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...

Sep 30, 2017

Rainy Saturday, Independence Days, Grandtoddler River

Rainy Saturday-
We woke up to a slightly damp yard, but the sun was out by noon. The forecast had been for quite a bit of rain. Happy they were wrong! Cool, breezy and perfect fall weather. Jeans and flannel shirt weather! A little heat on in the morning, nice by evening. I put the comforter on the bed, switched out some work clothes. When I retire my wardrobe will be much smaller! Shorts and tee shirts for summer, flannel/fleece tops and jeans for winter. I'm a low maintenance gal by choice. Trees are starting to change color-

Deck flowers are blooming more with the cooler weather!

Anya always remembers the heating vents are , when it cools down-

Independence Days-
Here's a recent list of things we've done recently...

1. Plant Something- My two small lavenders, now that the heat subsided. We don't do "fall planting" here basically, the weather's too erratic. Yesterday was 78, today 63, dropped 20 degrees in two days.

2. Harvest Something- Several kinds of peppers, tomatoes ditto, except most of the red ones, still green. Eggs, herbs.

3. Preserve/Store Something- Froze sale artisan breads ($1.99! each), frozen lunches, salami, pesto.

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep- I went to the Grocery Outlet on my way home from work and got some really great deals again. Italian bread, dry salami, frozen organic lunches, hair conditioner, protein sticks, Danish Jam, 2 HUGE acorn squash (.50 each), I had to get this little guy cause he was just too cute, $1.50, and solid wood- 

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe- I received my cookbook from the Library, with tons of great recipes. Here's a few I want to try, many including Kefir-

Kinds of like pancakes but very different

Fried flat breads with Feta

Fermented tomatoes! Who knew???

I had a $10.00 free coupon from Cost Plus and bought two of these to try-

They're lean pork, smoked over actual wood, brine-packed, and shelf stable. It's the Meica Frankfurter , and more info here- I want to try with some kraut for a quick meal. I like the fact they're smoked over wood and not just smoke flavored. 

6. Build Community Food Systems- I got several pounds of dead ripe tomatoes from a patient at our clinic. May not be organic, but delish! Especially since mine aren't ripening too well. I may have to ripen mine indoors depending on the upcoming weather. I made a nice batch of fresh salsa! I also used some with several home grown peppers, Italian bread, salami and a little cheese-


7. Recycle/Re-Use- I cleaned up our old camping wash basin (now vintage!) that we bought years ago at a yard sale. It had been stored in the garage and I realized it would be perfect for seasonal items on our coffee table. It's funny how you buy someone's old basin for camping, years later it's "shabby chic" decor!

Faux squash/pumpkins from Hobby Lobby, $2.00, Home Depot burlap pumpkin, 
left over school paper leaves

8. Skill Up- Learning about Eastern European cooking. I watched Part one and two of How To Stay Young  on PBS. I think it's on YouTube too. REALLY fascinating stuff!!! Very useful information. 

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something- Brought in some peppers that are supposed to redden (Italian) to ripen indoors. Too chilly right now. Leaving the rest on the vine to observe. Re-tailored some slacks that had stretched out, just took in the waist. They fit now!

Grand Toddler River-
We had the pleasure of having River here for a while today. We don't see him as much as we used to for job change reasons. We're doing an over-nighter next week, while his parents take the night off for their anniversary. He's a great eater, is walking and very good at entertaining himself. He loves everybody and has always been a very loving child. He had a snack, a home baked blueberry muffin, but was a bit tired. He soon took a nice nap then woke up. More snacks, then playtime!

Exploring the backyard for the first time walking-

Running to Grandpa

Sitting on the deck in the BIG chair

Sitting in his own (thrifted) folding chair

Checking out the pond

We babysit our other Grand baby Oliver every other Saturday morning thru early afternoon. He's crawling and starting to talk, his light blonde hair is growing in, really a fun personality!

Yes, he has his own phone!

Sep 26, 2017

Winter Coop Prep, Re-habbing Bath Towels, Easy Pear BlackberryTart

Winter Coop Prep-
We have a lovely weekend with mild,sunny weather, great after the cold and heavy rain! With colder weather gradually settling in it's time to look at the components of winterizing our coop. Dave was cleaning the outside house windows with our handy Windex scrubber. I had him do the upper coop window. It's recycled and we open and close as needed. There's hardware cloth inside the window where a screen would be. Below the window is a frame I had Dave build with hardware cloth. We use it in the warm weather for lots of good airflow and ventilation. In the late fall we pop it out and put in anther (recycled) window. We'll remove the tomatoes first, see below- 

We also have a screen in our $10.00 Habitat for Humanity store door. I leave it uncovered until it gets really cold, then I staple plastic over it on the inside. I can open as needed if it warms up-

Note another area below the nesting box, open all year

There's a vent in the roof of the coop for more air. It's a flexible system and work well for us and "the girls". They had a blast free-ranging Sunday afternoon-

Gwynne looking much better now that her molt is over, feathers are back!

Rosie the Rhode Island Red and Ellie a Barred Rock

What's over there?

Re-habbing Bath Towels-
I love our apple green bath towels from Ikea (several years old) but the hems were getting a bit ratty on a few, see above. I went to the local fabric store with a washcloth and bought matching thread. I set up the sewing machine, all better, for $1.50 spool of thread-

Easy Pear Blackberry Tart-
I had the last six of our pears left, so I bought some puff pastry at for about $3.00 at Trader Joe's. I thawed, unrolled, rolled the edges, put on parchment, sprinkled with cinnamon/sugar. Topped with our pears, and some frozen homegrown blackberries. More cinnamon/sugar, baked for 25 mutes, perfection! I topped mine with TJ's custard ice cream, heavenly! I will do the next batch with some of our peaches :)  Easy, low cost, fast dessert!!!!

Sep 19, 2017

An Oh, Wow Recipe!

An Oh, Wow Recipe!
I got my Rachel Khoo email today and it had a great chat with the chef Olia Hercules (link above), and she has an amazing Village Breakfast Recipe! Simple and I must try this soon. I'm part Eastern European so it's up my alley. I just put her first cookbook  Mamushka- Recipes from Ukraine and Eastern Europe on hold at the public library. Enjoy!

Sep 18, 2017

My French Scandinavian Country Decor, Happy Rainy Week, Pesto, Pickled Eggs & Pear Pie

My French Scandinavian Country Decor-
Over the years some of my readers have complimented my home decor style. While it's not my focus on this blog, I thought I'd share some things. First I want to say that not EVERYTHING in my home falls into a specific category. Some people have a clear sense of what kind of decor they like. Some people evolve over time. As I got older I realized I like older things with a patina, simple designs and sturdiness. I love some painted furniture, but also love the look of real wood. While I like SOME of the painted furniture craze, I also think it's a shame some people are painting over some antiques or amazing wood. I'm not a fan of the DIY chipped paint craze either. Trends will come and go, but a gorgeous piece of furniture, or an old print, will just get better with time. I have really gravitated over the years to vintage, country decor. There are tons of articles online about what is French country, Swedish country, farm/prairie style, etc. I like the warm woods, rustic feel, colors and other natural elements. I love the clean, natural looks of Scandinavian country, but I don't live there, so I will never have all white interiors. That great when you have 24 hours of darkness for months! I enjoy our warm wall colors- soft yellow in the kitchen, "straw" in the living room/hallway. My bedrooms aren't as focused on decor, and my master bedroom paint job has been out on hold. Hoping for next spring. Here's a look at some of the more specific things many thrifted! The print at the top of the page is my antique framed printed called The Angelus by Millet. It was my Aunts and I always told her how much I loved it. Years later she gave it to me. It hangs in my living room over my couch. Here's some of the other things in my home, maybe you'll get some ideas? Here we go, starting in the kitchen/dining room, sorry I don't have sorted by room-

Thrifted print, love the motif and colors

Our 2 French country dining chairs, from a consignment shop, a "spider web" back, love them!

Big substantial legs of our French country thrifted table

Dining table, bird in the pot with the ivy, natural elements again, rag runner made from old saris

Homemade faux lavender wreath

Shelf with French elements- mirror, silver, Polish teapots, fun chicken!

Old vintage window I bought 15 years or so ago, $10.00, nice focal point, fit perfect over the desk

I made the lemon topiary, very French!

Also upcycled the sifter into a topiary, added some acorns for fall

Large armoire we bought also at the consignment shop, very solid wood

Flea market find, recycled barn wood bookcase, 

Thrifted small entertainment center, all wood, chalk painted side table

Grain sack style chair slipcovers, durable and washable!

Side table, fall items, chicken, old kerosene brooder heater and faux greenhouse

WW 1 era photo of my beloved Grandfather Alva, on top of Mt. Hood in Oregon. I swapped out the original photo and we had this print made to fit the frame, love it!

Hall corner, kids made ceramic bowl and house, Scandinavian candle holder

Closeup of thrifted Scandinavian garden montage

Candle holder

print reminds me of a French garden

Shelf in my bedroom, I had too much, cleaned it off , replaced with a simple vase

Clock in master bath

Shelf in master bath

Living room coffee table, consignment shop, solid with storage

Love the curved legs

My vintage enameled basin with fall goodies, bought it cheap years ago for camping, 
wasn't "vintage" then!

Put a vintage wool blanket on the couch for some fall color, cat included

More fall decor, simple

Kitchen counter, more French lemons

China cabinet, thrifted, I painted the inside, I think it's mahogany

Happy Rainy Week-
This weekend was great, cooler and sunny. I woke up today and it's raining! How wonderful and it's in the forecast all week. Between all the smoke from fires, the heat and dust we're all ready. Next weekend will be nice, cool and dry. I've been putting out fall decor and swapping some clothes/shoes. Nice to see the hot summer come to an end...

From the summer garden- fresh tomatoes, basil, Costco fresh Mozz, italian meats

Pesto, Pickled Eggs & Pear Tart-
The three P's! While these don't go together I decide to do one post. My Basil did great in one pot, not so much the other. No more ceramic pots in the intense heat. I bought lemons, garlic, Parmesan cheese, bulk pine nuts (much cheaper!), then I bought out my food processor and went to town. I made two quadruple batches. That gave me 6 nice jars, with some basil still left outside. I always use Rosie's Pesto Recipe It's great to rub on chicken and roast, on pizza, pasta, french bread.

I love pickled eggs once in a while. They keep well for months in the fridge. I have made spicy ones before, with jalapeno slices. I went for regular this time Easy Classic Pickled Eggs.  Be aware this recipe makes WAY too much brine. I threw at least 1/2 out. For 10 eggs (2 didn't peel well) in a one Qt. jar, it's too much. Hard boil, peel then pickle, easy! I bought some organic store eggs, since mine will NEVER peel! Now they're resting in the fridge for a few weeks...

Our wonderful organic pears have ripened inside and were amazing. They were just too many for the two of use, even with giving some away. I was done canning and so time to bake! I wanted  to try this a basic struesel topped pear pie, but I eliminated the bottom crust, no need for the fat! I also want the fruit to be the star! had a quick recipe. I did use walnuts, since I them them on hand. Smells great!

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