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...

Dec 29, 2014

Little Homestead's Year End Review

Little Homestead's Year End Review-
After reading Leigh's post 2014 Year-in-Review it reminded me to look back and see what we accomplished here this year. Here's a list, not necessarily in order....

* In the winter we had some really cold weather, down to 0. Brr.  Kept the chickens and other outdoor critters alive. Lots of bird food, treats, and the sun room for the hens.

Heated bird bath helped this guy :) Got it thrifted!

*In the spring we finally remodeled our main bathroom ourselves (except the exotic plumbing), and we love it! We had major water rot in part of the floor, but not too bad. We got mostly Ikea items and I love the gray flooring!

*I rehabbed my 2 living room chairs with foam, batting and new covers. Love the grain sack style :) And the covers were 1/2 price!

*We insulated and sheet rocked (leftover from the bathroom) the ceiling of the coop. It has been much warmer so far!!! It's supposed to be 4 degrees tomorrow night, brrrr....  Dave also added an additional vent for better airflow.

*In early summer we expanded the back veggie garden quite a bit. Probably about 200-300 more sq. feet. We planted Raspberries and Marion berries, and got a tiny harvest. I added some perennial flowers and veggies there, and had a pretty good harvest. Less mowing and more food production!

Before, hose marks the new bed

After, my girl checking it out

After, with squash, cukes and herbs

*Got a great harvest of nectarines! Zero apples and 5 pears from our new baby tree in front, big fruit!

Canned a LOT! Freezer is jammed too, time for more cobblers!

*Had both our front fruit trees professionally pruned, much better shape. Too big for us to tackle.

*We had new gutters installed (working great) and I bought a new rain barrel- 

 *Got 4 new chicks! We had 2 retired, then 1 passed away. The 1 that was left had gotten really aggressive, so she was re-homed with our little roo we accidentally got. All 3 hens are laying daily, loving the fresh eggs!!!

*Dave built a new compost pile out of free pallets- 

 *Kept working on the pantry closet-

*Found tons of great thrifting finds, like this hand-painted, solid pine Swedish folk art clock, $3.00!

*Did some interior painting, got rid of the dark brown wood hall closet doors. What a difference some white paint makes!

After, and did 1 more coat

*Started fermenting, love it!

*Started making water kefir, great for my tummy, Anya's too-

*Re-did 2 free chairs that I had covered with chicken fabric in a hurry. I painted and re-covered with some blue linen to go more with our dining set-



*Went on a mini-vacation for 3 days to Sun Valley, rode to the top of the mountain, had lunch, shopped a bit, had fun!

My little something from Sun Valley, made in Canada!

*Went to the Idaho State Fair, had a blast as always-

I love old stuff :)

Come home with me little piggie, he he he...

*Ditched Dish and saved a ton! Dave did the install and we got Netflix, very happy...

*Medical: had 2 cataract surgeries, avoided another foot surgery with acupuncture, pretty good otherwise.

*Dave got a new, better paying, make-him-happier job. We're both happy!!! Much better work environment. He's much more appreciated, and huge benefits!

*I've reached almost 500 posts! Wow. I have about 90 followers, that I know of. It's been another fun year of sharing ideas, photos, and reading all the encouraging comments. Thanks to all!

For next year? We're going to re-do the front yard for more food production and beauty. Come spring we'll be at it. Right now... it's snowing~~~

Coal House At War Show, Chicken Wire Frame, Dark Days Challenge Meal

Coal House Families

Coal House At War Show-
I stumbled on to this gem of a "reality show" on PBS, and wow! It's about the very simple, and tough, life in a 1940's coal area in Wales. Funny, sad, and very inspiring. Episode 1 is below, and it's still airing. When you were "drafted" in Wales it was either in the military, OR the coal mines. Blackouts, air raid drills, children being sent away to safe areas (sometimes for years), what a tough life! I hope you'll watch some...

Kitchen in one of the coal cottages

All ready!
Chicken Wire Frame- 
This last summer in Idaho City I saw this in a store and decided to create my own-

$27.00, my frame was $10!

There's was taken down to bare wood, and I prefer the chippy paint. I found an old window on the way home from there, at the Habitat Store, and Dave helped me break out the glass. A couple days ago I took a small wire brush to it and wiped it down with a damp cloth. The we stretched left-over chicken wire to the back, stapled it well and covered the edges with duct tape. I'll be getting all my green, vintage kitchen tools out and adding them to do something similar to the above. I'll post photos when I'm done!

I love the layers of paint

Anya had to get into the act :)

Dark Days Challenge Meal-
With the holidays so busy I didn't focus on this as much. This week I did make breakfast for dinner, since Dave was out of town. With my own eggs and local challah bread I made---- french toast! It was amazing, and even more so with a few strips of uncured, organic bacon. Yummy!

Dec 26, 2014

Carhartts & Family For Christmas, Eye Recovery, Thrifting

Carhartt's & Family For Christmas-
It was a fun and busy day yesterday! Our adult children who were in town came for dinner. I sent the afternoon baking my sweet and spicy Lebkuchen cookies and my flour-less holiday chocolate tart. The cookies are made of ground almonds, raisins, orange zest, molasses and more. Very yummy and I used my Ikea cookie cutters-

For dinner I made roasted chicken breast, lemon linguine (Nigella Lawson's), sauteed fresh spinach and rustic Italian bread. So divine! My first day without a nap since surgery. We exchanged gifts after dinner and played board games. No holiday TV, just fun! Sadly I realized since we got rid of the VHS tapes a while back most of my holiday movies are gone. Luckily I received a Amazon gift card. I see The Christmas Story DVD in my near future :)  We LOVE that movie. While it was slightly before my time I still resonate with it.

Hubby got a job with a huge company that gets 50% off on Carhartt items! Wow!!! I looked up the women's items and the large tote bag grabbed me. My work bag is soft and pretty worn (from 10 years) and so Santa brought me a new bag. I love it!!! Nice and big and stiff, for paper and stuff going to and from work. Basic black too. Thanks Dave, I mean Santa!

Random bathroom shot

Eye Recovery-
I'm doing very well so far, after my cataract removal. Especially since I demanded more narcotics :) Last time, with my other eye, I was a bit TOO lightly sedated and started breathing a bit too hard mid-surgery. I think they're (from what I saw) used to dealing with 80 Lb. 90 years old. I'm a robust 50+ year old, and a bit bigger = more meds. This time they gave me enough so I was VERY relaxed and don't remember much. Works for me. I'm glad I did it now, since I can rest my eyes as needed, do the drop 3xs a day, etc. Thanks for all the prayers and good wishes!!!

2"-3" expected tomorrow night!

Dave and I ran some errands today. We hit a thrift store and we found a hose that kinks small up for winter use (if needed), the cute wooden stocking above (new & sparkly) $1.00, and this-

As I sit here drinking my Scottish tea, I think it was a good addition! I mean- who doesn't want a Santa-ish kilted guy on the holiday shelf?   It looks nicer in real life :) I'm part Scotch/Irish so it works...

Dec 22, 2014

Fun & Frugal Holidays, Amazon Freebies! Eye Surgery Tomorrow

My Free Print and Thrifted Frame

Fun & Frugal Holidays-
Over the years I've found lots of easy ways to save money (and your sanity), by staying away from the "big holiday shopping season". It's just planning ahead and it's actually really easy. Here's some ideas....

*I've gotten a lot of holiday/winter decorations at thrift stores. I like to focus on winter decor with some Christmas/Yule things. When I take down the tree and holiday things, it's still festive and cheery. I found LOTS of great things, really expensive things, that are like new, but cheap. We got bought our fake tree! at a thrift store. I recently bought a $30.00 Santa table topper (price tag still attached)  for $4.00-

*I always decorate our old barn window with our holiday cards we receive (not all here yet). Just jazz up some of your existing features-

Ditto our dining room light fixture, a gingerbread man garland (thrifted too)-

Here's some other things I've thrifted over the years-

Thrifted shelf, slate sign, frame and print, large gnome

Thrifted white lanterns, greenery, vase and contents. It's my Solstice vase!

*With our adult kids we went to a simple gift exchange, drawing names. No one has to get everyone a gift. We just enjoy spending time together and relaxing, and eating fun holiday goodies! Usually those once a year meals, desserts and snacks...

* I always stock up on baking ingredients on sale (sometimes in the summer) and freeze them. I stock up on dry goods/drinks for the holidays too. Things like crackers, nuts, drinks, dried/cured meats and just buy a little at a time. You don't get that big financial hit preparing for a gathering by having to buy it all at once.

*I bought all my stocking stuffers for my 3 adult girls- olive oil soaps, organic moisturizers, Swiss chocolates all deeply discounted. Shhh, don't tell :)

You can still have a gorgeous home and relaxing time by just being more flexible. And save a bundle!!!

Amazon Freebies!-
When I went to Amazon a couple days ago a box popped up. I said I had earned some visa $$$ to spend. After I read the fine print (carefully) I was able to buy $110. worth of items! No charge! Yippee! Basically I had spent enough money there on my one credit card to earn points. I bought- a pair of Nike track pants for Dave, some hard boiled eggs carriers, Ikea kitchen towels, some Meyer lemon cookies and Lingonberries. The runner above is my fave! It's reversible with snowflakes on one side and plaid on the other. I LOVE it!!! I guess it pays to keep your eyes open....

Eye Surgery Tomorrow-
I'm off first thing to have my 2nd cataract removed. I'm so looking forward to this! A blurry eye is no fun. The docs actually did a ultra sound and said it was pretty thick. With 2 weeks off I decideed it would be a good time for it. I can rest and relax. We're having a small Christmas dinner, etc. with some of the kids out of town. Perfect timing. Soo... I may not post for a bit depending on how my eye does... So.....

Happy Holidays!!!
And Happy New Year!!!

Anya's long winter nap, again :)

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