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...

Feb 21, 2016

Almost Heaven In A Box, JFK's Speech To The Press

Almost Heaven In A Box-
Last year I discovered something amazing in the Trader Joe's freezer section- frozen croissants! I bought some one the chocolate ones and they were amazing. The trick is this- you leave them out to rise for eight hours before baking. It's easy to set them out before you go to bed at night, or in the morning. They rise huge and puffy then come out brown, flaky and delish! They also have almond. At $1.00 each they're awesome! And lots of chocolate in there too, more than others I've bought from a bakery. For those of us who don't make then from scratch it's a great alternative.

big and puffy!

JFK's Speech To The Press-
I was a child when JFK was assassinated. At the time I didn't really understand who he was, with all of his incredible gifts, and sad personal choices. I heard this a year or two ago and decided to post it here. This riveting speech was given before the American Newspaper Publishers Association on April 27, 1961. It's also on YouTube if you'd rather here it in his voice. I can't think of any politician who would support this now-

“Ladies and gentlemen. The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society. And we are as a people, inherently and historically, opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago, that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweigh the dangers which are cited to justify it.

Even today, there is little value in opposing the thread of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in assuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment.

That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it’s in my control. And no official of my administration whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes, or to withhold from the press or the public the facts they deserve to know.

For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence, on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day.

It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. It’s mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed.

No President should fear public scrutiny of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding, and from that understanding comes support or opposition, and both are necessary. I’m not asking your newspapers to support an administration. But I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people. For I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed.

I not only could not stifle controversy among your readers, I welcome it. This administration intends to be candid about its errors. For as a wise man once said, an error doesn’t become a mistake until you refuse to correct it. We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors. And we expect you to point them out when we miss them.

Without debate, without criticism, no administration and no country can succeed, and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker, Solon, decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy.

That is why our press was protected by the First Amendment, the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution, not primarily to amuse and to entertain, not to emphasis the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply give the public what it wants, but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crisis and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.

This means greater coverage and analysis of international news, for it is no longer far away and foreign, but close at hand and local. It means greater attention to improve the understanding of the news as well as improve transmission. And it means finally that government at all levels must meet its obligation to provide you with the fullest possible information outside the narrowest limits of national security.

And so it is to the printing press, to the recorder of man’s deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news, that we look for strength and assistance. Confident that with your help, man will be what he was born to be, free and independent."

Feb 14, 2016

Our Little Homestead Layout Overview, Annabel Langbein- The Free Range Cook

Our Little Homestead Layout Overview-
I started thinking last week that many of you may not have any idea how out little homestead is set up. I thought I'd do a post about how we're set up here to give you a better idea! Feel free to ask any questions you may have.

First- our city lot is 5,663 sq. feet or about 1/8th of an acre. We have a pretty standard size front and back yard for this part of town. Our front yard faces south, and the back yard is on the west side of the house. The backyard is completely organic at this point, the front yard about 90%. The backyard veggie garden/chicken run/berry patch area is in the top photo. We have a nice sized, well-thought out coop that is safe, easy to clean, well ventilated and the hens love it. We started off with a small coop and quickly realized it was just too small and way too hard to clean-

1st coop

Current coop Dave and I built, painted to match the trim of the house, 
90% or more recycled materials!

We get wonderful eggs every day, we use the deep litter method and that litter goes into our yard. It really lightens up the heavy clay soil.  Thank goodness we have a HUGE maple tree in backyard or we'd cook! The chickens love the shade in the heat of summer, since Boise can get into the 100's. We have one 55-gallon rain barrel, and I'd like to add at least one more.

The backyard has a small deck we built that's about 10' x 25', with turf in the yard-

Ellie enjoying the deck

 The perimeter beds are planted with herbs, perennials and pollinator attracting plants. Flowers too of course!

We built a cold frame in the shade, which is great for cool weather crops, and have bird feeders and birdbaths-

From the cold frame, yummy collard greens.

Our compost pile with Poesy the neighbor's cat, cause she needs shade too!

We downsized and tore out our old, dilapidated shed last spring in the south side yard and are using the space to grow more food!

Italian beans growing, shed's gone!

The front yard currently has turf, a pear, apple and peach tree (planted last spring). We have 2 edible berry shrubs. We also have tons of perennials and shrubs to attract pollinators in the front, as well as herbs. Sorry these are early spring pictures, in the summer is a blast of color and green!

A snapshot of our veggie harvest

And our lovely eggs

Our little homestead is always in progress! We will probably build a small mini-shed on the north side of our house for the wheelbarrow and hoses. They ate up too much room this winter in the garage. That's life! We will use as much recycled materials as we can as usual So I hope that gives you a better idea of what we're working with. There's always more change coming~~~ guaranteed...

Annabel Langbein, The Free Range Cook-
Life can sometimes have some unexpected gifts. When we ditched satellite TV we suddenly had four PBS channels instead of one!!! SCORE! I found several great new shows I'd never seen before. One of my favorites is Free Range Cook, Simple Pleasures showcasing the talents, recipes and charm of Annabel Langbein, a cook/chef from New Zealand. She really does "keep it real", by growing, harvesting, foraging, and preserving her own foods. She has excellent, tasty and healthy recipes. I LOVE a woman who can cook on a propane burner !!! She's great on camera and some of the episodes are filmed in jaw-dropping, gorgeous wild areas of N.Z. Her website has lots of great free recipes and she has cookbooks out. She was just on American TV this week, which sadly I missed. She has a marathon of episodes on Easter weekend coming up, so check her out!

Feb 6, 2016

Apple Currant Bread Pudding, Decorating A Silver Wire Basket, More Snow, Hen Field Trip, Winter Garden Survivor!

Apple Bread Pudding-
When you have tons of eggs it's time for an apple/currant/walnut bread pudding! I bought some bread since I didn't have any stale (we don't eat much sliced bread) and went to town. I used our own home canned/home-grown apple slices. It puffed up HUGE! It was great both warn and cold. I used nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon. It was delish.

sorry for the blur, but you get the idea...

Decorating A Silver Wire Basket-
Last week I bought my thrifted silver plate wire basket, for $4.00. Now the question was what do I do with it? I did some googling and decided to do this-

I liked the idea of a lime green-ish Hydrangea I saw online and found some at JoAnn's Fabrics for a buck, clearance! I also bought some purple/blue flowers. I used floral foam and some spare Spanish moss. I think I may re-do this with regular green moss at some point so the wire will show better. For now I like it!

some indoor Spring!

More Snow-
We got another 1" dusting of snow 2 days ago, then horrible fog Thursday morning, real pea soup. It's pretty when it's snowy! We've never had this much steady snow in one winter for a really long time. 

Gwynn, (Celtic for white) seeing something yummy!

Hen Field Trip-
The poor chickens have a big, muddy run right now, so I let them out for an hour or more this afternoon. It was 45 today and cloudy but nice. They were in hog heaven! I let them dig thru the yard around the established shrubs. Mommy's good girls :)

too excited to stand still!!!

Winter Garden Survivor!
It's so funny how things in the garden work out sometimes. Last summer I bought an Italian Parsley plant at Home Depot. It did great all summer. I mulch everything in the raised bed late in the fall/early winter and don't bother pulling anything out. All winter I kept seeing some green. It's the parsley! Somehow it survived even through weather in the teens. That's one tough Italian!
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