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 24, 2016

Get Ready For Winter/National Prep Month! My 600th Post!!!

“Part of self-reliance is building a resilient community of hard goods and soft goods (spiritual, emotional, educational) around us, proximate, and relationally-oriented". Joel Salatin

Ready For Winter/National Prep Month!-
Autumn has arrived at our little homestead! WE FINALLY HAD SOME RAIN!!!!!!!!!!! It was the first rain since July. It rained steadily for 2 days, with much cooler weather. Leaves are falling and the high today is 65 and sunny. I'm loving it! 

Anya dressed in brown for fall!

I'm putting away some of my summer clothes and pulling out fall/winter things. I've gotten my fall decor out and will work on that tomorrow. Time flies!

This time of year I start thinking ahead of winter prep along with general preparedness. It's also National Prep Month! I got involved with prepping back in 1999 when there was a lot of fear around Y2K issues. I had extra food, water, cash and fuels. Y2K came and went and we used things up eventually. You only have to watch the news to see how many people are caught off guard in all kinds of situations. Weather, nature, floods, fires, you name it. Given the current political state of the world, it's good to look ahead. What if you couldn't get to a grocery store for two weeks? Or a gas station? No water, now what? Stashing extra food is great but what about OTC meds? TP? Emergency home repair items? There are so many little things we don't think of. Tomorrow when I grocery shop I'm going to stock up on low cost barbecue chicken parts. I freeze them for the winter ans great deals! I' making pesto to freeze and minestrone soup from my garden tomatoes as well. I'm enjoying freezing things for a quick thaw on a crazy work night! I'll be checking our flashlights, batteries and more.

Last year I did a nice blog post about this very topic It's National Prep Month! and this in 2014 Prepping Information Here's a great podcast with lots of info here  It's titled Zero To Prepared – Fast, Simple and Low Cost Part One. Not all of it will apply to everyone, so see what if any might work for you. There are lots of great websites out there so browse around on as well. I discovered this solar light, recently, easy to install, LED and and BRIGHT! MicroSolar LED Barn Light  -

I first saw this on Leigh's post at  I will probably get one for our coop, and some may want to stash a few of those for emergency power outages. I could see running the cord inside (thru a window, etc) and using inside with some creativity! They'd also be great for a tiny house, cabin's, etc. 

My 600th Post!!!
Wow, I can't believe I hit 600 posts! When I changed jobs it cut into my time to blog, but has helped me keep my sanity :) I love writing and it helps me feel connected to the rest of the world out there. It's fascinating that I have readers from literally every continent all over the world! I love my little widget on my blog showing where my visitors are from. Just fascinating! Thanks so much for your comments, emails and encouragement. Love ya guys!!!

Sep 18, 2016

Tomato Harvest and Sauce, Copycat Olive Garden Salad, Extra Squash? Fall Road Trip, Great Deals!

Tomato Harvest and Sauce-
Last weekend we picked all the ripe tomatoes. I made a nice pasta sauce with Italian sausage, onions and fresh herbs from the garden. I added quite a bit of tomato paste as there was so much juice! Now it's all in the freezer for winter! I left a bit out for dinner, couldn't wait. I have at least one more good batch for next weekend. Lots of tomatoes this year! I think the soaker hose really helped with production.

Copycat Olive Garden Salad-
When we had some pasta recently (with my sauce!) I made this to go with dinner-  Awesome! I left out the tomatoes since we had a lot in the sauce. Yum yum! I did use Oliver Garden's salad dressing from Costco and substituted romaine. I haven't eaten iceberg lettuce for years, yuck. It's a keeper!

Look at those tomatoes!

Extra Squash? 
Lots of squash means chicken snack time!!! 

Ellie on the left, Rosie on the right :)

Fall Road Trip-
We took our daughter, son in law and grand baby to McCall yesterday. It was in the mountains and River's 1st road trip! He was did great!!! It was cloudy, drizzly but mild, about 62. There was so much fall color it really put me in the mood for Autumn. Time to swap my decor, but will save that for my to-do list for next weekend! We had lunch, drove around the lake and had some great time together. River slept a lot of the time, but when he was awake was in a great mood! Everyone complimented him and flirted at lunch time. What a sweety pie! 

Holding Grandma's thumb

Payette Lake

Great Deals!
One of my fave new great deals was this Live Simply/bird kitchen set, $5.00 at the Grocery Outlet. How cute!

My other great new deal was a new $80.00 (choking!) pair of Eddie Bauer jeans at the outlet store for $15.00. They were 70% off and I had a $10.00 off coupon. Out we went, I found them, tried them on and I scored! Nice and soft and well made. I have to laugh though at an $80.00 pair of jeans!!!!

Sep 11, 2016

Vietnamese Pork Chops w/ Salad, Applesauce Time! Pear Harvest and Crumble Pie

Vietnamese Pork Chops w/ Cucumber Radish Salad-
It's starting to feel a bit like Autumn! Cooler/shorter days, and nights. I ran across this article for some summer-to-fall decorating ideas, 6 Easy Way to Transition From Summer To Fall, fun stuff! It's been fall harvest time here the last 2 weekends, with pesto and marinara sauce to make from our tomatoes still to come! I love cooking pork in the fall, and I recently found this recipe-  I decided to try it since I already had most of the ingredients. I bought 4 nice chops and went for it. I wasn't sure about eating radish greens, but they were actually good! The result? Excellent, juicy meat and mild veggies. I did use a jalapeno pepper, with no seeds, diced. Next time I would slice them since we didn't get much heat. All in all, a keeper! This could also work for chicken or beef.

Applesauce Time!
We had a moderate harvest of our Pippin apples this year. Between giving our kids apples,and eating them fresh/baked ourselves, we really didn't have a huge amount to can. With my recent back issues I decided to make my thick/chunky applesauce last weekend on the stove and freeze it. Easy peasy! I left the skin on, good fiber, nutrition. I bought four new 3.8 pint, BPA-free freezer containers. I wasn't sure if that would be enough, but I filled all four, making about 1 gallon-

 To process the apples I washed, cored, and cut off the bad spots. I sliced and put in my giant pot, with several inches of water. I started on high, then after 10 minutes reduced to medium high. I kept stirring from the bottom and put the lid on. Keep checking the progress very 10 minutes. Once soft I started with a potato masher, then added water to thin as needed. I then switched to submersible blender, perfect for this application. I added a little sugar, fresh lemon juice, pinch of salt, then cinnamon, and fresh nutmeg to taste. I like spiced applesauce!  You could leave out the spices if you wish. You can use on top of pork chops with garlic, onion and ginger. You could also use in an apple bread/cake.

Pear Harvest and Crumble Pie-
We kept waiting for our organic Bartlett pears to soften up on the tree, but when they started falling off it was time to pick them yesterday. We had about 35 pears, our largest crop yet! We planted the tree about 3 or 4 years ago, so this was a good harvest. The flavor is great! I decided to try this recipe and Dave loves baked pears- Pear Pie Crumble  It's also a keeper!

I used fresh nutmeg instead of cinnamon in the filling, but added both to the topping. The slices were nice and tender but not mushy. I used the ripest pears for this.

I have the rest of the pears slowly ripening on the table-

I'm going to try this recipe as well Autumn Pear Bread and use some of our excellent eggs :)

Are you ready for Autumn?

Sep 4, 2016

Painting Projects Times Three, Fave DIY Makeovers, Easy French Bread Pizzas w/Garden Tomatoes, Autumn's Coming!


Painting Projects Times Three-
I decided to take Friday off a while back and have had a four day weekend! Work has been crazy busy and I wanted to do something fun! Since we basically spent our vacation time/vacation $$$ on painting our house in May we're basically done with vacations for now. So... I had some painting projects in mind. I had seen some china cabinets similar to mine, with a nice dark cherry stain. We bought it at Goodwill as it was being brought out onto the floor for about $80. That was ten years ago after we bought this house. It was small and fit into our kitchen/dining room perfectly. It was missing the 2 glass shelves (and brackets) so I measured exactly and bought 2 new shelves to replace them. They fit!!! Dave installed some replacement brackets. Lately I thought about doing the "paint it white and add chicken wire" thing, but I like the warm cherry color and grain. I think it might be mahogany? "Before" picture, nice contrast to the light wall color-

I stumbled onto a few photos a while back and it gave me an idea-

Why not paint the inside? I did some research and these colors are a variation of Robin's Egg Blue. I brought home several paint chips and found a nice chalk-type paint at a big box store. I didn't want to go too minty so I bought this-


I wiped down the inside with a damp cloth with Dawn. I taped off the edges and used kitchen parchment paper to cover the bottom-

My goal was to do the inside sides only. It took 2 coats, not a surprise. I used a brush on the edges and a medium sized foam roller on the walls. Worked great! I even have some paint left! I'm happy with the result!!! It's lighter inside and brighter. I also down-sized the items inside. I donated some and stored the rest of the seasonal items-

All done!

I bought some cherry toned Danish Oil and will do the legs and rest of the wood tomorrow. It will mask some of the wear marks and protect the finish. Then it will really be all done!!! Link for paint, come in several colors-


Painting project #2- I had a nice wall shelf that was a matte black I bought it used after we bought this house. I wanted some vertical storage. Last year when I re-painted the kitchen I decided to paint it a medium blue. I checked 3 stores for a satin blue and couldn't find it. I went with glossy navy and I was not happy! It looked almost black in the lighting, but I decided to live with it- 

I finally found my paint, much better!

Painting job # 3 is an old oak dining chair we had from our big family dining set years ago. When we downsized and donated the set we kept one chair. It was ready for a makeover, worn but still sturdy-

Lots of nice scroll work

I went with bright white satin paint to go with our other spare chairs-

It was just about ready to start raining, so I painted the 1st coat in the garage. Second coat tomorrow! I'm really glad I didn't try to paint it with a brush! I have some glaze I may use to enhance the carved areas. I will wait until the paint cures more. I may add a blue plaid chair cushion to it, to tie together with my other chairs.

Fave DIY Makeovers-
While browsing thru Pinterest I saw the china cabinet above. What a great idea! No glass? Put in fabric! I love the red and blue together.

 I also found this, an old Grandfather clock stripped down of the mechanisms and shelves added. Great idea! Just some paint and distressed-

Not my photo!

Easy French Bread Pizzas w/Garden Tomatoes-
Last week I decided to make some French bread pizza, for something different. I bought a medium size baguette on the way home. I sliced it down the center and cut 2 good sized chucks. We each would have 2 slices. I topped with these ingredients in order-

Garlic powder, 3 leftover provolone slices (3) torn, 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan, 1/2 cup fresh shredded mozzarella cheese, fresh oregano, several fresh sliced garden tomatoes. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Once all your ingredients are on the bread put on a baking sheet in the oven at 375 degrees for about 8 to 10 minutes. At this point turn up the heat to 425 degrees F. When the cheese has started to bubble, bread looks toasted and veggies are soft, you're done!  In my oven it was about 5 minutes. You could also broil if needed. Serve hot! The bread was nice and crunchy and I topped with fresh basil. Perfecto!!!

Autumn's Coming!
We've had a real shift in the weather the last 2 days. High in the low upper 60's/low 70's. I love it! While it was odd to see a Winter Weather Advisory in the mountains, we need it. Idaho currently has the largest forest fire in the U.S., but it doesn't make the national news. Named the Pioneer Fire, most of it is in unpopulated areas. It's at about 175, 000 acres!

I'm hoping for some substantial rain soon. We need to get that fire out and wet things down here. The radar is looking like rain is heading in this evening, happy dance. With a low of 45 I'll be throwing on another blanket!!! Come on rain!!!

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