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...

Nov 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! Road Trip, Any "Grimm" Fans?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Road Trip-
Just came back from an Oregon coast road trip last night, lots of great photos, glad to be in my own bed last night! Much more coming soon.... Off to bake and roast....

Any "Grimm" Fans?-
I saw them filming in Portland and got some regular set photos, coming soon!

Nov 17, 2013

First Snow Yesterday! "All is Lost" Film- WOW, Sunny Fall Chickens Today

First Snow Yesterday!
I woke to a bit of snow that was in the forecast. Too bad there wasn't more and on a school day! Can you say- snow day! All well, it switched to rain/snow, the rain by noon. Just a gloomy wet afternoon. 

"All is Lost" Film-
We went and saw All is Lost yesterday, with the lousy weather. What a movie! Magnificent. Perfect. Amazing photography. Riveting, and basically no dialogue. An Oscar for Redford I hope. I've sailed (not open sea) and very authentic. Go see the movie, do yourself the favor. No stuntmen either. The first 2 minutes brought out a lot of emotions in the audience, but I won't give it away.


Sunny Fall Chickens Today-
45 and sunny today, so the girls had a blast free-ranging:

Where'd that bug go?

I know- I'm gorgeous

2 heads are better than one!

Now what?

We aired out the coop a bit and raked leaves, a nice day

Nov 10, 2013

Independence Days, Thrifting Finds, Acupuncture & Sciatica

Independence Days-
It's been kind of a slow week for me with my sciatica going on. More about that later!

1. Plant Something- Done for the year.

2. Harvest Something- Last of the herbs, still drying in the kitchen Last of the collard greens, and kale look ok in the garden still. Will use those up soon. Still using tomatoes that ripened in the kitchen. Flavor was pretty good! I used to top a pizza and for some spaghetti sauce.

3. Preserve/Store Something- Just normal stuff- canned goods, misc. freezer goodies.

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep- Getting the garden and cars ready for winter. Hoses put away, coop deep cleaned, sun room added. Cars: tires inflated, battery replaced in our 1 car, as it was dying. I always keep flashlights, blankets, and snow/ice scrapers in the car. We'll be buying chains for our little sedan soon, for a winter road trip to Oregon. Found a good deal locally.

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe- Made a recipe I stole years ago from Old Spaghetti Factory- just cook pasta (I like mulitgrain linguine), toss in melted browned butter, top with mizithra cheese! Yummy! Right now I'm smelling a home grown nectarine cobbler I just pulled out of the oven. I just thawed them and topped with a crumble topping. Smells good! 

6. Build Community Food Systems- Bought locally grown pumpkins and corn stalks for decorations.

7. Recycle/Re-Use- Covered the flower beds with leaves, waiting for the rest t fall. Got lots of thrifting finds! I "re-newed" and filled these. I bought them last year, got the fillings from Michael's yesterday-


There's a moose and trout stenciled on the ends


8. Skill Up- Read this about home treatment of sciatica- How To Fix Your Aching Back, and I ordered the book. Am going for PT tomorrow so will visit about that.

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something- Added some goodies to my thrifting finds, they came out rather cute I think! Fixed a belt on the polar fleece jacket.

Anya checking out the newest member of the flock

Thrifting Finds-
I was restless last night and went out and scored some great finds at the local Goodwill- a gorgeous polar fleece parka from Coldwater Creek, $5.00! I love their stuff! LL Bean jeans (like new) $1.50.

A chicken ready to be dressed up for the holidays, all wood, $2.00

New, BIG mugs, $1.50 each

A little north woods scene to go with the other 2 finds with winter goodies, $3.50, need to add more moss

A door hanger kit from Michael's for a buck, for school

Santa's ready

Love the sleigh! It was marked $30.00 originally, I got it for $4.00, too cute to pass!

Acupuncture & Sciatica
I found a Chiropractor who also does acupuncture and wow, does it work! After 1 session I had about 50% pain reduction in about 24 hours or so. After 2 sessions, the burning in my thigh is pretty much gone. Happy dance! Off to PT tomorrow to get some exercises and get an 2nd opinion. I will say too, for those of you who have never tried it- it really doesn't hurt...

Nov 9, 2013

I Won A Giveaway! Thanks Mama Pea!!!!

After seeing this Anyone Want This? I entered the giveaway. I knew it would look perfect in my school library where I work! And I won! Thanks Mama Pea! I'll give it a good home!!!

Cute pilgrim bears :)

Love the quilting!

Nov 5, 2013

Puffed Pear Pancake, My French Farmhouse Window

Puffed Pear Pancake-
With some wonderful local pears, and my own fresh eggs, I decided to try this Puffed Pear Pancake. Pretty good, quick and easy! I doubled the fruit. I think it would have been better with almond extract (I was out) so I used vanilla. Texture was soft and moist. A keeper with some homemade creme fraiche on top! Will try with some of my frozen nectarines next time!

My French Farmhouse Window-

With all my herbs cut before the 20's hitting, and hanging in my window, it reminded me of a French farmhouse window! The smell is heavenly- oregano, thyme and rosemary. My fresh Italian Parsley cut in some water as well.

Last of my flowers, sigh... Snow and rain tonite in the forecast...

Nov 3, 2013

2nd Annual Dark Days Challenge, First Snow! Independence Days

2nd Annual Dark Days Challenge-
What's a Dark Days ChallengeI read about it two years ago and really liked the idea. I found the Dark Days Challenge at the now-defunct  A few other websites seemed to have done it in the past. It’s a challenge to cook at least one local meal, per week, through the leaner days of winter. Your ingredients can come from your freezer, pantry, cold storage or local sources like farmers and other food producers. I’m going to make a personal commitment to one meal a week. I’m also going to try to include others in our meals, so our extended family can experience the pleasures of local foods, even in the dark days of winter. So here's the guidelines of the challenge, which I borrowed and modified slightly-

The challenge runs from November 9th – April 15, 2014.

What’s the Challenge?
Try to cook four meals each month (1 per week) focused on sustainable, organic, and local ingredients. Whatever you can find is fine! Write about it on your blog, or here in the comments section. Feel free to link back to me on your blog if you have one!

What does local mean?
Traditionally local food challenges call for a 100 mile radius, but winter is more difficult in many climates. If you’re new to eating locally try 150 miles. Typical exceptions are oils, coffee, chocolate and spices. If you’re making fewer, or more exceptions, please note that on your first post or comment.

What if I can’t find every ingredient locally?
If you can’t find every ingredient, or even most ingredients, please still write about your attempts. This is just as much about what we learn, the obstacles we find and the decisions we make as it is about cooking with SOL ingredients. Do what you can, where you can.

What if I don’t have a good photos or a blog?
If you can take photos of what you’ve got, just do your best. Just you come by each week and add your meal/experiences as a comment. No worries, keep it simple, or just tell the story and we’ll use our imaginations.

Leaves coming down as we speak!

First Snow!
We woke up to an odd sight today- snow falling and sticking. Melted but it's still cold. The high right now is 41, and expected lows in the 20's this week. Winter is here! A little more mixed snow in forecast. Leaves are coming down fast!!!

Independence Days-
1. Plant Something-  Done for the year.

2. Harvest Something- Cut and strung up all my rosemary, oregano and thyme. Brought them in to dry. Smell's great in here! Eggs. 90% of the green tomatoes ripened nicely in the kitchen, ready for spaghetti sauce!

3. Preserve/Store Something- Froze more breads. Drying herbs.

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep- Good deal on some local pears! Will try new puffed pear pancake recipe.

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe- Bought some persimmons last week. Interesting flavor, sweet but astringent. Kind of like a really bland peach. I don't know if they were fully ripe. I'd pass next time. 

6. Build Community Food Systems- Nothing right now.

7. Recycle/Re-Use- Raking up leaves to cover perennials and shrubs, bought a great wool sweater on eBay- Eddie Bauer Heritage Nordic wool- like new! I love EB stuff as most of it lasts forever!

Also got a EB laptop bag for $10.00 on eBay- too much gear for work for a purse some of the time. It's funny- I realized after I bought them that they go together :)

We store our coop's "sun room" in piles over the summer. Dave put it back up on the coop today, with the colder weather here. Will finish it up next weekend with some fresh pine shavings and a perch. Gives the girls some extra dry, sunny space, free of rain and snow. They love it!

Sun room from last year, sunny and airy

8. Skill Up-
Learning about Sciatica, since I got hit with some this week. I'm on meds and resting. First the flu, now this. I'm ready for a vacation!

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something- My back :) 

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