming up this might be useful! You can also buy the amino acids thru a health food store, use the same dosage and make you own much cheaper. Mine was 8 packages for $17.00, using 2 packs a day. I should add- the wound center I'm going to has a lot of great things they use, and my foot is healing up much faster! Never any infection, just slow. Hopefully in about another month or so, I'll be back in normal shoes and have intact skin! I'm sure the Juven is helping.

Smoky sunset from the fires

Aug 22, 2013

It's Raining!

Finally!!! With heavy thunder and lightning I was afraid this would be a nasty dry storm at 95 degrees....

Aug 18, 2013

Our Winner At The State Fair! Gorgeous Chickens, Mules and Goats

All photos courtesy of Dave my hubby 

Photo by me

Our Winner At The State Fair! 
Congrats to my hubby for winning 2nd prize in his category at the Idaho State Fair!!! 

Gorgeous Chickens, Mules and Goats-
We always go to the fair each year here in Boise. When we got there it was about high 70's, nice weather. It hit about 90 by the time we left. I LOVE to see all the animals, it brings out the frustrated micro-farmer in me. We rode the Ferris wheel, ate some gyros and walked (or rather I limped) around for 2 hours. That's the longest I had continually walked since before my foot surgery. Man I was tired!

Maran rooster, I think

An Egyptian Fayoumi, never heard of those! Pretty!

Mom taking a break from the 2 babies

Pretty girl and I wanted to take her home :) 

Handsome appaloosa mule

Aug 15, 2013

Organic Choke Cherry Jelly

Organic Choke Cherry Jelly-
This spring I could tell I was going to get a bumper crop of choke cherries. Last year I got a handful, this year Dave picked 1 1/2 quarts! Since I was gimpy I had him put them in the freezer until they had all ripened. Nice and plump. That way I could process them all at once. So today was jelly time! Lots of stems to pick off, then wash, then make the juice. While this is a bit labor intensive I really LOVE the flavor. I used this recipe Chokecherry Jelly and added a little almond extract, a pinch of salt, and butter (to cut down on foaming). I got a much bigger batch this time and tasted wonderful! It set up nicely and I listened to pinging the last couple of hours. I was hesitant when I first planted the shrub, since I'd never tasted choke cherries. Glad I tried it! It's easy to plant and no maintenance except watering. Now THAT'S my kind of food production!

Ellie on bug patrol

Little Blackie left (named after the pony in True Grit) and Molly right (for the Unsinkable Titanic chick)

Aug 14, 2013

Homemade Pesto, Lemon Zest Salt, Chickens, Burlap Runners and Tea Oh My!

Basil pot- before shot
Homemade Pesto-
Last year I had tons of basil I started from seed. This year they fizzled out due to the weird weather. Easy solution... buy some basil starts! They took off and today was harvest day! I hope to get another good harvest before the hard freeze, usually in October. I bought some pine nuts (cheaper bulk at the grocery store), lemons and already had cheese. I used this recipe from Oprah's former chef Rosie's Pesto , as it has no oil and great flavor. I usually use Romano since I keep it on hand (from Costco). It freezes beautifully in small glass canning jars. Last year's harvest lasted most of the year. It's wonderful for pasta on a really cold night. Also good for a pizza base sauce, and on roasted chicken.

big bucket of basil

swimming in the food processor

All jarred up to freeze

                                          Basil pot- after shot. I had to save some for pizza!

Lemon Zest Salt-
I was reading a French cook book a few weeks back by Patricia Wells. Since I knew I'd be juicing a lot of lemons for the pesto sauce, I decided to try this Lemon Zest Salt recipe. A great way to recycle those lemons, just zest before you juice. It has a wonderful smell and light texture! I used my magic bullet to "grind it". I'll try this for roasting chicken and maybe in some pasta. Lots of options!

Chicken, Burlap Runners and Tea Oh My!
I went to Michael's crafts store today to pick up some things for a craft project. Then I saw him... be still my beating heart...

Mr. Rooster, come to Mama! 

He came home with me ($7.99) and is ready for Autumn. The top is metal and the base is MDF.

I got my vintage rooster spice rack up too. It's attached to my vintage window over my computer in the kitchen-

I had been looking for a new table runner for my coffee table, which is big and solid wood. I'd been looking at overpriced burlap ones, then struck gold at Michael's! A 10', yes 10 foot, long one with a nice tight weave, only $12.99. I have enough left over to make a runner for the dining table now too!

Leftovers for runner #2, will hem tomorrow

                                                                 It's Anya approved

Cute little tag bag holder from a thrift store, $2.00. Perfect for those cold fall and winter days!

Another cute Michael's fall item for my desk at work, it's in a paper bag!

Our new neighbor we nicknamed Roberto, on bug patrol

Aug 13, 2013

R.I.P. 1978-2013 Whirlpool Dryer

R.I.P. 1978-2013 Whirlpool Dryer-
Sadly our big girl finally passed today. Dave's Mom had bought a Whirlpool dryer back in 1978. Yes 1978. We were gifted with it in 2001 after she wasn't doing much laundry anymore as her husband had passed away. Well, it finally died today. After a few repairs over the years, new belt, etc. and drying for a family of five (lotta laundry!) she finally went to the great appliance place in the sky. It was sad to see her go. After taking her to the dryer hospital, and being told it could be all kinds of things, we decided to let her go sadly. Dave went to a big box store and bought a new dryer for a good price, much less than complicated extensive labor and parts. With allergies we can't dry our clothes outside, since that works as a pollen magnet. I've read about people with severe allergies, and chronic colds drying their clothes outside and I cringe. That's a big no-no from allergists. Oh well. Our old girl went to the recycling place down the street. Maybe she'll come back as a toaster and find a lovely new home. Now if I only had a laundry room....

Gorgeous, from

I don't need that much room, but I'd love to get my washer and dryer out of the garage!

Aug 10, 2013

My Compost Tractors, Little Homestead Garden Update, On The Road To Better Health!

Permaculture Chicken
Compost Tractors-
I love the whole concept of Permaculture- having an interactive system. So today, we had some Permaculture in action garden fun! Dave spread the compost in the veggie garden that was originally garden clippings, leaves, food, soil, kitchen waste-

                                     Here come the tractors! Little Blackie and Molly-

                                                             Ellie on the move!

They had a blast, digging, find worms and yummy tidbits. They will have this dug in over the next week.

Little Homestead Garden Update-
Still waiting for the apples to get completely ripe. I tried one on the ground today, a little red. Not bad!

Nectarines turning red

Basil, time to make pesto for the freezer!

Shade cold frame doing well- Kale, Collard greens, and herbs

My Fairy herb garden has grown in! She looks happy!!!

                                              Today's harvest, plus black berries and eggs

                                New Tibetan prayer flags for the coop, lots of good ju ju :)

On The Road To Better Health!-
I've re-focused on healthier eating recently, using smaller portions after I put on a few lbs. during my foot problem. I had been losing weight thru last summer and hit a mental plateau and stalled out. I started stress eating from being in chronic pain as the year wore on. So now I'm doing this for my health and to feel better. I don't want to look like a 10 year old girl or Barbie. I'm losing already, woo hoo! I use mostly just to track portion size and the ratio of fats, carbs,  and proteins. I'm limiting the grain carbs since that is easy for me most of the time and seems to increase the weight loss. I also eat something if I'm really craving it, just less! Not doing that always works against me. Sometimes I also just have to balance that the next day. I also weigh-in every day and it tracks that as well. My dietitian (free thru health insurance) I worked with told me about that website and it's all free. I put a free Android phone app on my phone and I can do a search if eating out to see how many cals, etc. a dish has. I want to take Zumba classes once my foot is completely healed. It sounds like fun and I get bored working out in a gym. I started some PT sessions yesterday and I'm moving much better today. It's never to late to be healthier!
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