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...

Sep 27, 2015

Fall Road Trip

Fall Road Trip-
After a pretty tumultuous last couple of weeks wrapping up my old librarian job, finalizing/starting a new one tomorrow, I needed a break! Dave and I went up to McCall for the day. A 2+ hour drive and gorgeous fall scenery! Little traffic and tourists. What a great day! Drive, burgers, dessert, thrifting (nothing) walking at the lake, relaxing. Well spent time. Here's a peek-


Our fave lunch spot, local beers and great burgers!

Bathroom decor inside Stacy's Cakes, cute!

I WANT that mirror!!!

Payette Lake

Love that bench :)

tourists all gone

75, clear and perfect

Fave city park

Lone sailboat

the backside of Brundage ski resort

Look what I found :) Pyrite on a heart leaf on a random bench, sweet 

wouldn't be eating that trout! :(

Sep 20, 2015

Autumn Is In The Air

Autumn Is In The Air-
Autumn has finally starting showing itself. The leaves are starting to change and the nights are getting colder. This morning was flannel shirt, this afternoon a tee-shirt. 82 now will be the high of the week, then into the 70's. we had a really heavy rainstorm last Thursday- thunder, winds, lightning and heavy rain. Awesome! When you live in the desert you really appreciate the RAIN. My rain barrel is now full :) Veggies are still coming in- tomatoes, patty pan squashes, lemon cukes, tons of herbs! Here's a quick look around, too busy this weekend with other stuff. Here's a peek at our fall so far-

My fave Starbucks owl

leaves changing

tons of bees pollinating

Happy Fall!

Sep 12, 2015

Thrifting, More DIY Home Improvements, Fall/Holiday Cookies

I don't usually go thrifting on Labor Day but since everything was 1/2 off I thought why not? I wandered a bit, then saw these L.L. Bean Blueberry service ware (retired) mugs. Only 50 cents each, and they sell for $10.00 each on eBay! I love the size and color-

I thought about selling them but I LOVE the pattern! I bought 6 mugs, the next day went back and got the same pattern bowls, 6 of them-

Nice big vase, 50 cents

While these clothes hampers were not thrifted I did get these for $10.00 each in the dorm section at Target. I had been looking all over for new hampers, and didn't want to spend $30.00- $40.00 EACH. It's nice with a separate liner that pulls out. Sometimes you can find great deals in that off-to-college area, in the fall. 

I hit the Grocery Outlet on the way home last night, found a really nice glass commuter cup, and these Power Bars- 1 BOX for $5.00, for 15 bars! That's 33 cents per bar! I may buy more and freeze them for emergency use.

More DIY Home Improvements-
We're still finishing up various projects outside. Dave and I decided to jazz up our front entry way post. After much research Dave wrapped our boring front 4" x 4" with finish grade cedar in sizes ranging from 1" x 2" to 1"x 8". We like it!!! I'll coat with some clear stain poly for weather protection.

In house prep for spring painting Dave removed some cracked and rotting (bottom) of the 2" x 6"s on the sides of the garage doors. He bought some Royal Mouldings Vinyl Jambs and other other components. He saw these on This Old House and said it was the same price as new wood, but will last forever. Once it's painted it will look great! Easy install and more insulation for the garage door edges. Dave saved the usable old frames for flower boxes,etc.

Off with the old

New components 


Dave being shy :)

I picked out new house numbers for the front post, brushed nickel from Home Depot, $5.00 each

Old switch plates in dining room

New wood switch plates!

Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Lebkuchen-
A friend was wanting this recipes a few days ago, and I found it online! These are SO GOOD!!!! I make these every winter, but they'd be good in the fall too. I LOVE the combination of the orange, raisins and almond.

These cookies hail from Germany and were traditionally sweetened with honey, but that has now been substituted with molasses. They have all the spice of a gingersnap and a texture that’s tender and chewy.

1 cup almonds
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 large egg
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup dark raisins
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Confectioners’ sugar, 
Toast the almonds in a medium-size nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 6 minutes and set them aside.
With an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat together the brown sugar, honey, molasses, egg, and orange zest in a mixing bowl until smooth.
Combine the almonds & raisins in a food processor. Pulse repeatedly to finely chop the mixture. (You can also finely chop the ingredients by hand.) Stir the nut mixture into the sugar mixture. Sift the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt into a separate medium-size bowl. Then stir the dry mixture into the liquid a third at a time, stirring well after each addition. The dough will be quite dense and sticky.

Scrape the dough onto a well-floured 3-foot-long sheet of plastic wrap. Generously flour the dough. Then, using floured hands, knead the dough several times to smooth it. Flatten the dough into a 1-inch-thick square and wrap it in the plastic. Slide the dough into a plastic bag or wrap it in aluminum foil and chill it until firm, several hours or overnight.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet (preferably not a dark one) with parchment or lightly greased aluminum foil. Set the sheet aside. Transfer the dough to a generously floured sheet of waxed paper and roll it into a 1/4-inch-thick rectangle or square. Cut the dough into cookies that measure about 2 inches square, or a round biscuit cutter.

Transfer the squares to the baking sheet, spacing them about an inch apart. Bake the cookies on the center oven rack for 12 to 13 minutes, 1 sheet at a time. When done, the cookies will have formed a crust, but they should still feel soft to the touch. (Tip: The cookies stay chewier if you bake them less and put them in an airtight container while they’re still slightly warm. If your family prefers a crisper cookie, just bake them a little longer and let them cool completely before you store them.) Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and, while they are still quite warm, dredge them in confectioners’ sugar. Makes about 18 to 24 cookies.


Sep 7, 2015

It's National Prep Month! Happy Labor Day!

It's National Prep Month!-
After seeing the blog post from it reminded me to review what kinds of preps I might need to look at? I do things throughout the year, like working on filling up my freezer over the last 2 months. I checked our emergency lighting last month- kerosene (heating too), propane, and batteries. I found this brilliant idea for lighting today, which I LOVE!!!

The Luminaid Solar Light  $24.95, fold flat to 3" x 5"

I always think about heating, food, fuel, transportation, prescription meds, OTC meds, appropriate cold weather gear if we had to bug out even locally. When it's 10 degrees you won't be wearing flip flops!!! Then there are thinks like books, card games (keeps you occupied), candy, coffees, teas. Here's how I did some prepping in the last few days- I bought 2 packages of chicken thighs, $3.00 each and 3 lbs. of bacon-

I re-wrapped the chicken, double bagged it and got out as much air as possible. When I do it this way I have zero% freezer burn. Split the bacon, froze half. I always use new bags and toss after opened. Off to the freezer they went.

Dave picked the last of the Pippin apples yesterday, one more 1/2 laundry basket full. That's it for this year-

cooking for applesauce

I must say LOVE my Roma canning food processor!  You can leave on the apple skins, seeds and it filters it all out. I run the pulp thru a 2nd time and you'd be surprised how much more puree you get out! For the apple butter I used a medium strainer for the silky smooth texture. Tastes great!

applebutter cooking down

Since I did 25 Qts. of apple slices already I did a small batch of apple butter and the rest is applesauce, spiced & regular. I make mine on the chunky side with a big strainer screen and ended with 13 Qts. total. It was a nice day to can outside, about 70 degrees! I use Ball's applesauce recipe and I tried this for the apple butter  I subbed 1 cup of brown sugar for white, as I saw that somewhere. I just put in the crock pot and walked away:) Sadly I only wound up with 3 1/2 pint jars. Next time I will use my own applesauce as a base, so I'll know how much I'll have. I wanted about 6 jars. I may make some today with my own applesauce. My time canning yesterday was about 6 hours, but worth it! I also took some breaks as my back was talking to me leaning over the sink that long cutting off wormy parts :) I saved the perfect ones in the fridge for eating. As Dave bit into one crunchy delicious apple I said "Isn't that satisfying since we grew it ourselves!" Amen. I think fruit trees are really such a great source of food, and certainly cost efficient!

Happy Labor Day!
Since I was basically canned all day yesterday, and Dave painted the new replacement siding all day, we are "resting" today. Going to a movie and a few light chores. Then  back to "work" tomorrow where maybe I can rest! Or at least sit down once in a while...

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