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...

Apr 30, 2017

Spring Planting and Clean Up

Spring Planting/Clean Up-
We have been cleaning out flower beds in front of our house this last week. We need to bark dust a few areas, since we had a rough winter. We lost a few small plants and will fill in those spots. Dave threw some weeding piles into the garden today for the hens. They had a blast all afternoon, digging thru everything. Weeds to us, food to them! Their egg production has picked up with the longer days, which is great. I had to look up Lemon balm to see if it was non-toxic and it is. Here's a little list I found, it has some good ideas- 5 Herbs Your Chickens Will Love  We have weather coming the end of this week in the mid-80's, crazy! It's May all right, almost early summer! I wanted to plant today, but Dave was gone and I was backlogged with inside projects. I found some collard greens and curly kale yesterday, perfect time to go into the cold frame. They grow great in mostly shade with the heat- 

I will cover with white garden row covers, so the birds won't eat them for a while. I'll be starting some pepper seeds this week. Looking forward to some old non-GMO varieties! Melrose and Red Marconi peppers. 

Yesterday at Ross I was thrilled to find the exact concrete bird ($3.00 at Ross) I 'killed' this last winter by not storing inside. What are the odds? I think I found the 1st one at a thrift store-

new bird

My old one after a cold, rough winter

Time to plant, how exciting!!!

Apr 23, 2017

DIY Shelf With Hooks Reveal, We Lost A Tree, Carpeting Cleaning Choices? Garage Cleanup

DIY Shelf With Hooks Reveal-
I was going to finish our DIY Shelf With Hooks project in the last 2 weeks. I couldn't spray paint outside due to weather. It was 70 yesterday, with gusting winds to 45 mph. No outside spraying, so I switched to indoors. I have sprayed inside our garage with the side door and garage door open a bit. Warm and good ventilation. I spray on the bottom of an upside down laundry basket. Works great!

1st coat

I knew it would take several coats to really seal the wood since it was new wood. Going into a high traffic area I also wanted it to be durable! I did 2 coats and let sit overnight to cure. I did one more early today, after a light sanding, now it's all done! Thanks Dave!

Sumac on the left last week
We Lost A Tree-
After my husband's beloved Mother Bette passed away he planted to tree in honor of her. He wanted to plant a Sumac tree, since she'd had one. It's been here 11 years and has been healthy. What I didn't know was that they tend to lean. In a high wind area that might not have been the best choice. I wasn't aware of this. Today we had another high wind blowing thru and Dave found the tree on the ground when he went out to mow. There was no way to salvage it. He went ahead and was able to cut a major root with his sawz all and remove the tree-

Major trunk on the ground

The rest of the tree is in pieces in our garbage can. Sad. I'm trying to think of what to plant now that's a not a big tree? Maybe a large shrub, like a vine Maple. I am doing do some research now on what might be a smaller tree to plant. Maybe a small Oak tree? I could use this 5 Ways To Eat Acorns if I do! I also like the American Mountain Ash tree, very pretty-

Carpeting Cleaning Choices?
We had new carpeting installed in our 3 bedrooms about 7 years ago. While we wanted to do hardwood thru the entire house we couldn't afford it. We tore up all the old the household carpeting ourselves, and had the the bedrooms re-carpeted. We did a nice sage green. The living room and halls Dave and I re-floored with a nice Costco wood-look laminate. It still looks pretty good! We had our carpet shampooed about 18 months ago by a company that did a damp clean with soap, pads, and was a coupon deal. Looked good, at first. Later dirty track marks showed from the left over soapy reside :( Needing to be more deep cleaned this time I went online and checked Consumer Reports. You can join online for $5.00 per month, a great deal for a quick research project! I quickly rules out a rented machine, to much soap and wettness. For a deep cleaning we decided to go with Stanley Steamer after looking at CS. I like the no-chemical route, and it sucks up the leftover soap. Having asthma and allergies, removing dust mites, etc. is awesome!

I also had them do our 4-year old area rug in the living room (from Ross), now it looks like new. It is rubber backed, but was too big for a commercial laundry mat. $ well spent,after 4 years of spot cleaning. We did the 3 bedrooms for $99.00 and $35.00 for the area rug (Boise prices). I could have used a $20.00 off coupon but I accidentally deleted the email. We're good for a few years now.  

Super clean!


Garage Cleanup-
Last weekend Dave and I both took a vacation day for a 3 day weekend. I started a new job inside my hospital organization (excellent transfer!) and we wanted to wrap some things up. On the top of the list was cleaning the garage area below-

Before, what a mess!

Too many garden things (destined for a new shed this fall) and misc stuff stored. It was organized at one point. We started sorting first, using sawhorses for the small things-

We had- trash, donations, small amount of hazardous waste for the local pickup area, a bike "trunk bag" selling on Craigslist, and the rest to keep. We decided to build a new shed this fall. We'll use as much recycled materials as possible (as usual). We tore down the old one, as it was too small and narrow. The garden items will live out there.  In the "after" picture you can see the empty shelves! We also cleaned a smaller area where we store our paints for the house. I pitched a few things and organized the rest. We now have some empty space! 

Apr 15, 2017

Snow??? Garden Fundraiser Jewelry, Repair Cafes, The Creepy Side of Technology

I always think of April as being one of the most unstable months weather-wise. We have gone from 70 this week to snowing yesterday! It was cold, snowing and blowing. I ran an errand with my parka on in the morning about 9:30. Before I headed home I stopped and got some Starbuck's to take home. Snow was blowing in the car! By 2:00 p.m. the sun was out, with gorgeous blue skies. Today was chilly but sunny, 65 forecast for tomorrow. Crazy! At least everything is green and gorgeous!

Yesterday about 11:00 a.m.

Garden Fundraiser Jewelry-
I was checking out Mary's Heirloom Seeds for some pepper seeds and saw this Garden Fundraiser I was curious and read a bit more. I TOTALLY support having school gardens. They're a great way for kids to learn about gardening, where food comes from and more. Info here Why Are We Fundraising?  I ordered the Ladybug necklace above ($12.00) and it is so cute! Great piece, good cause, check it out!

Repair Cafes-
I had heard of these before, but didn't remember what they were called. I saw this on the national news a few nights ago, what a great piece!!!

There's lots of great ideas out there and here's a few websites- and

The Creepy Side of Technology-
This can be filed under the "creepy side of Technology". Hubby and I were having dinner out last night in a small little diner and there was a really pretty young woman standing over by the window waiting for her to-go order. She was really busy texting while she was waiting and I noticed a nice looking man across the restaurant from her also texting. They were only about 15 feet apart since the place is very narrow. I noticed at one point he appeared to have taken a surreptitious cellphone photo of her. He barely tilted his text phone to snap a photo and he did this two more times, with him texting right afterwards. At that point it was apparent to me he was taking her photo without her knowledge. I decided to quietly go over to her and let her know what was happening and her response was "that's very creepy", I agreed. I suggested that she move over to a different part of the restaurant. I didn't make eye contact with him and she totally ignored him. She left very quickly when she got her order. It was a really good reminder that you need to pay attention to your surroundings when you are out and about. The funny thing about it was the man who was taking the photos was pretty oblivious to the fact that someone else might be watching HIM, ha! While it's not against the law to take photos of someone out in public it certainly makes you wonder what he was going to DO with the photos? Post them online with some gross, disgusting comments, or?

Apr 9, 2017

DIY Shelf with Hooks Progress, Homemade Beignets, Slow Decorating, Simple Tin Planter

DIY Shelf with Hooks Progress-
Dave spent some time last weekend building our new DIY shelf with hooks! He loved his new battery-powered nail gun, perfect for these kinds of projects. The unit has been sanded and puttied. Dave added the holes before painting. He also hid the screws for the wall under the hook brackets. Clever idea! If there's a small mistake you can fill the holes if you do it before painting. I've never liked painting then drilling anyway. I like to paint, then be done.  He used a 1" x 6" and a 1" x 8" poplar board, and crown molding. Unlike the design that inspired me we didn't add the 1/2 round on the top shelf on the front edge-

My inspiration

We did the width to match our mirror hanging above it (last weeks post). I chose three matte nickle heavy duty coat/hat hooks. I found Liberty brand at Home Depot, the "value pack" was $8.99 for three. I bought a fresh can of Rustomleum white satin spray paint. I'm shooting for painting outside next weekend, too cold today (low 50's). Dave thinks the whole project was about $25.00 using all new wood. It will be a good use of our space.

Outside work area last weekend, with thrifted table saw

Close up of hooks

Side view

My next request is for Dave was to build these floating shelves into our main back hall corner, another good use of space- 

DIY directions from

And spring has certainly sprung!


The fruit trees are loaded with blossoms, hoping for some great canning and eating this year!

Homemade Beignets-
I finally got around to making some Cafe Du Monde mix Beignets last weekend. The dough is super sticky-

It was hard to get the squares into the hot oil in a square. They were very light and fluffy, great texture!!! Next time I will put them on wax paper before transferring to the hot oil. I also read you can just do them as balls. Tasty either way!

Mix from Cost Plus

Slow Decorating-
I stumbled on a few posts about slow decorating the other day-  and  I got the basic premise, buy/make things slowly that you love. Take your time, be thoughtful. I've always been a big proponent of negative space as well. Give your eyes something empty to rest on. I appreciate this more as I'm older. When I see a post of a room filled with every square inch of too much stuff it gives me claustrophobia!  Anyway interesting trend and a good one I think. My shelf above is a good example, things collected slowly over time.

Simple Tin Planter-
I've always loved Katie Brown's shows! She's been on PBS and network channels as well over the years. I stumbled on her episode last night with this project-  Perfect timing, right before planting season. Personally I would skip the tacks and use construction adhesive, liquid nails, etc., but that's me. They will rust over time and look very rustic, great idea!

Apr 1, 2017

Flooding-Rain-Flooding, DIY Wall Shelf with Hooks


After near record snows this winter, flooding came along. The local rivers has been rising steadily the last month. Thursday we had nearly 2" of rain in one day!!! It was mixed with snow, about 36 degrees. I had to get out my parka (and umbrella) for my work commute. That's a lot of water, which had to go somewhere. The Boise River is the main river in town. It is running at a near record high. We are fine in the part town we're in, but others aren't so lucky. Home owners near the river are shoring up their banks and the City/County is keeping a good eye on things. Salmon at a local hatchery had to be re-located as their facility may flood-

 I've seen lots of temporary "ponds" across town full of ducks and geese. Atleast they're enjoying it! The sun came out yesterday, around 55 and gorgeous clear blue skies. And new snow in the foothills. Today is partly cloudy and about 55, still cool. I'm very grateful that this hasn't really affected us. I watch the river rise daily as I drive to and from work. The irrigation ditches here are opening soon, so that should help the water level. Everything is certainly green, and tree/shrubs are budding. We just need things to dry out. Luckily it supposed to be pushing 70 degrees next week, but that may cause more flooding, sigh...

DIY Wall Shelf with Hooks-
Our front entryway is a high traffic area. A few years back I added a set of country wood hooks (thrifted) and a small shelf (also thrifted) under my favorite Pier One mirror-

I wanted something to hang my purse, winter work tote bag, hats and other things on. The shelf is for something seasonal-

It has worked pretty well. Now the hooks are sagging, shelf is getting loose and we need up upgrade. Dave has his new/used table saw, and is buying a mini-nail gun. I looked a lot for something online we could build and found this- (see photo at top). I loved the nice molding and silver nickel hooks. Dave will build it about the same width as the mirror. It will be sturdier and pretty simple. I will go for white paint as well. Looking forward to getting it completed soon! Dave is out shopping for lumber. It won't cost much, but we decided to go with new wood. I may turn the hooks into a herb drying rack somewhere, we'll see...  Stay tuned!!! See part 2 here- DIY Shelf Progress, then finished item here DIY Wall Shelf

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