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 30, 2014

The History of Aprons, End Of The June Blogathon!

Photos from the Sarah Plain & Tall movie series

The History of Aprons-

I loved this and wanted to share it, pretty fascinating!!! From Facebook- Farmhouse Favorites

I don't think our kids know what an apron is. The principle use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears. 

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven. 

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids..

And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. 

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls. 

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees. 

From Anne of Green Gables movie 

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds. 

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes. 

Send this to those who would know (and love) the story about Grandma's aprons.

REMEMBER: Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

From the film Sense and Sensibility

End Of The June Blogathon!
It's been interesting pushing myself to blog every day! In the summer I blog more anyway, but not always daily. So I'll still be blogging but not every day :)  maybe... Thanks for reading, and I LOVE the comments!!!

Jun 29, 2014

DIY Front Door Makeover Painting Day, Anya's Too Tired

Dave says peace!

DIY Front Door Makeover Painting Day-
Since it was only 70-ish today, with high 90's on the way, I decided to paint the front door today. I had everything ready, put on my paint clothes and went to town. Three coats later (light over dark), it looked great! It's a very orangey red, great for a dark, covered porch. I got that idea here- DIY Home Makeovers for Less Than $50 It looked real orange coming out of the can, but dried the way we thought it would. We test drove a paint sample, in the daytime, on the door. It really brightens up the entryway. I cleaned the brass door fittings, and we will put them on tonite after it cures a bit. We used Valspar Vivid Orange- 


Anya's Too Tired-
She decided not to help paint and parked herself in my desk chair most of the afternoon-

Only 1 more day for the blogathon!!!

Jun 28, 2014

New Mexican Pasole Stew, Too Much Technology, The Boring Stuff Works!

New Mexico Pasole Stew-
I found this wonderful recipe in a New Mexico food book I found on Amazon Artisan Farming-Lessons, Lore & Recipes  This book has so many inspiring and interesting stories. The food history of all these places is just fascinating. I've had fantasies about living in some of the rural areas of New Mexico, north of Santa Fe :) Anyway, I modified this recipe a bit and it was spicy and wonderful! The meat just melted in our mouths. Since cubed pork was $4.00 a lb., I bought ribs instead and cubed the meat myself, for $2.00 a lb. I added- 1 tsp. thyme, and 3 large Poblano chilies for color and flavor. I added 2 cans of yellow hominy instead of 1. I served it with sour cream, cilantro, and artisan tortillas, made with blue corn and ww flour (from the grocery outlet). The whole batch (4-5 lg. servings) was $9.00, maybe.... I scanned the recipe since I wasn't up to typing it all out-

Portlandia - Technology Loop and "Mind-Fi"
Too Much Technology-
Reminds me of people I know!

The Boring Stuff Works!
Last year our AC died and we knew the 25+ year furnace wasn't far behind. We took the plunge and bought a new furnace and AC unit. OUCH. BUT, now the good news- we just got our yearly adjustment, based on use. We pay a flat fee year round (our option) based on a yearly average. That way there's no high winter or summer bill. Works for us really well. Anyway, our new monthly bill went down 35%! I think it will go down even more since we've had a mild spring and early summer. We also had a tuneup done, and found it needed it. Long story. Anyway it's working even better now. The boring stuff, like new systems, insulating, caulking, etc., it all works....

Jun 27, 2014

Painting Day #3 Is Done!


Painting Day #3 Is Done!
I finished the main hall today, after 3 coats of paint on the dark, ugly doors. Now they're all pretty! If I had only painted I could have done it in 1 day, but I was doing other stuff in the mornings. I'm taking a painting break until next week, and will do the front door then. It really spruces things up! Doors and frames can get a bit beat up and dinged after 7 years. It just takes some time, lots of prep work, and a gallon of paint :)

The 4th is coming soon!!!

Jun 26, 2014

Mommie's Big Girls, Painting Day #2

Mommies Big Girls-
My 4 little hens are so big! One escaped into the backyard a few times today. Dave and I finally figured out where a couple of small holes were at the base of the chicken wire. All stuffed with big rocks now :)  No more field trips!

Before Picture
Painting Day #2-
I finished up most of my indoor work- hall doors and the small bathroom cabinet. The doors look so much better! Bright white! I should have done the linen closets years ago, but it kept going to the bottom of the list. Atleast the bedroom doors were painted white before we moved in and bought the place. The hall linen closets were old, dark, heavy plywood, like the above. I did 1 coat of white-

Did a 2nd one, and will see how it looks tomorrow morning. May need a 3rd. Then new knobs!!!

Bathroom door, all purty!

Jun 25, 2014

Happy Birthday Bette, Painting Today- Oh Joy!

Happy Birthday Bette-
My wonderful Mom-in-law passed away about 8 years ago. She'd be 90 today, so Dave's family came up with a nice remembrance of her- they asked all the children, and grandchildren to come up with a favorite memory of her. It was all consolidated into a word doc, photos were added, and it will be printed out for all to have. It was great to read all the charming stories about her. She is missed...

Painting Today- Oh Joy!
After we remodelled our main bathroom we realized how banged up the bathroom door was. Now that I'm off for the summer, I decided to paint all the hall doors. I touched up the bathroom, where there were a couple of dings, did 3 door frames and doors. It looks so nice and bright! I bought 1 gallon of bright, white latex semi gloss enamel, and there's tons left. A nice, cheap fix up. Tomorrow I will do our little bathroom cabinet, bathroom door, and our bedroom door. Then 2 linen closet doors (still dark brown, ew) that were never painted by the previous owner. Then I'll do the inside and outside of our front door, with a new bright color for the exterior! The entryway is so dark, that it will tone down the color. Paint color for front door-

Valspar Vivid Orange

I forgot to add- I pretty embarrassingly locked myself inside the bathroom. I had removed the knob, but didn't tape back the latch part. It clicked and I had an "oh shit" moment. I used a screwdriver to move back the latch and got out. Broke the knob accidentally, but it was that or be locked in the bathroom for 4 hours. Note to self- tape the latch in the UNlocked position next time :)

Jun 24, 2014

Farro Salad with Radishes, Arugula & Feta, Our Tiny Time Here-Alexander's Lost World

Photo from

Farro Salad with Radishes, Arugula and Feta-
My new fave cooking show is Farmhouse Rules I love the host/cook Nancy Fuller, since she's really down to earth and actually seems to be able to cook!
Nancy Fuller

She did this salad yesterday, and I want to try it. Here's the recipe, fast and simple, and veggie!

Yield:6 to 8 servings

Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups semi-pearled farro, rinsed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
6 radishes, cut into wedges (quarters if small, eighths if large)
1/2 English cucumber, diced
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups baby arugula
3/4 cup crumbled feta (about 4 ounces)
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the farro to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. (If cooking whole-grain farro it will take 30 minutes.) Drain well. Add the olive oil and red pepper flakes to a large serving bowl. Add the tomatoes, mint, parsley, radishes, cucumbers and lemon juice and stir to combine with the oil. Toss in the farro while still slightly warm and combine with the salad. Top with the feta and season the salad with salt and pepper.

It looked really good :)

Ancient Zorastrian Altar near Bactra, Afghanistan

Our Tiny Time Here-
I've watched several episodes of the PBS show Alexander's Lost World  I find it so fascinating! We are here such a tiny fraction of time, and we think our lives are all that matters. In the human course of things that's normal. In the life of a planet we're just specks. Watching and looking at the ancient areas, some little changed over 1000's of years, it puts things into perspective. I highly recommend it, and it will probably be on Netflix, or whatever soon. The journey itself was very arduous....

Kids are kids no matter where they live!

Jun 23, 2014

My Third Blogiversary! Thrifting Scores, Garden Colors, Budget Gourmet Cooking

My Third Blogiversary!
Wow, it's hard to believe I started blogging back in 2011! I've learned so much from this process, and that still continues. Thanks to all my readers, and commenting folks. I may put together a give-a-way, so keep checking back :)

Thrifting Scores-
A couple of days ago I found a fun, folk art hanging display. I hung some of my green vintage kitchen items on it. It was $4.00 and looked new. It's a rough-ish, barn type wood looking piece with 2 wooden bobbins. I love the rusty plant watering can! I hung my thrifted seed basket below it. I like the 2 together! I also found a black shelf to hang in or entry, but I painted it white. Photo soon, with the display on it.

Garden Colors-
I love this time of year when things are really blooming! Here's some random shots of the front, and back-


I love pollinators!!!

Budget Gourmet Cooking-
I love to save money, like everyone. I'm also a bit of a foodie, and love gourmet/ethnic foods with a lot of flavor. One of my faves is  Nicoise Salad  It's basically a French salad with greens, various veggies, hard boiled eggs, and tuna steak under a tossing of vinaigrette dressing. I had bought some frozen tuna steaks on sale a while back, 3 for $5.00. That's a deal, so I froze them! I bought a few things today and fired up the water, made the potatoes, peeled the eggs, cooked the green beans. The recipe (above) is VERY flexible. I'll make this again when I have some garden tomatoes ready! And get some more tuna!

Jun 22, 2014

Chicks First Night Party! Last of The Major Gardening Done, Some Yummy Local Stuff

Chicks First Night Party!
Wow, there's was a real party in the coop last night! After Dave and I got the chicks in the coop around dark (the 1st time) there was a veritable party. A new playground and look at all the toys! The chicks were flying all over, which let me know it was time to trim the flight feathers. I did that this morning, since there is a 6' fence between death and coop :(  Anyway, the chicks had a blast, and Ellie just kept an eye on them from the top perch. I watched a while then went inside. Lots of peeping, then at dark- nary a sound. When Dave opened the coop trap door this morning he said the big girls were by the door, and the little girls were all up stairs on the upper roosting shelf. They hung out for another hour or so and then realized they could go outside! They all did great today. I let the big girls out today for a break-

Little Blackie, she's mellowed out after we chatted about another home for her :)
Ellie, my sweetie

The new flock, all 6

Enjoying the shade roof

Last of The Major Gardening Done-
Dave and I did backyard work for a good 4 hours yesterday. It was windy, warm (80+) but not bad in the shade. I... planted Swiss Chard in a pot with French radish seeds, green onions (clumping) in an empty spot in the garden, 2 pots of cilantro, moved some Italian kale too close together, dead headed flowers, pruned, watered, spread manure, cleaned off the deck, and deconstructed the outside/inside chick dividers. Dave cut some cedar boards for my garden work bench and added a shelf for me. I re-organized, dumped some stuff, and recycled some. I can actually see what's in there now! All in all, we got a ton done! The yard looks so much better and we took a break today... and I feel good knowing I planted more food :) I hope we're mostly done, but I'm thinking about planting potatoes in a big can? Hmmm...

The 2 big girls watched Dave mow intently

My first Mr. Stripey!!!

Dave cut down a tree stake into 2 nice, rustic hose guides for me

Some Yummy Local Stuff-
I was down at a local coop and got some organic "Easter Egg" radishes, wow, they were so good! I always get several baguettes too, from a local baker who sells there. He used to have a French cafe, but the bakery got so big they closed the cafe! He has the best breads. They freeze great, just heat up, just like fresh...

Jun 21, 2014

The Great Chick Drama That Wasn't, Happy Summer Solstice!!!

The Great Chick Drama That Wasn't-
Well, I took down the separation walls today and let the chicks out int the main garden, with the big girls. I stood by, then sat, and waited. Nothing happened. Zero, zip, nada. All day. No attacks from the big girls, they actually mostly avoided them! I guess my plan of having them share the garden, then the coop, worked! 

Free to wander, Fiona and Gwyn

We don't like that peeping, let's dust bath BEHIND the coop (which they never do)

It's quiet, don't bug us

Happy Summer Solstice!!!-
Enjoy the official start of summer and the longest day of the year!!!

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