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...

Jul 31, 2017

What Can You Do???

What Can You Do???
Leigh had a great post here that got me thinking  Take a read! My response was this-

I think this is where you need to not be a "sheeple" and think outside the box. We have planted 3 fruit trees and I have a great harvest coming on this year. I'll be canning and freezing veggies too. We have 3 hens for eggs. While we live on a city lot we do what we can. We barter, trade, get creative. Most of my nice clothes for work are thrifted. I buy chocolate with the difference :) I also have 2 five gallon buckets of freeze dried fruits and veggies stashed, as well as a pantry. We have salvaged wood set aside for misc. building projects we scavenged from family, headed for the trash! All kinds of free things are out there as well. We were just offered a free family portrait from my hubby's friend after he fixed a home problem for him. It pays to think ahead and be observant. What kind of opportunities can you notice???

That post got me thinking more... This may not be popular, but I've never been a fan of whiners or victims. I've have survived and moved past some really awful things. Much of it was basically thru self improvement, insight and forgiveness. My childhood was something I survived and moved past. Basically it was very dysfunctional, with addiction issues, and my only sibling passed away when I was 13. I started studying philosophy probably looking for some kind of compass when I was 14. That helped me tremendously. I studied all the world religions and more. I reached a point where I chose to not be a victim of my childhood anymore. That took years. And years. There reaches a point where I think YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE TO CREATE YOUR LIFE. Whatever that is. And get on with it. It may not be easy, but the rewards are there. 20 years ago I didn't know how to- roof a house, sell a house, buy a house, build things, set up a rain barrel, clean chimneys, grow food I could store, can, dehydrate, make jams, start a pantry, make salves, grow medicinal herbs, keep chickens, blog, be a librarian, be a grandparent, I could go on. It's a process and you have to start somewhere. People who survived the Depression did so not because they didn't have anything better to do, but because they HAD to. They CHOSE to. Many threw themselves off buildings, the rest got creative and rolled up their sleeves. If you had no income tomorrow what would you do? If you lost your car/s, your house? What can you learn, how could you get creative???  So back to the title of this post....... what can you do???

Jul 30, 2017

Two Free Chalk Paint Re-Dos, Kickin' Collard Greens & Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts, Hornet's Nest, Why I Love Costco (Mostly)

Two Chalk Paint  Re-Dos-
It has been HOT here! 100+ temps most days. We've been watering, weeding and just starting to harvest summer veggies! I asked Dave to trim our pear and peach tree this morning. It was that or have the branches snap off under the weight of the fruit. It was the best way to go with the space we had. Peaches are turning color, still hard, maybe 2 weeks or? I will try and take at least one day off work to process. We didn't want the each tree pushing up on the roof. Dave spotted out first tomatoes , Lemon Boy, Friday night. Just in time for dinner. We  were eating it still warm from the garden. Now that's organic! We just drizzled with some balsamic glaze ($3.00 at Trader Joe's!) and some roman cheese.

Our first Italian pepper!

yes, it is!

Green beans are about ready, more tomatoes coming, some hot peppers, and herbs doing great too. The hen's egg production is way down, not a surprising with the heat. Here they are waiting in line for some treats, they love rolled oats! I give them cool treats in the heat, love cuke chunks as well!

Gwynne on the left, Rosie in the middle, Ellie on the right

So... it's project time! I have put this off for three weeks, so today was the day! I bought this little thrifted mirror over a year ago when I was supposed to move into a large cubicle at work. We never moved. It was pretty gaudy silver/fake bamboo frame, but nice mirror- 

Cubicle move didn't happen, so I stashed it and recently thought chalk paint! I had some white leftover Reclaim Beyond Paint that I did a test/review on, and my old table came out great-

I also wanted to re-paint my little wood tote for papers on my desk. It was already spray painted off white, just wanted a minor refresh.

Before off white wood tote

 I also wanted to use a printed sheep graphic that I already had, free, from this website-

After 1st coat chalk paint

Printed design applied with 1st coat Modge Podge

All done!

Mirror taped off, ready to paint

1st coat

All done! I may move to another location...


All in all time well spent, and I find these small projects pretty relaxing! :)

Kickin' Collard Greens & Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts- 
Our collard greens are doing great! They love the heat and part shade of the raised bed. I didn't grow any last year, seeds never took. My last cooked batch (from 2 summer ago) was a bit bland so I found and tried this recipe Kickin'CollardGreens.  It was awesome! I think the chicken broth, garlic and red pepper flakes really helped-

Collard greens cooking

I was looking at the bacon that was still sitting out from the collards. I was going to cook chicken breasts for dinner that night. I thought bacon, chicken? Hmmm. I found recipe and I already had honey mustard dressing on hand. recipe here- Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts The thick sliced smoky bacon really made it!

Ready to go in the oven

Hornet's Nest-
Last week our neighbor's grandchild, on a second story deck, asked Dave what the ball was growing in our tree? With the bugs going in and out? And it's getting bigger every day? Dave looked up to find a BASKETBALL sized hornet's nest, right above our desk. Oh s**t. He showed me when I got home and we both decided for safety reasons to call an exterminator. The Internet said you can leave them, but it was right over our deck and we could have all gotten stung multiple times. Since I was at work, I had asked Dave ahead of time to ask the exterminator not to douse our back year with poison. Since they do spray the nest, killing them, I didn't want any contamination if possible. He nicely covered our herb box with a dome contraption. he sprayed onto the roof, which contained things more. After seeing some couch sized nests online (I kid you not!) he said it was small. He nuked it and Dave removed it off the roof a while later. The bug guy said they wouldn't come back. $95.00 later all gone. sigh of relief. If the high winds had knocked it down it would have been a nightmare!

Why I Love Costco (Mostly)-
You know how sometimes you run of of certain things all at once? For me it was- shampoo, face wash, body wash (no more soap scum!), antihistamines (terrible allergy season), cat litter, and TP. Add a few other odd things, we decided it was time for Costco. I usually buy face wash and shampoo at a local drug/grocery store. We ditched bar soap after reading how it is the cause of soap scum in showers/tubs. Last winter when I had terribly dry skin I spotted two huge bottles of naturally moisturizing Kirkland Citrus Body wash for $10.00, SOLD!  Here's a little tidbit about why it's much more "natural" than other brands as well!  Great stuff, very mild, not too scented for me. I also found a BIG two pack of Cetaphil skin cleaner with a bonus travel size too. Again a great steal, $20.00. One for the shower, one for my little bathroom. That will probably last me thru the end of the year or more. Kirkland Allegra generic was $33.00, for 180 tablets. I have been paying $15.00 for 20 tablets I think. Do the math. Costco is .18 cents per pill, pharmacy was .75 cents. That a about a 75% savings. I probably won't use it up this year, since I'm only taking it while the pollen count is so high. I got a monster sized chunk of Asiago cheese, $7.00. The rest I won't bore you with. On the MOSTLY comment- not everything in Costco is a good deal. One shampoo was about the same size that I usually I get, same price. Some foods there are not a great deal. Steer clear of the junk food too. Way to easy to eat too much since it's so CHEAP. I looked at their luscious peach pie, $15.00! Separate from the fact my peaches are almost ripe (2 weeks?) $15.00 for a pie? Really??? I mean it's good sized, but.... I did get 2 big loafs of their rustic french bread for $6.00 fresh out of the oven-

So, in general buyer beware, crunch some #'s, do the math and shop wisely! And skip the samples, your waist will thank us!

Jul 23, 2017

Homemade Spicy Barbecue Sauce, Semi-Homemade Fresh Raspberry Cake

Homemade Spicy Barbecue Sauce-
I bought some nice big boneless country-style (my fave!) pork ribs today. I got home and realized I didn't have any leftover store bought barbecue sauce. I LOVE Bulls Eye sauce, sweet but spicy. So I decided to make some sauce. I combined a few different versions I have made before and this is the basic recipe, tweak as you like. Some add onions, jalapenos, cayenne pepper, etc. I made a double recipe of this today-

1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons dark molasses
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1/2 Tsp liquid smoke- hickory
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce (or more if you like hotter)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon granulated garlic

Came out great!

Semi Homemade Fresh Raspberry Cake-
We bought some really nice raspberries yesterday. Being overloaded time-wise, and tired, I made up this! I bought a yellow/butter cake mix. Add your own butter, eggs, water, easy. Into the batter I put 1/2 cup fresh raspberries. I lightly crushed them with the whisk. Baked, frosted and added a few berries. Very moist and really has the berry flavor!

You can seen the raspberries!

Jul 16, 2017

Mountain Road Trip & Vintage Store, Garden Food Production Progress

Mountain Road Trip & Vintage Store-
Dave and I needed a break so we took a day road trip to McCall. We had breakfast and headed up into the mountains. Nice and cool and it was a beautiful drive up, still green! The town of McCall itself is at about 5,000 feet, so you drive up gradually-

Open land 

When we got to McCall we had lunch at the McCall Brewing Company, one of our favorite dining spot. Great food and tons of original brews- 

Dave had a brew, not being a beer fan I had iced tea. After lunch we hit a animal shelter thrift store, I bought some baby clothes, and loved this chair- 

Didn't buy it, but cute!

Next we took a side road, that became a dirt round on the backside of  Payette Lake. It was very quiet, and we saw several deer by the road. Huge stones areas by the road, granite?

Washboard in spots

A storm blew in after we arrived, 79 degrees, later the wind came up, little bit of rain

Getting more stormy by the public park and marina

Storm clouds

Water got pretty dark and choppy!

We always stop at Stacy's Cakes, an incredible bakery there. I had a Lemon Curd tart-


After leaving McCall we hit a small antiques store on the road back, pretty amazing stuff! Didn't buy, but it was fun looking round! I REALLY wanted a butter churn below!!! 

Gorgeous bed, with a brass bed behind it!

Cute railroad items

Italian Nardello Peppers, will turn red soon!

Garden Food Production Progress-
Things are going well in the garden, even with triple digit heat! Lots of watering, the soaker hoses and mulch really help. Lots of hand watering too. Basil and other herbs are doing well, tones of Kale and collard greens too. The Pippin apple, Bartlett pear and Peach tree are loaded. I may have to take some time off work for canning yummy goodies. Looking forward to re-filling my jars and making jams again.  My pantry rack is looking empty and lonely. We didn't have much fruit last year. I didn't get shots of the hot peppers or other tomato bed, sorry. Here's a peak at things! 

A volunteer tomato in the beans, unknown variety 

A second volunteer, a squash? It's very healthy!!! A corn next to it as well!

Large volunteer sunflower, happy since my planted sunflower row all failed :(

Bean row doing well all in all a few weeds but they help keep the soil cool

Row of tomatos, growing fast and loaded!

Lemon cukes on the left, then tomatoes, then 2 Italian Marconi Peppers

We are getting more berries and I'm starting to freeze to stockpile enough to make a pie, jams, etc.-

Blackberries, Marionberries and Raspberries

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