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...

Dec 31, 2017

Sunny New Year's Weekend

Sunny New Year's Weekend-
We had a gorgeous weekend here! It was 43 Saturday, so Dave took down the outside lights and decorations. We looked up and there was Posey, neighbor's kitty, up on the roof! Miss curiosity-

We think she was sunning herself!

The snow got slushy, but was still pretty-

Packed up the holiday goodies-

We had a family dinner here last night and River loved his new book we gave him, he said  "ooo"! I made a hearty pasta sauce with our frozen, home-grown organic tomatoes, with Italian sausage on top of rotini pasta, salad, bread,and a blackberry/raspberry pie (store bought) rounded out the menu. We all had a great time!

Stopped at Lowe's found some 60% off holiday mini cloches, $6.00 for 2, perfect for my kitchen window- 

We dropped off some donations to a thrift store of holiday decor, since I keep downsizing every year. I did score a Duplo truck for River to play with here and a stocking holder for one the grand kids for next year. I need one more then we're set. We packed up the Christmas things, leaving out the winter decor for a while. Tomorrow I'll fill in the gaps with the normal decor. We'll start the New Year with a wintry mix! Happy New Year to you and yours!!!

Dec 28, 2017

Little Homestead Year End Review

Little Homestead Year End Review-
I was reading last year's year in review 2016 Year and it was in fairly sharp contrast to this year. Last year we did a lot of structural building, home improvements, the normal other tasks as well. This year was different, no major home improvements, no big medical issues, just final recovery from thumb surgery, that was nice! I changed jobs within my company which was a much better fit. Dave got laid off his job, but we had the skill set to survive and not lose any money during the process. For the 49 days it lasted we had vacation/severance pay, extra food, cash and really cut expenses. It really reaffirmed the path we're on. We didn't take a vacation we had hoped for but squeezed in a couple of day trips.  I decided after blogging for many years to start bringing in some income from it. I became an Amazon affiliate. I've been invited recently by a local large public library In Meridian to do a class on blogging in January, so that will be fun! I hope to teach some urban homesteading classes next spring/summer, time will tell. There's a few things in the fire then. And now.... here's a little review of this last year!

We started the year with SNOW, SNOW and more SNOW, Boise's Snowmageddon-

And it did!

Walk to the coop

 Dave shoveling the front drive, again

Near record breaking snowfall hit Boise and the surrounding areas hard. Bitter cold and slippery conditions. Challenges but we survived and thankful we both had short commutes to work. I fell in a parking lot at work, luckily no major injuries. It was so pretty, but a lot of maintenance issues in the valley. This year Dave is driving much further, so am hoping for a calmer winter. We already have some snow this month of December, with a white Christmas!

Christmas Day 2017

We had another new addition to the family in Dec. 2016, Oliver-

He joined River, his cousin, and became our second Grandchild. We called him the "winter wizard" since it started snowing when Angela went into labor, and kept going. We've spent a lot of time with him babysitting every other Saturday for a half day, while Mom and Dad worked. We're happy it's now going to a few hours every other Sunday. He's just starting to walk, what fun!

River and Oliver having some summer fun

I had fun doing some thrift store shopping for them-

I discovered Hygge, which fit in with my fondness for Scandinavian culture-

We had pretty great food production this year, except for the tomatoes. With our cold, wet spring many of the nurseries had poor supplies of starts.  We had a good harvest of peppers, beans, herbs, kale, collard greens, apples, peaches and pears. Every year is different, I have learned that! We had a GREAT harvest of apples, peaches and pears-

 Peaches that I froze and canned

Peach jams

Great apple harvest after the previous poor year, canned slices and applesauce

It was a great feeling filling up the canning rack and the freezer

Hens free ranging

Chillin' in the heat in the shade

Summer veggie garden

Pumpkins and beans

Took a day trip to McCall in the summer

 Anniversary trip to McCall in the winter this time

Sweetie pie Anya on her favorite blankie, again

On her favorite chair, again

And in the basin

Dec 25, 2017

A White Christmas and More, Tapas Plate Dinner at Home, Ham & Cranberry Torte

A White Christmas and More-
More snow last night!  

Dave's family bell, may have come from Italy from a family member


Italian grapes I bought for Dave years ago

From a parent I worked with at school years ago
My thrifted "chicken tree"

Rhode Island Red

Barred Rock

Mr. Rooster keeping an eye on his flock :)

Our little house, so cheery coming home at night 

Christmas morning with 3" more inches

Tapas Plate Dinner at Home, Ham & Cranberry Torte-
I haven't made this for a while so decided it would be fun for dinner. The basic recipe is for a plate of meats, cheese, olives and the FABULOUS Tapas Plate Marinated Chickpeas. Just slice, heat up the bread and it's dinner, or lunch. This salad is so good I always triple the recipe, since it keep well for a week or more. Good for a snack or a rerun of the Tapas diner. Simple ingredients. I even found some parsley under the snow!

I decided to try a different method for a baked ham for last night- you start at 550 degrees for 20 minutes ONLY, then turn down the over to 325 degrees for 2 hours. You get a crispy, smoky skin! I used the recipe I found- 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp dry mustard, pepper, mix. Rub onto ham, then preheat. Wonderful! I made butter egg noodles, ham with a sweet mustard, sauteed spinach, served with Lingonberries. A nod to the Swedes:) And the dessert. It was a nice quiet dinner with just the two of us for a change.

For Christmas Eve dessert I made this Cranberry Cornmeal Torte-

No margarine! Use butter and you don't need the whipped cream. Slight crunch to the crust with the cornmeal, keeps well. I'm making a second one today for our family Christmas dinner. I always use more cranberries than they advise, why not?

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