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...

Oct 27, 2014

Fermented Green Tomato Pickles, Who Knew?

Fermented Green Tomato Pickles, Who Knew?
I had never heard of these before but it sounds like a good idea to me! I'll try this this weekend if mine survive the frost. Since it's supposed to warm up after today, there's still hope!!! Recipes here-
Fermented Green Tomato Pickles  and here Green Tomato Pickles Anyone else ever tried these?

 Happy Autumn!

Oct 26, 2014

Winter's Coming, A Little Halloween Fun!, Crabby Dinner

Winter's Coming-
We're in for our frost frost tonite! A cold front blew in with some rain and wind yesterday and today. Feels like early winter. I had Dave take the bottom coop screen panel off, and replace with the glass panel to warm up the coop. I covered up all my herbs with blankets for the night. I'm hoping my tomatoes pull thru with no covers, if not they're all green anyway. More fall here-

 leaves coming down all around

Anya after she got up off the heating vent, big stretch.....

These are 3 fun goodies I found at Target- loved the birds, and got the battery candle lamp

A Little Halloween Fun!-
Last weekend we got our outdoor Halloween decor up. We don't have many tricksters here, so we keep it pretty simple. Some fun things inside too. Here's my fave door hanger-

Crabby Dinner-
I made my new recipe for stuffed crab rolls again. Delish! This time I used ciabatta rolls and added roasted red peppers. I served with it our ripe tomatoes, green beans and basil from the garden. Home canned nectarines on the side. I had my first ever Cherokee Purple tomatoes. Interesting flavor, very mild and light on the acid. Good for a chilly night... Since we're getting 2 eggs a day (finally) I made a big garden frittata last night. Oh my, the eggs and cheese were heavenly! Tonite I made a big nectarine crumble. Great stuff!

Oct 19, 2014

Fall Fermenting Veggies

Fall Fermenting Veggies-
I made my Curtido a while back, and was wanting to make something else that wasn't spicy. After reading this I thought I'd giver it a try. Lots of great vitamins and minerals, perfect for winter! I used one large bunch of Swiss chard, one bunch of kale, 1 thin sliced carrot, 1 large red onion, water and salt. That made two batches- one 1/2 gallon jar and one fermenting jar size, about 1 1/2 Qts. Just chop, alternate layers of veggies, smash down a bit. Very fast and easy! Now everything is fermenting away! Looks good! The hens really attacked the left over chard, and kale.

Some Anya fall cats naps-

And a fall breakfast- homemade banana bread w/pecans and Earl Grey tea

Love the chicken mug!

Winter is Closing In, What is Real Poverty?

Herbs drying

Winter is Closing In-
With freeze warnings to the west and east of us, it's easy to see winter is on it's way! This is the time of year I watch the weather forecasts closely. I'm a weather geek, I'm always worry about my last tomatoes freezing and losing them! While it's been in the mild 60's-70's (with more next week) during the day we're slipping into high 30's/40's at night. I saw the first frost at work 2 days ago. Leaves are changing color and falling, grass growth slowing/less watering, turning on the heater in the car. Time to prep! Here's the kinds of things we've been doing- took off the front screen door and put up the storm door, replaced the furnace filter, caulked some windows, I whacked back tomatoes for faster ripening, ripped out the rest of the veggies, cleaned up the veggie beds, harvested all my herbs. I'll be making pesto to freeze this week, yummy! Stocked up on teas! I spent some time yesterday pulling out the hot weather clothes out of my closet and replaced them with most of the winter clothes. When I do that I also pull out some of those for donations, off they go! Dave did the same. I also think about if we need to mini-winterize the cars at all? I always put an ice scraper, blanket and extra gloves/hat for the back seat of both cars. Since we keep our cars pretty well maintained it's not really a big deal. We'll be getting the coop set up soon. We built into the design, with recycled materials, a glass bottom "storm window" on the coop. In the warm weather it's hardware cloth, in the cold it's glass. We just slide the one out and the new in! Lets in light, but not wind, less cold. We provide good ventilation in the winter (and monitor that), but cover some openings. We've already added more pine shavings to warm things up a bit. The waterer heater has been moved in and is ready, the extra waterers put away. We use a 1 gallon in the winter, a 3 gallon (plus 2 more in the garden) in the hot weather. Anya has taken to laying on top of the heating vents, a nice warm kitty spot! Soon we'll add the "sun room", of the far left, a nice sheltered spot during the really cold/wet/snowy weather! All made from recycled materials...

pov·er·ty noun
  1. the state of being extremely poor.
    "thousands of families are living in abject poverty"
    synonyms:penurydestitution, pauperism, pauperdom, beggaryindigence, pennilessness, impoverishment, neediness, needhardship,impecuniousness
    "abject poverty"

What Is Real Poverty?
I read this article which is pretty thought-provoking How Not To Be Poor Here is my response with more added-

Good post. The whole rent to own thing, I think, is a lack of education and the need for instant gratification. Most Americans are good at that. The media applauds it. My husband and I really taught our kids about finances while they were still in high school, and really warned them about credit card debt in college. I wish someone had taught me at that age! While, on the surface, people might very us as very middle class I buy most of my clothes, home decor, mics. stuff at thrift stores. I buy a lot of groceries at the "grocery outlet", can, dry, and raise as much produce as we can squeeze in. We'll expand to the front yard next spring. We paid cash for big ticket items like our couch and bed and bought quality so they will last (and protect our backs). We also sell things on Craigslist and eBay that we don't use. We refurbish/repair items rather than replace them. We just live differently than the "average American". And happy to do so.

I think there really can be a poverty "attitude", with helplessness and victimization about it. I grew up poor, not enough to eat, was made fun of, blah blah blah. It was pretty much my Mom's fault as far as her mismanagement, addiction, whatever. I used to think of myself as a victim of that, but I know see it's what's gotten me where I am. I am a survivor and so what if things were tough? I have moved on. While there's still a certain amount of inner damage life's too short. But I digress... I think one of the problems is the concept of "keeping up with the Joneses"- I can't wait, it needs to be new mentality.

Quote from Americas Real Problem is With Spiritual Poverty - "For one, material well-being isn't enough for human beings to be happy. People require a sense of belonging, a sense of community, and a sense of their own value. They want to know their life has meaning and purpose, that the future will better, that their lives have dignity and worth. For many in society's lowest quintile, their material needs are taken care of, but these other needs are not." Good point.

I did something rare yesterday- I went into  regular retail store to buy 2 sweaters (half off) and a pair of slacks for work. I do this about once a year, unlike most. It was really interesting to see everyone else in their normal "shopping" mode! Screaming kids, snappy parents, people texting. At the register I was asked- "do you want to apply for a credit card, get 20% off!". Then- "do you want a rewards card?". I said "I'd just like to pay for my purchase and go". I was polite but firm. Get me outta here! It's a real racket- buy more, save more, use more plastic and even more emails! No thanks. I left...

I wish there was an easy answer to some peoples view of poverty and what that even means? On a spiritual level it's a different story from my perspective. Maybe people feel cut off from their source or whatever you want to call it? Maybe people feel less than emotionally, so buying something makes them feel more "normal"? Maybe we are just brainwashed by the media to be consumers, and not producers? Buy more stuff, don't reduce/build/grow/sell/preserve/eat it. Just buy. Maybe the best thing we can do is do what we can, where we are...

Oct 15, 2014

Great Little Woodstove!

Great Little Woodstove!- 
4-6-2019- UPDATE- THE COMPANY WEBSITE IS DOWN. They do seem to have a Facebook page you might try, Under "Gray Stove Works", thanks!

 I've been looking for a small wood stove for our small living room, and the only marine stoves I found are way too high price wise. I love the fact these wood stoves are small. All American-made and at a great price!!! $970.00 shipped. Nice article and video here and looks like a well-made item. What do you think? 

I like the wood rack underneath, nice touch.

Oct 8, 2014

Shrimp Tacos Ala Bayless, Autumn Mountain Colors

Shrimp Tacos ala Bayless-
After catching Rick Baylees on PBS last weekend I decided I needed to try his amazing-looking  Chilied Shrimp Tacos I LOVE shrimp but since they're spendy I don't buy then that often. I modified the recipe slightly and subbed- 2 Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce, added a little fresh lime juice, used a whole grain tortilla and plain avocado slices instead of the sauce. They were wonderful and very flavorful. Next time I would add more chilies, as they were on the mild side. Add a little cilantro, green salad and Curtido on the side, and it's what's for dinner!!!

Autumn Mountain Colors-
A little autumn color in the mountains nearby. Went on a short road trip Sunday near Idaho City-

Oct 3, 2014

Independence Days Challenge

Independence Days Challenge-
A little review of the last couple weeks. With 4 days off work this weekend (no in-services for us lowly classified people) I'm doing projects galore!

1. Plant Something-
 Wrong time of year for me. Winter will be here soon...

2. Harvest Something-
Tomatoes, chives, lemon cukes, pickling cukes, Swiss chard, herbs, pears, squash, green beans, darn hens ate the kale :(  Low harvests this year sadly, so we will till next year and add a lot more nutrients.

3. Preserve/Store Something-
LOTS of nectarines. More dry and canned goods for the big pantry, coffee and teas for winter. Pantry is in good shape I think. 

Lots of nectarines, some canned too

 4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep-
Breads, meats, butter for the freezer. Baking goods for winter and holidays like sugar and flour, dry and canned goods, coffee/teas, lots of tea biscuits from the grocery outlet! Hens are laying, so we'll be using lots of eggs and selling the rest. Looking forward to frittatas, cakes, bread puddings, etc. No fresh eggs here for a long time...

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe-
 Got free bananas from work, making banana bread with pecans today. Making some new stuffed crab sandwiches for dinner tonight from  Will modify to cut the grease :) Made some Curtido, and it's almost ready! I might try some tonite.


6. Build Community Food Systems-
Will sell excess eggs at work. Two buyers already.

7. Recycle/Re-Use-
Went thrifting yesterday, got some clothing, a new Starbucks water bottle, and some hangers for storage. Dropped off my daughters donations too. Ripping our squash and some other veggies for compost. Will move some rhubarb to that spot, hasn't been getting enough sun. Rotating my summer to fall/winter clothes, and mending/hemming what's needed. Sold some stuff on eBay, made $150.00 so far. All stuff I wasn't using :)

8. Skill Up-
Learn how to dress a flight feather cut on my hen with antibiotics. Cut the flight feathers a tad too short :( She healed up fine.

 9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something-
Painting my inside front door today, basic white. Will look all nice and clean! Caulking a bedroom window, to get a better seal. Caulking our old Dish/cable wall hole on the outside of the house and repainting that area. It's a good day to paint. We've done fine without Dish, and love Netflix!

That's it for now.

Oct 1, 2014

Some Fall Eggs & Fall Color, Colder

Some Fall Eggs & Fall Color-
The spring pullets we bought have finally put on their big girl pants, so to speak. They're finally laying! Someone is anyway, I just don't know who. I told Dave they were "practicing" last weekend, sitting quite a while in the nesting boxes. One per box, that's a relief! I've seen two piled in before, not pretty! Monday I found one very petite egg, another today. How cute! With the weather change I'm actually seeing leaves slowly falling. It was 40 last night, furnace clicked on! Jacket weather, and time to start ripping a few things out of the garden. The squash are getting mildewed. It's supposed to be back up to mid-70's next week. Only 62 today. I have the next 4 days off work, 2 are "furlough". We used to have in-services for we classified people, but the $$$ was cut. I'll be doing some projects- painting my inside front door, making nectarine jam, getting some winter/fall clothes out. Time for a change of season! I'm hoping for lots of snow. Snow = snow days!!!

Mom, that flash is killing my eyes! I just wanted a drink, sigh. Poor Anya...

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