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...

Oct 31, 2016

Happy Halloween From The Hand!

Happy Halloween!
My actual left hand looks like this-

I had much-needed thumb surgery this last Friday, as my left thumb joint was pretty shot. I'm home today and off my pain meds, and back to work tomorrow. I'm getting around slower, but better each day. Next Monday I will get a much smaller, removable splint, then 5 more weeks to heal. We had a dark and stormy night last night, perfect for this time of year! Life goes on, so Happy Halloween!

Oct 23, 2016

Pumpkin Patch Time! Winter Preps, Santa's Of The World Score


Pumpkin Patch Time!
We had a blast yesterday going as a group to a local pumpkin patch, with hayrides and tons of other things to do! My daughter, son in law, hubby, grand baby and in-laws all went. We all took a hayride, picked out pumpkins and took lots of fun pictures. It was cold but clear, so we all bundled up-

Hay ride time with hubby, Tami, Matt, and River in a snuggli carrier

Grand baby River's first Autumn!

Pumpkin all ready

Getting colder

Lots of gold

Last November 17th

Winter Preps-
It will be moving into winter soon, so time to do some prep things. We've already closed our foundation vents, winterized the coop, added our storm door, bought new wiper blades for the cars, tires rotated, swapped out some clothes/shoes (bye bye sandals)  and lots of other little things. We'll rip out the tomatoes/cukes today and the chickens will love more room to roam. I'll make pesto out of the remaining basil, and get the comforter out. I have put out our winter pillows and fuzzy blankets on the couch. While I miss summer harvest, I don't miss the heat! I LOVE this time of year. What are you doing to prep for winter?

Santa's Of The World Score-
One of my all time favorite blogs is The Cottage of Vinnord, a gorgeous inspiring DIY Norwegian blog. I stumbled on it a few years a go and it has given lots of great ideas. The author has done an incredible job on a small,  run-down Norwegian country cottage and really transformed it on a tight budget! Check out her Before-Afters photos. WOW. While she hasn't posted for a while (for reasons stated in the blog), there's so much cool stuff there! I saw her photo of three of the Hallmark Santa's of the World and I loved them!!! I started looking for some inexpensive ones and eBay to the rescue! Each Santa is from a different country, with something reminiscent of each country. Ireland has a shamrock, etc. They are heavy resin with wonderful detail and very folk art-ish. I found a $5.00 USA Santa first- 

Next I really scored with a set of six miniatures ornaments for $10.00, what a deal! I will have one duplicate but it will be gifted to River, shh, don't tell. 

Oct 15, 2016

First BIG Storm of the Season, Easy Frugal Autumn Decor, Chicken Molting & Protein Treats

First BIG Storm of the Season-
Sorry no blog post last weekend since there was nothing to exciting to post! Now, here's somne big news! I never thought living in Boise we'd see part of the remnants of a typhoon! Named Songda it hit the Oregon/Washington coast 2 days ago and is moving inland as we speak- Pacific N.W. Storm  There were 2 tornadoes on the Oregon coast yesterday, CRAZY!!! We hope our families in Portland will be okay. I woke up yesterday to gusting winds and 70 degrees, yes 70 degrees, at 7 a.m.! It was a warm front ahead of the cold front. The temperature dropped to about 55 by noon, and with windy rain. Dried out a bit, then cloudy. More breezy rain this morning and now it's 65 at 5 p.m. wind is picking up, with more wind/rain expected tomorrow. We really need it in the mountain, but after our horrible Pioneer forest fire, landslides and mudslides are a risk. I LOVE the rain, it's been so dry since July. We have more rain in the forecast for the next week, so I loving it. I'm washing our flannel sheets to put on today. It's till too warm for our winter comforter. Right now we're using our summer quilt with a polar fleece blanket. Soon though, it will be winter! It did drop into the upper 30's a couple of night ago, with some minor frost damage to my squash,plants, but nowhere else. My basil and tomatoes are fine, go figure!  More about the storm here, with great graphics We'll slowly put our veggie garden to bed and will start winterizing the coop. For now I'm enjoying the Autumn rain and hoping the coming winds won't be too bad...

Monster typhoon

Local forecast

Leaves have been falling all day!

Easy, Frugal Autumn Decor-
I get more minimalistic decor wise as I get older. I used to think more was better, but I like having more accent pieces and less clutter. There's also storing everything when not in use. I like less stuff in general! I have my fall things out, and I will put up some inside Halloween things tomorrow. I wanted to do something with one of my kitchen topiaries that was Autumn-ish. I was at Hobby Lobby and found these, perfect for my idea-

burlap leaves and faux nuts

I decided after seeing those little accents to use them on my sifter topiary.  I made it out of an old vintage sifter, and it's one of my favorite up cycled kitchen decorations- 

Before picture

After picture, simple re-do and easy to change back

I did goof up thinking that the little leaves were a garland, but they're hanging pieces. I may make them into that. Sometimes I like to live with things a bit before changing them.

About 90% of my fall things I have picked up at thrift stores, the rest at lost cost places like Home Depot or Ross. Fresh pumpkins and gourds are always pretty cheap. Here's a few things around our home-

My fave little owl reading his book from Starbucks years ago :)
I'm an ex-librarian, what can I say!

Love my chicken!

Just some fall leaves

Anya is peeking from the other side of the table!


Since it was mild and dry Dave put out most of the Halloween goodies, lights and stakes-

Poor Gwynne!

Chicken Molting & Protein Treats-
This year was an odd one, all my hens started molting at the same time! Our white hen started first, then the other 2-

Poor girls!

With colder weather coming and feather loss I knew it was time for some protein snacks! Feathers are mostly protein so they need more to recover better. You can buy supplements but they can be pretty spendy. I did some research here Raising Happy as well as other places. I started off with some high protein kitten chow "that chickens love!". They looked at me seeming to say "you expect me to eat that!" No luck. Then I tried drained large sardines packed in tomato sauce, broken up and they inhaled it! Problem solved. You can do meats, cooked eggs, fish, etc, but most suggest not more than 3xs a week. Gwynne's feather are growing back already, good news-

 Here's a nice generic Chicken Treat Chart, with both winter and summer treats, good ideas there!

Oct 2, 2016

Solar Powered Generators, Garden Tomato Minestrone, Easy Squash Bake

Solar Powered Generators-
I found this new, fascinating line of solar products yesterday at Costco. Great looking stuff. All solar, and flexible systems. Check it out! No more generators running on fuels that you can run out of, what a great idea!!! Quiet, clean and portable and small items too, for charging phones, tablets, etc.

Garden Tomato Minestrone-
Since I had tons of tomatoes and colder weather was settling in last weekend I made minestrone soup! I used a basic recipe and added lots of home grown organic beauties-

I served cheesy herb biscuits from a Red Lobster mix I saw at the grocery store and decided to try. I added fresh sharp cheddar cheese, then topped with melted butter with the herb packet-

Yummy and good for an emergency biscuit with soup! 

Easy Squash Bake-
Having lots of yellow squash I decide to try this recipe--Peg's Summer Squash Bake I added pepper, thyme and a little salt. Easy and great with the Parmesan cheese! You could use olive oil for a more heart healthy version. Next time I will add some onions and roasted red peppers!!!

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