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 26, 2016

Summer At The Little Homestead & Ready For The 4th, Sweet Hot Onion Relish, Egg & Oats Protein Recipe

Summer At The Little Homestead& Ready For The 4th-
We've had a crazy early part of the summer- hot, cool, wet, dry. I think we're settling into more of a normal pattern of heat. It was in the low 80's yesterday after a cool down (time to water!) and 92 today with 100 tomorrow. It's 62 right now at 9:30 a.m,  nice :) I hit some yard work early, including thinning some apples off our tree. We had a big branch laying on the front of the roof from the weight of the fruit. Not good! I'm just doing some other normal stuff, a little weeding, etc. Our veggies are great, growing fast. The chickens ate the foliage off on of my squashes so I'll replace that little fence, and stake up the tomatoes. They loved the rain! Inside I have my summer decor up and some goodies for the 4th-

I love my thrifted chicken!!!

my "sea table"

My fave prim chunky flag I made

I have been doing some thrifting for my 2nd expecting daughter (due in Dec.), and found a really expensive diaper bag for $4.00.  I washed it and it came out looking like new. I found some infant baby clothes for her , and 2 jackets for my new grandson River, who's really growing. I found a little salsa bowl out shopping yesterday a Target for a couple of bucks, cute!

My daughter did give me permission to post photos of Grandbaby River, just no naked ones! She and I are on the same page as far as respecting each other's privacy. Some have no boundaries when posting online and don't know how to think about long term ramifications of posting everything on social media. My 3 adult girls and I have had excellent conversations about that. Once something is on the internet it's there for good. Deleting an account, etc. will NOT get that it completely off the net. Better to be proactive and protect your privacy. Anyway, here's River from a few days ago-

a little squirmy and blurry, but healthy

We may do a one day road trip to get out of town over the 4th. I will host a dinner here on the 3rd for all the kids. We used a lot of vacation painting the house, but it was a one time project, so it's OK. No real vacation this year, just a few long weekends. I am SO looking forward to RETIRING some day! Ah, the luxury of just being able to stay home if you want to, volunteer, work part time, do big projects at home as needed, etc. I'll probably throw away my alarm clock!!! Soon...

Sweet Hot Onion Relish-
I have made this before and it's great in the summer! Spicy, crunchy, sweet/sour. Recipe is here-   I hand sliced these as my cheap food processor over did it. Chill your onions before slicing to reduce the fumes, and add the pepper seeds if you want it hotter. I let it sit 2 days, and added a little seasoned rice wine vinegar to beef up the liquid. I'm making some today for the weekend, a double batch! It will keep for a few weeks. Yum. With the long weekend coming up (we're taking Friday off too, hooray!) I'll make a giant batch of corn relish as well. Keeps great and here's my version if you want to give it a try LittlehomesteadinBoise Corn Relish

 Egg & Oats Protein Recipe-
I kept vacillating yesterday between eggs for breakfast or oats. I remembered making baked oats with eggs, but that is a big batch. I looked online for an idea about putting an egg into cooked rolled oats. I made this eggy oatmeal. I did my normal thick rolled oats with raisins, added one of my hens eggs and cooked for 5 minutes. A little sugar and milk and delish! Here's an official recipe- Protein Oatmeal

Jun 19, 2016

How To Do Copper Leaf Crafts, It's Pesto Time! Fast & Frugal Gourmet Chicken Salad Sandwiches

How To Do Copper Leaf Crafts-
This is such an cheap, easy process, I thought I'd share it! When we bought our current house, a single story ranch the garage needed a little something up above for interest. For $10.00 I bought a sage green painted metal folk art type star. I was in a craft store and saw a package of Copper Leaf and had a eureka! moment. I copper leafed the star, sprayed with a clear poly spray to protect it from the weather. After 10 years it looked like this-

Not bad, but it needed a face lift. It used to be above the garage door-

Since we painted the house and installed a vent in that spot I decided to re-do it for another spot on the front of the house, centered between our bedroom windows. 

New much-needed vent

For $12.00 I bought a small package of copper leaf-

photo is of gold but it's copper inside

The standard craft size seems to be 4" x 4" and about 25 sheets. I did the whole star and have some left over. You can buy special glue, and I was going to use some spray adhesive that I already had. Sadly it has TERRIBLE fumes and you can't do this outside in any kind of wind or draft. It turned into an inside project.

Close up "before", after 10 years in the weather, not bad really!

I worked on my dining table with paper towels underneath. To prep I brushed and wiped the surface with a dry cloth and worked on as it. Theoretically I could have washed it with TSP but why bother? I wanted the rustic look. I used some Elmer's wood glue, applied with a craft sponge. Pour on, sponge on, and do a small section at time-

Spread on a thin coating, you want a tacky surface- 

Very carefully use one sheet of copper leaf at a time, it's sandwiched between thin paper sheets- 

 Just leave in place in the "book" and press on the tacky glue, tear off the paper pages as you go-

I used a small paint brush to flatten the copper leaf on gently- 

Looking better already!

I worked all the way around, overlapping as needed. I let dry overnight.

 2nd round of leafing

The next day I brushed off the loose copper excess and did the process again. Just fill in any gaps and empty spots, dry overnight again. Wipe off the rest of the excess and spray with clear poly to protect from the outdoor elements. Re-hung and we're done! 

With the left over copper from last time I covered a cheap plastic and metal yard art "sun". Much better! Still holding up well 10 years later but it has been inside, I moved it outside. Looks good on the new gray paint! 

What could you use copper leaf with???


It's Pesto Time!
I planted a pot full of basil seeds recently, but I also bought 3 large plants. Time to make pesto! I used my fave recipe, Rosie's Pesto, fast and simple, low fat to boot! I used it with some roasted chicken I had left over. Just heat in an skillet with a little olive oil and warm thru.

I tossed the chicken into pasta. Serve with salad and french bread, it's what's for dinner!

Fast & Frugal Gourmet Chicken Salad Sandwiches-
Speaking of chicken.... I bought two 2-pack cans of precooked chicken breast on sale. I don't usually buy canned cooked meats, but I thought it would be useful for a fast dinner on a I'm too tired to cook night. I have made tarragon chicken salad before but wanted something with more flavor. I combined a few recipes, and included my organic sweet pickles from Ikea. Give it a try! I served on toasted Challah (clearance price!) buns with pickles, chips and veggies. The whole batch with chicken and buns was about $8.00 including what I already had. Makes 6 large sandwiches! You could also serve as a salad with greens.

Meat- two 12 oz cans of cooked chicken breast, or use your own roasted chicken, COLD
1 cup diced Celery
1/2 cup diced Red onion
1/2 cup diced sweet pickles
2 TBL fresh Tarragon from my garden,or 1TBL dried
2 TBL Dijon mustard
2 TBL Lemon juice
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
Black pepper to taste

Add mayo, lemon juice and mustard in a bowl, mix well. Add chicken, and the rest of the ingredients and toss well. Refrigerate while you prep the rest of the meal. Serve on toasted buns! Great on a hot night! This will be great with sliced, home grown, fresh garden tomatoes soon! Basil would work well too. Keeps well too, enjoy!

Jun 5, 2016

Independence Days Challenge, Record Heat!

Independence Days Challenge- 
Sometimes I forget that while we live in an urban area all kinds of "wildlife" comes out :)  A cute little American Quail pair visited last week. I always love the little flag on top! The female is on the ground right below near the 4"x 4". Fun! Here's a run down of some things we've been doing lately here at our little homestead!

1. Plant Something-
We planted our veggie garden the last 2 weekends, most of it with our 3 days off last weekend for the holiday. No more "summer break" for me, sadly! I planted my herb box, and seeds for calendula, nasturtiums and tons of basil. I love to make little jars of pesto to freeze. I did cheat by buying a large pot of basil! Yum yum.

2. Harvest Something-
Herbs and eggs. I found 2 eggs last week, one a little bitty one! I think one of the hens laid 2?

 3. Preserve/Store Something-
Nothing right now. I will be canning and freezing fruit later this summer with a good crop on our 3 fruit trees. 

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep-
 I got a new watch little Timex digital "gardening/dirt" watch on Amazon for $15.00, a blouse on eBay, a polar fleece jacket at a yard sale, and some thrifted baby clothes for my new grand baby! We were gifted with a bag of baby things from my hubby's co-worker who used to run a day care center. One of those gifts was a fold up playpen/crib! Free is a very good price! I'll buy a thicker piece of foam and make some sheets :) I told hubby to thank her profusely!

We also had a free dinner with points built up on our saver card at our fave local Greek restaurant. Opa! Speaking of which, we saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 last night. It is hysterical if you want a good laugh!!! We found some nice 50' soaker hoses for $10.00 each at Home Depot. We are now using those in the veggie gardens. We stretched them out for a week in the sun, mush easier to use-

Kale, french radishes, green onions and herbs planted

Bush bean seed planted with soaker hose, previous shed area. Now food production!
I sent the hens in there last weekend and they did a great job tilling the soil :)

Tomatoes, squash, 3 kinds of peppers planted

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe-
I made a new blueberry cobbler, now working on freezer food. Tonite I sauteed 1 huge purple onion with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and put on top of brats, yummy! Cook down for about 45 minutes till nice and soft.

6. Build Community Food Systems-
Giving my kids eggs, and I may start selling some at work. No local farmers markets yet, too early.
I may sell some excess fruit at work this year, with peaches, apples and pears coming in strong this year! 

7. Recycle/Re-Use-
Donated some clothes to charity, bought baby things. I made $40.00 selling used, leftover fencing on Craigslist today-

I also have a like-new Fossil purse for sale I bought for $3.00 at a yard sale last summer. It's too small for me. Easy way to earn some money! It also keeps things like the fencing out of the landfills.

8. Skill Up-
I am learning a LOT about infants. Big changes since 27 years ago when I had mine. We got more familiar with the soaker hoses we bought. Smaller than the ones years ago and more water efficient. I knew with working thru the summer that I wouldn't be watering as much on my off time. I bought 1, then we bought a 2nd. They use less water and you can turn them on and walk away. 

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something-
I will be re-copper leafing a metal star for our home's exterior. More later on how to do that! I saw this inspiration yesterday at a Re-Store store, cute! Maybe some furniture painting in my future?

I might do something like this...

Record Heat!
96 was in the forecast for today, with more heat again tomorrow. That is HOT, but it's 115 in Phoenix so I won't complain too much. We may get a thunderstorm tonite and tomorrow night, hopefully with rain and not starting any forest fires. We deep cleaned the chicken waterers today and we've been watering extra the last 3 days. I think it was about 95 today. Tomorrow I will set up our mister for the coop. I water around the coop as well and in their shade area-

Cool shade area for the hens, wraps around behind the coop. One of my better ideas! 

Last year's veggie garden, good shade in the afternoon...

What's the temp where you are???

Jun 4, 2016

My First Grand Child is Here!

We welcomed River into the world Tues., 6 lbs, 6 oz. He's happy and healthy at home with Mom and Dad. There's a local Greek festival that they're missing due to River being 10 days early, so we're taking Greek food to them! What a great addition to the family!!! And my daughter Michelle takes wonderful photos as well.

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