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...

May 25, 2015

My Organic Gardener Podcast Interview Is Up!

My Organic Gardener Podcast Interview Is Up!-
Special thanks to Jackie for the interview and making it pretty painless! Feel free to post any questions or comments!! Thanks!

May 24, 2015

How To Add A Fruit Tree To Your Existing Landscaping, The Shed is Gone! Setting up A Tea/Coffee Drawer, Upcycled Metal Bin

How To Add A Fruit Tree To Your Existing Landscaping-
Recently we realized we need to remove our nectarine tree sadly. Between the irrigation people massacreing it with their equipment, and getting too big for it's spot, it's time to go. The only reason I ever planted a nectarine tree was that I could not find a peach tree in the entire valley at the time. This time I was finally able to find the perfect little PEACH tree, a Red Haven. It's-

A blue-ribbon, all-purpose peach. Luscious, top-quality fruit is great as a fresh snack or for canning and freezing. Enjoy bushels of large peaches with almost fuzz less skin over firm, creamy textured yellow flesh. Tree is heavy-bearing and easy to grow and maintain. Blooms late to avoid spring frosts. Branches have a spreading nature. Originates from South Haven, Michigan in 1930, introduced in 1940. Disease-resistant to leaf spot. Freestone. Ripens in late July. Self-pollinating. Info from It will ripen early a big bonus for me. If I can process the fruit before school starts that will really help.

Here's s few things to consider BEFORE you plant if you're adding a tree to an existing landscaped area-

*What's the exposure? We needed full sun so we had to find a good spot that was well exposed.
*Do you want shade in that area? Our tree will add some shade to our hot, southern entry way, that's good!
*How big will the tree get and can you prune it easily from there? We wanted ours in the front yard but not too close to the street or driveway.
*When will your fruit ripen? Depends on the tree.
*Will your tree have room and not touch the exterior of a building? Never plant a tree too close to your home or other out buildings.
*Can you water it easily? Trees need regular watering to thrive.
*What's the soil quality, do you need to amend it? We have heavy clay soil so that's an issue.
* Do you mind have falling fruit on the ground? If so, think again.
*Do you need a full size tree or would a dwarf work better? That depends on the space you have and what kind of fruit you want? We went with full size.
*Where will you buy your tree? Online, locally, or? We found ours at Home Depot, then I researched the variety and found it was a good fit for us. I LOVE peaches!!!

After thinking hard, here's what we did-

Pick a spot, measured width for the tree, Anya inspected

set tree out, then Dave pulled the existing brick edging to relocate

Dave setting up the edging

turf removed, soil turned, then we added compost and manure

All planted, mulched, with a tree stake, and we may even get a couple of peaches this year!

The Shed is Gone!
Dave demoed the shed yesterday, after he did a major reorganization with the contents. Some went to donations, the kids or the garage. We saved some of the building materials to re-do our garden fence- 2x4's and 4x4 posts, the rest is going to free Craigslist later today.

Before shot, a good space at the time

Dave knew it was in bad shape, then he stepped and went thru the floor yesterday. Good thing it was a short fall so to speak, and we was wearing boots! It's a long narrow space, but we'll grow something there. I'm thinking a long row of beans :)

Setting up A Tea/Coffee Drawer-
I realized a while back that I had teas scattered in 3 places in the kitchen and more in the pantry closet. Time to organize. I stumbled onto a Pinterest post about setting up a tea drawer, and eureka! So here's what I did...

I looked at my drawers, I figured the one closest to the Keurig and water would work. Many times we use the K machine to just heat water, since we have lots of teas we like. The drawer had lots of towels, and wash cloths in it-

too many towels, some now in donation box, rest were moved, teas and coffees out

empty drawer to start

I filled with my thrifted bamboo dividers, baskets and a box. The Keurig boxes fit perfect! Now I know EXACTLY what we have, and it's easy to find.

Anya checking it out

I used the 2 level rack and got even more off the counter

Some leftover iced tea pods, K cup, sugar and coffee grinder

leftover storage went to my daughter :)

Upcycled Metal Bin-
We found this at a Habitat store a while back, full of nuts and bolts. We bought it for $4.00, now it's a planter box! It's an old Kodak film bin. Love it!!!

May 16, 2015

Clutter Control and Backsplash Re-Dos, Shedding The Shed, Lots of Rain! Thrifting Score!!!

From De-Clutter Your Life Lots there!

Clutter Control and Back Splash Re-Dos-
I've been seeing a lot of de-cluttering blog posts lately. Maybe it's a spring thing? I de-clutter various areas each year. I'll be working on my kitchen counter, dining table and small bathroom counter in the next week. My one daughter told me last week that I didn't need to re-do my kitchen back splash since she couldn't see it anyway, I laughed. Exactly, too much stuff! Ditto the kitchen table, with Costco jumbo vitamin bottles, prescription bottles, etc. I ordered one of these since I couldn't find any locally- 6 Section Pill Organizer I have 1 that works great for my p.m. stuff. I'll put everything away for the a.m. stuff and all the bottles will be off the table.

I'll also consolidate the teas and coffees into some kind of a tea/coffee drawer like this-

Nice idea from Tea Coffee Station

Love this, from Hazeleyessue.blogspot
 love the print Keep Calm and Drink Tea...

Dave and I also visited about replacing the current kitchen laminate counter with a solid counter top. After more thinking about it I decided to just do a new back splash, new white sink and keep the counter for now. I don't hate my counter but I do HATE the ugly metal edging, that traps food and icky stuff-

Visualize less stuff and nice white back splash!

I will be re-painting the kitchen, with 10 years of grunge, chips, dings, etc. We got our current Kohler cast iron sink used at Habitat 10 years ago and it's pretty scratched. We'll save a lot of $$$ this way, it will look much nicer and functional. So it's time! Here's my current back splash idea, after 100's of hours of research online-

Flat white from

It's a PVC ceiling tin look type of material. Not too bad price-wise, durable, easy to install and bright! I think it will go well with the tan counters and yellow paint.

My little bathroom laminate counter is in good shape but I hate the metal edging there too, so I'm doing a small glass back splash this summer, something like this-


Bye Bye

Shedding the Shed-
We have things in our home, 2-car garage and shed. After storing our kids things during college, most of it is finally gone. That leaves us with the space in the garage to move our shed/house things in to. While I was down with the flu last weekend Dave was emptying out our shed and we'll tear it down next Memorial Day weekend, 3 days off for both of us. We talked a lot about what we really need- camping gear etc,. versus what we don't?  Then we talked about where to put what? The current shed is over 10 years old and rotting in parts. Time to go, since it's too big anyway now.We won't need to build a micro shed like we thought, since we relocated a lot to the garage. In a smaller urban setting lie our we don't need a big shed like some folks might. Later, if we need to, we can build a smaller one.

Dave's $2.50 thrift store tool rack, now in the garage!

We may use the left over demo materials for some yard art.  It will also allow for more garden space and add to the chicken run area maybe! We may do a straw bale garden there, since the soil is in poor shape. Good place to experiment!

Lots of Rain!
We've had a lot of much-needed rain, almost 1/2" just yesterday, in the last week. Everything is so lush and GREEN! More today and next week!!!

girls out on worm patrol

Green green and green :)

neighbor kitty Posey came for a visit

Posey enjoying the sun on top of the compost bin

Thrifting Score!!!
I hit it right at Goodwill this week. I found-

3 brand new Target prints, 12" wide, for $2.99 each, nice for some new wall art, all coordinated. 
2 bamboo boxes marked the Container Store for my new tea drawer, $2.99 instead on the $7.00 on the bottom. For my new tea drawer! 
1 wire basket .69, also for my new tea drawer! 
A wood thick angular frame for $2.99

All for less than $20.00
A good trip indeed...

Thanks for the well wishes for my flu bug, I'm feeling much better!!!

May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day!-
Here's to all the Moms out there. Having raised 3 girls myself, who turned out pretty well, my hat's off to you. While I worked full time outside the home most of the time, and was home full time a bit, it's tough either way. Here's to you! Thru illness, tough money times, little/no sleep, no romance, no rest, no quiet, we still love them :) Here's some vintage images to make you smile!

From , lots there!

Happy Mother's Day!

May 8, 2015

Planting Day, Cool Veggies and More! My Podcast's Coming!

Planting Day, Cool Veggies and More!-
I'm home today with the croupy crud. Ironically I had planned a personal day off then got the bug last weekend. Oh well, no projects today, except washing germie sheets! It's sunny and about 70, so I've been able to air out the house. We've had such a nice cooler week this week, with a little rain the last 2 days. Perfect for the recent plantings. It was a bit warm (low 80's) last Sat. and I was getting the flu. Dave did most of the work, but I helped! I started seeds in the new little mini greenhouse- 2 kinds of bush beans/Italian & regular, tons of basil, flowers and more-

basil coming up

beans coming up

I also added a couple of perennials to replace the ones that died-

hyssop I think

In the main garden we planted-

Lemon cukes (finally found some early starts!) and tomatoes. I tried 3 new varieties of heritage tomatoes I hadn't seen before-
Anna Russian
Japanese Black Trifle (or Black Russian Truffle)
Super Marzano

My marker system, duct tape the tag to the top of the conduit stake

I did my regular Mister Stripey, Early Girl & Lemon Boy too. Love the flavors and early, steady production. I tried a new one for me- Arkansas Traveller, an old reliable one from what I've read.

We also planted peppers- Gypsy yellow, jalapeno and garden salsa. Everyone had a terrible season for peppers last summer. No one knows why? I left lots of open space to move the beans to once they're bigger.

I also planted my herb box with rosemary, thyme and oregano. Basil plants may be coming this way for Mom's Day, maybe :)

Marion berries doing well!

Raspberries are growing fast!

Cool veggies doing great! 2 types of Kale and collard greens, no bug damage

I bought some orange geraniums for our old Kodak tray, I thought it would make a nice planter! Will do that tomorrow, and some blue lobelia I bought :)

My Podcast's Coming!
Well if you've wanted to hear my lovely voice come at you from a device it'll be coming soon! Jackie from Organic Gardener Podcast contacted me after finding my blog. She'll be interviewing me soon. I was going to do it today, but I didn't want to hack up a lung on-air :) I'll let you know when it will be up. We'll be talking about all kids of things related to Urban Organic gardening...

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