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...

May 28, 2017

Veggie Planting Time/Big Box Stores Go Heirloom, Thrifting Scores!

Veggie Planting Time/Big Box Stores Go Heirloom-
Friday night we went to a small, local nursery to start buying garden veggies. I decided to call them since I had never started the sweet Italian Melrose/Marconi pepper seeds. I thought they might possibly have some. It turned out they had some Giant Marconi in stock, so I bought a couple! I will save my seeds for next year-

I also found some heirloom sweet Italian Nardello peppers, so bought a couple of those-

From Google

I bought 2 heirloom hot peppers, a variety called Bulgarian Carrot. I wanted something fruity but not as hot as a Habanero, and the nursery recommended these-

Photo Source Google, talk about carrot colored! 

I was thrilled to receive two $20.00 gifts cards from my two kiddos for Mom's Day, since they know I LOVE to garden. The $40.00 paid for most of our veggie and herb plants today. Sadly our last soaker hose bit the dust so we had to buy a new one. It's a good investment since we had a better harvest with less water use. Today at Home Depot I found the same Giant Marconi Pepper that I found at the local (expensive) nursery. Much bigger plants so I bought one. It's great to see Home Depot, etc. carrying more heirloom varieties. I guess they figured they were losing business not carrying them? Or maybe it's customer requests? While they still sell a lot of GMO varieties, at least they're offering more non-GMO. It's about time! I bought mostly heirloom tomatoes today- Lemon Boy, yellow cherry tomatoes, Mr. Stripey and some medium Jet Star low acid ones. We also bought a jalapeno, and we planted organic Blue Lake beans in our bean row. Busy day, but we got everything planted. Next year I am hoping to set up our mini greenhouse indoors with lights, since the springs have been so crazy weather-wise.
New pepper area

More peppers! 

Lemon cukes and more peppers

Late day row of tomatoes and Marion berry blossoms

More berries!

The chickens had a nice free range time this afternoon. The neighbors behind us now have 3 ducks. Hopefully they know what they're doing. It was pretty funny when I noticed the ducks were peaking thru their enclosure on the other side of our fence- 

See the eye?  :)

At the end of a big gardening day what did we have for dinner? My roast beef from the freezer with veggies, in the crock pot and amzing. With red wine too! Super tender but not mushy-

Anya checking out the great buy!

Thrifting Scores!
Yesterday I stopped by a thrift store while I was running errands. I found 2 matching, folding kids patio chairs, only $3.00 each! Great for the growing grand children. I also found a watermelon slice $1.99 for summer decor-

$1.00 faux flowers for a project 

A .99 cent whiteboard with magnets to add to a "busy board" for grand kids-

A $4.00 magazine rack I will use for storing Grand kids books, I may paint, haven't decided yet-

A  $3.00 tall, galvanized 4th of July candle holder at Target-

I also went to the Eddie Bauer Outlet with a $10.00 loyalty card. I found an $85.00 pair of dress work slacks marked down to $14.99, with my $10.00, a mere $5.00!!! Well made and gorgeous. Happy day to score!!!

May 21, 2017

Belated Mother's Day Fun, Great Deals, Gardening Projects & Prep

Grandpa with Oliver left, River right

Belated Mother's Day Fun-
We had a belated Mother's day potluck here at our house yesterday. Everyone's schedule was weird last weekend so we simplified. With two daughters with new families this year it was fun!  River will be one in a week, how time flies! I made a ham with this rub, simple and tasty, and everyone loved it! I used a real grainy mustard. Lots of leftover ham for this week. Tonite I made Oven Roasted Asparagus With Parmesan Cheese to go with it. Yummy!  I also bought a wonderful pineapple upside down cake from a local bakery and supplied beverages. Kids brought veggies and fruit side dishes. Perfect combo! I received a decorative tote full of Earth-friendly laundry products, and 2 big box store gift cards, designated for plants. I will buy our new things to plant later this week...


Great Deals-
First I got a great deal on a ham, 1/2 off for $10.00. I found this pretty, summer dress blouse for work at Ross for $10.00. It had some really gaudy gold buttons that I replaced with white. Free since I always have extra buttons! Much better. I found two thick cotton 6-packs of kitchen wash cloths for $3.00 each also at Ross. Mine were toast, and you can never have too many-

My favorite kitchen cloths are Ikea's spongy wash cloths, but I don't know when we will be there again I bought these. I looked everywhere for cotton ankle socks and finally found a 3 pack at the grocery store of all places!

Gardening Projects-
I have my seeds ready to go now that the weather has stabilized. It was 75 today, and going into the 80's mid week. More mild temps after that. Some, like the peppers will go into pots. The rest in various areas of the yard. I had never heard of the Purple Gleam poppies, pretty! I'm looking forward to trying the 2 varieties of sweet Italian peppers! We were going to try and plant our veggie starts this weekend, but it was too busy. I will spend my gift cards and use that to buy most of our veggies for this coming 3 day weekend. We decided it made more sense to have 3 days to tackle that. Tomatoes, cukes, squashes, peppers, etc. Dave spent almost the entire day today at our daughter's house. They spread bark dust, added a soaker hose, shrubs and flowers in a formerly dead parking strip. It's pretty now and will add some shade and pollinators. With the 2 girls being new homeowners (and having babies) we offered our help to get their gardens going. It's a lot of work! Our perennials here are doing great-

So green!

Our re-bark dusted area, weeded and cleaned up, lots of Chokecherries and Serviceberries this year!

May 16, 2017

More Crazy Weather and Growing Seasons

More Crazy Weather and Growing Seasons-
It's 46 degrees, thunder, lightning, hail and pouring rain. Snow is forecast in the surrounding areas. WHAT MONTH IS THIS??? 

Hail on the deck, some interesting "orbs" showed up

After our historic heavy snows, we were all looking forward to a nice warm batch of weather. It's just been a roller coaster. Last year this time I had my herbs and flowers bought and was planting-  

The last 2 years we had most of our warm weather veggies in the ground in May/early June. I'm glad I have held off. I'm wondering what our growing seasons are doing, with wild weather swings and monster severe weather? We used to have frost in Oct., then it was early Nov. This last winter we had record snow and now a very unstable spring. I'm just wondering what the rest of this year holds? We've been doing various projects in the gardens, but no summer veggies yet. The weather is supposed to warm up this weekend and for next week. The 70's will be great for getting some things in the ground. I just hope it holds up! 

May 14, 2017

More Hot/Cold Weather, Mother Hens Feel Their Chicks Pain, DIY Rows Cover & Low Tunnels, Fresh Chili Rellenos Casserole

Local Robins

More Hot/Cold Weather-
Another wacky weather week here in Boise leaves me feeling depressed and losing motivation to do much of anything outside :(  It was in the mid 80's mid week, then dropped to a HIGH of 55 Friday with rain. It was 37 degrees yesterday morning!!! Cold and windy yesterday, but Dave got a ton of yard work done. He finished bark dusting last week in the front. Looks great! We have another cooler week with some rain, then 70's for next weekend. Dave did a few things today after a visit from our daughter. Her hubby worked today so she brought baby Oliver for some Grandparent's time. I just feel like my get up and go, got up and went. I have a major case of the blahs~~~~~ I think some of it is not having all the kids together today, for Mom's Day. I was just pretty bored, a little sad. Next year I am going to a movie or SOMETHING! Since my 2 girls have their own families now things are getting spread out more with various holidays. We will do a belated Mom's Day potluck dinner next Sat. to get together. That will be nice. I still have the blahs. I am hoping the dark chocolate brownies I just pulled out of the oven will help! :)

Mother Hens Feel Their Chicks Pain-
I read this fascinating study- Mother Hens Feel Their Chicks Pain, really interesting! It explains a lot of their protective gestures towards their chicks and potential threats.

Google image, origin unknown

DIY Row Covers and Low Tunnels-
I was thinking I'd do some research on what we could do next year to jump start the garden early. I liked the ideas above and below to build a removable, rigid row cover, and put over your existing garden beds- 

Hinged lids would open, but storing off-season would be an issue for us. I stumbled on this blog post, pretty interesting ideas- 10 Reasons Low Tunnels Are Better Than Cold Frames

Fresh Chili Rellenos Casserole-
A few days ago I found a great deal on fresh Anaheim peppers. I bought 2 packs for $3.00 total-

I did a search for a recipe, similar to my own, and used this- Fresh Chili Rellenos Casserole I microwaved mine for 3 minutes instead of boiling. Next time would do 5 or so. I used Jack cheese, spicy Jack and Feta. Yummy! Served with a little salsa and chips. I used a few more peppers, our own eggs and flour to the recipe and baedk in a 8" x 10" pan, it worked great. Stores well after cooking. I might add onions and diced celery next time.

May 7, 2017

A Little Summer & Landscaping in Progress

A Little Summer & Landscaping in Progress-
We had a little summer this week, with Wed./Thurs. in the mid-80's. Friday a cold front moved in with rain, and it was 45 yesterday morning. Yesterday was gray, cold, windy, with no sun. Good time for yard work! Dave has pulled a ton of weeds, invasive grasses, and thinned some areas the last 2 weeks. I helped Dave move a couple of perennials yesterday to a new location. Today we bought some fill-in plants. One replaced a dying little spruce, another filled the space from the nectarine tree we had to take out, with a nice Cat mint plant. I chose all pollinators for our front sidewalk strip-

Purple Rock Candy Penstemon

Firefly Coral Bells Heuchera

LOVE the color!

 Red Twig Dogwood

We wanted something zero maintenance for the center of our front yard, except watering. While it's not a pollinator it will look great! They look awesome in the winter with their exposed red branches.
Next weekend we will lay some weed barrier and barkdust a couple areas. Keeps the moisture in and weeding way down.

Our Rhubarb we moved last spring looks much better this year, turning colors!

The stalks starting to get some color!

Craving some rhubarb I bought a 4-pack of strawberry rhubarb mini pies at Costco yesterday, yummy! 

Baby peaches

While taking a photo of our peach tree I noticed some leaf curl, not good. I found this remedy, but may need to spray some Copper this fall- Dealing With Peach Leaf Curl Naturally  I need to do more research. If you have dealt with this, please post a comment with what worked? Thanks!!!

Lots of vinca blooming too!

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